“OMG, the Fifty Shades of Grey movie is coming out!” a high-school girl I mentor cheers with excitement. I nod but don't say anything. “I have to tell my friend. She will be thrilled. It is her favorite book!”

I feel goose bumps on my skin, because I happen to know her friend as well. She is not an ordinary girl. Masha'Allah, she just finished memorizing Qur'an earlier this year out of her own dedication, while maintaining full time high school.

“You do know that it's not only a soft-porn book, but it also has some really disturbing material.” I remind her.

“No Miss, apart from all that stuff, it has an amazing love story!” her voice melts as she recalls the “love” between Ana and Christian Grey.

Last summer, I skimmed through the series to be aware of what our young women are reading. Needless to say, the more I read the book the more horrified I was.

It was the first time in years –after the Twilight series–that I asked my teen daughter not to read a book, and I explained to her my reasons, “If you read this book now, you will have a messed up concept of sex, and some content may even be emotionally disturbing and psychologically damaging.”

She promised, and since then she's been offered the book several times at her “Islamic” school. Not only has the trilogy made it to this Muslim country where I currently live— pornographic material is banned here– it also has found its way to the hands of practicing Muslim girls.

I understand that it is not easy to stop the young adults from reading a book, let alone a trilogy so popular that it has sold more than 70 million copies in 2012, even surpassing the Harry Potter series as the fastest selling paperback of all time . The book is popular in the West and in the East, among the non-Muslims and Muslims. So now that most of our teens have read it, who is going to do the damage control?

Let me start of by explaining why I'm alarmed by this specific trilogy though there are many errotic books available out there.

Because this trilogy has become more famous than any other book, sending the author straight to the top of the highest-earning authors' list.

My real concern however, lies in the plot—this is a disturbing book about a millionaire sadist who enslaves young girls under a “mutual agreement” and inflicts physical pain on them for his sexual pleasure and in return he offers them generous amount of money and cossets them with lavish cars, extravagant clothes and jewelry. Abused as a teenager, he partners with his abuser in a business and doesn't necessarily see anything wrong with what his abuser did to him. Moreover, since his own mother was a prostitute who committed suicide, he chooses girls who look like his mother so he can inflict pain on them, to satisfy his anger towards his her!

A young, ambitious, educated, innocent girl, who is not only a virgin but very naïve about sex, falls in love with him, even though he stalks her, traces her calls, convinces her to sign the slavery submissive-contract so he can use her for his sexual enjoyment.

Then…. they get married and after the marriage he gives up his addiction and they live happily ever after.

Right!

As it is we already have intimacy issues among Muslim couples. We don't have parents who openly communicate with their children and educate them about sex and sexuality. We don't have enough speakers talking to our teens about sex, especially female speakers. We don't have enough Muslim counselors/therapists resolving intimacy issues between couples. On top of that, if our girls are going to read books like Fifty Shades of Grey, they are going to left with a seriously damaged concept of intimacy.

Just recently, I received a request from high school girls to hold a “Talk Session” so they can discuss their fears about marriage and intimacy. Some of the girls specifically brought up what they read in Fifty Shades of Grey and how they have developed fears and insecurity after reading the book (yet they are in love with Christian Grey!)

I cannot discuss all the points in the book thoroughly in just one article. However, to highlight some major issues, I want to tell my dear teenage daughters:

Christian Grey in Real Life:

1. It is not okay to be sexually abused by someone and then accept the abuse as a lifestyle, just because the abused starts enjoying the abuse.
2. It is not okay for a man to lure a girl into marrying him with his money or good looks while expecting her to overlook his habit of objectifying women as mere sexual objects.
3. Decent men normally don't stalk girls.
4. Grey is domineering, a control freak, a stalker, and a manipulator. In real life, these character flaws cause real marital problems. Unlike Ana, most women can't endure being stalked, watched and forced into submission while compensated with wealth and erotic intimacy. In real life, most men simply do not have the luxury of gifting the company where she works to the wife while forcing her into submitting.
5. One legitimate fact in the book worth pointing out is that Grey has a problem with Ana's male friends. Yes, that I can assure you dear daughters, especially those of you who have studied with boys and have Facebook friends of the opposite gender from school or work, that your husband may raise this objection. Or if you are used to “hanging out” for school projects at a public place, he may ask you to stop doing so. You either talk this through before marriage or you should be prepared to “submit” on this point after marriage and keep in mind that in exchange for your obedience, a  luxurious ski trip to Aspen in a private jet with your girl friends is not guaranteed.

Addiction and BDSM:

6. It is not okay to marry an addict especially if a girl finds out about his addiction before the marriage. This is a serious matter and unlike the book, addicts don't lose their addiction just by marrying someone they love.
7. It can take years for an addict to overcome his addiction. Addicts almost always have relapses and those relapses can take a tremendous toll on the marriage.
8. I've come across countless men who have issues of child molestation, mother-father family issues, and desperately need therapy, but they will refuse to acknowledge any problems with their behavior let alone seek therapy. Our hero Mr. Grey, seeks counseling even before Ana asks him to seek help for his psychological issues. Dear daughters, the unfortunate fact of life is that it may take months of convincing, even arguments, and at times even family/friends' intervention, before the husband finally agrees to seek therapy.
9. It is not okay for a man to inflict physical pain on his wife for his sexual pleasure.
10.Sadism/Bondage/Submission and Dominance (BDSM) are acts of sex that may develop among couples in a halal way but it takes time. Initially a relationship needs understanding and normal intimacy. Once both partners, especially the wife, become comfortable and confident then they may experiment with different types of intimate practices.
11. After both husband and wife become comfortable with each other especially during intimacy, they may play around with different techniques and a variety of intimacy including BDSM. However, if it reaches to the point of inflicting pain where a wife starts crying with discomfort, or her eyes overflow with tears trying to endure pain, that's crossing the line. There is a difference in “delirious pain” and tearing up with pain.
12. Spanking the wife for rolling her eyes is wrong (even though it maybe an acceptable practice among the Christian Domestic Discipline). Hitting the wife with a belt to inflict physical pain for a husband's sexual pleasure is physical abuse. A decent man will draw his own limits for his sexual pleasure and a wife doesn't need to burst out in tears and start crying for him to realize that what he was doing was beastly.

Virginity and Intimacy:

13. No virgin has multiple orgasms on her first night. Do not enter your marriage with this misconception.
14. It may take days to weeks before a virgin experiences vaginal orgasm. (In rare cases, it may take up to months and may need therapy)
15. Communication and comfort is essential in making intimacy successful and pleasurable, especially for those girls who've guarded their chastity and are experiencing intimacy for the first time.
16. In normal circumstances, acts of BDSM should not be practiced on a girl who's been recently deflowered.
17. Men are not born expert-lovers. In real life, couples have to discuss their fantasies and communicate what they like and explain their desires, and not just once. Sometimes these fantasies have to be explained many times before the spouse finally understands. It may take months, sometimes years before sexual fantasies become realities. The book definitely raises the bar of expectations in many ways.
18. Yes, sex is a lot more than just penetration (as most Muslim women complain about their intimacy being dry and boring) but most Muslim men are not as experienced and “sex gurus” as Grey, especially those who have kept themselves pure before marriage.
19. Grey can read Ana's body language and knows exactly what will turn her on and what will bring her pleasure AND he is always ready to give her that. Dear daughters, in real life things are very different.
20. In the beginning of a marriage, most Muslim men don't know how to make a women experience an orgasm during every intercourse. They need to learn and the wives need to help them learn. It is a give-and-take relationship.

Romance between Ana & Grey:

21. There is never a “dull moment” in their romance. In real life, issues start rising after a few weeks of marriage–real issue—issues that need to be talked through and resolved. These issues cannot be resolved through “erotic intimacy” and “expensive gifts”.
22. Unlike Grey, men have mood swings too and they may not be romantic all the time.
23. Men want their wives to be romantic too and take initiatives and plan romantic events, dinners, outings etc. Unlike Grey, real men are not always full of romantic surprises.
24. Real men in real life have work to do at work. They simply cannot romantically email back and forth all day from work.

This is just a brief clarification I can offer you, of not just one but three books about an abused billionaire turned into a sadistic-domineering-control freak-emotional abuser's “amazing love story”!

72 Responses

  1. Dina

    Well I must admit that I am disappointed that this is the first time I have heard this said. Not only in the content of this book disturbing but the writing is deplorable too. The only way that we can make our children immune to this kind of pop literature is to approach everything that they read with scrutiny and to appreciate good literature, the literature of charles dickens and john steinbeck. The only way to protect children from this kind of rubbish is to elevate them to a position of intellectual ability where they are able to understand that not all things that are written are true or even worth reading and that the only way that you can discover the truth is through your own experience and rigorous intellectual curiosity.

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    • Umm Reem

      Dear Dina, I agree with you, but this is only possible if parents open communication with their children. I’ve been trying for years to convince parents but with very little success.

      Also, keep in mind that at this age, it is hard not to give into peer pressure. It isn’t easy to avoid something that every teenage is doing/reading. In order to help our teens go against the flow, parents need to have a very open and friendly relationship with their kids.

      Alhamdullialh my daughter didn’t read the book, but as I said I was very open and explicit with her and I answered all her questions thoroughly until she understood why I was stopping her, alhamdullialh. I wish more and more parents build a good communication with their kids.

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  2. Yusuf

    We need more of such articles, i enjoyed reading :) I am a social worker in a western country, forget the teens, it is not uncommon that our mothers and sisters discuss sex-related issues (in marriage) with the non-muslims who later present these issues in integration-conferences. Wallahi, we need to adress our problems.

    Jazaakumullahu kheyr ukhti

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    • Umm Nazaha

      I didn’t really mean to thumbs down your comment….I would have liked if you had elaborated. I have found it almost impossible to find counseling by a female muslims for a young muslim lady who endured years of sexual abuse from the step father….

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  3. Umm ZAKAriyya

    Scary . Why aren’t books like this banned in muslim countries . ! Perhaps this will make the western authors realise how far they have gone. And also , help the muslim parents in protecting their children .

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  4. Umm ZAKAriyya

    Sometimes I wonder if DAjjal would finally appear in our times . I mean , how worse can this get ? It worries me greatly on knowingly the kinds of books our teens read these days .

    I used to be an avid reader once upon a time as a teenager. And I got to read all kinds Of books that I would not want my children ( or any children for that matter) to read.And this was in Saudi Arabia before 2004 !

    These books take you to a fantasy world where haraam is glorified . My poor mother didn’t
    Know the content of the books . She thought reading was all good. And since my books were from the school library , it must be good for me.

    Took me atleast 3 years to get back to reading Allah’s book with full consciousness . Probably because my parents constantly strove hard to teach us the deen . Alhamdulillah
    I wonder what happens to those children whose parents don’t actively participate in protecting them from all these fitnah .

    Jazakillah khair sister . I love reading your articles .

    This is such an eye opener to parents . If we can’t save our children from Christian Greys and Justin beibers , I wonder how we can protect them from Dajjal.

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  5. mg

    Excellent Points!! One small note: Not all women have vaginal orgasms, some only have clitoral orgasms.
    We are all unique.
    These novels create unrealistic expectations for both Males and Females. Jazakee Allah Khayrun for writing this.
    So glad I did not waste my time reading this “best-seller”.

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  6. Amina

    After working with Muslim youth for a number of years, it is clear to me that most Muslim parents never check the content of books that their youth are reading. I’ve found that quiet bright shy smart kids in Islamic schools (weekend and otherwise) are having their minds warped with ideas about wizardry, magic, sex, and now bondage and violent sex……… please parents! please read at least a few chapters of whatever your children are reading, check their backpacks. If you have trouble with English, find a trusted friend (many of us converts around) and ask them. Don’t assume just because they are not online or on their i-pod that they are safe. Shaytan is trying hard in any way he can – including through a seemingly innocent past-time as reading. So many parents are just happy that their kids ARE READING, but this is a MISTAKE. Please check the content of everything your children are reading!!

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  7. Mrs.K

    Thank you for writing such an honest piece. Every where we turn there are messages that are teaching people (young and old) to have unrealistic and unnatural expectations when it comes to human relationships especially sexual relationships. We need to be prepared to have honest conversation of our children and tell them that this is not what real relationships and real sex is like.

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  8. KB

    Fantastic article! There’s a lot wrong with Fifty Shades of Grey… and not just for Muslims. It continues to baffle me why it’s so popular. Aside from the obvious, it’s not even well-written. Anyway, I really like your honest and realistic attitude toward sexual intimacy. It seems so many people have unrealistic expectations about what sex/marriage will be like that they find themselves disappointed. In real life these things rely on trust, honesty, and communication. Your wedding night will probably not be the best night of your life (sexually speaking), but insha’allah you’ll have many more years of intimacy to look forward to.

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  9. Mahmud

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    • Lamees

      Why such a. Long list of attributes? I do hope you’ll also be young, pious, attractive (astaghfuru Allah, I most definitely am not trying to be flirtatious, Allah knows best my educational intention), super-sweet and caring husband when you do, then!

      Don’t search for ideals. Humans are individuals and true perfection is found only in Allah. Be reasonable, brother, and do not try to find the world in your future spouse! Don’t hold her to unreasonably high standards and you’ll be a LOT happier, both of you, insha Allah. Just as I am certain you are not perfect, you must be aware she won’t be either. No one is.

      … also, I pray it’s not your intention, but I hope you’re not someone with a creepy purity complex who fetishies young and virginal girls, eeeek.

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      • Mahmud

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    • Kirana

      And….. there’s the other half of unrealistic expectations. Brother, you’ll indeed have to look very hard, but not because “religious looking Muslimahs are reading this stuff”. Newsflash, that image of a Muslimah in your head, it is an idealisation. Nobody perfect like that exists. Even if she ticks all those boxes, she’ll also have flaws and annoying or disappointing qualities that require effort from you, in order to achieve the “live happily after part”.

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      • Mahmud

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Dear bro, you seem too fixated by the word “virgin”. A piece of advise from someone who has several years on you in this regard … few years down the road it is character that matters in your wife. So look for all the rest of the criteria without really paying too much attention to that particular criteria.

        Aly
        *Comment above is posted in a personal capacity and may not reflect the official views of MuslimMatters or its staff*

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      • ZAI

        Br. Mahmud,
        The ladies were not saying any of the things you desire were an exceptional ideal…but that ALL of those things together is an unrealistic ideal and that some
        of those things, like “super-sweet”, “caring”, “loving” etc. are affected by mood and naturally ebb/flow & fluctuate…so keep that in mind in your expectations or you will have real disappointments in a relationship.

        2ndly, I have to agree w/ Br. Aly here and advise you cut down on advertising for a virgin bro. Im not saying you don’t have a right to want what you want…but the way you’re putting it turns people off man. It is enough for you to say you want a girl who is religiously observant and you can say you prefer someone who hasn’t been in a prior relationship because since you haven’t been in one either, you think it would be a better fit for you. Equal standing.

        When you say virgin over and over again, you are doing a few things:

        1.) You are seriously insulting divorced/widowed women who have not done anything haraam and making them feel as though you don’t deem them “good enough”
        2.) You are advertising insecurity. The way you are writing makes it seem like you are hyper-obsessed with women’s sexuality and control of it. Screams insecurity man and if there’s one thing women hate in a man, even virgin women, it is insecurity.
        3.) If you harp on it too much, even the super-sweet, caring and loving girl of your dreams will think “man, this guy seems obsessive and strict. If this is how he is about my past…how’s he going to treat me in the future with other things?”….

        Dude, seriously…stop. I, like Br. Aly, also have a few years on you and only telling you this as your Muslim bro. You are not doing your own search any favors with this talk. It doesn’t help to pull out the “crazy feminist” card either ’cause the sisters disagreed with you or had a different opinion than you.

        Women are unique individuals just like men and ultimately they want to be valued as and seen as such. They don’t want to have you present them with a check-list as if you’re shopping for a car. As Br. Aly said, look for character then build around that, but be flexible with the other things. You might not get them all in one person. Appreciate a persons unique attributes as well…and please take my advice about the way you say some things.

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  10. Halima

    Thank you for writing this piece sis. I’m sure it will be very enlightening for many, as it was for me. Young Muslim women are in desperate need of learning more about these types of things. I for one am very ignorant when it comes to such matters. I wish there were more classes and books to teach to enlighten me more.

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  11. Tanveer Khan

    OK I stopped reading after the choosing girls who liked like his mother part. Messed up levels reached boiling point.

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  12. Crissy

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    • A Khan

      Even though the book does not have an effect on you, you can not deny the effect it has had on a lot of people. You need to know how the mind of a female works in order to fully comprehend the effect such stories can have on a female’s mind. No matter how hard can someone try to separate the reality and fantasy, in the end, it can overlap and ruin their genuine personality. You also need to realize that not all teens have a healthy relationship with their parents and so they will read these kinds of book in solitude. This world is not rainbow and unicorns.

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

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      • Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        Dear Blueportal

        Our Comments Policy requires a valid name or Kunyah to be used when commenting. You may also use a blog handle provided your blog is linked, the email address is a valid one, and it is not advertising a product.

        Best Regards
        Comments Team

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    • The Salafi Feminist

      Actually, there are MANY people who are cannot distinguish between fantasy and reality, and who are indeed affected by what’s shared in popular novels.

      One of the biggest criticisms of the Twilight series was because its female lead was a shallow, vapid girl who placed her entire self worth in the love of a man (vampire?), and that it taught girls that a “good man” is someone who will stalk her, emotionally abuse her, and control her every movement.

      I personally have seen how teen girls (and adult women) actually end up believing what a fictional story is ‘telling’ them – and more often than not, it has some truly terrible effects on them.

      BTW men and boys are just as affected by media/ video game representations of what is ‘normal’ or ‘acceptable’ for men to do, how to behave with women, and so on. The long-reaching effects of fiction and false realities is very, very real and well documented by analysts of media.

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    • The Salafi Feminist

      And, in fact, one criticism of Fifty Shades of Grey *by* practitioners of BDSM is that it portrayed it completely inaccurately and in fact, quite harmfully.

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      • Amy

        This is very true. Please read my comment below once it is moderated.
        Amy

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    • greentea

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    • Kirana

      Actually, I believe the author told her daughter “If you read this book NOW, you will have a messed up concept of sex, and some content may even be emotionally disturbing and psychologically damaging.” (key word capitalised)

      It does matter which information reaches you first, psychologically speaking. Your brain favours the earlier ones (I believe it’s called first conclusion bias). It is better to access things with high emotional impact, prioritising true ones first, and ‘recreationally untrue’ ones later. This is less important for topics of low emotional impact or clearly irrelevant to one’s life. Once you have good information, and positive experience, then it is a lot easier to slot fictional unhealthy depictions appropriately, since you’re able to evaluate it *relative to* something else. For a virgin to do this is a lot harder, there’s no reference experience.

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      • Umm Reem

        yes Kirana, that’s exactly what I told my daughter is not to read it NOW because it DOES matter which information reaches us first. And as you said once a person has good information AND positive experience then its easier to differentiate between fantasy and reality.

        I’m married yet there were parts in the book that emotionally upset me but Alhamdullilah I was able to talk them through with my husband.
        On the other hand our teenage girls are not only unmarried but unfortunately they are not even educated about their sexuality properly (our-Muslims- and parents’ fault).

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  13. Taiba Nasir

    Assalamu Alaikum sister,
    Baarak Allahu laki for this eye opening response to the fantasy book. We need more Muslimahs like you who’d confront such issues directly. keep up the good work. May Allah reward you for your great efforts. Jazakillahu Khairan

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  14. Serene

    Assalamu alaikum Umm Reem.

    Thank you for this article.

    I pm you over at your fb but can’t seem to find an email address for private questions. In sha Allah you will see this message n read my pm over at fb. Thanks.
    wasalaam

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  15. Jerome Binten

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  16. Hassan

    Never knew the details of this book, apparently it is more popular among women (muslims or non-muslims) then men. Why is that, even though it is quite cruel toward women.

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  17. Mariam Saeed

    Mostly, unIslamic fiction has its adverse effects.
    I have personally suffered with fault perceptions about interpersonal relationships and lifestyle.

    This article was the need of the hour!
    JazakAllah!

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  18. Megan Wyatt

    I wouldn’t come near that book with a fifty foot pole….and I felt sick just reading through all the things Umm Reem wrote, feeling upset for her having to read through some of this filth in order to help parents and Muslims at large know how disturbing such a book is and write this otherwise beneficial article. Thank you Umm Reem!

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  19. Shawn

    Honestly, sounds symptomatic of a larger problem to me. It’s not a stupid book that’s the problem (there will always be controversial books that come out that elicit bans of all kinds). It’s the fact that our communities have such an awkward time dealing with the whole intimacy/sex conversation. So obviously if something isn’t ever discussed candidly or in a non-“fire and brimstone” kind of way, the kids will have messed up ideas of what intimacy actually is. Especially if they read this book. Instead of raising our Muslim children to be wise and reflective on various perspective, we just place bans on books. Band-aids on deep wounds.

    But I enjoyed reading this article, thank you!

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  20. jessica

    This was a satirical trilogy based on ridiculing Twilight. People and especially women are so naive. Why do they gravitate to the most vile if social culture and not the classy. I am all for experimentation in marriage and kinky is great but anything that inflicts pain HELL NO. BDSM only if he is on the recieving end and I doubt any man enjoys being trodden on with 9 inch stilletoes or have their privates mutilated .Frankly society is so materialistic theyd do anything for money. No honor no shame no dignity. Girls the first time kills like hell , it is unforgetrable traumatic and sometimes requires medical intervention. Men can hardly last long enough and most are awkward and clueless. These expectations and ideals are ridiculous and as fake as aby magic or alien movie /story. If my teens even thought about reading this garbage id beat them senseless just to show them how FUN physical abuse is.

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  21. Bahader

    I must say that I’m surprised that muslims even would read such a book. I’m even more surprised that muslims practise BDSM and imitate some non muslims in their practises. Sex and intimacy should be something simple and natural combined with love and feelings for the partner… I think we’ve made it complicated due to the filth that our ears and eyes are exposed to..

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  22. Amal Sarmatar

    I”m concern in particularly for young muslims teens. many of these kids parents are not educated or speak/ read english so just banning your kids from readings like fifty shades of Grey may not solve the real problem. Parents need to educate themselves about this country and it’s views before they decide to raise the perfect muslim kid in the west….

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    • Umm Reem

      Dear Amal,

      This is not only a western problem, this is a universal issue. There are plenty of porn books in Arabic over here. Parents are in denial that their children would ever touch such a book- in the West and in the East.

      Parents need to take their heads out of the sand and be aware of the evil widespread around the world, and not just the west, and help their kids fight against that evil.

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  23. S Kari

    the real question is : what is wrong with our Quran memorization schools? how on earth could they produce a hafiza who could go towards a book like this, full of filth and even non muslims consdier it porn? just shows our idea of how to teach Quran is so off. we don’t think it should be in their hearts, we don’t teach them teh meaning, we just turn them into parrots who are not actually truly carrying the light of Allah’s Message!

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    • Umm Reem

      S Kari,

      I am not going to argue with the fact that our idea of teaching Qur’an is totally off and it is mere parrot memorization BUT i am going to disagree that huffadh or even practicing Muslilms/Muslimahs wouldn’t go towards a porn book. I am not justifying their actions but we need to remember that none of us are flawless and all of us have our fair share of weaknesses. So let’s not be judgmental.

      Besides, reading books like these may be harmful in other ways but does that make a person sinful? This is obviously a bit stretch, and Allah knows best.

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  24. Maria

    Wonderful article! May Allah help us to walk on the straight path and protect us from going astray, ameen.
    JazakAllah Khairan, sister.

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  25. Rosie

    Hi Umm

    I wanted to share my opinion with you as a British young woman in her mid twenties who is not religious. I did not wait for marriage to have sex, although I still hold it in high regard (i.e. I don’t give it away…)

    I think this is one of the best articles I have ever read, I hope to save a copy to read to my children (should I have any!). It is useful for both Muslims and non Muslims! To be truthful I have not completely read the 50 Shades series as it was written very poorly, and I can be a bit of a snob about books… however I did read a similar book called “Bared To You” by Sylvia Day with a very similar premise, and felt myself asking: “Am I the only person amongst my peers who has noticed that this is abuse and not a healthy relationship?!” I don’t know, perhaps as I had previously been in an abusive relationship (not sexual abuse thankfully) it may have been more obvious to me, but I found myself confused as to why so many women were “falling in love” with the male characters from these books! You have summarized exactly why books like these should only be read by adults, or discussed in depth with a parent who can tell their child “this is not normal, do not wish this upon yourself!”

    I shared this article with my Facebook friends and I wanted you to know that your message is not only reaching and affecting the Muslim community, but those beyond that as well. :) xx

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    • Umm Reem

      Hi Rosie,

      Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words. I am happy that my article is reaching out to more than just Muslims!

      I completely agree with you that the book is poorly written and i had to struggle to stay focused. It is a shame that a book with such low literary standards has become one of the most popular books of our times. I haven’t read “Bared to You”. To be honest, the only reason I picked up Fifty Shades was because I wanted to know what is it that our teens are obsessing over!

      I think authors throw in the bait of “epitome of male beauty” coupled with multimillion fortune with power and ever-romantic personality to keep fantasy-loving females (teens or adults) in their dreamland, and in many cases this type of fiction has caused some serious problems when it comes to real life issues.

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  26. RCHOUDH

    Good article Mash’Allah and one that’s very much needed. It’s disappointing to read that this book is also popular among young Muslims. Besides the disdainful subject matter the writing is atrocious, similar to Twilight! Has anyone here read the Hunger Games series btw? I haven’t read the books yet, but have watched the first movie, and liked that its subject matter was more intellectually stimulating, since it deals with issues like big, oppressive government, oppression and rebellion, as well as a critique on the current fascination with reality TV. I know the story has a love triangle going on within it, but according to some of my friends who’ve read it, it doesn’t take up a major part of the storyline. I think it would be better to steer kids more towards reading books like the HG instead of this.

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    • Umm Reem

      Rchoudh,

      Hunger games is a good trilogy. I read it and so did my kids. Suzzane Collins knows how to write a good story!

      Yes, it does have a love triangle but that’s not the main part of the book. Besides, you will not find a book that doesn’t have a love story. Divergent is also a good trilogy though it’s not as good as HG, the writing style is not as great and it has more love scenes than HG.
      You can also try Rangers Apprentice series.

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  27. ameera

    This shouldnt just be directed to muslim teens it should directed to ALL teens

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  28. Mahmud

    As salamu alaikum

    Interesting talks…. by Allah I fear for my sisters and others really I do not know how to address them thez issues…
    Jazzaka’Allahu khairan to all ppl struggling to help out the youth from thez imaginary and illusionary stuffz (may Allah guide us all Aameen)

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  29. Khadija

    A very useful article, both for teens snd adults.. I had joined MM for such useful healthy stuff and am glad I did it.. but I ‘d rather have MM as aplatform for the guidance of all muslim brothers and sisters towards what s right and shouldn’t declare it limited for a particular sect.

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  30. UmmAmmaarah

    OMG – the horrors that await me …and to think I’m obsessing about keeping my 7 yr old away from ‘The Wimpy Kid’ series and with ‘The Boxcar Children’. These soft-porn books can be addicting as a teenager. My mom had warned me that these would screw up my idea of what ‘love’ should be like, and it DID until I knew better.
    Sister Umm Reem, any pointers on how and when to teach your kids, esp daughters about sexuality and how much exactly to tell them?

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    • Umm Reem

      Dear UmmAmmaarah, assalamo alaikum

      If I were you I wouldn’t stop my kids from reading “The Wimpy Kid’ and “Boxcar CHildren”. Let them read those series and discuss the stuff you find objectionable.
      Keep a very open communication. Parenting is not easy and we have to chose your battles wisely AND we have to be realistic.

      I raised my kids without a TV at home but I can’t keep my kids from books, AND there is an obvious difference between watching love scenes or reading about it. As long as you talk to your children about the material they are reading, including love and relationships, and you answer ALL their questions honestly, inshaAllah you will be fine.

      As for sexual education, I wrote a detailed series on MM about this. Please go over it and if you still have questions, feel free to email me.
      May Allah make it easy for you.

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  31. Najba

    Very well written… I myself have gone through the book and was surprised at how such a book became so famous!!! The author has shown a sadist man as a hero!! Unbelievable that the youth of today is embracing these things.
    What u read becomes a part of you, what ever you read be careful.
    As that is what you’re feeding your mind.

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  32. Amy

    Hello, being neither Muslim nor coming from a Muslim country, it was by chance I stumbled across this article. It is well written and real unlike the books in question. Thank you.
    I am involved in the BDSM community and I can honestly say while there are many cases of abuse and misuse (as there are in everyday relationships) there are also genuine occasions in which both partners feel whole and complete in their roles either as dominants or submissives. I always say to people who wish to find out more the key to the door is communication. Trust has to be earned – it is not a given and this can and does take time. Beware the partner who wishes to go from 0 – 100 mph instantly (as does Mr Grey). These people are dangerous.
    The fact the author did not completely dismiss exploration into this realm shows real wisdom and tolerance. Done right – with dignity, honestly and as complete equals – sexuality in all is forms is a gift.
    Thank you for your calm moderate voice. I intend to show this to my daughter. 50 Shades is neither about love nor sex it is about power and that is wrong.
    Amy

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    • Umm Reem

      Dear Amy,

      I’m glad you stumbled across my article, it is always refreshing to read diverse views.

      Role playing is not forbidden in Islam but physical abuse is. And as you said that it has to be done right with communication and understanding. I’m happy that you, coming from BDSM community, did find Grey’s character as damaging and dangerous. I would love to share your comment with the girls during my talk about the book. Thank you.

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  33. Madihah

    As a teenager myself (16), I can say that this book certainly appealed and was read by many a girl my age. Alhamdulilah I wouldn’t even touch it with a ten foot pole but many girls were literally lining up to read it. SubhanAllah the language in this book is disgusting for I had the unfortunate experience of overhearing one of the conversations about it. I agree that more needs to be done within our Muslim communities, whereby girls are educated as to the dos and donts of intimacy etc as this book certainly is sending out the wrong messages.

    MashAllah some great points raised in this article sis and it’s great to finally see actual issues affecting young girls being discussed in the context of our religion. And in a way that neither dooms them to Hell nor labels them as ‘bad Muslims’ for we cannot judge.

    JazakAllah khair and in sha Allah will be sharing this within my school and social circle :)

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  34. sis

    “10.Sadism/Bondage/Submission and Dominance (BDSM) are acts of sex that may develop among couples in a halal way but it takes time.”

    Blimey, first i’ve heard of it, really frightened just reading that paragraph and I’m in my 30’s!
    (Unmarried)

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  35. Raadwiya

    Okay i just discovered this site about 15mins ago whiles searching for the best time to nap in Islam and i see this topic and i’m like Omg! 50 shades has been tackled on an islamic website..Ha! like, as in a whole article (which i’m now going to read btw..lol) but i’m just really suprised attention has been given to deal with it..awesome. I’m all hyper now just wanted to get the rambling out..lol. Hope no one lashes out on me though..hehehe

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