Dear Muslim girls, especially you teenagers,

I want to apologize to all of you on behalf of Muslim adults, Muslim parents and the Muslim community as a whole.

I am sorry that your struggles as females are often overlooked. I am sorry that your sensual temptations are always underestimated. I am sorry that your fitnah for the opposite gender is rarely ever addressed as if, for some miraculous reason, you are expected to have stronger control over your carnal desires.

We have failed to recognize Muslim women's, especially the female youth's, trials of their voluptuous desires. At the most we have made an effort to acknowledge your desires to interact with guys, to be around them, to talk to them, to laugh with them, to share with them the details of your day, to have a boy follow you around, if at all your trials are recognized. Your desires have been marginalized to simply some emotional need of getting attention from the opposite gender. Let me be brave enough to say: That is wrong. Women want more than just the attention.

I confess that the strength of carnal desires in females is almost always underestimated within our Muslim societies. I am not here to run a comparison between the needs of men and women, I am here to simply acknowledge, affirm and attest that sexual desires are no less a struggle for a girl than a boy. Let it be clear, Islam makes no distinction.  Truly Allah is the Most Just!

Allow me to say: I understand….

I understand that the opposite gender is a fitnah for you as much as you are a fitnah for the opposite gender.

I understand your battles and your struggles.

I understand that if you slip, on the surface or deeper, it's because you couldn't fight the strong inevitable desires coupled with the extreme hypersexual society we're raising you in.

I understand that it is wrong for our Muslim societies to have double standards, and I want you to know that no matter how many times you are reminded that you, as a female, should have a better control over your sexual desires than the guys, that you should be the one guarding your chastity more than the guys, that you are a girl and it is less likely for you to give into your carnal desires than the guys, please know that your religion makes no such distinction. Islam has prescribed the exact same punishment for the girls as for the guys.

I understand and my heart goes out to you, for all the trials of the opposite gender you are going through, for all the temptations you have to fight or you fail to fight.

I understand that if you slip and give into your voluptuous desires, it doesn't make you a whore. It simply makes you a human. Although, I truly admire those of you who have thus far kept your chastity, may Allah azzwajal increase you in your strength and in your purity.

I understand, when I look at you teenage girls, especially those who are committed to their faith, trying their best to withhold their religious and moral values, modestly dressed yet can't help but fall into the trials of the opposite gender, I understand…

I understand that when that cute guy, or any guy that seems attractive whether because of his looks or his personality, asks for your number it is very hard to resist, when he calls in the middle of the night it is almost impossible not to pick up the phone. When he offers to pick you up from school, you just can't hold back, and when his hand runs through your hand the feeling is so amazing that you just can't stop him and when he leans in to kiss you the temptations can overtake your senses of right and wrong.[i]

I understand that although, without a shadow of doubt, these actions are wrong, the temptation of experiencing what you have been hearing about, watching, and observing since you were in kindergarten, every single day of your life, almost every minute, on TV, online, at school, at work, at the park, and especially what you've been reading in books, is simply too irresistible.

Do I feel for you? Absolutely! I feel for you if you couldn't hold yourself back from giving in to your very much existing and strong temptations of carnal desire.

I am sorry that we have not built a safer environment around you girls. And I am especially sorry, wholeheartedly, when we Muslims judge you and underestimate your bodily yearnings and cravings for the opposite gender, yet we give boys more benefit of doubts, more excuses for their temptations, for their fitnah than we offer you girls.

I am sorry that our societies only feel for boys, reinforcing again and again that girls are the biggest temptations for boys, but we almost never mention that boys are equally a temptation for girls, sexual temptation not just emotional temptation.

Although I might not be able to change the mindset of many Muslims out there, I promise you that I will not judge you insha'Allah. And that I will always be here to offer you an attentive ear and a shoulder to lean on should you need someone to talk to or understand your struggles.

Before I close my note, just remember two things as advice from me:

Firstly, if you fall, don't forget to repent and know that we fall so we can learn to pick ourselves up[ii].

Secondly, don't give up. Keep trying to fight your temptations even if you keep falling. If you didn't guard your chastity from the beginning, it doesn't mean you have lost your chance. Allah's Mercy encompasses all, and He is always ready to envelope us in His Forgiveness and Mercy no matter how deep we fall in our sins. Chastity starts when you leash your carnal desires and wait for the halal alternatives. That's the beginning of your chastity!

(And Allah knows best)

 


[i] For all those overzealous readers: I am NOT endorsing these sins to be okay!

[ii] Quote from Batman Begins :)

185 Responses

  1. Rabiya

    Assalamualikum,

    JazakAllah Khair for addressing this issue beautifully. MashaAllah your writing is so genuine it brought tears to my eyes. May Allah swt grant us all the highest place in Jannah. Ameen.

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    • Ali

      MashaAllah,
      I am a man and I have similar feeling, there is no much different sexual struggle for a men than a women. I am a practising muslim and I try my best to control my sexual desires but it is hard. Our parents don’t understand this struggle and they delay our marriage, I think this is wrong.

      I also felt bit emotion by reading this.

      JazaakAllah kahir for this awareness.

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    • ather (@Ather_ali432)

      May Allah Save Us from Fitnah .
      No Doubt We and our sisters Are Living in the most difficult time (the Time of Fitnah ).
      So fear Allah and establish salah .It saves from all fitnah around.

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  2. S

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Sara

      Excuse me, if you are not a teenage girl and do not understand what we’re going through then your opinion is invalid.

      Wonderful article and very much needed, thank you.

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  3. Hyde

    Female sexuality has never been the same as male sexuality and should not be compared. Yes girls face the same fitna as boys and yes it should be addressed, and I think you did a fairly good job on that. (As a fella, I find the idea that “boys will be boys” while girls are to be little angels reprehensible). What I don’t understand is the slow, creepy idea that it is okay…you committed zina; it is okay, you did this it is okay. Instead of fear of hellfire, we have becoming apologetics for harm behavior.

    I had already lost faith in Muslim men from some of the stuff I had seen. Inside the masjids they are holier than thou, but outside it is “chick-filet”. One practicing gay actually just wanted to test the water to see if he had game, unfortunately he ended becoming game. Even I had close encounter.

    Men maybe from mars but women are not from Venus. Women come from the other part of the universe, a part that is probably much closer to heaven. A woman indeed does set the standards of the society. Their bodies do have honor that no man can ever have [a pun against the crazy Egyptian femem girl].

    If Muslim women themselves start treading down the ugly path, there is little hop for the Ummati i Islamiya.
    (In the sex vignette articles I gave links to two articles).

    *This comment was edited by the MM Comments Team in order to comply with our Comments Policy*

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    • Umm Reem

      No one said it’s okay to commit zina or develop a relationship with the opposite gender be it a girl or a boy. All is said that “i understand how hard it is not to do so…”. There is a difference…

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      • Hyde

        Of course in this day the harram is more plausible then halal. Western society whether superstitiously or conspicuously literally promotes zina (& Iblis, may God curse him, has few rounds of laugh) via “romantic comedies”, pop music or idk high school. So yes I concur that “to not do it” takes much more strength and sisters feel the same tinge as the brothers do. But your prima facie argument comparing male and female sexuality, *in my onion* is dialectically wrong.

        Sisters may fall for the cute guy or the guy that asks her number. I mean let’s face it a woman is more attractive in society than man. A brother with a full beard and wearing long robe, doe not have too much chance of being hit on, but likewise a sister with a hijab and everything has a chance, because let’s be honesty modesty is attractive. So again, sister umm, I am agree with you that we forget the fitna our sisters face, but hidden throughout your article was your vibe on male and and male sexuality, which I disagree with.
        Men and women were not created the same and their stimulus and responses are not the same.
        -Slaam.

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      • Hyde

        SOS! @MM
        OMG! Astifirullah! @MM please change my entry to “May God curse him”…it was not meant to say “me”. I do not want to be cursed by God, I want be under His blessing and compassion!!!
        (This is what happens when you try to write comments during a meeting!)

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      • MM

        I agree with the article. Men are not in a position to say that women are more attractive to men than men are to women. By believing that they can’t control themselves, men defeat themselves in the fight against temptations. That does not change the fact that zina is a big sin and requires a most sincere repentance. Allah swt knows best what is in our hearts and He is the Ultimate Judge.

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    • Hyde

      @MM what part of my comment was edited ? Could you email me so I know not to write like that again ? Thanks.

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      • Hyde

        I think it had to with that Egyptian person…I think I was writing about something else and may have slipped in ( 2 in the morning !).
        Anyway I appreciate you cleaning it out, it really did not belong here. I see my comments has gotten 4 thumbs down. Boo-hoo! I guess Muslims now to have to be politically correct too.

        Thanks, Disco Maulvi…(any duets with the Bee-Gees ?)

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  4. Amad

    Mashallah well done on the writing. And no doubt our Muslim youth face great struggles, both boys and girls.

    However, I will have to vehemently disagree on a couple of key points:

    “I am not here to run a comparison between the needs of men and women, I am here to simply acknowledge, affirm and attest that sexual desires are no less a struggle for a girl than a boy”

    You have said that you don’t want to run a comparison, yet that is exactly what you did when you said the desires are the same, thus the struggle is the same. That absolutely is not true in the fact of multitudes of studies and data.

    See this article on WebMD that quotes some of these studies: Sex Drive: How Do Men and Women Compare?

    and this: Do men have a stronger sex drive?

    You also go on to say:

    Let it be clear, Islam makes no distinction.

    I believe this is also a bit fallacious. Yes, there is no distinction in shariah punishments, but the same shariah allows more wives (not more husbands) besides many other rulings/rewards that paint an appreciation of the natural higher sexual instincts for men.

    Anyway, putting aside the fact backed by overwhelming data that the fitna for men is greater, does not mean that some women don’t have greater desire than some men or that the lower desire is not a great fitna. Yes and yes.

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    • Umm Reem

      “the desires are the same, thus the struggle is the same. That absolutely is not true”

      Since there is no scale to measure the desires between men and women, we will have to base our conclusions on logical explanations. So

      1. Every time an illegitimate relationship happens it takes a guy AND a GIRL giving into their desires for the SAME temptation. So it only makes sense that the intensity of the desire was EQUAL for bot of them to fall into the exact same mistake. Right?

      2. Allah knows best but our sharee’ah could have easily prescribed different punishments for both if the desire was stronger for one gender over the other. Allah azzwajal doesn’t have limitation. In other issues, gender differences are taken under consideration, like testimony and inheritance etc. But why same punishment for zina? (just a food for thought, not giving any fatwas here!)

      “in the fact of multitudes of studies and data.”

      There is evidence on both sides.
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/02/sex-confessions-women-want-sex-more-than-men_n_3203879.html
      http://www.alternet.org/when-women-wanted-sex-much-more-men (pic. Alert)

      but the same shariah allows more wives (not more husbands)

      As far as I recall once a man came to the Prophet, sallallahu alihi wasalm complaining about extreme poverty and the Prophet told him to get married, then he came again with the same complaint and received the same intruciton again, and then again until he was married for the fourth time and came back with a glowing face for he’d become very rich.
      He wasn’t complaining about high sexual derive or desire, was he?

      Give me ONE textual proof that polygamy was prescribed solely for men’s higher sexual derive. Until then we will have to agree that whatever justification we come up with for polygamy is form our own reasonings. And only Allah knows the exact reason why He allowed men to have more wives :P

      besides many other rulings/rewards that paint an appreciation of the natural higher sexual instincts for men.

      Such as?

      Btw, thanks for the compliments but after your comment above I’m not cooking any dinner for you tonight! :P

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      • Amad

        Okay that dinner threat was serious stuff! :)

        The articles that you linked are not scientific so I am afraid my argument still holds, as much as I want you to win ;)

        The huffpo article talks about some women who want it more. Indeed averages don’t paint the entire picture. There is an overlap on both sides. So I definitely agree with you on that part that some women may have more desire, even more than many men.

        And the second article seems to be talking about history and history is just— history :)

        Anyway, I still declare you as winner (as long as I get my beloved wife’s home-cooked food).

        P.S. As for Islamic arguments, hoor ul-ain, issues during war-time, etc. come to mind but I am afraid of islamophobes taking that as ammo so will let it go.

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      • Marjaan

        While men and women (boys and girls) both have the need for a physical relationship, I think I must agree with Khaloo (as per a certain request that was made, the other name will not be used :) ) when he says that boys have a stronger need for a physical relationship.

        What, imho, tempts girls into such Haram relationships is often the need for emotional relationship. For example, having a guy tell them they look nice, tell them that he loves them, being romantic with them, etc. However, since the guy will usually not give the girl the emotional support she wants without getting something in return, she does what he wants in order to get what she wants.

        I’m not saying that a girl doesn’t have physical needs; I’m just saying that the girl’s emotional needs are usually stronger than the physical needs, whereas the opposite applies for most guys.

        Aani, I am not disagreeing with you, just stating my thoughts on the matter :)

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      • Siraaj

        Ouch! Amad, I’m going to the article section to request, “How Not to Score Brownie Points with Spouse” from you :D

        Siraaj

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      • mom of 7

        Amad said what alot of men think… If all your wives live in the same house their monthly cycle might synchronize, Imagine multiple wives with PMS at the same time…Enjoy

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      • Amad

        truth or brownie points?? :)
        i think i did both… of course as the master of brownie points, i have a lot to learn from you siraaj.

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      • Fritz

        I totally agree with Amad. This is not the first time this author has tried zealously to equate the two desires between the genders. Just because one cannot “feel” their way around the perceptions of the other gender doesnt mean that the wealth of scientific evidence can be dismissed. I dont know why she finds this so problematic (is it a fear of polygamy?). Quoting unscientific opinion pieces does not count as actual evidence.

        Imagine if someone turned up and started claiming that fathers rather than mothers had a greater ability to love and nurture their children and that a “mother’s love” for her child was just a social myth because we “have no scale”. Imagine they then went on to quote a few isolated unscientific cases studies. Could anyone accept this is a “conclusion on logical explanation”?

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      • MIraj Din

        The Hadith about a certain poor man who came to the Prophet for increase in his rizq (sustenance) and the Hadith mentions the Prophet telling him to get married four times for rizq. But the Hadith is supposed to be very weak or fabricated. It has a man named Sa`eed Muhammad Mawlaa Bani Haashim about whom Abu Haatim Al Raazi (well known muhaddith of old, and an expert in jarh/ta`deel i.e. determining the state of narrators) said his hadith is worthless.

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    • bro

      Does it really matter if men have a stronger sex drive than females?… unless this is a competition lol. The fact is that it does exist for females and needs to be addressed.

      From personal experience, my wife has a much stronger sex drive than I do haha… So you can’t always go by stereotypes.

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  5. Addo

    Polygamy was put there mainly not for the sexual providence for the men but for the protection and general providence for the women who in any normal community would outnumber the men, due to the Wars and the fact that it’s the men that carry on the risky hard jobs.

    And while yes I agree that the sexuality of a man is different from that of a woman, I don’t believe it’s in the intensity but rather in the way by which it is activated. So for example, a man would get turned on by merely looking while on the other hand a woman might need some love and care first, I’m guessing. However, this is a psychological matter that could be debated and has nothing to do with the value of the sin, once committed by either gender, or else the punishment in Shariah would have differentiated. You see, it’s not about how easy or hard it is for you to go through with it, it is about the amount damage it does to the society. And since both genders equally contribute in it when it’s happening, it’s as big of deal of both of them.

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    • Harz

      Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • Umm Reem

        Harz, neither does it have anything to do with men’s higher sexual desire (Allah knows best). Polygamy is make legal without giving us any specific reasons…

        Please tone down your comment. She is not speaking for Allah, just giving in her 2 cents.

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      • MIraj Din

        lol I am getting glued to these polygamy comments.

        I personally see the conditional permission to marry multiple women simultaneously in the same light as the conditional permission to marry a chaste women from the People of the Book.

        Both are oft abused institutions, badly stereotyped and only Allah knows why these two practises are Halal. Its time we stop searching for answers as to why such things are permissible and just accept that they are Halal [which Allah SWT himself has made permissible out of his divine wisdom whilst acknowledging that they are not something that is required of us.

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      • MIraj Din

        Please talk nicely. As Muslims we must observe god adaab.

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  6. Zoheb

    The best solution for both Genders…boys and girls should get married as early as reasonably (when I say reasonably, I mean when you notice that their desires might get out of control, be it at any age…late teenage years even) possible. Considering the Fitna that We face, we need to LET GO of the notion that guys (teenage or in early twenties at least) should be solely responsible for providing for his young family, INSTEAD THE GUY’s FAMILY SHOULD HELP HIM Sustain enough resources until he is able to take care of his wife and children financially. Also, considering that the couple might be emotionally not mature enough, the family should also support them and the elders could provide guidance.

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    • Miss Direkshun

      Yes, I feel another issue is that girls have sexual feelings as pre teens and young teens, and yet society refuses to acknowledge this. Women are expected to wait until their twenties to marry, yet their desire may have started at ten!

      Society as a whole, including Muslims, have perpetuated a myth surrounding the innocence of childhood, and childhood itself is a created concept that has come about due to the introduction of compulsory extended schooling. We feel there is no need to talk to nine and ten year olds about sex, so how will they understand what they are feeling? who will make them understand?

      In previous decades people got married young, getting married at 12 was a norm. Now people say “but we live longer” so that means you can marry later, and have more time after marriage. But it doesnt change our biology. Living longer hasnt made puberty start later. It also hasn’t made physical desires start later!

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      • Hyde

        Probably the best response. Yes 35 today is not as 35 fifty years ago, but biologically it is!
        Sister you have opened a big topic about the age of marriage. When so called Muslim countries made a law on the age of marriage on a girl to be 18, the ulema furiously protested (secular state encroaching on religious rulings).
        I encourage you to write a full entry on this topic on MM.

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    • Hyde

      My mother needs to hear this!!! I want to get married. I even told her that she can choose the lady, but NOOO….it is tiring…

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    • Umm Reem

      Yes i totally agree with you that guys families need to step in.

      Also, i am a big proponent of just doing the nikkah and leaving the couple to enjoy their time (with the condition of ‘no consummation’ for a prescribed period of time– this has many benefits).

      I think our youth would appreciate if we can make ourselves open to such ideas…

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    • Umm Zubayr

      I have a 16 year old brother that even asks my parents to let him marry for he can’t wait till he even finishes high school and even college. at least he is not shy to tell us all that he needs to get married because he doesn’t want to commit anything that displeases Allah SWT. I’m his older sister and I am not even allowed to get married as well. It’s just like that. We just have to finish school and find a job and then marry. What if I can’t wait? What if he can’t wait?
      May Allah make us those whom always seek his mercy and make us those whom He Subhanahu protects from the whispers of the shaytan. Allhumma ina nas’aluka al-huda, wa’tuqa, wal’afafa, wal’ghina!

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  7. A teenage girl

    Jazakillahu khair Umm Reem for finally writing an article that many have been waiting for, including me.

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  8. alina

    sexual desire is natural thing and. it is totally illogical to associate sex with personal character. our body on scientific basis and it should be treated scientifically . i dint think sex is a religious matter. it is issue of health and emotion .

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    • Hyde

      A very materialistic/non-Muslim point of view. Dually noted.

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      • Gibran

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Sex is definitely a religious matter otherwise there wouldn’t be so many Quranic ayat and hadith on it.

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  9. Siraaj

    Salaam alaykum Umm Reem,

    Jazakallah khayr for this article, bringing this up as you have is one step among many we need to take to balancing out our community’s double standards as they relate to men and women.

    Even if on a scale of 1 – 10, men were at level 10, that doesn’t mean levels 5 – 9 are easy.

    And as for the polygamy landmine discussion up above, I think I’ll stay out of that one =D

    Siraaj

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    • Umm Reem

      wa alaikum assalam br. Siraaj

      Yes…as long as the struggle is recognized. :)
      As for polygamy, let’s just leave it at that lol

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    • Liv

      Can I deliberately step on the poly landmine? *explosion* oops ;)

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  10. ali hassan

    If women fitna is equal to men fitna , why would prophet Muhammed PBUH emphasized men fitna in this hadith ” I have not left behind me any fitnah (temptation) more harmful to men than women “

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    • Umm Reem

      I was waiting for someone to bring this up.
      The Prophet sallalalhu alihi wasalam indeed warned men, but he didn’t specify the fitnah to exclusively sexual fitnah alone. That’s why if you read the tafseer of the hadeeth, many muhaditheen/shayookh have mentioned sexual fitnah just as a fraction of the problem, they’ve mentioned several other reasons why women could be the greatest fitnah for men. And I’m not going to mention any of those here because it will start a whole new discussion here… :)

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      • Fritz

        “sexual fitnah just as a fraction of the problem”

        And yet it is mentioned. And accross all religions and cultures this is acknowledged (except in the opinion of Umm Reem)

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      • Umm Reem

        Fritz,

        Read properly before you jump to conclusions. I’ve never said it is not a fitnah for men.
        If i see one more sarcastic comment from you, I will block you.

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      • Umm Reem

        Nope, I didn’t mention any of the other reasons in that post. I was going to write a part 2 of that post, translating all the arabic explanations I’ve studied because I’ve not seen any of that work in english so far…but I just didn’t get the time to :)

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  11. Another teenage girl

    Umm Reem, May Allah reward you greatly for this article.
    It really touched my heart. After sharing this with a few friends we realised how accurate your article is.
    Today’s society fails to acknowledge females’ sexual desires. I have travelled to many different countries whilst growing up and have met sisters from different backgrounds. This gave me a wider view of female sexuality and how different societies deal with it. One thing that all muslim societies had in common was the fact that as soon as a musim girl makes one small mistake she is constantly reminded of it for the rest of her life. But if a boy does the same and he “becomes pious” all is forgiven and society warmly welcomes him back.

    It has always been a huge taboo to talk about one’s sexual feelings, this has a huge negative effect on us. We become frustrated, we start to crave any form of interaction with the opposite gender, and it makes us weak. weak because we let our feelings loose just to numb our sexual desires because all our lives we have been taught that it is degrading and haram to have them.
    Then we get blamed for the outcome, maybe muslim adults should teach us about it rather than blocking it out and hoping we will one day figure out what to do by ourselves.
    but alhamdullilah we finally found someone who acknowledges that us women do feel such things and that it is not haram nor bad to have them.

    Jazakillahu khair sister.

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    • Umm Reem

      Yes I can understand the frustration…

      There is nothing wrong in having temptations, that is completely natural. WHat is wrong is to act upon those temptations.
      Even Yousuf (alihisalaam) had the “ham” (temptation) but he pulled away form his temptations. (side point: a man pulls away from his temptations while a woman is seducing him, makes me think who has the stronger desires there?! And not just one woman, the books of tafseer mention that all the women of the town seduced him…LOL)

      IN any case, Yes I agree that WE need to teach our youth, not just about sexual feelings, but how to handle and control them. We need to teach our girls how to carry themselves around the opposite gender. We need to train them how to maintain platonic relationships with guys. It is our responsibility, and the sooner we own up to that the sooner inshaAllah our youth can own up to their responsibilities as the future of our Ummah.

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      • Samra

        This is such a great article, being a young mom of a teenager girl and preteen boy , i really agree with ” WE need to teach our youth, not just about sexual feelings, but how to handle and control them. We need to teach our girls how to carry themselves around the opposite gender. We need to train them how to maintain platonic relationships with guys.” please let me know if you have any article on this issue and how can i contact you.
        Thanks

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  12. teen

    Awesome article so so so accurate!!! We need more people like you in our lives, people who understand what us teenagers go through, without being judged :)

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  13. Umm Imaan

    Assalaamu alaikum, I found this an interesting read masha Allah but I was a bit disappointed as I was really hoping to see you encouraging these sisters to find the halal solution to this fitna, which is marriage! I finished the article needing to reread to figure out what was the point other than letting them know “you understand”.

    The reality is this, we live in a over sexualized society, added to the fact that we are ingesting hormones which are directly or indirectly affecting the age of puberty which is on average around 10-11. So what are the girls supposed to do with raging hormones and awakening sexual desires.

    I say marry young, protect yourself from zinna, insha Allah. Is getting your degree more important than protecting yourself from Allah’s punishment? We are more afraid of people’s opinions than Allah’s pleasure.

    I have seen so many beautiful examples of marriage, where the girl reaches puberty early, has a mature personality and was able to acknowledge the fact that marriage was the next step.
    After completing high school she married a 20 something man and they lived happily ever after masha Allah. She studied further masha Allah and his expectations are adjusted according to the circumstances as the flip side of this is obviously choosing the correct spouse who understands that she is young and has aspirations beyond seeing that supper is on the table when he gets home.

    Sisters it is possible and something to work towards, if your intentions are for attaining the pleasure of Allah then we need to set goals which are in accordance with that. If you are struggling with the fitna of the opposite sex seriously consider marriage insha Allah, thereby answering your body with the means which Allah has made available to you.

    Umm Imaan

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    Reply
    • Umm Reem

      Dear Umm Iman,

      As much as i would like to offer early marriage as a solution, the truth is that I am not a supporter of early marriage anymore. Though I do understand that it is a halal solution, unfortunately we live in a strange time. As you yourself stated that girls are hitting puberty at age 10-11, their raging hormones and awakening sexual derive around that age, and we are not prepared to marry off our daughters at such a young age, they maybe physically ready but they’re definitely not mentally ready.
      Moreover, our boys are not ready to take up the responsibility of marriage in an early age. We’ve had too many divorces happening in our communities already.
      THough I myself didn’t believe this 17 years ago, the truth is that our girls do need to finish their degree, they do need to be more independent, so just in case their marriage doesn’t work out, they can be self sufficient.

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      Reply
      • Fritz

        “the truth is that I am not a supporter of early marriage anymore”

        You have already reversed your opinion on polygamy. How many more opinions are you going to volte face on? Is this based on logic or emotion?

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      • Umm Reem

        Really, my opinion was reversed on polygamy! When did that happen? And what was my opinion on polygamy to begin with?!

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      • Siraaj

        Your original opinion in your article about not seeing the rationale in polygamy (before marriage) was “No problem”, but after marriage, you changed it (that’s all in that article)

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      • Umm Reem

        LOL…even u didn’t get what i was saying in that article?!
        I said i can’t rationalize it, doesn’t mean I don’t support it :)

        I have an issue when people bring all sorts of rational explanations, esp. from a male perspective, which I used to do too even after my marriage but I was always presented with a counter rational evidence, until i figured that I really cannot rationalize it though I do believe that not only it is permissible there must be khair in it, as everything that Allah azzawajal allowed has good in it.

        It became emotionally challenging after my marriage but didn’t change my opinion about it, make sense?

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      • Siraaj

        No no, I understood what you were saying, especially at the end that even if you couldn’t rationalize it, you accepted it as part of the deen – what the person above was talking about was the opinion switch from pre- to post-marriage for yourself personally.

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      • Liv

        Umm Reem got with me and then changed her opinion on polygamy ;)

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      • Hyde

        Sister, don’t you think it is “murky waters” when you said you accept it but cannot rationalize it. Especially more so, since you are very knowledgeable in the deen ?
        Have you met a polygynous couple(s) ?

        P.S. I saw your profile and I thought I was talking to somebody who like, goes to college or whatnot, but your a mother and wiser with the study of deen, so apologies for some comments that were “tonally acerbic”.
        Assalamu alaikum

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      • Hyde

        Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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    • Siraaj

      I agree on the early marriage thing for girls, I think the key is parents need to find mature, well-established men for their daughters who reasonably older than them – a guy who’s 25 years of age is likely finished with schooling and established in a job or in a post-grad setup. Girls can continue education via online resources if necessary while married. I think it’s win-win for both partners, but I think the key is parents who have the right standards in mind, and set expectations early with the prospective guy.

      Siraaj

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      Reply
      • Umm Reem

        wait so if men have higher sexual derive, how is it that they can stay single until 25ish, but girls can’t?
        and wouldn’t it be more imp. for guys to marry even earlier than girls :)
        sorry had to ask :)

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      • Gibran

        Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

        Girls can stay single until 25ish but they are more marriageable at younger ages. Guys are less marriageable at younger ages.

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      • mom of 7

        Men do not have enough money to support a family at a younger age. Sex drives vary from person to person regardless of gender. Early marriage helps you understand life, it helps you become more mature dealing with your spouse on a daily basis.You gain insight and maturity after marriage regardless of your age. Look at the people in the past they were more mature and responsible than now.

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      • Siraaj

        Yes, sex drive is an issue men have to deal with, and I’m by no means recommending that the guys hold off on getting married until 25 – what I’m recommending is that the girls find the guys who had to hold out, for one reason or another, who are established and have some sense of maturity about them ;) I’m speaking as a father now rather than as a suitor, lol. As a suitor, I was “ready” to be married at 18, but I wasn’t ready for a relationship (I wasn’t even ready for college).

        But at 25, you can see exactly what you’re dealing with – religious character and activity, grades, profession, and then some.

        That’s not to say if one of my daughters came to me and said, “there’s a guy who’s the same age as me and I want to marry him,” that i wouldn’t consider him either, only that I think the age disparity is optimal because girls tend to be more mature at a younger age, and they’ve been in puberty / adulthood longer than the men have, given when it starts.

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      • Umm Reem

        Br. Siraaj,

        here are the issues,
        most 25 yr old brothers, don’t want younger girls. They want someone closer to them in their age.
        In some cases, girls don’t want to marry older guys.

        As a mother myself, I held the view of marrying younger (i myself got married when i had barely turned 19) until my daughter was a preteen. But once she turned a teenager, PLUS what I heard/saw happening in our communities with marriage/divorce, immature/irresponsible guys, increasing rate of porn/sex issues among muslim men, I was compelled to change my view. I want my daughter to be more independent and self sufficient, just in case…(may Allah give her the happiness of this dunya and akhira)

        BUT then again, alhamdullilah I have a very close relationship with my daughter (Allahumma barik feena) and I know what is happening in her life (may Allah protect her and guard her). We talk about marriage very openly and I have never hidden from her the sad situation of majority Muslim marriages.

        This open communication is very essential to maintain so as a parent you know if your child is ready for marriage…I’m not saying that if a child asks for an early marriage, a parent should refuse and enforce their opinion on the kids. I’m just saying that if a child can wait, then it is better for them to be more self sufficient :)

        As I was explaining to a sister that I don’t mind marrying off my son early because I can always support him and advice him how to deal with his wife and be there to mentor him…sadly it is something i cannot do in my daughter’s case…

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      • Siraaj

        I think generally our thought process on marriage is backwards anyway. We’re in a place now where childhood is delayed indefinitely, as is emotional and life maturity. Between eastern cultures which encourage children to live with their parents (and forcing girls into involuntary servitude to their mother-in-laws) and western notions of adulthood (tweens, teens, teenager, young adult, adult, etc), we’re not doing ourselves any favors by perpetuating this.

        I think the problem is we don’t think practically of how to accomplish our goals. For example, let’s say there are certain conditions you want the groom to adhere to – make that part of the marriage contract. She gets an education (paid for by mom and dad), and if you block it, you’re divorced. Place many conditions in the marriage contract – if you hit her, you’re divorced, and so on. People only talk about blocking polygamy, I say now that we have experience, we should create a standardized marriage contract that protects women.

        I can see some brothers already saying, “Feminist agenda!”, and I don’t blame you for that, but hold on one second – can we stipulate the foregoing of rights in a marriage contract? The answer is yes, for both men and women. In a polygamous arrangement, a man can forgo providing equal housing if the two wives (or more wives) agree to it. If women truly want independence and self-sufficiency, then they need to stipulate it as part of marriage.

        The rest is details – want an option for divorce? Ask for it, I don’t see why anyone will block it if a man agrees to it up front. I think the default rules are good when good people are involved, but when people don’t fear Allah (SWT) and abuse their wives and their promises, and it keeps happening, then we have a social problem that needs to be undone.

        If you know what you want in your marriage contract, negotiate up front, or have your wali do it for you.

        As for porn addiction and what have you, I’m not sure what your background is, but I grew up in a liberal environment, and while alhamdulillaah I didn’t fall into it, I know that most Muslims are nowhere near as practicing as we would hope and have the same problems everyone else in the surrounding society has. Even the pious hafiz saab that everyone knows as the pious hafiz saab could very well have fallen into it IN THE MADRASA, so choosing or dropping a prospect based on their past sins, or trying to find out about them, doesn’t seem like the way to go for me. I think you do your homework as best you can and then trust in Allah (SWT).

        Finally, about guys wanting to marry girls who are relatively younger, I think more often than not they don’t want to look like they’re robbing the cradle, but guys sitting with guys, many (not all) will tell you they prefer someone a bit younger (maybe not 20 years younger), but definitely younger (3 – 7 years).

        Siraaj

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      • Umm Reem

        Br. Siraaj,

        I went through this phase of associating tween/teen phase as a western thing, but then i acknowledged that it is a part of the culture we are raising our kids in, and it is not fair neither wise for us to cut our kids off from their society’s norm (which has nothing against Islam) or keep them in a bubble. At some point we have to let go, and I hope we learn to let go wisely before it is too late.

        Teen/tween phase is real and kids do go through this. We are not perpetuating it. I see your daughter is still younger, and trust me I thought in exact same terms when my daughter was younger…
        The best thing is to acknowledge the different stages of a child’s life, but mold our parenting techniques wisely for that phase without compromising our religious values. So we acknowledge they go through tween and then teen phase, their friends go through it, the society they live in expect them to go through it. What we can do, is let them but give them higher aims and goals for each stage they are in, while letting them act their age in other less important aspect. It’s not as complicated as it sounds.

        As for marriage contract, yes we can make all the contracts we want, put all sorts of conditions, the real challenge is to find someone for our daughters who will actually uphold those conditions. I’m sure there are guys out there who will, but that is not the majority.

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      • Siraaj

        Salaams,

        I think you’re being selective in that standard. If you consider how much our children are deviated from social standards by virtue of our religious restrictions, the whole thing becomes oppression.

        You mentioned below your parents were strict on prayers and fasting for you. For me, I could watch what I wanted when I wanted. I pretty much had open access to a western lifestyle and no muslim community restrictions because I wasn’t a part of it.

        With that in mind, when I consider the nonsense I turned down and my own intellectual and emotional development as a result, I simply cannot emphasize enough that the idea that our kids should conform to society IS the problem, and it manifests itself in marriages.

        All of us raised in the West, whether we like it or not, are affected by our culture. Porn addiction isn’t a muslim problem, it’s a social problem hitting Muslims as well. Male marriage immaturity isn’t a Muslim male problem, it’s another social problem hitting Muslim males as well.

        The problem for us is that we inherit these negatives and it’s coupled with our family cultural baggage – the worst of both the east and the west.

        In my book, what is standard is what is average and lazy. The kids who do well in school are few relative to those who do “average” and poorly – we don’t tell our kids they can ease up on studying so they can conform, right? When it comes to health and fitness, we encourage training and eating well with occasional indulgences, we don’t tell them to join the obese average.

        I don’t believe what I’m saying overestimates children so much as it underestimates guidelines for average people who want C-average lives. I think our children are capable of way more maturity and intelligence than we give them credit for, provided we’re willing to make the effort.

        And I don’t want my kids taking their standards from the rest of the society – most of society is filled with losers. That’s a hard reality, but most people, the social standard, is that of an average or loser-ish person. Few will reach for their true potential.

        As for the contract and marriage generally, there is simply no way to know who is good and who isn’t until the deed is done. We can grocery list all the problems and the anecdotal evidence for why one position works and another doesn’t. My point is that if things don’t work out as expected, sisters should make full use of their rights BEFORE the marriage contract initiates. A man who has to contend with a wife who has more rights cannot as easily take advantage of her.

        http://www.wluml.org/sites/wluml.org/files/import/english/pubs/pdf/misc/talaq-i-tawfid-eng.pdf

        Not a salafi pdf refutation! it’s a discussion of matters women should consider in greater depth before marriage in their contract, particularly when in muslim countries (but western as well). There are also sample contracts from different muslim countries and they are giving women much more leverage during conflict. Definitely worth a read =) It’s by women, for women, the org has been around for some time.

        Siraaj

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      • Umm Reem

        Br. Siraaj,
        Of course I’m being selective. As I said before, I would allow them to take only those aspects from their society which don’t go against their faith.

        And I don’t want my kids taking their standards from the rest of the society – most of society is filled with losers. That’s a hard reality, but most people, the social standard, is that of an average or loser-ish person. Few will reach for their true potential.

        I think the issue here is that you are taking the “norm” in a broader way, when I say “norm” I’m talking about what is normal among the Muslim crowd, the regular masjid going Muslim youth that our kids hang out with…sorry I should’ve been clear about this.
        There is a fine distinction between what is normal among non-Muslims and what is normal among Muslims, and our kids should know the difference. That needs to be instilled from the very beginning. And yes I do agree that what is normal among our Muslim youth is coming form the non-Muslim society but it is still somewhat filtered down, alhamdullilah.

        So for example, most Muslim youth is on their smart phone/laptops without any restrictions. I held the smart phone from my daughter for too long, she just got it recently after she turned 15. She complained numerous times that every single of her friend has a phone, but I made a point for her to understand that just because everyone has it doesn’t mean she can have it too…Then I gave her the crappiest Nokia phone, because I didn’t want her to be materialistic. She whinned in the beginning but once she gained confidence, alhamdullialh, and didn’t care about what others said or how they looked at her phone etc. etc, then I gave her the latest smart phone… But even that she has restrictions on her phone.
        (I know its a very non-crucial example but just to give you an idea. I don’t like to be too specific about my kids on an open forum :) )

        Do my kids complain when they don’t get what everyone else around them is getting? Of course, esp. when they were younger. And I used to ask them to make a list of the things that they get and others don’t get, and the things they don’t get and others get, and then compare. After a few times, they got the point and stopped complaining LOL

        When they were homeschooled, they were reminded million times how deprived they are for missing out all the “fun”. When they were memorizing Qur’an at such a young age, *I* was told bluntly by many older members of the family & the community that I was a “cruel” mother for putting through such young souls through such a difficult task…I grew a thick skin :)

        I’m not saying don’t set higher standards. I’ve always told my children to “aim for the stars”, but on their way to reaching out to those stars, they will be effected by their society, by the other kids around them and it may slow down their speed, sometimes it may even pull them down. How understanding are we willing to be in that situation? (I’m being very vague here I know and it might not make sense. But as I said I don’t like to be too specific about my kids online)

        Are we going to cut them off from everyone else, and keep them in a bubble so they can reach out to those stars unaffected? But most likely in the process we might lose them somewhere because most parents that I’ve seen in such situation totally lose connection with their kids. Parents remain in the bubble, teenagers don’t, and all that while parents continue to think otherwise. May Allah protect our kids.(that’s what i meant when i said tween/teen issues)

        As for the marriage contract, YES of course we have to teach our kids, esp. girls, about their rights, and to let their suitors know that they are not someone who would let others take advantage of them.

        However, personally we do try to instill patience and tolerance and obedience to husbands in them, trying to keep a balance…which is not easy to do by the way. YOu basically always have to present two sides of almost every situation to your daughter. And then asking her to decide which one she would have chosen, and then if she takes a more “feministic” approach then you just gently remind her that there is another side too, and/or if she takes too soft/obedient approach then you remind her that she has the right to do otherwise also….subhanAllah after being a parent you realize why it is said that Jannah is under your feet (not yours…sorry bro, mine!! LOL)

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      • Siraaj

        I think, again, the idea of being selective is at play =) On the one hand, we’re saying, “Bubbles are bad”, but on the other hand, we’re saying, “Let’s home school”. My wife home schools as well. The reality is that most practicing Muslim families don’t home school – they either send their kids to Islamic school or public school.

        I’m criticized by my family as well for that decision, but so be it. There are certain experiences they won’t have, but you are the people you keep around you, and if a young child has only other young children providing them constant input while the adult is a reviled authority, then naturally growth and maturity will slow down, not as a consequence of potential, but as a consequence of an environment of immaturity.

        In contrast, as I mentioned with the tween / teen comment, I’m more in favor of a mature social environment at home with them while teaching them religion. When it comes to technology and such, our home is filled with the best tablets, game systems, and then some, but my wife is strict on responsible and time-constrained usage – my 3 year old up to my 8 year old all know their way around any iOS, Android, or Windows device.

        But when it comes to people and ideas, here’s where I think parents need to step in and sometimes provide advanced ideas to them early on for “soak time” so that when they encounter it again, their minds won’t be surprised and they can process it.

        Siraaj

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      • Umm Reem

        Br. Siraaj, btw, I don’t know which 25 yr old brothers you are talking about who want to marry younger girls because the ones that have approached me to help them find wives, want someone closer to their age, mature and done with college etc.
        In case if you know of any such brothers who are looking for younger girls, do tell me. There are a few girls… :)

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      • Siraaj

        Wish I could, but those days are behind me now, my social circle is made up mostly of married guys thanks to my wife =) however, I do know of a few brothers here who are a bit older looking to get married (late 20s), so if there are good girls out there, you know who to whatsapp with to get more details =)

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      • Fritz

        I think these “alternative” contracts are an odd thing. I’m sure we can all agree that there could be an exception here and there but what you are advocating for is completely different. This is beyond the informal ‘give and take’ that occurs out of mutual mercy between couples.

        Marriage is such a carefully balanced thing. To allocate rights and responsibilities can only be done by the One who actually knows both the male and female intricately and the situations that will be encountered in history. From my experience, the problem is actually having awareness and enforcing these.

        Siraaj, if you are saying that new clauses need to be inserted AS A STANDARD and responsibilities need to be “re-leveraged” then you are saying the islamic contract sent by the Messenger (saw) is unbalanced, defective and incomplete. That somehow, Allah (swt) has given us an inperfect mechanism that is not fit for purpose in a modern era.

        The Islamic marriage contract is “out of date”. This is the perfect feminist line. Tear it up and come up with a new one; and if we can get state sponsored legalisation and roll it out en masse then super. Siraaj who do you think will have the main say in this “nouveau contract”?

        Look at the Western model of a marriage contract and where we are today (“if im not 100% happy; ok I’ll take the kids…and half your money…bye!”). Sadly it is failing in front of us. Would you want this for Muslim marriages? Could you even want this for your marriage?

        (sorry for the long post)

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      • Hyde

        You think it is easy for a guy to wait until 25 ? (Especially if he is good looking and becomes a fitna for girls—seeing I am agreeing with you !)

        You seem to be in contradiction, sis, first you said guys are not responsible at a young age, and then you want them to marry young ? Circles ? Maybe Fritz was correct ? (And the gentleman you will have to cook for, he was correct too!)

        The ancients use to say the a woman’s beauty peeks at 25, and a man’s intelligence peeks at 25, except men at 18 are dumber than 25, and women are well you know…

        A 21 year-old girl is like a 41 year-old man, in biological years. For example a 37 year-old girl, could be prettiest thing anybody ever seen, but 37 ?

        Our sisters should be getting married at a young age, but given the atrocious divorce rate, both parties have the fully in cognizant of what marriage is and how it is supposed to work.

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      • Umm Reem

        when did i say i want them to marry young bro? I stated quite clearly that i don’t support young marriages anymore!

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      • RCHOUDH

        Salaam Sister Umm Reem,

        I’m just wondering why you said that you cannot mentor your daughter during her marriage the way you can with your son. What’s the distinction? Thanks!

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      • Umm Reem

        I can mentor my daughter alright, inshaAllah. But I am not sure if I would be able to mentor my Son in law…

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      • Siraaj

        Waiting until 25 isn’t easy. Marry when you’re ready, and by ready I mean:

        1. You have a future charted to support a family.
        2. You have a means to support a family now (a job, parents who will finance your lifestyle, etc)
        3. Your parents are willing to give you the green light.

        If not, fast away and avoid tv.

        Siraaj

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      • RCHOUDH

        Oh ok then I get it. It certainly is hard to communicate with sons-in-law usually, but I think that’s how it generally is with in-laws. If a daughter-in-law mistreats her husband, it’s harder nowadays for mothers-in-law to mentor/advise them without being accused of being “overbearing” and “intrusive” (thanks to negative stereotypes about mothers-in-law)!

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      • BillaB

        Br. Siraaj,

        What about the mental maturity of a young woman in such a marriage; it’s undeniable that most guys and girls even in their mid-20′s (me included) are not mature or even unaware of potential red-flags in their partners, let alone have the ability to intellectually formulate independent and personal goals/roles for their marriages.

        In the type of marriages you’re advocating for, the girl will almost always be coming from a intellectually inferior view given her inexperience and youth. To me,this and the whole parents arranging for the guys you describe (parents always have the best interests for sure but dont necessarily know much about compatibility or reasonable standards); implies a soft form of a patriarchally-accepted marriages.

        I’ve seen way too many of these marriages and consequently;divorces, to know that we must be very cautious advocating early marriages without caveats especially in North America where we tend to have major issues with mental maturity for both sexes.

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      • Siraaj

        Salaam alaykum sis,

        That’s the nature of the beast – you have to get into it to really understand it. But there are ways to mitigate risk:

        1. Pray istikhaara: Ask Allah (SWT) to guide you in your decision-making.
        2. Know your parents’ priorities and your own – not everything parents want in a prospective suitor is bad in a practical sense (talking stereotypically here), so if the guy looks like he’ll have trouble providing maintenance, parental red flag is good.

        3. I believe women and men of the same age, generally speaking, are not at the same level of maturity. Life experience is one thing, emotional maturity is something else. I think for this reason, men who are slightly older and established are better suited for younger women (I’m talking maybe 4 – 7 years average).

        4. I agree with you on the caveats – that’s why I believe women should know what they want first. The experienced sisters need to start providing real-world practical feedback about marriage – women from the second generation in the US who have made mistakes or seen others make mistakes, and provide them with guidance moving forward that they can consider when they move forward.

        Of course, this whole thing pre-supposes parents (or fathers) can put a lockdown on their daughters from marriage. From a shari’ah perspective, the father has a say in accepting the marriage contract, but from a secular perspective, that may not be the case. I think at a minimum we have to provide guidance and recommendations before the girls fall emotionally for some guy who she’d be best avoiding the long-term.

        Same is true of the guys, they need more engagement in understanding relationships and developing emotional maturity. I think the key for the guys is they need to hear it from someone they don’t think is simply trying to be PC and say what they think the women want to hear while nudging and winking at them from the back.

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      • Areej

        Assalamu Alaikum

        I strongly disagree with you. As a pure Muslim girl with no hormonal problems whatsoever, I find it extremely hard to not give in to the societal norms of committing zina. I’m not desperate, but being a a practicing Muslim girl, I find bearded Muslim men attractive, in fact, I usually don’t even give beardless guys a second thought (although I understand that just because they don’t have a beard, doesn’t mean that they’re not practicing Muslims). Boys might have a strong urge for sex, but there are girls like me out there who also have an uncontrollable urge for sex too. I feel that my libido is stronger than most guys. Btw, stating that women are more attractive than men is not a fair statement, you’re saying that from the POV of a man, I on the contrary believe that men are more attractive than women. Women should not be the “honor of the family”, that’s a concept of the Hindu culture. In Islam, it’s everyone for their own honor, or else why would we be told to hide our sins, might as well display them to our families if that’s the case. It annoys me when men think that women are attractive even after all the effort we put to cover up, and maintain not just the physical aspect but also the social aspect of the hijab. And then, they think it’s easy to be a girl and control our urges because we clearly have no urges *sarcasm*. And then they think WE’RE a fitna for men. And those are just the problems that muslim women deal with from other muslims. Then there’s all that junk that we have to deal with from the nonmuslims about being oppressed and all. SubhanAllah, what’s wrong with our Ummah? We really need to eliminate all the cultural taboos and upbringing and anything relevant to all that stuff AND GIVE US SISTERS A BREAK.

        -_-

        *Name has been changed to comply to our Comments Policy*

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  14. Confused

    I would love an article on halal degrees and how feasible is it for a Muslima to go to uni, 2 be on her own, to be in the same room with a tutor alone, to be around men without a mahram. A primary school teacher called a Mufti and was told her job is not permissible bcuz she has male coworkers and there is no partition between the male and female classroom. I personally cannot think of any job that would allow me to not interact with men nor can I think of any universities where that is an option

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    Reply
    • Siraaj

      Online degree and work from home arrangements. My mom got her MBA online, IbnAbeeOmar (one of our authors) can tell you more about WFH arrangements.

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      Reply
    • Umm Reem

      Sis, that’s the problem when those who give “fatwas” don’t take circumstances, culture and the time we are living in under consideration.
      I myself stopped going to university when i had only 2 more years left to finish my undergrad in Biology, based on these similar fatwas that it was not okay for me to be mixing with men on campus, taking eastern fatwas and applying them on me living in the West.

      Until I heard Sh. Ibn Uthaimeen (rahimuhullah) on a live broadcast in a masjid in Houston, and he was asked the same question about girls going to mix school and universities in the west. And shubhanAllah, he said that it was okay as long as she kept her interaction as limited as she could!

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      • Still confused

        I think this is one of those points I will forever be confused on bcuz I get what you are saying about different cultures but then I know in the primary school my niece goes to, teachers are allegedly having affairs with each other. I think I need to learn my deen first before I can persue a secular education, I for one am very confused about what is halal and haram especially with so many differences of opinions.

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      • Liv

        I agree the whole mixed uni attitude always comes from cultures where its already segregated and theres a very extreme, negative view (like its nearly an orgy or something lol). when i went to uni i had no problems hanging out with a good muslim crew and being part of the masjid and even met a good, practicing bro their for marriage too ;)

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      • Hyde

        Again sister, you comment goes against the main point of your article.
        “kept her interaction as limited as she could!”…more fitna, right ? In a university setting, how limited can it be ? Lab projects ? Outside campus work ? Long term projects ? And of course now that they have co-ed bathrooms as well as dorms, uni education is not what one think it is.

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      • Sad and confused

        For me uni is not a necessity, it’s a luxury. I come from a well-off household so I do not need to provide for myself but it would be nice to not have to ask when I need money and as I get older I am realizing the importance of money and yes I like to socialize which sadly I can’t do from my home in the community I live in but I do not think university will be any better, I have friends who chose that and let’s just say it’s not for me. So I believe for those people who uni is a must, my heart goes out to them with the challenges they are going to face. I personally can’t do it with all the fatwas in my head, I will go through a depression. I could make that sacrifice but I don’t know how most would nor do I know how to practice Islam in the west. I know Islam is practical and true but personally it’s really hard to practice. I am basically locked in my house because I see no option, u go out, there is music, you have no friends because it’s hard to find practicing friends and the 1 practicing friend I have, has father issues so there is not a strong friendship because it’s limited to fb as she is not allowed to go out. You watch an animated film and feel disgusted because you are watching images and endorsing it, i feel guilty for talking to my sister using a webcam because i think its images and not a necessity. I look at my calendar and feel sick because the name of pagan gods are hung in my room. I personally do not know how to live in the west and with all of my heart wished I didn’t

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      • Hyde

        Well you are not alone. I am not 25 yet, and an open introvert to the point of being ad nauseum. Never had a friend in my life. Not so much that I was small nerdy; on the contrary am well-spoken and well read. Just to find good Muslim friends [mates] is next to impossible. Feel like one foot is dangling in the grave.
        But it is not living in the West, sister that is the problem, because so called back home is heap of contradictions and lies. Trust me, you have a better chance of being a Muslim in the West then anywhere back home.
        And yes, I understand, symbols and satanic symbols are everywhere. A hadith states that a day will come when a man will get up as believer yet go to bed as a disbeliever. The dajalic vines are everywhere. I myself, don’t drive, have absolutely interest in social media, except this one, for purpose of conversing with some fellow Muslims, and have no ambitions, no aspirations, and certainly no ommp far as thus dyuna I concerned [much to the annoyance of my dear mommy]. Have lost faith in the world of men a while back, but that only augmented my faith in My Creator.
        Don’t worry this charade of life will be over before you know it. Just have faith in God, for He is the only One that will Help You at the end of day and your life. Just have hope that one awesome day, you will see the face of your Prophet & he will see you

        Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
        That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
        And then is heard no more

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      • muslim

        Asalaam aliekum,

        I feel the author is making naive assumptions as she writes about a very important topic. Firstly saying ‘that you should be the one guarding your chastity more than the guys, that you are a girl and it is less likely for you to give into your carnal desires than the guys, please know that your religion makes no such distinction. Islam has prescribed the exact same punishment for the girls as for the guys.’
        Allah has asked the women to cover up, the Quran mentions ‘shyness’ as the quality of women in numerous passages. ‘The Qur’aan commands women to wear clothes that are different from those worn by men, because of the differences in the ways each sex is tempted by the other. The temptation posed by men is less than the temptation posed by women, so the clothes that women should wear are different than the clothes that men wear. Mohammed Al-Munajjid
        So yes Islam expects women to go out of their in order to guard their chastity. If a girl cannot do that, then she needs to take long hard look at her understanding of Islam. And you may also read study on male female sexuality, http://www.vaestoliitto.fi/@Bin/263363/Finsex09_Chapter+12.pdf
        The there are Muslim scholars who write that women in Islam are inferior to men so how can their struggle in this matter be equal or same as men. read :http://islamqa.info/en/ref/1105

        walaikum salaam

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      • Umm Reem

        Yes, she can keep her interaction as limited as she can. It requires a lot of work, proper Islamic tarbiyyah, a very open and friendly relationship with parents, and endless dua’s from parents, inshaAllah. And then we leave the rest in Allah’s Hands.

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  15. mom of 7

    Good Article.These days when homosexuality is so widespread, the temptation is coming from everywhere literally!!! Also, you can be married young and finish college.You can get a degree while married. I think this why divorce is the first option because ” I can support myself, who needs you” attitude.

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  16. Umm Imaan

    Dear sister (Umm Reem)

    I did not imply that I expected our daughters to be married once they hit puberty I specifically mentioned after highschool and I specifically mentioned a mature personality, I also specifically mentioned marriage to a 20 something spouse with an understanding of the expectations of marriage to a young bride who wants to study further.

    One of the beautiful aspects of an Islamic marriage is the marriage contract, where you can include points which you want to make clear before your marriage, his agreement that you want to further your studies etc. Being married does not stop you from completing your degree but it does protect you from the fitna of the attraction to the opposite sex.

    Another pet peeve I have is the excuse of divorce, I think Zina is something we need to be more fearful of that divorce.

    Your sister in Islam
    Umm Imaan

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    • Gibran

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      I totally agree. A thousand divorces is better than one zina. If everyone in a society were to be continually getting divorced, this is better than if a single person were to commit zina.

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      • BillaB

        Wsallam,

        Can we put that in a capsule and give it to every divorced person in our society?;I’m sure they’d feel much better about entering into messy and immature marriages just so they and others could avoid zina entirely.

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    • Umm Reem

      Habibti Umm Imaan,
      I see what you’re saying. And yes I totally agree with you that protecting oneself from zina is more important than the fear of divorce. And parents need to keep a very close relationship with their children to make sure that they know how intense are their children’s temptations so they can take proper measures accordingly.

      The problem is that many times girls are more mature than the guys at that age. I was discussing this issue with one of the shyaookh who regularly deals with marital issues, and he voiced the same concern that many guys at that age are not mature and responsible enough to take upon marital responsibilities.

      Another thing I noticed is that guys make commitments when they are getting married but unfortunately later don’t keep it. So it’s not as simple as it seems.

      By the way, according to the statistics, those kids who have close relationship and open communication with their parents are able to hold sex until after their marriage (and this is a non-Muslim survey), so I’m just hoping that inshaAllah with a proper Islamic tarbiyyah and with a very open communication with parents, our girls AND boys can do better than that.

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      • Hyde

        As Confucius said ‘we live in interesting times’, because I completely and absolutely agree with you on this comment. Women do mature [ideally speaking, with proper tarbiyyah] much faster than guys. It may have to do with the double standards, that lets guys off the hook , and not give them enough responsibilities. A 19 year old girl is treated so differently than a 19 year old guy.

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    • mom of 7

      I am a big believer in young marriage but to be honest temptations can continue after marriage. So i would not get married just to stop temptation. You get married for so many reasons beyond that. Marriage really helps you mature. I had a failed marriage at a young age and it was the best thing that ever happened to me,

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  17. Sidhra

    Salaam Umm Reem,

    This is the first time I’ve read one of your articles and it honestly made me shed a tear or two.
    THANK YOU for understanding that it isn’t easy for adolescent females in the contemporary world. Alhumdulillah, any mistakes I’ve made have pushed me further in one direction … towards Allah (s.w.t), but this is exactly what I could’ve done with all those years ago; it’s very big sister-ly and extremely helpful to know that there are sisters out there that would listen and wouldn’t look at others in disgust.

    Jazak’Allah Khayr once again.

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  18. RCHOUDH

    Good article Mash’Allah and one whose message is sorely needed. I believe this message can be beneficial to sisters who may have made mistakes in the past and have changed for the better now, but who may sometimes succumb to the depressing but false belief (through the whisperings of Shaytan) that they might have “ruined” their chances to get admitted into Jannah forever because of these past mistakes. I believe this sort of message would also benefit the brothers who may have slipped in the past, but have changed now. It’s important to give those of us that are sincerely trying to practice Islam lots of encouragement.
    Now, as for how we can prevent such vices from affecting our youth too much, I believe that besides early marriage, another suggestion would be for them to encouraged to volunteer during their free time. In opposition to the glitz and glamour of the Dunya that is always ever-present thanks to the media and peer pressure at school, I believe that teenagers should be encouraged to dedicate their time and energy towards working for the downtrodden of society, whether they be through charities, homeless shelters, nonprofits, hospitals, etc. And it should really be a consistent effort, not just something to be done once in awhile. Kids should see the reality of life when one becomes ill, poor, oppressed, depressed, etc. Reminders about death and the ultimate reality of what this world is can In sha Allah dampen any attraction to the temporary glitz and glamour of the Dunya. And of course most of us are aware of how much increasing one’s ibadah (through prayer and fasting) can help curb certain appetites until one gets married. May Allah help all of us to stay straight upon his Right Path Ameen!

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    • Umm Reem

      I didn’t have a very strong religious upbringing, five daily prayers and fasting was strictly instilled but other aspects were moderate. But I was able to come out of high school completely unscratched alhamdullilah. Don’t ask me how!
      Of course, only and only by Allah’s protection, and after that maybe the role my father played in my life at that time.

      The confidence he instilled in me during my adolescent years played a major role in keeping my interaction limited with guys. No matter how many times I was asked out by non-Muslim guys (I think sometimes hijab becomes more exotic), or offered to be picked from school, sometimes even by my brother’s friends (although i ended up marrying one of my brother’s friends, lol, but all started in a completely halaal way) I was able to say no, alhamdullilah. I must admit that it wasn’t easy at all, but alhamdullilah I managed, by Allah’s Mercy.

      And then I think once a reputations is established then it gets easier from there…and this was pre-cell phone and pre internet time, so interaction with guys was limited to school to begin with…

      My mother was very strict and to be honest I might have rebelled, (I think there is a statistics too that strict parents raise rebellious kids) but my father maintained quite liberal approach when it came to my interaction with guys which helped me maintain a platonic relationship with boys, and it helped me gain confidence in many ways. Though I would not recommend this approach without a STRONG Islamic tarbiyyah…

      As I said, I think our girls can do a lot better inshaAllah with proper Islamic tarbiyyah, du’a from parents and training them to make du’a for themselves, AND a good strong understanding and communication with parents. That’s the point i fail to get across parents, the importance of open communication with kids, at least those parents whose kids are turning teenagers already don’t get it, but alhadullilah the younger parents are more receptive so there is hope inshaAllah :)

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      • jadoresagal

        As salamu alaykum, Um Reem. I contacted MM about a month ago and I still haven’t received any contact details from them yet. Is there another way I can e-mail you without using MM as an intermediary? Thank you btw, I appreciate the fact that you are taking the time out of your busy schedule to respond, Jazza kalla kheir.

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      • Umm Reem

        wa alaikum assalam,

        sorry dear, I’d been very busy. I just emailed you at the email address you left in your comment.

        ws

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      • Sad and confused

        I don’t even know how to contact MM and I have an urgent problem that I don’t have anyone who I can speak with

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  19. Struggling_Muslimah

    Assalamo alikoum wa rahmatullah sister,

    I would like to thank you so much for writing on this sensitive and important topic. You have no idea how much relived it made me feel to read your words and realize that this sentiment exists in the mindsets of our scholars.

    Many Muslims don’t realize that If you’re a Muslim female and more if you’re a practicing Muslim female this topic is a no no taboo that you can’t ever talk about openly with anyone religious or non, family or friend, Muslim or non-Muslim. You’re supposed to act like a saint and keep yourself away from the fitnah but you’re not told how to, you’re left alone to deal with your needs, thoughts, temptations, trials and frustrations and you’re not even allowed to talk about it.

    What kind of torture is that? Why do we do this to ourselves?

    Those who are not dealing with what our generation has been exposed to or those who got luckier and were blessed with marriage can talk as much as they can about early marriage, fasting and staying away from fitnah. I’m a practicing Muslim who grew up in a religious environment in a Muslim country but I have been struggling with these feelings since I turned 18, I’m 23 years old now and I haven’t found a suitable person to marry yet. In the meantime I’m surrounded by these scenes everywhere in reality and virtually, and I see my peers in haram relationships whether Muslims or non-Muslims. But I still don’t have the right to seek assistance or fulfill my desires.

    Marriage is becoming a big issue and it’s not easy for a young practicing Muslim to get married for a multitude of reasons especially in our Muslim countries that abandoned Islamic values for material and cultural values. Eventually single Muslim women are left hanging for years struggling because of all these material and cultural issues.

    I try my best to keep my mind away from thinking in this direction, I get myself busy and involved in heavy intellectual discussions, I do charity and community work, I pray quyam and I cry for Allah. But sometimes it is just too much you can’t keep your mind from thinking and your body from yearning. The way we deal with this issue is unfair, and this needs to be changed.

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    • life is a test!

      Struggling Muslimah, Your temptations will not magically disappear when you get married, yes you will have a halal alternative, but sexual attraction to the opposite sex is a natural part of life. It will continue…Congratulations, Everyday you stay away from fitna is a day you passed the test !!! InshAllah you find what makes you happy and is good for your deen!!!

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    • RCHOUDH

      Wa alaikum salaam wr wb

      Dear sister You bring up yet another important issue affecting Muslim communities today, and that is finding suitable prospective spouses to marry. This issue requires a discussion in and of itself! I pray that you find a righteous man to marry soon. Right now you are doing a commendable job staying away from the haraam, even though it’s so ever present now and I pray Allah keeps protecting you from it.

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  20. Liv

    Great job on the article, coco. Masha’Allah, pointing out that young men are not the only ones suffering from temptation, and falling into sins such as pre-marital sex, masturbation, porn, etc. is very important in helping young girls and making it safe for them to share their struggles. Too often we find it laudable when a young man admits to these ills and wants help but we demonize young women for it, as if the very idea is unfathomable because of their gender.

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    • still learning

      Can someone pls tell me why masturbation is haram?? What if it done with your spouse?? Is’nt it better than zina and porn?? Or does it lead to zina and porn???

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      • Umm Reem

        sister, there are 3 opinions on masturbuation (and I’m roughly translating this from Sh. Salman Awda’s reply to a question about mastrubation):

        1. It is haram unconditionally
        2. It is okay to do it IF it keeps one from falling into a greater sin
        3. It is allowed unconditionally. This is the opinion of Imam Ahmad who compared mastrubation as someone cleaning his nose.

        For the first two, there are proofs, but I don’t have time to translate right now. Maybe if I find time, I will translate the whole fatwa inshaAllah. Hope it helps….

        Oh in case of 2nd or 3rd option, it must be porn-free.

        And as far as I know when done with the spouse, it is allowed…again as long as it is without the use of any porn…and Allah knows best.

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      • life is a test!

        thanks sister, if you write an article about please look into the verdict on vibrators and such..just curious

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  21. A Grateful Muslimah

    JazaakAllahu Khairan Ya Umm Reem….JazaakAllahu Khairan….Alhamdulillah, there is at least one person out there who understands the predicament of the females in the present generation! At least one person out there who isn’t judgmental. At least one person out there who is genuinely concerned and empathizing. JazaakAllahu Khairan sister for this!

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    • mom of 7

      Sister, there is more than one person who feels for you sisters. Regardless of your past mistakes you can always start again. Just take it one day at a time.

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  22. Amad

    Just to be clear, despite my disagreement on a couple of points (the beauty of free speech and of respecting different opinions ;)), I found this piece to be very moving and heart-felt. And the point of desire level does not detract from the main point of the article. Even if a girl’s desire is not equal to men’s, sexual desire is a strongest carnal desire that is unmatched, so enough to warrant this discussion.

    While we allow our boys to make “mistakes” and “slips”, we cannot stand the thought of our girls (who by the way are the same girls that our boys are slipping with!) doing the same. And is it any wonder that we see so many girls running away from Islam altogether? So I hope we can focus on the main message in this post and not be distracted by the side-points (which I seem to have reinforced accidentally! :)).

    (Siraaj, how many brownie points do i deserve for this?)

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    • Siraaj

      I dunno dude, proof is in the pudding I guess, I would think you’re just digging yourself into a hole (or clearing a space on a couch, lol). This is how I think it should read:

      “Just to be clear, despite the mistakes I made earlier (the beauty of one’s spouse having tolerance and sabr with them), I found this piece…”

      As I’m sometimes reminded, lying to one’s spouse to make them happy is halal ;)

      Siraaj

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      • Hyde

        Siraaj bhai,
        I have been tv free for sometime now! (Along with cars, technology, music and the nonsensity of social media…is MM considered social media? )

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      • Siraaj

        It’s considered technology because it’s on the internet. It was nice knowing you =)

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      • Hyde

        You want me off that bad…all right then ?

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  23. Umm Reem

    Those of you who have emailed/txt/what’s apped/PM me, I’m going to mention this here too because the question is so important.

    Dear beloved girls, sweethearts, the future of my Ummah, NO if you have made mistakes in the past, it doesn’t mean that you have stained your character permanently. Don’t worry about how the society judges you, your transgression was against Allah not people, not the community, not your society.

    And as long as you turned to Allah and asked for forgiveness, inshaAllah you are on the right tract. Remember, amongst all the names of Allah that describe His forgiveness, there is a name “Al-Afw”.

    Awf, doesn’t mean someone who only forgives, it is deeper that that. It is basically if you scribble something on sand, then you wipe it off. It will completely disappear. It is not the same as writing something on the paper and then erasing it, you might still be able to see traces. But if you wipe something off the sand, there is no way you can retrace it. And that is the meaning of Al-Afw, when Al-Afwu afw us, it means He not only forgives us but He wipes off our sin as if it never happened.

    So dear girls, focus on that, focus on asking for Afw, from Al-Afwu…

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  24. Hassen

    assalaamu alaykum,

    I have to say I was a little shocked to read this article. The act of reaching out to our brothers and sisters who have fallen into sin and supporting them to seek forgiveness and recover is certainly something that Islam encourages. May Allah reward you for making this effort.

    However, I think there were some mixed messages in this article. On the one hand, you are expressing unconditional support but and you mentioned seeking forgiveness at the end. But you also gave the impression that ‘it’s normal for this to happen, and you didn’t have any control’

    This line give that impression, for example: “I understand that if you slip, on the surface or deeper, it’s because you couldn’t fight the strong inevitable desires coupled with the extreme hypersexual society we’re raising you in.”

    No matter how challenging it is to hold back our desires, we can ALWAYS fight them. Saying “you couldn’t fight” them is like saying Allah gave that person a challenge that was too big for them to handle. Doesn’t Allah say at the end of surat al-Baqarah “God does not burden any soul with more than it can bear”?

    And this line as well: “I understand that although, without a shadow of doubt, these actions are wrong, the temptation of experiencing what you have been hearing about, watching, and observing since you were in kindergarten, every single day of your life, almost every minute, on TV, online, at school, at work, at the park, and especially what you’ve been reading in books, is simply too irresistible.”

    Again, nothing is “too irresistible.” I don’t know if you realize it, but this is a very dangerous message to send- that it’s not a person’s fault if they fall into sin, because the challenges around you are so great.

    I know without a doubt that you have nothing but good intentions in reaching out to emotionally support sisters who have made mistakes, but a few points related to the concept of choice and the reality of these challenges are definitely problematic and I feel compelled to point them out.

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    • Hena Zuberi

      Assalama alaykum Br. Hassen,

      1. Trust me, this wasn’t posted without any thought. I know what you mean as her editor. Umm Reem and I debated this post for hours. I am glad you highlighted these points, not because Umm Reem is wrong in saying what she said, but to emphasis that yes you can always hold back. Ma sha Allah, the daughter she is raising is an example of how a teen raised in the same environment can hold back (may Allah keep all our children and us in His Supreme Protection)

      2. I don’t think she means that it wasn’t their fault, but pointing figures doesn’t help anyone especially with the youth; they already have too many people pointing figures at them, so here comes yet another adult telling them that it’s their fault and they should have known better.

      On a path to recovery when we understand why we acted a certain way it makes it easier to fix it instead of thinking that we are doomed and are condemned sinners and there is no way back. We are human and human beings make mistakes, major mistakes, commit MAJOR SINS. Why we did them, what made us go that route, all of this doesn’t matter when we make tawbah and come back to our Lord; that is the magnanimity of our Rab. Allah subhana wa ta’ala doesn’t hold grudges.

      3. A sin is an act against our own souls, we hurt ourselves, we distance ourselves from Allah.If it was resistible to that person they wouldn’t have committed it would they have?

      We are not infallible, and lack of knowledge, the environment, Shaytan, anything can attack one’s iman and we can fall. By opening up the doors to understanding, you give someone who has walked on that path a way to come back, so they don’t keep committing the sin. Think of it this way many youth don’t even know that this is a challenge, if you don’t know that it is a challenge then how do you fight it?

      It may have been irresistible at that moment but hopefully bi idhnillah it won’t be now that you know what you are up against, but maybe it might still be too much for one to handle but you know what Alhamdulillah summa Alhmadulillah Allah is the most Merciful and is waiting for each one of us to take that step back to Him.
      Allah knows Best

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  25. sister x

    Salaam Baji! I hope you are well! I wanted to tell you that your recent articles on MM were so perfect in timing SubhanAllah. I myself and other sisters were literally in a crisis of oman because of this male/female dynamic in Islam that is expressed in such a way where we felt male-domination defined Islam everywhere we turned. We just didn’t want to accept that we are any less than our male counterparts and that the male shuyookh just don’t get our plight. But your article just made us breathe a sigh of relief in a moment we were really just in absolute cris so jazakAllah khair and may Allah reward you in being a mouthpiece for so many silenced women. Im so impressed by you everyday and am very proud to call you a friend of mine. You are always in my duaas!

    And for those people commenting in a response that is exactly what this article addresses, your biases/lack of understanding/ignorance is alienating women across the board. May Allah give you all hidaya because that’s what the world is lacking and is in need of so desperately.

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  26. Sarrah

    I make it a point to never read comments on the internet because they make me hate humanity. Unfortunately, I had to scroll all the way down to leave my own, MM admin, can you fix that?

    I just wanted to say Jazakh Allahu Khair for the MUCH needed post and can I just add myself as one more person who will not judge women, girls as well!

    I particularly love this passage: “I understand that although, without a shadow of doubt, these actions are wrong, the temptation of experiencing what you have been hearing about, watching, and observing since you were in kindergarten, every single day of your life, almost every minute, on TV, online, at school, at work, at the park, and especially what you’ve been reading in books, is simply too irresistible.”

    So on point!

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  27. UmmNusayba

    Salaam alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu;

    I am not a teenager however, I’ve been there. I am a 23 year old College that until today is still fighting the temptation. I can say Alhamdulillah, that I have not committed Zina because I think being a Tom Boy in those days helped(Most importantly it was the Will of Allah that I have not done something like that)! Since, I was not at all religious back then; even though I have attended Islamic School. I believe girls only seek sexual attention when they are not spiritual and don’t get the attention they deserve from their DADS. Fathers, I think believe it is a form of Fitna to have such a personal and affectionate relationship with their daughters and instead they make the mothers have that with their daughters. However, I think psychology has already brought to our attention that daughters see their mothers as a ground for competition. Therefore, that doesn’t work. Instead of going against the writers work, I think we should take an honest look at our own inner family dynamic and somewhere or somehow we will understand that the problem stems from within.

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    • Maria

      And what of teens like myself who don’t have father figures? I feel like the worst thing is also that regardless of the parent, parents want to make you so good and god fearing they forget to sit and listen without judgment and give you advice on how to get closer to Allah. I have a great mother may Allah bless her but all she does is put me down when i make mistakes or tells me i shouldn’t be like this. For this reason i cant tell her anything or share my secrets. And to be honest i want to give up all the things which have been affecting my imaan lately. but i have no one to talk to, no one to get advice from without being judged. so i struggle on my own, everyday, crying and asking Allah for guidance and forgiveness and for good friends. But those are even harder to find.

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      • Siraaj

        Salaam alaykum Maria,

        I went through the same thing in high school myself. Honestly, I was an introvert and preferred keeping things to myself. the benefit of that was that it left me no one to talk with except Allah (SWT), so I would just talk to Him (SWT), and not necessarily in a du’aa form. I could be walking and something could bother me, and I’d just start talking to Him (SWT), knowing He could hear me and help me.

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      • Fritz

        Hmm…curious. Do you still regard yourself as an introvert?

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      • Hyde

        Kudos…(but being introvert does necessarily make a person a loser…more like a lone ranger.)

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      • UmmNusayba

        Salaam alaykum wa rahmatullah Maria;

        I’m sorry for being inconsiderate of those that don’t have a father. I honestly didn’t put any thought into that. I know many parents like to judge their children but it’s because they want their children to turn out well. If many parents knew how to parent their children a lot of children would grow up emotionally and mentally stable. Nouman Ali Khan and many others like him will inshAllah inspire the next generation of parents who bring Islam back into our household. Thuma Ameen

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  28. ZAI

    Many factors in the ummah converging to cause these issues…

    I agree with Umm Reem’s that the reality of female sexuality and hardships for women in that sphere are ignored, suppressed or at worst condemned. I think many Muslim men are just unable to accept this reality due to it’s possible “implications” and just want to bury the issue…not think about it. Very fragile egos frankly…

    As to solutions to helping alleviate these struggles for both genders among the youth and unmarried, this is where MANY problems begin to converge and make these things a HUGE problem.

    1. We simply do not raise our kids correctly to begin with. Many Muslims live in fantasy land, wherein they think Sunday school once a week, Ramazan and Eid will keep their kids on the straight and narrow. That somehow our kids are protected from this hyper-sexualized society and have innate super powers that Christian, Jewish, Hindu or other kids don’t have. Nonsense. If you do not instill proper Islam as a LIFESTYLE at a young age and just relegate Islam to a Sunday, some Arabic vocabulary and holidays…if it’s presented as just a random set of “do’s” and “don’t” they think just deprives them of “fun” with no underlying explanation of these norms and integration into a way of life…..Well, then your kids are going to make the same mistakes as all other kids. They will be EASY prey for this hyper-sexualized society which bombards them on a constant basis. This includes our notorious double standards for men and women, which produces wayward men and will also produce wayward women who are resentful of the “liberties” the wayward men are allowed.

    2. This idea of postponing marriage until men mature or women can finish their education is something that’s impractical. Neither gender can turn a switch off to become asexual until these goals are accomplished. Infact to attempt it during COLLEGE, which is when temptations are arguably at their HIGHEST due to the environment, is lunacy. Young marriage is a GOOD idea…The prophet did not recommend it for nothing. I realize though, the validity of Umm Reem’s concerns here. But the problems she cites:

    3. Lack of men’s maturity
    4. Prevention of female education
    5. Stigma of divorce

    …should be fixed rather than saying the idea of young marriage should not be considered for girls. As Siraaj said, can make education a condition of marriage. You do not have to hand your daughter over to a Talib. I think this is an overblown concern…Yes, some recent immigrants still adhere to this way of thinking, but many also don’t and most certainly almost no Muslim men born and/or raised HERE in the West do.

    Men’s maturity is relative. Not ALL men are immature at a young age. I think this is a disservice to many good men out there. Plenty of level-headed brothers out there…MSA’s,etc. are proof of that.

    Finally, if divorce for women wasn’t itself stigmatized, if your marriage doesn’t work out…can move on and try again. This is probably THE biggest problem, in my opinion. Because of this stigma, women have become ultra-cautious and hyper-concerned, with 100% validity in my opinion, because they think they have ONE shot to get it right…So they want ALL of their ducks in a row and gaurantees before committing to trying. This stigma is a bane on Muslim society…We really need to abolish this.

    As for older Muslim men not being interested in younger women, lol. Umm Reem, you have my respect but dead wrong there. Siraaj has it right. ALL MEN are interested in younger women. That is simply a fitra thing. It is the norm. Not just Muslim men…ALL men. If they shy away from younger girls it is because, as Siraaj alluded to, they are afraid of being judged…especially by feminist elements of politically correct Western environment and they might have also imbibed those values and feel embarrassed at their own desires. This is simply denying biological reality though. Among themselves…away from eyes judging them…men will admit this. Most of them anyway. That is NOT a problem sister..trust me.

    Another problem:

    6. Our racism. Muslim parents hear me loud and clear…Your children ALREADY have a relatively small population pool (practicing Muslims) to choose from. If you choose to narrow that pool even more by insisting on someone from your ethnicity, tribe, village or whatever, you are a fool and helping them on their way to zina. Stop creating roadblocks for these kids!

    7. Our young men and their families bring a lot of problems to the table…as Umm Reem said: lack of maturity, possibly not supporting a girls education, and stigmatizing divorced Muslim women…all true and problems that need to be addressed before women should consider young marriage.

    But let’s not let women and THEIR families off the hook too easily. Bluntly put, many of them are obsessed with money. It is not about men’s maturity, how he will treat their daughter, his Islam or even if he can support her at a reasonable level…No…they want a Dr., a lawyer or a big time engineer with a big time salary…and THAT’s why they say no to a 21 or 22 year old brother who is still an undergraduate. They want that GAURANTEE…like medical school, law school or a big engineering salary already under his belt before they say yes. This is a bitter truth and I don’t want to offend any ladies, but Im tellin’ it like it is.

    Anyways….can go on and on. But my point is there are a LOT of problems that are contributing to this HUGE problem in dealing with this issue of alleviating hardships for our youth. We have to address ALL of those problems if we want any chance of success. It has to be done holistically and not piecemeal.

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    • UmmNusayba

      Salaam alaykum wa rahmatullah ZAI;

      Way to go, you nailed it! Allahu akbar! But the irony of all this is that, during the prophet and many other prophets times there was no racial divide. Mousa alayhi salaam an Isreali married an ARAB. But, of course the Jews don’t want to admit that becasue that’s the same reason they don’t want to accept Muhammad salallahu alayhi wa salaam It’s as though everything is backward nowadays.

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      • Hyde

        I would say an Israelite, bot an Israeli…subtle but propagating differences.

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    • RCHOUDH

      @ZAI

      Jazakallah ul khair you bring many valid points that have all converged to cause crisis we are currently experiencing as an Ummah!

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  29. strivingmuslimah

    perfect timing, i was about to cry bcz of losing someone i was thinking to go back to my previos life…Allah helped me Alhamdulillah jazakAllah sister ;( :( He is Merciful How He hold our hands in the time of need we even can not imagine…tons of thanx…

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  30. Asma

    Thanks for writing this, i dont know why people feel shame in admitting that they are sexually attracted to the other gender. its natural and its human and yes its equally tempting for males and females. Even Allah acknowledges this and has been kind enough to show mercy to those who repent. People should stop being judgemental and look for their own faults rather than pointing fingers at others.

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  31. Umm Maryam

    Nicely written article Mashaa Allah!! I feel for the girls for what u hv explained. They also have feelings but i believe boys feelings for opposite gender is much stronger as even Allah gives them the temptation of “hoors” in jannah for reward.

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  32. Fritz

    Waitaminute Umm Reem/Siraj: if young sons are supported and want to marry early, but on the other hand we are encouraging daughter’s to wait until they are fully degree loaded this appears to be sending out a little bit of a mixed message. Can both ideals be met?

    Is there not a hadith about the importance of marrying daughters off early?

    Waiting to be “self-sufficient”: only Allah (swt) is self-sufficient (obviously). Otherwise you would not need a job in the first place! You quoted the hadith of the guy who married 4 times and was then enriched; clearly this suggests that the provision is not necessarily a roadmap and is certainly not iron linked to a university degree. Its worth pointing out that a plain old BSc probably doesnt count as much any longer and asking for girls to pursue MSc/PhD studies until they are 26+ is running it a little late.

    ** “I have never hidden from her the sad situation of majority Muslim marriages”. Are the MAJORITY really that dysfunctional? It would be a shame if that was; surely not amongst practicing muslims :( IT would be great if the author could elaborate as that is not a statement without significance.

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    • Umm Reem

      Fritz,
      When we have young men stepping up to marry early and their families supporting them, then we can think about our daughters marrying early too.

      As for gils getting their degrees, I never said I want them to work as well while they are happily married. That’s their husband’s job not theirs. And a BS is needed to start off with any higher education, the least they should have. For any further education, should the need arise then they can pursue it. At least they won’t have to start from scratch.

      I have counseled COUNTLESS women who are suffering through abusive marriages and won’t leave just because they don’t have a degree and they won’t find a decent job anywhere. Sometimes all sisters say is “If i had a house to live in, I would leave my husband in a heartbeat.” It’s painful to see sisters in this situation. And many men know this and they abuse the advantage they have over women in such situations…

      Are the MAJORITY really that dysfunctional? It would be a shame if that was; surely not amongst practicing muslims :( IT would be great if the author could elaborate as that is not a statement without significance.

      yes, i do take full responsibility of this statement. And most sisters who call me DO belong to practicing families, with husbands involved in the community, praying five times etc etc. It’s a sad sad world out there.

      There was a reason why I got scared when someone suggested that I should consider *a prestigious Islamic university* graduates for my daughter in future, and my immediate response was, “No thank you!”
      (Ok, so that was generalization but the point is that based on what i’ve seen amongst the majority–at least the ones I know– the fear did run through my spine!)

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    • siraaj

      I’d encourage marrying older guys who don’t need to live with mommy and daddy to get by and for the girl to get a degree during marriage. Online degree if really conservative, otherwise local college is fine. Beyond divorce security, its a source of stability in case of either death or incapacity of husband due to injury.

      I don’t believe Muslim marriages are all in the gutter, I believe most marriages are in the gutter because maturity is lacking. We bring our down flavor with our ethnic, social, and religious baggage, but end of the day we’re marriage requires effort and even those in non-abusive (emotional and physical) marriages have plenty to do to not feel bored, hurt, neglected, and then some. Few are willing to do that.

      Siraaj

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      • Fritz

        I agree. Its a heavy statement. “Most muslim marriages are failures”; not just failures but prisons of abuse! Surely there are 2 sides to every story and I think we have to be cautious of the “victim” mentality that is sometimes seen on show (whether it be disatisfaction because of unmatchable standards, unreasonable expectations or even plain attention seeking etc).There is an undertone more akin to florid Western feminism but maybe its “lost in translation” over the web; and probably Umm Reem has seen some apalling cases of emotional neglect and abuse.

        Sure there are many unhappy marriages out there but a lot of people do just “get along”. Not everyone has an amazing job or an awesome cultural background. Not every marriage can be a daily hotbed of romantic amour. You can only have so many “backup” plans – ultimately both parties will have some vulnerability and within this you try to build trust.

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  33. Hyde

    @Siraaj bhai,
    “As mentioned elsewhere, you can run, but you can’t hyde ;)”
    “Diasy, Daisy, I gauess, I ran into tht’ one”.

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  34. Hena Zuberi

    Looks like I missed the party- grrr deadlines at work!. Great job UR for writing about a topic that has been on our minds. I know that you have been wanting to write about this for a while. You touch on so many topics in your post and I hope other adults who have young people in their lives who may have fallen off the path but don’t know how to verbalize their thoughts can perhaps print this letter and give it to the girls in their lives. Who know who may come back to Allah through this means.
    Keep writing Habibti.

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  35. Zainab bint Younus

    There seem to be a number of issues brought up by the comments:

    1) The belief that women’s sexuality is not equal to that of men; that their desires are lesser; and that they are innately more “pure” and therefore it is “worse” for them to fall into sin because of their desires.

    As for the first two, there is no way to scientifically quantify sexuality or desires; we do know that sexuality is fluid, with peaks and lows, and Allah alone knows the details of what every individual, man or woman, goes through.
    What we DO know is that it is NOT worse for one gender to succumb to zina (of any sort) than the other; and this is due to the fact that the Hadd punishment for zina is exactly the same whether for men or women.

    What we need to REALIZE, and what this article does a good job in pointing out, is that young girls and women go through fitnah because they DO have desires – end of story. We’re not trying to quantify it here; right now, we need to take the simple step of acknowledging the fact that Muslim women have desires, period, and that their struggles are no less in import or seriousness than that of men.

    As evidenced by several comments to this article, unfortunately too many people out there hold the misguided notion that women are ‘madonnas’ – pure and untouched by any sexual feelings or desires whatsoever; and that IF they admit to or acknowledge otherwise, then they are whores. This is completely ridiculous, as Islam makes it clear that both men and women do feel sexual desires, that they are both responsible for safeguarding their chastity, and that within a marriage, both men and women are entitled to a healthy and satisfactory sexual relationship.

    2) The issue of young marriage. There’s way too much to say, but my mother and I have written a series of articles on the subject (discussing everything from maturity, finances, zina vs. divorce, and more) that many readers may find interesting: http://thesalafifeminist.blogspot.ca/2012/11/youthful-marriage-impractical-ideal-or.html
    (The link takes you to part 1, parts 2, 3, 4, and 5 can be found elsewhere on the blog)

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    • Hyde

      I’ll check your blog later sister,
      but nobody was saying, at least I wasn’t, quantifing sexulity. Do girls have desires, of course they do! My issue is that perhaps unsuspectedly sister Reem was ambgious about male and female sexulity. They are the not same, scientifically speaking and invoking from our traditions.

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  36. Hassen

    assalaamu alaykum, jazaakillahu khayran. We definitely need to reach out and support our brothers and sisters who have committed sins, and remind them that the doors of forgiveness are always open and they will be accepted in the Muslim Community.

    I have some concerns about the way this message was delivered, though. It seemed like the challenges of overcoming sexual desires was described as impossible to overcome. Like in this sentence, for example:

    “I understand that although, without a shadow of doubt, these actions are wrong, the temptation of experiencing what you have been hearing about, watching, and observing since you were in kindergarten, every single day of your life, almost every minute, on TV, online, at school, at work, at the park, and especially what you’ve been reading in books, is simply too irresistible.”

    Totally agree about the bombardment of sexual messages throughout the day, but describing this challenge as “too irresistible” is very problematic. We can always reject the negative/haram influences around us since Allah doesn’t give us a challenge that is too difficult to overcome. If we say it is beyond our ability to control then we are justifying falling into the haram.

    This is another sentence that makes the same point:

    “I understand that if you slip, on the surface or deeper, it’s because you couldn’t fight the strong inevitable desires coupled with the extreme hypersexual society we’re raising you in.”

    Saying that a person faced with sexual desires “couldn’t fight” them is not correct. Perhaps in emphasizing the importance of reaching out to Muslims who have fallen into sin the author didn’t realize the clear error in her wording (it seems to contradict a very basic point in our aqeedah- that Allah doesn’t give us a challenge that we can’t bear). We should be emphasizing that they absolutely can fight off these desires, even if they are so great, right?

    Overall, I wish there was much more emphasis on encouraging our brothers and sisters to seek forgiveness (it was barely mentioned at the end) and encouragement to cut off the avenues that lead to the haram. Without this emphasis, I’m worried that some will read this and leave with the impression that it’s ok if they fall into sin (and don’t cut off the avenues that lead to it) because Allah is forgiving and the sin was “irresistible” so they didn’t really have a chance to avoid it anyway.

    I believe that the intention behind writing this was excellent, but I think there were some core points that were off, wallahu a’lam.

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  37. haifa

    Brought tears to my eyes. may Allah bless you abundantly.

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  38. ali

    salam
    i want islamic solution on girls problem laqoria how they get rid of it and if 15 hour in a day a girl was in this cndition then what can she do can she pray salah if yes then how she can pray????????

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    • Umm Reem

      wa alaikum assalam,

      Did you mean Leukorrhea?
      If so, then as far as I know, it is normal discharge especially for teenagers, pregnancy or during any hormonal changes. And inshaAllah she can continue to pray.
      I don’t think a girl can get rid of this. However, if Leukorrhea is followed by itching, burning or any other pain then she should get checked to make sure there is no infection.
      and Allah knows best…

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  39. Ibrahim

    I’ll begin by saying I have taken the point of this article to heart. However, as a mid-twenties Muslim man looking to get married (yes, I qualify with all the basic requirements) and considering prospective wives, I just want to present my own perspectives. Nowadays, it is actually not that easy to find a woman who has never ‘sinned’ just like many people say it is difficult to find men who are pure. Even more disturbing is the number of people who feel that sinning a little before marriage is a part of ‘growing up’. Of course, attitudes vary from community to community, but the penultimate line of this article, describing people who may think this article is too soft in condemning sins as being ‘overzealous’ didn’t ring well with me. Isn’t that rather condescending and a bit judgmental in itself?

    I don’t like to have to defend myself over such issues all the time, but I must emphasize that I do believe firmly in the Islamic principles regarding relationships, understand the reasons behind them, and DO abide by them. This has to be stated because nowadays people love to throw the ‘hypocrisy card’ at people.

    Having said that, I have desires just like any other young man or woman out there. And yes, I also struggle with them daily. So far, alhamdulillah, I have avoided giving in. I also yearn for that day when I can experience a halal relationship. I just want to know, is it really all that ignoble to want a pure spouse with whom you can share that intimacy and love? Am I really being judgmental and insecure for wanting someone with similar life experiences as me? Someone who I can innately admire for having gone through the same struggle as myself and come out unscathed? Besides, I don’t understand why anyone should not not feel negative about their spouse having been intimate with someone before in a haram manner.

    Yes, I understand that people fall into mistakes and some repent and turn back, but that is between them and Allah. But do these same people understand that it is also human to feel insecure about people who have not avoided illicit experiences with the opposite sex?

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    • Gibran

      Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

      SubhanAllah, is finding a virgin girl this hard? I’m 19 myself and hoping to marry a virgin too…..how on earth is there anything wrong with that? We are supposed to do that, remember the hadith about “they have the sweetest mouths and most prolific wombs.”

      Maybe I’ll have to look overseas lol…..
      May Allah grant you and I the best women for us.

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      • Ibrahim

        Wa Alaikum Salaam,

        SubhanAllah, brother don’t get me wrong! I did not want to imply that many of our women are immoral nowadays!. Alhamudulillah, there are many pure men and women out there still. Insha Allah we will marry not only virgins but the best in every other aspect. Also, let us make sure we do our part to be the best husbands. Ameen.

        My only concern is that wanting a virgin is increasingly being seen as backward, insecure and jealous, especially among so-called liberal Muslims. I feel this is rather insensitive to both men and women, especially those who are virgin themselves.

        Also, when speaking to a prospect, please maintain respect and do not ask directly about her past. Rather, state in a respectable manner that you wish to marry someone who has not been in a physical or emotional relationship before. Hopefully, she will get the message and indirectly indicate if she is suitable or not.

        When I was young I just didn’t think about the issue, at least not until I started looking for a wife. I just imagined that very few women would lose their chastity but unfortunately there are some that do (I suppose I was living in a bubble).

        Brother, at 19 you are still very young, please don’t assume that you have to look overseas or in a Muslim majority country for a virgin woman. Our women have a small pool of prospects and we need to support them and marry in our country of residence. The problem of Muslim men looking in majority countries and rejecting Muslim women in minority countries and the West has left many women high and dry. This is a problem reaching almost epidemic proportions. Insha Allah by marrying in our countries of residence we will alleviate the problem and strengthen the local Muslim communities.

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      • anon

        I find nothing wrong with preferring a virgin woman especially if you are a virgin. What I find hypocritical is when Muslim men who live in the West come to a Muslim country wi howi 3amel il sab3a wi zemet-ha (how we say it in Arabic); that he played around his whole life and now he’s looking for a virgin. THAT disgusts me.
        I’ve been born and raised in an Arab country and I lost my virginity when I was 19.. That was 3 years ago. Right now, I am dating a guy who does not care about these issues and look for compatibility and character. I, myself, prefer a non virgin man just because I want him to lead and be experienced enough to know how to touch me. BUT it’s only a preference and I wouldn’t care if he was virgin..not one bit.
        I understand your concern but I guess it becomes a problem if you meet someone that you can connect with spiritually, emotionally, intellectually and then realize she’s not a virgin. This, being a deal breaker, would be a little immature in your part. Especially if she regrets what she’s done. OF COURSE, if she was like myself, who is having a bit of crisis of faith, trying find myself in that aspect, but living how I find right in the process would not be suitable for you. BUT if she truly repented and stopped acting like this then please give her a chance :-)

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  40. abuHanifa

    I find it hilarious and annoying that even in this, we have people comparing sex drives of men and women. Why is there so much fuss about who has a stronger sex drive. Generally guys do, everyone knows it. This article isn’t here to mention that. Its here to finally give some attention to those girls whether its minority of the women or majority of the women who have the struggle of controlling their high sex drive. This article should be written even if there was only one female on the face of the planet who has this problem because it brings a sense of hope, humility and reminder to that one female to get back up. The article didn’t mention any solutions, just stated the problem existed and should be addressed rather than belittling it (as some of the above comments above paint that picture). Jazakallah Khair sister!

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  41. Arab Deist

    I am an Ex Muslim, and I have always seen that Muslim men tend to forget that women can be just as sexual as men, personally, I saw it through the terms of dress code (“Why should women cover their hair? to leash down a man’s attraction and potential fornication? women can be attracted to hair of men as well, wouldn’t the male’s uncovering of their hair plus the dying of their hair make women have more time holding themselves sexually?)

    Despite my viewpoint I am glad that someone looked at the neglect of those that pray behind men at Mosques.

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  42. Damascus Girl

    I have read through most of the comments here, with a slowly sinking feeling. Here is a dose of reality, ok?
    - there are far more unmarked Muslim women than nonmuslim women, in the west.
    - Muslim someone in non Muslim countries find it incredibly hard to get married due to numerous restrictions superimposed over parents’ cultural requirements and/or complacency.
    - this leaves Muslim women with very few options in terms of getting married, unless we try Internet matchmaking which is completely unfiltered.
    - I am the good Muslim girl that never dated, stayed away from the opposite sex, obeyed her parents, lived at home till age 35, etc. My parents think the way to get married is to make dua then wait. I never got married. Well I am 42 and frankly I’m sick of the discourse on how women must not interact with the opposite sex or masturbate. I want to be loved, I want children, and I want someone to take care of me. I was not allowed to pursue any of that because I had to stay away from mixed environments, obey my parents, etc. But my brother married his white girlfriend to great fanfare and they have 2 kids.
    - my story is not uncommon. There will be a whole generation of Muslim women who will die alone, all because their parents wanted to immigrate to a nonmuslim country.
    - sex is normal. Sexuality is not a taboo. Women should not be forced into celibacy. Celibacy causes depression and loneliness. While the men live it up, women like myself are worried about money, we have desires, we want babies, we spend our free time taking care of elderly parents who didn’t bend over backwards to ensure we met nice husbands. We are unloved and alone. Does Islam have a solution for that? No.
    - I’m starting to think maybe its ok to have a male companion who will care about me, drive me to work if I have a flat tire, and fulfill my emotional and physical needs even if we don’t have by-the-book intercourse.

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  43. Ilyana

    To Damascus girl, I hate to break it to you but it is the responsibility of the parents to find their daughters suitable husbands as you eluded to in your paragraph…be that as it may…. what happens ultimately is destiny and we have to accept it….there are venues to findng marriage: you make duaa and you got matrimonials or friends networks etc….The double standards treatement is part of Arabic or muslim society but not islam.

    if you make your life simple(i.e marry a poor man etc) then you have a lot of yoru needs met….

    For the reasons of desires, I got married relatively young for my family(at 22) and I felt I was immature at 22 for marriage. I got married soon and would have divorced had ths marriage been to a non-cousin…..

    We have to teach our children to control their desires effectively and not to have their minds and their thinking controlled by their desires. We have to teach them goal orientedness and independence but not necessarily living separately from parents to gain that independence.

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  44. Tania:)

    Asalamalaykom:) What a great article and thank you for writing like this: poignant, to the point, compassionately and human. I am at an age where my husband and I are thinking about having children, Inshallah. As a revert, growing up in Canada and understanding this fitna and being raised by non-Muslim parents, I am often nervous at the thought of having a girl. Allah SWT knows best if I should have a girl or boy (or even no children at all) and I will accept where my life goes but knowing what I know, the thought does cross my mind. It is nice to have the knowledge that there are women like you, educated and writing article like this that are filled with understanding. If I am fortunate enough to be blessed with children and a girl, Inshallah I will remember the tone of your article and be on the side of my children, offering support to them, in their times of need and difficulty – not glossing over the cold, hard facts that this is a big deal in their lives and coming down hard on them. I would like to say thank but more importantly – Jazzak Allah Khayr:)

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  45. Engaged Guy

    only recently I had an argument about not delaying my nikkah for over a year after getting engaged. My parents don’t get it. Education this that..

    and that they ask me is.. is it haram to delay marriage? insane.. they will never understand..

    I commited zina…and its traumatic.. they will never know how hard it is…

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  46. Muslimah

    Asak,
    In our household the conversation about marriage/nikkah or boys/girls is not very open and actually very awkward between myself and my parents. I am about to start college and I was thinking it might be good for me to do a Katbu Kitab. But (1) I don’t know if it’s really good for me or it’ll be a distraction from studying, or if (2) I’m rushing into things.
    I wouldn’t even know where to start looking….
    Maybe I just need some consolation and patience.. please help.

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  47. Malik

    Allah addressed this issue for both men and women. He said “lower your gaze…” especially in today’s hypersexual society… lower your gaze and protect your modesty. Inshallah. May Allah make that easy for us all. Ameen!

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  48. sara

    Tears run down my eyes as i read this piece. Coming from the pakistani culture this double standard haunts me. Thank You for what you said.

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  49. l

    […] would talk about her feelings so she can handle and control them. Your guidance is […]

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