Importance of Sexual Instinct in Islam
The instinct of sex is different from other instincts in the human beings. When other instincts reach a peak and become strong, they make the person helpless. Sexual instinct is different in this aspect. Prophet Yusuf (a.s.) could resist all the temptations of Zuleikha and was able to shake her off. Zuleikha had already made up her mind. According to the Quran, if it were not for Prophet Yusuf’s infallibility and his firm determination, he too would have succumbed.
When Hadhrat Yusuf was again confronted with a bevy of beautiful women at Zuleikha’s chambers, they cut their hands, instead of cutting the apples. All those beautiful women became attracted to and desired Yusuf (a.s.). From this very difficult situation too Prophet Yusuf came out unscathed. Here I would like to quote a verse from the Holy Quran that I request the young ones and their parents to bear in mind:
He said my Lord I prefer the prison to them ,and if Thou will not fend off their wiles from me I shall incline unto them and become of the foolish. Surah Yusuf :33
Prophet Yusuf says that if Allah had not been merciful, he would have been trapped by the women and become wretched and helpless. In the sentence ‘akoon minal jaheleen,’ jahl means desire overcoming intellect.
Thus in this verse, Yusuf (a.s.) is quoted saying that O lord you were merciful, you helped me to overcome my sexual instinct. These verses pertaining to Prophet Yusuf prove that the sexual instinct is different from other instincts. If we ponder over the fact, we find that Islam has a very unique view regarding the sexual instinct. The unique thing is that it doesn’t ask its followers to suppress this instinct. People should not do anything that might extinguish this instinct forever. Therefore, the first commandment is that people should not look at one another with lust or amorous intent. This is a sort of defensive measure and is not asking total abstention. Viewing someone with lustful looks is considered sinful.
Looking at someone with desire causes the person to become wretched, because one glance can be enough to cause infatuation, which is a disease worse than cancer. Therefore the Holy Quran addresses every lady and says: “O lady! When you move with, or talk to a male stranger you must exercise care in selection of your dress and your behavior. O lady! If you are put in a situation when you must speak with a male stranger, then talk only to the extent that it is absolutely essential”. Even while conversing with someone over the telephone, the talk should be restricted to the bare necessities. When a woman walks in the lane, she should ensure that the chadar is worn properly. Also, the chadar should not be of a material that might attract attention of the wayfarers. The footwear and the posture of walking too should not be such that men become aware of you. If your chadar is transparent, this is oppression because it can arouse passions. If a youth gets motivated due to the carelessness of women, it might often be difficult for him to control his sexual instinct.
We conclude from the foregone discussion that the sex instinct requires the attention of the parents and the young boys and girls. The instinct will be at its zenith from the age of fifteen or sixteen years to about 28 years. During these twelve to fifteen years one can have the legitimate pleasures of the sex instinct. After this period the need for a wife or a husband starts tapering down. But the society has grown so callous, that a major part of this prime period is spent by the youth without matrimony because of economic and other reasons.