Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The Prostitute and the Atheist: Lessons in our Grief

Two stories that I stumbled upon recently were particularly distressing. Both involved sisters, practicing sisters, who wore the hijab and by all accounts, were "good" Muslims. Yet both of them stumbled, may Allah guide them back to the truth. And stumbled mightily. One sister took to prostitution, in fact, she showed up to "work" on the first day with her hijab on! I grieve for her, I grieve for her naivety, her innocence, I grieve for her life in the brothels, where the body's hijab is stripped away for the pleasure of men acting like animals. The other sister, though she kept her worldly integrity, lost much more in the akhirah. She belied her own fitrah, and she took to the religion which denies God Himself. We should all grieve, we should all feel for these women who were misled by the denizens of sins and evils. But, while we grieve, we should learn, we should take away lessons to apply to ourselves, to our communities, and to our societies. So, after recounting the two stories, I'll put forward one out of the many lessons that I take away from this, and I'll count on the readers of this blog to put forward their thoughts and lessons as well. I am especially interested in lessons form a common thread in both stories:

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The Atheist
Narrated by Yahya Ibrahim in his lecture "Death is Near"
[distributed by Muslim Audio; highly-recommended buy]

I wish to begin by narrating to you a saddening story, that should fill your heart with sorrow and fear. It is the story of a Muslim story that I received an email from about 3 months ago. This Muslim sister writes: I have an older sister… alhamdulilah, we were raised as Muslims, and my sister was a very bright student, and she received a scholarship to the most prestigious engineering school in America. And since we didn’t live in the city in which the college was, my parents were forced, I repeat my parents were forced, to allow her to go and live on the residence of the university alone… She (the older sister) used to wear hijab, and she became involved in the Muslim community in this prestigious engineering school, the most prestigious in all of America, and she began to write articles about what is Islam, why I wear hijab, etc. in the Muslim newspaper as well as the newspaper of the college, but some of her classmates were atheists, and one of them was a male, who she became infatuated with…she liked the way he looked, the way he talked, the way he carried himself, the marks he got, how he dealt with his professors…she was impressed! So he began to debate her, TALK (with emphasis) to her… about Islam, and he weakened her resolve quickly.

She took off the hijab, didn’t inform the parents, and all the people she lived with, who by the way were non-Muslims, were overjoyed, “Now you can come out with us” So she used to attend their social gatherings. Three months ago, I told you the sister emailed me, she said that my sister has just sent us a hand-written letter, saying, and this story began 2 yrs ago, saying “I cannot live like this anymore, I cannot live a lie, I must inform you that I no longer believe in your God, in fact I believe in no god.” Inna lilah wa inna alahi rajioon. Say it, Inna lilah wa inna alahi rajioon. This is the greatest calamity. O Allah, the Prophet used to teach us, do not make our calamity in our religion. What causes more sorrow that the parents of this Muslim girl ask, “can you please ask the shayookh, could you please translate our questions and ask, is it permitted for us to marry her off with a Muslim man and not tell him of this deviance.. just make a contract, so maybe she would become infatuated with her new husband and forget all this stuff she is doing”. Look at how naive they are [in their grief]. “Do not die except you are in the state of Islam.”

The Prostitute
Sex workers enjoy pastoral retreat by Daniella Miletic November 25, 2006

THE MUSLIM
"JULIE" entered an arranged marriage when she was 15. She says pressure from her strict Muslim family meant there were few options if she chose not to marry.

But when she later became pregnant and decided she would not have a baby in that loveless marriage, her husband was outraged.

"My husband told the sheikhs," she says. "And there was all this guilt trip, 'You are a Muslim lady, you shouldn't do that, you have killed a human being, how dare you … you are going to go to hell in this world and then to hell in another life.' "

Julie had the abortion and divorced her husband, later moving in with a friend who seemed inexplicably wealthy. "I saw guys dropping her off but they never came inside," she says. "I asked her where do you meet these people? Where do you go when you disappear for hours? Where do you get this money from?"

Her friend reluctantly told her she worked in the sex industry. "I thought if she can do it, then so can I," says Julie.

On her first night at the brothel she wore her hijab. "The owner said to me, 'Look, I know you are different and you have got a different belief, but in many ways we are a lot alike.'

"She gave me a room and told me I didn't have to do a job straight away, just to get comfortable. But it was so hard for me because, except for my husband, the most I had said to another man was 'Hi, how are you?'

"It took me six months to learn how to say 'Hi I am (Julie), how are you? I do sex, massage, oral with condoms."

Julie says shifts were soothed with methamphetamine, or ice, and she gradually became more comfortable.

Two years into the work she became pregnant again and decided to quit the industry — and the drugs.

She says it is tough. "You miss the money, so much … sometimes you think I will just go back to pay this bill off …"

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Lesson:

The necessity and importance of good company. All of us have friends, need friends, and enjoy friends. But, it is indeed the friends that led one of our sisters into prostitution, and the other into atheism.

So, by all means, have friends, lots of them if you wish. But, for Allah's sake, choose them wisely. Choose a friend that will remind you when the prayer time is, not one that will tell you to postpone it until the football game is up. Choose a friend who will remind you to lower your gaze, not one who will rush your attention to that 'blond chic'. Remember, friends will also serve to console you when you need consolation. How they console you will affect you at this time of emotional weakness. Are they going to take you to a night-club to 'relax, and take your mind off things', or will they remind you about lessons from the Quran, Sunnah, the Sahaba, scholars or even regular people who took their grief and turned it into something positive. Remember what the Prophet (S) said, "The similitude of good company and that of bad company is that of the owner of musk and of the one (iron-smith) blowing bellows, and the owner of musk would either offer you free of charge or you would buy it from him or you would. smell its pleasant odor, and so far as one who blows the bellows is concerned, he would either burn your clothes or you shall have to smell its repugnant smell. [Sahih Muslim Book 32, #6361].

Further readings: Here and here

10 comments:

lotaenterprises said...

subhanallah i remember hearing the yahya ibrahim lecture a couple of years ago and that story really hits you.

i have heard one brother mention in khutbahs before, and i have done so myself, that many children now are practically at the brink of leaving islam, and the parents are completely clueless of this reality.

i dont know if its correct to do so, but in my heart, i lay the blame for these types of things squarely on the parents shoulders. too often they are blinded by good grades, etc, and give the kids a free pass to do what they want, then when they are 16,17, 20.. they go to the "religious" people they previously shunned to now go talk to their children.

i know this is kind of a tangent off the post, but it really drives me to find out, exactly what all the elements were that go into someone making a change like that in their life. obviously meeting that guy may have been what pushed her over the edge, but i am sure there was other stuff building up to it and cracking the foundation.

AnonyMouse said...

Subhan’Allah… that is SCARY! May Allah protect us from those of bad influence, and from the whispers of the Shaytaan; and may He not let us die except upon al-Islam… ameen!

As LotaEnterprises mentioned, there *are* a lot of kids out there on the brink of leaving Islam… and it has a lot to do with the company they keep. That’s one of the reasons that I’m homeschooled – my first five years of school were done at public school, but what I saw and learnt there from other kids… not good. So, I began homeschooling, and al-Hamdulillaah it’s a lot better.
While it does mean that I’m sorta isolated and lonely when it comes to friends, the friends I *do* have are wonderful people, masha’Allah – people who all attend our Islamic centre and Madrasah.

Amad said...

Ok, so far we have
(1) Good Company
(2) Good Parenting

I am sure the intellectual readers of this blog can come up with so many more... If you can add some points of knowledge and further study to your comments, it would be even better.

Abdu said...

salaam,
I guess you can add:
Don't marry someone that you don't want to marry.
Also, don't send your daughter off to college to live by herself (I think that falls under parenting).

AnonyMouse said...

I think it also highlights the fact that while giving Da'wah is great, one must be constantly re-affirming one's own beliefs, strengthening and confirming them. Unless we constantly remember the Words of Allah, unless we go back to the Qur'an and Sunnah on a regular basis, then it'll be very easy for us to be led astray...

lotaenterprises said...

"I am sure the intellectual readers of this blog can come up with so many more"

just because my name is goofy doesn't mean i'm not intellectual :)

but if you really want a list of reasons, here's 20.. (in no particular order)

1) lack of emaan
2) lack of religious knowledge
3) parents
4) company
5) free-mixing
6) sending kids to college when they're not ready to live alone
7) tv
8) being brainwashed in school
9) movies
10) all other forms of media
11) shaytaan
12) lack of self-esteem/confidence
13) fear if poverty
14) fear of others
15) need for acceptance, fear of rejection
16) identity crisis (esp for those who are the first generation fully raised here)
17) love of dunya
18) peer pressure (not necessarily from the company you keep)
19) lack of hayaa
20) lack of self worth

ummreem said...

Br. Lotaenterprises, very intellectual indeed.

Another important point is:
"The heart of a believer lies between two fingers of the [Allah] Merciful" [Muslim, Ahmad, Tirmidhi]

Even the Prophet of Allah (saw) used to make du'a to Allah to keep him firm on His religion. So just imagine how much we need to make this du'a everyday but we tend to forget. I believe the du'as are:
'Ya muqallibal quloob thabbat qalbi 'ala deenik'
'Ya musarrifal quloob sarraf qalbi 'ala deenik'

Faatimah said...

The stories were very heart breaking.

The parents should have sent a family member with her when she got into the most prestigious(MIT?) engineering school.

Also, teaching them about islaam and trying your best to instill in them is important from a young age..but even then

blame should not be on the parents or society but only on the individual
because once the person is baaligh, that's it you cannot do anythng about it. Afterall, NoohAS son was not muslim and he was his son.

Ibraheem AS father was not muslim.

Lut's wife was not muslim and she was married to a PROPHET of Allaah SWT.

so it is a lesson to pray that we die as muslims because a man can live his life as a person of jannah and do a bad action and die and go to jahannum. Good muslims have also committed suicide.

Also, this is one of the ayah in the Qur'aan that says to the effect that disbelievers are born from believers(I think it is a tafseer of an ayah in the Qur'aa) and that believers are born from disbelievers.

sister said...

asssalaam-u-alaikum i think the biggest responsibilities is of parents they should watch and be careful of their children always i think what the girl is totally wrong by first interacting with him personally but yeah i would say the biggest mistake is parents they have to watch for that!

Anonymous said...

oh come on, i agree with the reader who said don't send your kids off on their own if they're not ready-- this has nothing to do with her being a female and going off on her own. her eeman was already weak to begin with. in addition, what do you think the guys who are off on their own are any better if their eeman is weak? istaghfarallah about this arrogance.