This is not a new post (in fact it’s from 2002) but it’s still relevant in the rise of hate crimes all across North America and Europe against minorities of many kinds, including Muslims and Jews. Unfortunately in Canada Jews and Black people are the most frequent victims of these hate crimes. While much is said about racism, so few people (both Muslims and not) are willing to tackle the issue of rampant antisemitism. Antisemitism is wrong and we must unite against it.
I’ve posted about forgiveness across different religions and traditions many times before but after seeing this story while researching the Holocaust for a book, I felt compelled to share it. The Scriptures have commanded us to forgive since the beginning of Judaism and science backs up the benefits of forgiveness on a person’s health and well being too. Now read this story for yourself and be inspired ❤
When I browse Islamic websites seeking various opinions from different schools about something in particular I always come across the very same issue: what happens if a woman converts to Islam but her husband doesn’t? So many people are quick to say that she must divorce him on the spot, seemingly without consideration for anything else.
Personally, if I was a man and my wife left me like that you could be certain I would want nothing to do with Islam because it cost me my family, my everything. I find such to be absolutely insane because the Quran places such a high importance on family, marriage and a strong foundation for society. Destroying it like that doesn’t make sense to me, quite frankly I think it’s un-Islamic, and I am far from the only person who shares this opinion.
This was originally posted on the Facebook page for The Conscious Muslim and shared two years ago in July 2015 and shared on Tumblr. This isn’t about whether or not a Muslim woman is allowed to many a non-Muslim man (Jew or Christian) because that’s a separate issue, but I previously posted about a woman staying with her non-Muslim husband after her conversion also upholding Shaykh Hamza’s point of view. It may be a minority view for the moment but with valid and sound evidence to back it up.
I also wanted to share some of the comments on the Unity1 WordPress site that I feel are pertinent to this discussion, but I encourage my readers to read all of them on the original post.
Think about the fact, that if we divorce because of my (possible) conversion to Islam, there will be at least 30 people who will never even consider Islam as a true religion after that. That includes my husband and children, our parents and siblings and nephews.
The only reason for that I haven´t converted yet is the question of marriage here. I am happily married and we love each other. I see my family as potential converts.
But, maybe it´s better to stay as a christian then and still believe in one God. It can´t be right to hurt so many innocent people including my own children.
And even if I would convert, I couldn´t do it openly or visit the mosque because of other muslims would laugh me out because of my (so far) non-muslim family (and the family is a blessing for me, nothing to laugh at).
If I was young I would convert and marry a practising muslim, of course. It seems to be that I and many other women have lost “everything” by living our own lives… and God did know that it would go like this.
If I have to choose between being a muslim or a mother, I choose to be a mother. And wish that my children will later choose the right path – in time!
(Posted by Lina)
Here is also a question by Adele in the comments:
Maybe can help me?
I am married. Have 2 kids (10 and 13 years old). 3 years before i convert to Islam. Husband does not prevent me from practicing my faith, can i stay with him or must divorce?
To which the author of the site responded:
As the fatwas in the above article state, you are perfectly entitled to stay with him and enjoy a full, happy married life. There is no reason or need whatsoever to even think about divorce. May God bless you all!
Whether you agree or disagree with the opinions of various scholars cited here, this is definitely not going to be a topic that disappears in the near future with more people than ever embracing Islam in the West and in other nations around the world which are not Muslim-majority countries.
I also wanted to add this one but for some reason it would only say ‘error’ when I tried to add it. I hope that these little things have enlightened you, or at least reminded you of important things that many Muslims seem to have forgotten.
We sure can! In addition to my lengthy previous rant about the apparent “ban” on cross-gender interactions of friendships that has not actual basis in the Quran or Hadith because at the time of Muhammad (peace be upon him) both genders interacted all the time, I wanted to add some science to the mix that I only looked at after posting my rants. I never implied that all interactions with the opposite sex will be easy, much like same-sex relationships, some will fail and some will flourish. But science does say that they are beneficial for both people despite some challenges!
Across the internet you’ll find plenty of posts saying that men and women can’t be “just friends” yet they provide no actual scientific proof to back up these claims. Well, I have some for you. This is from Psychology Today, click on the link below to access the web article. I find it hard to argue with science! 🙂
The vast majority, 83% in fact, of people do believe that a friendship can be purely platonic. And like I’ve said before, it’s helpful to tell the person right off the bat that you want nothing more than a platonic friendship. If you or the other person cannot respect this, then it’s time to move on. Also like I’ve said before, maintain the bounds of modesty and if you fear sin then abstain. That in no way means that all interactions between the opposite sex are forbidden. You must use your judgement and wisdom and decide for yourself if you can be humane with the opposite gender or if you can only be an animal. Nobody can tell you that except you. If you don’t like cross-gender friendships stay out of them, but don’t come and break down mine.
It’s not true that everyone will automatically fall for their platonic friend at some point It’s equally not true that men are nothing but uncontrollable sex machines and that women are apparently to blame for that. The cold hard truth is that women are forced into closets not to “sinfully entice” men who on the other hand rarely ever do much to control themselves. All of this comes down to erroneous, legalistic, patriarchal and outdated rules that the two genders can’t cross paths with each other in even the most innocent and beneficial of ways when scientifically cross-gender friendships have plenty of benefits (and the key here is moderation and balance: you should have both same-sex and opposite-sex friends, not just one or the other) and in the Quran men and women are allies of each other who were never prohibited from interacting.
“And when he went towards (the land of) Madyan, he said: “It may be that my Lord guides me to the Right Way.” And when he arrived at the water of Madyan he found there a group of men watering (their flocks), and besides them he found two women who were keeping back (their flocks). He said: “What is the matter with you?” They said: “We cannot water (our flocks) until the shepherds take (their flocks). And our father is a very old man.” So he watered (their flocks) for them, then he turned back to shade, and said: “My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!” Then there came to him one of the two women, walking shyly. She said: “Verily, my father calls you that he may reward you for having watered (our flocks) for us.” (Qur’an, 28:22-25)
- It was modest
- It wasn’t sinful
- People lowered their gaze
- There was no flirting
- There is no mention of them automatically turning into animals around each other
In Islam, contrary to other religions doesn’t teach that sex or attraction is evil. In fact Muhammad was very open about sex and both men and women could come to him for knowledge and advice. Read the article below:
One thing that jumped out at me was this passage from the article:
For us as Muslims, sexual desire in and of itself is never associated with evil; it is only the misuse and abuse of such desire that is evil.
Shouldn’t confining women to closets and denying their own desires or banning them completely from everyday dealings with men be considered misuse and abuse? Right now Muslim scholars backwardly think like this:
- If I’m attracted to the man it’s my fault
- If a man is attracted to me it’s my fault
- If I sin out of temptation it’s my fault
- If a man sins out of temptation it’s my fault
Instead of fostering (whether silently or explicitly) a culture of coldness, the mentality of “the other” and a lack of accountability or control, how about we begin working together to stop the idea that one gender is an animal and the other is their toy and to put an end to gender-based violence, discrimination, inequality and stigma as allies. This isn’t a “man’s problem” or a “woman’s problem” it’s a humanity problem. I can bet that God looks down on us with sadness at what we’ve turned religion and sexuality into when God made men and women complimentary to each other, not enemies of each other.
Of course this topic also begs the question, well what if the opposite gender is really a temptation for me? For some people, that is true. In that case use your judgement and don’t get involved in activities that will lead to sin and corruption. But stop pretending that men are animals when it comes to sex and that women are only objects of gratification for them. It’s offensive to both men and women. Both genders deserve more respect than this.
For me this is a topic that also comes back to gay/lesbian Muslims too. I know that the Quran condemns homosexuality but that does not stop people from having feelings for the same gender. If you’re not familiar with this you ought to do some research because I know (and truly respect) many LGBT Muslims and my question in their case is this: if I were a lesbian would I be required to only have male friends because being around other females would sexually excite me too much? I’ve always had both male and female friends both before accepting Islam and after and they’ll all tell you that I never tried sleeping with them and I can tell you that they’ve all respected my “friendship only” policy.
The believing men and believing women are allies of one another. They enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Those – Allah will have mercy upon them. Indeed, Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise. (9:71)
Allies of one another. How is not being able to speak and interact with that person part of being an ally to them?! Andrew, Levi and Duane are my allies just as much as Anne, April and Jenni. We respect each other. We support each other. We love each other. We don’t burn the world together. We don’t spread corruption together. We don’t sleep together either! 😛 The six of them are people of equally good character and morality. They don’t lure me into sin with their conduct and vice versa. Now tell me how this is a sin! Tell me how I’m such an awful person. Tell me how I’m an adulteress (despite that I’m still a virgin) and how I’m going to hell. How about this? Gender segregation is bad for society, Muslims or not.
Now, I want to make it clear (not to sound too extreme) that I’m not calling on for a complete ban on segregation in all areas of life because obviously men and women will use different bathrooms and changing rooms, this post is solely in the context of non-sinful everyday social interactions. I also agree that if you prefer voluntary self-imposed segregation then you have the right just as much as to me to hang out with who you want. If you’re more comfortable with other women (or with other men if you’re a man) then it’s your right to be surrounded by them. Each person is different with what they are comfortable with but here is something we should all be uncomfortable with: being forced to do something.
Personally, I feel far more comfortable in a mixed environment than a divided one because a segregated one (be it that this word has probably been overused and has much negative connotation now) I feel that there is this unignorable coldness and mentality of “the other” and that makes me highly uncomfortable. Based solely on personal experiences, I’ve had a much better experience in mixed crowds than with other women only crowds but that’s just me. At school when I was 15 or 16 I was the only girl in physics class (which also had a male teacher) at school and never once did they guys make me feel out of place. Not one of them ever made a move of any kind on me. All respected me.
Why? My personal opinion is that it’s because they were largely accustomed to having females around. They weren’t frustrated in some way and somehow erroneously saw me as the object or cause of their frustration. Physics class is probably the class I have the most fond memories of and honestly my memories of school in general aren’t fond at all, and it never had anything to do with men. So don’t blame me if you can’t control your own sexual desires!
According to some if there are three people together somewhere (either two men and one woman or one man and two women) this is not considered “free mixing” because the third person is considered a “chaperone” of sorts, however others say that there ought to not be any free mixing of any kind unless there is absolute necessity. An opinion held during the earlier generations was that a man could be in the company of a woman if he was a reliable person. An example of this is Sayyiduna Umar, who once visited a woman’s house in the night, and this was permitted, because he was praised for his reliability. However, this seems to be discredited in modern times.
Really I just want there to be an end to this crap and the mentality of “the other” and the coldness that comes with it and for people to realize that your physical presence won’t automatically make somebody else commit a major sin! I’ve been around men my whole darn life and I have yet to hear a story about how I “forced” him to do something evil with my mere presence! Of course this would imply that I was properly and modestly dressed in appropriate Islamic attire, which I always am, and to me that in itself should be barrier enough. Some people may call me a heretic and a whore for my stance on this issue but their misogynistic and patriarchal views (not to mention close-mindedness) will not stop me from interacting with men or having male friends. I have lesbian friends too for that matter, who also respect my boundaries.
Not every single interaction between a man and a woman will automatically lead to evil. I am confident when I say that my interactions with men will be recorded in the book of my good deeds, will yours? Only you can answer that question. And if one day I feel tempted by a man I’ll take the appropriate measures to not fall into sin, but I most certainly won’t go around believing that every man I cross paths with is a danger to purity or chastity. Whether in the masjid or the mall, school or on the sidewalk, men and women alike are enjoined to be keenly aware of themselves and their roles in creating, encouraging, and maintaining a society that values spiritual purity and chastity, but also one that is free from coldness, discrimination and that toxic mentality of “the other.”
As a result of our gross misunderstanding of the Sunnah, we have gone to two extremes: attempting to segregate the genders to an unhealthy level, to the point where a simple, innocent conversation is considered sin; or throwing out any notion of modesty, lowering the gaze, and considering any and all behavior between the genders – even zina – to be acceptable. In both cases, diseased hearts are created and fostered, because there is no holistic understanding of the Qur’an and Sunnah. Islam came to transform the Ummah from one of ignorance to one of beauty, honor, dignity, and respect.
To reach that state, we must go back to the understanding of the prophet. Only then can we possibly start seeing the men and women of this Ummah coming together, as they were meant to be, to cooperate upon birr and taqwa: goodness and righteousness, together as allies.
I find it interesting that when I post about controversial topics I get an increase in blog followers. That shows that people care, so let’s continue this important discussion. I believe that I’ve already said all that I wanted to say in my articles and added a ton of links to support my point of view, you ought to carefully read all of them. Contrary to popular belief, we are far from being the only ones who think like this or dare to speak out.
The Quran itself never prohibits interactions between men and women, au contraire in fact, and while some argue that there are some passages from the Hadith that claim that opposite sex interactions are forbidden I have a two cents to add on that too. Do you believe that the Quran is complete? Do you believe that it is the infallible word of God? If so, why do you wanna prohibit something that was never prohibited in the Quran? I’m not saying that the Hadith is bad, not as long as it supports a principle already established in the Quran, but it should never be taken as an infallible or equal to the Quran and God forbid one that abrogates it!
You know, one thing I’ve always wondered was why some scholars issued fatwas prohibiting gender mixing (within the bounds of modesty) but never supplied evidence to support this. In my opposition to forced segregation I’ve got plenty and I’m just a self-taught girl who applies common sense and ijtihad when it comes to modern issues and an ancient text. And to those who claim to have evidence prohibiting this, I ask, is it credible? Not that I’ve come across so far.
This is without a doubt a hotly debated issue and those of us who choose to stand up to this often get judgmentally shot down by people who don’t even take the time to consider our point of view or our experiences. In addition to everything I’ve already posted, read this passionate post by a Muslim sister. You’ll find more that I’ve shared under the “Reblogged Posts” section of this website.
This is another opinion by another sheikh who also states that segregation is not a requirement (it can be practiced voluntarily however) and that men and women used to interact freely. Like I’ve previously mentioned, if you observe modesty and do not act in a careless (indiscriminate) manner that would entice sin then what’s the problem? Why have some Muslims reduced women to nothing but a temptation? Why do so many foster a culture of looking at the opposite gender like they are nothing but an object of your sexual gratification and why do you behave like an animal? Read this post by a fellow Muslims feminist while you’re at it.
While the majority of people who talk about these issues talk about them in the context of being inside a mosque, it is something that very much spills out into all areas of life and even more so here in the West where there is as much diversity as a person can possibly imagine. And if you don’t believe that Islam and feminism can be compatible, you’ve obviously never heard of Islamic feminism. Also take a look at these Muslim feminist blogs that I really enjoy:
And there are so many more, too many to list here. Islamic feminism has been around pretty much since always, because Islam is a very feminist religion. It has given both men and women equal rights (but different responsibilities; for example a man is required to work to support his family while a woman is not) but it’s unfortunately people and not the faith that are misogynistic and cripple women in various areas of life. Personally, the aspect of feminism is one of the many things that attracted me to Islam.
Yesterday I wrote a post about tattoos which links to another post about the same topic that I’d written previously but did not notice until now that one Tumblr link in it had become corrupt since I changed the name of the blog. I can imagine that this has happened in other sections of the website as well but right now I really don’t have the time to look through absolutely everything and update it all so I’m going to give you a quick and easy solution on how to make the content reappear.
The corrupt links that still wear the previous name of the blog show up as this:
What should be a Tumblr module that shows up is nothing more than a link to the error page now. The solution is simple: replace my old username with the new one, so where it says nomorehurtingpeoplepeace replace it instead with keepyourgoodheart which is my new username. Nothing else in the link changes, aside from the username everything else is still the same.
Try it for yourself right now! Click on the corrupt link above and replace the username. Previously you got this page, and with the new username in the link you’ll get this page. The module that vanished should actually look like this here on WordPress:
I suppose that eventually I’ll have to manually change these broken links but for the moment anybody reading my blog who comes across one should use this method to access the disappeared content, because it hasn’t really disappeared 🙂