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Grad Season = Fitnah Season

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cap_and_diploma.jpgIt’s that time of the year again – sunshine, spring fever, allergies and oh yes, the hype of graduation for high school seniors! Few students can deny dreaming of the moment that they’ll walk across the stage in their graduation gowns and caps, ready to receive their diploma to the applause and pride of their family and friends. (Parents look forward to it too, although not so much when they get a whiff of how much tickets cost!) However, graduation also means something else – presents and parties! And we all know what the biggest party of all is… the (for Muslims) dreaded P-word. Prom.

Non-Muslims tend to get even more excited about prom than their grad ceremony… girls are picking out dresses, dates, and flowers while boys try to work out the nerve to ask out so-and-so to the dance. The whole school is buzzing with juicy gossip, posters plastered all over the place, and the hype is dizzying. And our young Muslim brothers and sisters? They watch from afar, sometimes contemptuously or pitying or even totally uncaringly, but many times with twinges of envy and guilt as they wish they had something that exciting to look forward to.

I’ve heard suggestions that Muslims have their own alterna-proms: segregated 100% halaal events where young Muslim grads can have the “grad night party experience” for themselves. In fact, I think several masaajid and Islamic centres already organize such events. However, I was wondering – why the need to have our own version of something that’s based on haraam-ness from beginning to end? Why are we so eager to imitate the kuffaar in something which even many of them dread (horror stories of wet grads and date rapes abound every year)? Are we that caught up in the culture, without the confidence to be proudly and Islamically non-conformist?

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The Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: Islam began as something strange and will revert to something strange, so glad tidings of Jannah (or, glad tidings of a tree in Jannah) to the strangers! (Fa tooba li’l ghurabaa’) (Ahmad)

Umar ibn al-Khattab said: “Have you forgotten that we were a lowly people and it was Islam that made us honourable? If we seek honour from anything other than Islam, Allah will return us to that state of lowliness.”

Shame on us who jump to create “Islamically acceptable alternatives” to events which stem from totally haraam sources and have nothing to do with that which is Islamically acceptable in the first place. Shame on us who have lost our pride in Islam and seek to find acceptance in the eyes of others rather than seeking the Pleasure of Allah! Shame on us for not having the confidence to be amongst the ghurabaa’!

Okay, I’ll calm down for a minute – I can see where they’re coming from. Muslim kids who’ve spent their whole lives in the West are growing up in an environment where we – and our Deen – are a minority. It’s inevitable that we’d want to be a bit more like everyone else, that we could take part in the what the majority experiences as part of life. Yet it is just as inevitable that those who take their Islam seriously, those whose identity as Muslims is more important to them than their desire to fit in and be part of the crowd, will always be left on the outside of “mainstream society” looking in. Sure, it sucks being lonely and it’s part of human nature to want to fit in, but on the other hand, no one’s asking you to become a hermit and live in a tiny little shack on a mountain somewhere. Plus, there’s the ultimate reward of never being lonely again and sharing the companionship of the Prophets (‘alaihimus-salaam) in Jannah!

The fact that we’re trying so hard to lose the mark of alienation in favour of total acceptance and integration and imitation of the non-Muslims in everything that they do highlights the need for us to be more aware of the concept of “strangeness” and to take pride in it. While much emphasis is placed on Muslim parents working hard to make their kids feel more “accepted” and “included” in non-Muslim society, what about the importance of raising Muslim youth to be strong enough in their emaan and identity that they don’t feel the need to be accepted and included in absolutely everything? I personally find it sad that we’re so swept up in not being looked at askance that we have lost our pride in our Islam, our confidence in our Deen, and our individuality. It seems that we too have become victims of the culture of conformity.

I’m not saying that we should isolate ourselves and turn into a cult or something ridiculous like that. Rather, I’m emphasizing the need for balance between functioning properly in society as a full citizen/ member of said society and remembering that we should be living in this world as travellers striving for the best and most permanent of Abodes. Difficult as it may be even for adults, we have to understand this from a young age in order to cope with the many situations we’ll face throughout our lives in this society… with an awareness that it is Allah’s Pleasure that matters, not our own.

So whether it’s Halloween, Christmas, birthdays, or grad season, we – adults and youth alike – need to be strong enough to realize that we don’t need to make a “halaal” carbon copy of whatever it is so that we can be “just like everyone else” – because we’re not like everyone else. We are Muslims!

May Allah grant us the strength of emaan and the confidence to practice our Deen to the fullest without apology or envy of those who seem to be having more fun than us, and make us amongst the ghurabaa’ who recieved glad tidings of Jannah, ameen!

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Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

61 Comments

61 Comments

  1. inexplicabletimelessness

    May 7, 2008 at 2:01 AM

    Good reminder mashaAllah. :) One sister I know who goes to an Islamic school in Canada said that for their graduation, all the senior students are taken on an Umrah trip! How cool is that? That, I believe, is a very good alternative.

    waAllahu ‘alam

  2. Ammar Diwan

    May 7, 2008 at 2:39 AM

    As-salamu alaykum,

    Naturally, during the graduation ceremony, teachers of the opposite sex would want to shake hands with you and maybe even embrace you. Any ideas on how to deal with this?

  3. Sabiha

    May 7, 2008 at 3:55 AM

    assalaamu’alaykum,

    Good thinking and great reminder! I believe same can be said for bridal showers, baby showers, and all those other showers that are western but are adopted by us Muslims living in the west. Although once can’t say that these are haram (unless ofcourse there is music/mixing and such involved), but it still has no premise in Islam…so why adopt and institute these, when we can and should be actively engaging in reviving the forgotten sunnah’s of the prophet sallahu alayhi wassallam…

    may Allah swt guide us to His pleasure and may He choose us to be of those who are ghurabaa’….ameen.

  4. Sharif

    May 7, 2008 at 5:28 AM

    Here’s an interesting article by Dawud Wharnsby called, “Why I Boycotted the Senior Prom”.

    http://www.soundvision.com/Info/teens/teen.promwhy.asp

    Subhanallah, and he hadn’t even found Islam yet.

  5. True Virtues

    May 7, 2008 at 8:38 AM

    Assalamualaikum

    Jazakallahu Khair for the reminder.

  6. nina

    May 7, 2008 at 8:54 AM

    You do realize that some Muslims are Western, this is our home, where we were born and our ancestors were born. I am really annoyed how we are never ever considered, ever.

    Also, its so naive to think that most Muslims are practicing. Cruise around facebook or myspace. I think you guys have no clue as to the state of the majority of Musims in West. Focus on the most serious issues not these trivial things. Lastly, aren’t those holidays also celebrated in Muslim countries. I don’t agree with it but if Muslims in Muslim countries are celebrating Halloween and Christmas, how hard do you think it is for Muslims in the west?

  7. inexplicabletimelessness

    May 7, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    Very good post….it should be read by everyone and anyone who presents arguments like…’but we are doing it in the Islamic way’ for all events that are part of the non-Muslim culture….

  8. Amad

    May 7, 2008 at 9:52 AM

    I am sorry Nina… most of the Muslims who blog here are indeed “Western”. We live in the West and we are relatively integrated in the society. But we do not assimilate and compromise to the best of our abilities. There is no “social need” to attend a prom or to get drunk or to party … that is not a requirement of being “Western”. We have our values and our identity. This is a Muslim blog, which covers a variety of issues– some pertain to practicing Muslims, others are political, etc. Just because many of our youth are “messed up” doesn’t mean we leave our identities and have a post on how to dress for a prom!

    We try to focus on all pertinent issues… small and big. For some teens, the prom is a big issue, so we won’t to provide encouragement to them to avoid this fitnah.

  9. Dunia's Stranger

    May 7, 2008 at 9:58 AM

    Nina raises some valid points – I think the presumption is that most Muslims do attend the grad ceremonies albeit with a sense of awkwardness. since they may linger in the background while the dancing is going on at a prom function. I can’t say much about the Muslim lands where non-Muslim holidays are being celebrated but I know that many American Muslims are inclined towards celebrating the not so clear religious holidays such as Thanksgiving, Mothers Day, or Valentines Day (in contrast to Halloween or X-mas).

    Anonymouse – you’ve correctly identified the principle: “emphasizing the need for balance between functioning properly in society as a full citizen/ member of said society and remembering that we should be living in this world as travellers”

    BUT your application of that principle is wanting.

    Lets focus on the application part. Let start by examining the Prom.

    What exactly is the prom? I know from experience that its more than just a dance and there are different portions of it (confession: I was in student government in my NYC high school and helped coordinate the prom planning activities). For instance, here is what a typical itinerary for a prom looks like.

    6:30-7:30 pm – Arrival and greeting with students teachers in lobby/courtyard for social hour.

    7:30-8:30 pm – Dinner

    8:30-10:30 pm – Dancing

    10:30 prom King/Queen Announcement & their dance (slide show of photos from year)

    12 pm – Farewell


    Hence, you can see that there are certain segments that are not inherently Haraam but others that are clearly Haraam. I think that an argument can be made that the activities from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm are safe and fall within the acceptable realm of attendance since your only socializing with your friends/teachers and then having dinner together.

    Then when the music comes on – well I think thats your cue to leave. That’s how my parents position was towards my younger sister. She was dropped off early and picked up early before the real dancing activities of the Prom began.

    I think the application arises out of many later social functions in our lives. I’m currently in a school with not many Muslims but a good portion of Mormons who don’t drink – and I attended a banquet at my school where I went early met with my colleagues and Professors and left after the dinner was done and before the dancing/drinking kicked up. That’s essentially the same thing many of my Mormon friends did since they don’t drink either and were not too keen on dancing.

    Good post to kick off an a topic that I think needs to be addressed amongst Muslim youth in the US & Canada.

  10. Abu Ninja

    May 7, 2008 at 10:41 AM

    Allhamdulillah here in the UK we don’t have Proms, although I have heard through the grapevine that slowly some schools are in the process of kick starting the whole Prom thing here in the UK.

    This whole ‘halal alternative’ sometimes really annoys me. I mean, how far will some Muslims go their pursuit of organising or arranging a so called ‘halal alternative’??

    We already now have nasheeds concerts in the UK where Muslim girls scream at the nasheed acts just like non-Muslims do at music concerts. What’s all that about??

    In my loooong journey I have realised one thing, and I hope no one takes offense at this, but usually its those who follow the ikhwani methodology (uniting with each and everyone regardless of their beliefs) who mostly struggle and strive in organising these so called ‘halal alternatives.’ Like arranging nasheed concerts, comedy tours and magic shows etc. (Yes in my ikhwani days I was shocked to see a magic show take place between lectures at an ikhwani conference I attended with the sisters shouting takeeber at the end of each magic trick! Allahu Musta’aan.)

    Subhanallah it seems as though, the more a Muslim tries to follow the sunnah of our beloved Prophet in todays time, the more they are seen as backwards and strangers.

    May Allah guide the Muslims.

  11. Amad

    May 7, 2008 at 12:02 PM

    I don’t think there is anything wrong with providing “halal alternatives”. There is no doubt that the situation is getting worse everyday with our youth, so whatever we can to provide alternatives can only help. A “magic show” sound terrific actually :)

    I also like Dunia’s suggestion. Join the part that is relatively ok, and then leave the worst part. That of course means that you don’t have a date, which I don’t believe is required, is it? It is impossible to avoid everything that is haraam… like for instance music… if you go shopping or a restaurant, you’ll be hit by it. So, do your best… wallahualam

  12. Dunia's Stranger

    May 7, 2008 at 12:17 PM

    Amad,

    Dates are not required. In my high school, there plenty of students there without dates – in fact the best thing to do, which I did was go with bunch of friends with similar views on socializing – I went with a bunch of friends, some Muslim/non-Muslim, who weren’t into drinking or partying like the average high school friends and left earlier than the rest of the crowd.

    I can’t say much about the “halal alternatives” but I’d echo Abu Ninja’s concerns that it just might be an excuse to do the same things only under the guise of Islam.

    To comment on what Anonymous had written about just generally avoiding such parties – I think its best to show Muslim youth that certain types of parties are acceptable and they should keep a balanced view of things. Because lets be hones, these 17-18 year olds after HS are heading off to places that have WORSE parties: College/Universities.

    If parents/elders shelter them now, they’ll only be tempted to go “check out” the parties on campus to get an experience they felt they missed out during HS. And theres no one there to stop them then.

  13. SabrWaShukr

    May 7, 2008 at 12:20 PM

    Very interesting point! MashAllah. I agree with the post, but then I also agree that there should be some halal alternatives.
    So….. my question is where do we draw the line and how far do we go in our halal alternatives to the deen? that is without compromising the Guraba factor? Like I know some Muslims who have changed Halloween to Halalloween!!! I would personally that is too far and there is nothing halal about that holiday and its origins. Except for eating candy! what do you all think?

    Here is another article that also talks about Prom….. its also very good, makes some good points.
    It is titled: Modernizing Islam in a Modern World By: Shoilee S. Khan

    CHECK IT OUT BELOW!
    http://www.youngmuslims.ca/articles/display.asp?ID=79

  14. nina

    May 7, 2008 at 12:26 PM

    Well, that was my point. This article was chastising communities that at least try to do something for their kids. So many Muslim teens are bored out of their minds. There is nothing for them and the parents don’t even attempt to put them in activities for fear of haram. I was looking on facebook and happened upon a teen whose parents I know. If her parents know what was going on they would be livid. But she is stuck at home, parents don’t put her in any activities except for a few islamic family get togethers. I think halal alternatives are needed. Slowly introduce the sunnah, don’t push the limit too much. For example, I just heard Outlandish via youtube, that is definitely outside the limits to me.

    Regarding the western comment. I beg to differ that you are western, as you were not raised here. I was present at a lecture given by one of the contributers here and in talking about Muslims in American never once acknowledge those who are converts or with western ancestors. Even though the audience was at least 1/3 non-immigrant/1st gen Muslims. But whatever, just wanted to point out that everyones parents didn’t come here from Pakistan or Egypt, so they have to navigate their own new Western Islamic culture.

  15. AnonyMouse

    May 7, 2008 at 12:34 PM

    “But she is stuck at home, parents don’t put her in any activities except for a few islamic family get togethers. I think halal alternatives are needed.”
    That is indeed a big problem – the lack of exciting, interesting, and halaal youth programs – and does contribute a great deal to Muslim kids being bored and frustrated.
    However, I also think that for the most part masha’Allah the masaajid and Islamic centres are realizing the importance of such programs and are organizing youth groups, etc. that get Muslim kids together and involved… so, once such things are established, then alHamdulillah those halaal alternatives are there and Muslim teens shouldn’t feel the need to want to be involved in something like the prom.

    BTW, re:Western Muslim – I definitely am one, ‘cuz I’ve been living here in Canada all my life, and I’m still only 17.
    I also agree w/ the idea of forming a Western Islamic culture… we’re already on our way to doing so, as I pointed out in this post.

  16. Amad

    May 7, 2008 at 12:49 PM

    Let’s look at our staffers: Omar, raised in US. Ahmad, American convert. Musa, American convert. Anonymouse, Canadian raised here. Siraaj, raised here. iMuslim raised in UK. Not sure about Saqib. So, that leaves me perhaps as the only one who ONLY spent half his life here (since my late-teens). So, I guess that makes most of us quite the “Westerners”, don’t you think?

  17. Siraaj Muhammad

    May 7, 2008 at 1:44 PM

    I’m an all around North American – I’ve lived in Canada 10 years and the US for, um, more years :D

    Anonymouse, I agree with what you’ve said in principle about strangers and strangeness, but I’m not convinced that the halaal alternatives are a means of doing our own version of prom because they want to copy nonMuslims out of a sort of inferiority complex.

    My own understanding is that the goal is to get Muslims who would otherwise attend such events away from them when they happen to prevent them from that haraam.

    As for attending the event, I’m not sure why anyone would want to attend a dinner in which the women are even more inappropriately dressed than usual (as they’ve taken extra care to beautify themselves for prom, and they’re wearing less)?

    Siraaj

  18. AnonyMouse

    May 7, 2008 at 2:10 PM

    Hmmmmm… I just realized that maybe I wasn’t so clear on what exactly I was disapproving of.

    I don’t think it’s bad to have a halaal alternative event scheduled at the same time as the prom, so as to keep the Muslims away from it; but I DO think it’s stupid when the “alternative” isn’t much different from the original in terms of purpose and implementation (e.g. even if it’s segregated, the girls will dress up in outfits bordering on the dangerous due to ‘awrah-exposure, there’ll be music, dancing, etc. I know this happens because I’ve had friends who attended such events come back wondering what the difference was between the high school prom and the Islamic centre prom.)

    And also, in general, just the idea of trying to create a halaal alternative for specifically non-Muslim events such as prom, birthdays, etc. is annoying to me. I’m all for doing fun Islamic things on a regular basis; but for us to do something SPECIFICALLY because this is the time when the non-Muslims are doing something ‘big’… that’s what I don’t like. Shouldn’t we be placing more emphasis on times that are important to US as Muslims? (Ramadhaan, Eid, 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah, etc.) Not that we’re supposed to be partying at those times, but rather to make those times stand out and have a place in the hearts of all Muslims (teens and adults alike), looking forward to these days that are most beloved to Allah the way that non-Muslims look forward to those days when they can party even more.

  19. Siraaj Muhammad

    May 7, 2008 at 2:55 PM

    even if it’s segregated, the girls will dress up in outfits bordering on the dangerous due to ‘awrah-exposure, there’ll be music, dancing, etc.

    I guess then your main contention shouldn’t be, “Why do we have these halaal alternatives?”, but more like, “Why are our halaal alternatives not halaal?”

    And also, in general, just the idea of trying to create a halaal alternative for specifically non-Muslim events such as prom, birthdays, etc. is annoying to me. I’m all for doing fun Islamic things on a regular basis; but for us to do something SPECIFICALLY because this is the time when the non-Muslims are doing something ‘big’… that’s what I don’t like. Shouldn’t we be placing more emphasis on times that are important to US as Muslims? (Ramadhaan, Eid, 10 days of Dhul-Hijjah, etc.) Not that we’re supposed to be partying at those times, but rather to make those times stand out and have a place in the hearts of all Muslims (teens and adults alike), looking forward to these days that are most beloved to Allah the way that non-Muslims look forward to those days when they can party even more.

    Hard to say. If you want a practical solution, it’s going to take planning and leadership to make a change. For now, if no one is taking the lead in making that emphasis known, then we’ll all have to settle for short term solutions that are one step better than the real deal (and not by much at times).

    Why don’t you take the lead and start something up (by the way, not picking on you, I tell this to everyone when they see a problem, have a solution, and want “someone” to do something about it)?

    Siraaj

  20. AnonyMouse

    May 7, 2008 at 3:23 PM

    “Why don’t you take the lead and start something up?”
    Already in the works :)

  21. SaqibSaab

    May 7, 2008 at 4:03 PM

    Let’s look at our staffers: Omar, raised in US. Ahmad, American convert. Musa, American convert. Anonymouse, Canadian raised here. Siraaj, raised here. iMuslim raised in UK. Not sure about Saqib.

    Born in Michigan in 1985, raised in Chicago. 8)

    Why don’t you take the lead and start something up (by the way, not picking on you, I tell this to everyone when they see a problem, have a solution, and want “someone” to do something about it)?

    Yeah I’ve noticed that with Muslims, many times if one writes something that’s slightly learning towards a complaint, some readers are very quick to assume that we’re instantly “whining” and have done nothing ourselves. Maybe the reason we’re bringing these issues to the forefront is because we’re doing something about it.

  22. Amad

    May 7, 2008 at 4:08 PM

    Dang Saqib, I am the only half-FOB here! I need to recruit more FOB writers!! ;)

    By the way, at least for me, readers are correct to assume that I only whine, and not do anything about it. I try to delegate the responsibility of actually doing something to the readers. I write and let someone else does the grunt work. Share all that ajar now! :)

  23. Yus from the Nati

    May 7, 2008 at 4:21 PM

    With all “revivalist” type movements it’s difficult to balance the need of imposing a structure…or growing one organically. There are pro’s and con’s to both and obviously would take someone with Hikmah to deduce the maslaha.

    One problem for example in my city is MAS. I don’t mean that MAS is the problem, but this is the issue that people discuss. “Should we have a structure already set in place?…and then lay it down to make a foundation so others may join?”…. or (and harder to do sometimes)

    “Start a structure from ground up/grassroots/organic according to the needs of that particular demographic/society/people/etc.” due to many communities being different in themselves.

    Basically my point is, not to sound cliche,…but as Allah says:

    “Verily, never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves” (Quran 13:11)

    Until we have an upliftment (is that a word?) of many souls together it would be difficult….Allah guides who he wills.

    This does not mean in anyway to give up what ANYBODY is doing to enjoin good and forbid evil. It’s more of a realization. How often do we make dua for the Ummah we are a part of…I mean 4 real-4real. Do we ever?

    SO…I can see how some Ulema and those here find alternatives (yes…that do “imitate” the kuffar)…b/c man…what’s the next alternative? We’re so weak. We suck. Ok i’m done. sorry I go on tangents and don’t make sense sometimes.

    Yusuf-OUT!

  24. AnonyMouse

    May 7, 2008 at 4:40 PM

    Haha, no worries, you made sense (to me, anyway)!

    I totally get what you mean… myself, I think that we need stuff going on at all levels: personally and socially; individually and as a community. Relating that to the whole grad thing/ facing difficulties and finding alternatives yet establishing our own identity at the same time, I think it requires us – youth and adults alike – to first and foremost have the sincere intention to commit themselves to the Deen and seeking Allah’s Pleasure; from there we look at our problems, and use our intelligence to come up with practical Islamic solutions that we need to start implementing ASAP.

    For example, re:grad – adults have to recognize that grad is important for teens and find a way to do something special and halaal that’s not neccessarily imitating the kuffaar (instead of ‘Islamic prom’ why not an ‘Umrah trip like sis inexplicabletimelessness mentioned above?); youth should realize that we have a unique identity as MUSLIMS and not get sucked into wanting to be just like the kuffaar and that we need to be proud of who we are and implement that difference!

  25. Faiez

    May 7, 2008 at 4:48 PM

    “Maybe the reason we’re bringing these issues to the forefront is because we’re doing something about it.”

    Well alot of posts don’t have an action associated with them nor do they call to a certain place for people to take the knowledge that is given and to apply it.

    For example, if there is a crisis in Burma, I can write a post about Burma telling people to do something about it and state a bunch of stats, but if I don’t provide a link or an address where people can donate money or whatever, then my post would basically be a conversation at party with a bunch of uncles. Now it could be that I am actively donating and working in the background, then why don’t I just put the organization that I’m working for to provide relief help into my post? Show how to donate rather than just why to donate.

    Part of enjoining good and forbidding evil is actually enjoining good. Meaning give people actual actions to do rather than “whining” or “raising awareness”.

    Btw, all Muslims born and raised in the west with foreign parents a partly FOB at heart, including Siraaj :)

  26. Pingback: …::MvMuslims::… » Blog Archive » Links: 07-May-2008

  27. Sunie Nizami

    May 7, 2008 at 5:10 PM

    This post definitely livened up my “jealousy” for Islam, so jazakAllahuKhair for that.

    However, I just realized that doing an alternate prom makes you more so a “stranger” and requires more confidence in your own deen.

    If there was such a halal alternate prom in my High School, I would really have struggled to build the sincerety and confidence to attend since everyone would be thinking…

    “Oh.. you’re attending that boring prom that those Muzzlims are having? umm.. Good for you *wierdo*”

    If a Halal alternate can be arranged for the sake of a final get together, then why should we forbid what Allah has made permissable?

  28. AnonyMouse

    May 7, 2008 at 5:10 PM

    “Well alot of posts don’t have an action associated with them nor do they call to a certain place for people to take the knowledge that is given and to apply it.”
    Good point; although I think that most/ many of us are intelligent and creative enough to come up with a solution/ figure out what to do once we know what the problem is, right?

    “Btw, all Muslims born and raised in the west with foreign parents a partly FOB at heart”
    What if one parent is foreign and the other one was also raised in the West? :D

  29. AnonyMouse

    May 7, 2008 at 5:16 PM

    “If a Halal alternate can be arranged for the sake of a final get together, then why should we forbid what Allah has made permissable?”

    All right, so I admit to a slight fault in my original premise (with the emphasis on prom) :)

    Halal alternatives are good, to be encouraged… for most things. Although I still think that prom itself isn’t something to be copied and allegedly halaal-ified (see my above comment referring to not-very-halaal stuff going on at such an event); to do something that IS halaal but also different (‘Umrah trip, although that’s not very practical for most – but something outside the box anyway) would be pretty great.

  30. Faiez

    May 7, 2008 at 5:24 PM

    Good point; although I think that most/ many of us are intelligent and creative enough to come up with a solution/ figure out what to do once we know what the problem is, right?

    Fo sho. Problem that usually happens is that the people who write the posts (with good intentions of course) want to provoke this action from people. And the people who read the posts (with good intentions of course), come to the post looking for an answer to the problem or for some place to exhaust their energy. Nothing gets done and both sides part thinking their job has been done.

    It’s interesting to note that, the posts that do provoke action (giving a definite action) have relatively less debates in the comments than posts that don’t. My theory is that if people don’t have an action to perform, they end up wasting their time arguing with the author rather than making productive use of their time. They’re trying to exhaust their energy in something worthless.

    Allahu ‘Alam

  31. 'liya

    May 7, 2008 at 6:55 PM

    There’s nothing wrong with celebrating the end of 4 years of high school… I think you’re approaching this wrong, it’s not about imitiation, it’s about wanting to recognize yourself and really just have an evening of fun. Muslim students too have been working hard and deserve a break and a time to be with their friends at the school’s end, and (as a high school teacher who observes this all) I would encourage it. Many of them are going to be going each off to different universities and down different paths and might never see each other again.. these were great years for them, why not encourage them to keep in touch and have one final memory together? I don’t see what’s wrong with an halal alternative to represent prom. If I follow your logic, anything based on anything that was originally unIslamic should be condemned.. but what about mendhi parties for weddings, many south asians include them in their festivities yet those are adapted from the hindus.. there’s so many things to pick and choose…

    I didn’t read through the above comments so I hope nobody attacks me, but I just wish we’d stop being so down on our own people, give our teens a chance to show off their talents, kick back and relax before moving on in life, finishing high school for some is a milestone, it shouldn’t be treated as just another day, it is special, especially if they’ve had a great year in school with their friends and academic-wise.

    On another note, I attended my own prom and a separate halal alternative and didn’t see such a big deal. Sometimes we make a huge deal out of something that isn’t really that important to begin with. Honestly, with today’s tight supervision at these events there’s not much that can go wrong when compared to how these events were conducted in the past. Did you attend your own prom and is this post based on your own experience or what others have told you? People tend to exaggerate these stories. I supervised the prom last year and it was even tamer than the Muslim alternative where all the girls did was gossip.

    Anyways, sorry for the long comment, this is my first time commenting…

  32. Abu Ninja

    May 7, 2008 at 7:22 PM

    SabrWaShukr said,

    Like I know some Muslims who have changed Halloween to Halalloween!!!

    [Abu Ninja in utter shock]

    You GOTTA be kidding..

    NO WAY!

    Really??

    What I wanna know is what they make the kids dress up as? Santa Claus and the Pope??

  33. MR

    May 7, 2008 at 8:08 PM

    I think the title needs correction: HIGH SCHOOL GRAD SEASON

    Not college or university. There is no prom.

    :-D

    In fact, grad season for university students is probably one of the most blessed seasons of them all! The feeling of being done with college/university is probably the best feeling ever (until 3 weeks later, when you miss the MSA, but that’s another story)!.

  34. FearAllah

    May 7, 2008 at 10:34 PM

    SubhanAllah sis Anonymouse! You hit it *RIGHT* on the nail!
    I swear those were my thoughts exactly pulled out of my mind and onto the MM blog :P
    I can totally relate……great post!

    I think a good alternative need not be too extravagant or fancy. To hang out with a bunch of your buddies and being grateful to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that He allowed you to get through the 4 year long fitnah fest with your eman intact is enough to be happy about. Go bowling, mini golf, you name it. I really don’t think we’re missing out on prom :P……at ALL…..alhamdulillah!

    Wasalaam

  35. Mezba

    May 7, 2008 at 11:44 PM

    “horror stories of wet dates and date rapes”

    Exaggerations tend to lessen the impact of whatever you are trying to say … whenever I see such stereotyping of the public school system I tend to yawn.

    I didn’t go to our high school prom because it was ALL about dancing and picking out a dress and corsage and limo and all that .. but we did have another dine and greet with the faculty and awards and guess what.. drinks WERE served there.. but I went as it was honoring those graduates and I don’t see anything unIslamic about it.

  36. theManOfFewWords

    May 8, 2008 at 1:28 AM

    Rami, bro, you rock you know that. You totally rock.

    Down with PUBLIC SCHOOLS!!!! DOWN WITH ALL SCHOOLS.

    WE DONT NEED NO EDUCATION
    WE DONT NEED NO THOUGHT CONTROL
    DONT TALK SARCASM IN THE CLASSROOM
    HEY! TEACHER! LEAVE THOSE KIDS ALONE!!!

  37. Siraaj Muhammad

    May 8, 2008 at 2:22 AM

    Yeah I’ve noticed that with Muslims, many times if one writes something that’s slightly learning towards a complaint, some readers are very quick to assume that we’re instantly “whining” and have done nothing ourselves. Maybe the reason we’re bringing these issues to the forefront is because we’re doing something about it.

    Maybe, maybe not. I’m trigger-happy on the question because in my personal, anecdotal experience, the majority of Muslims are indeed whiners and not doers. Alhamdulillaah, this is not the case in this post, but I don’t assume that, that’s why I ask the question ;)

    By the way, at least for me, readers are correct to assume that I only whine, and not do anything about it.

    Of course, there’s Amad to add to my anecdotal experience ;)

    Btw, all Muslims born and raised in the west with foreign parents a partly FOB at heart, including Siraaj

    Yes, this is true. I didn’t realize this until I married.

    but what about mendhi parties for weddings, many south asians include them in their festivities yet those are adapted from the hindus.. there’s so many things to pick and choose…

    There are only so many jaahil festivities one can mention in a post – I think since this was focused on high school grads, the author focused on prom in particular. In the future when sister Anonymouse is getting married insha’Allah (meaning ruksati, she’s already technically married), I’ll be looking forward to her article on the stupidity of incorporating pagan practices and rituals into our nikaah events.

    On another note, I attended my own prom and a separate halal alternative and didn’t see such a big deal. Sometimes we make a huge deal out of something that isn’t really that important to begin with. Honestly, with today’s tight supervision at these events there’s not much that can go wrong when compared to how these events were conducted in the past. Did you attend your own prom and is this post based on your own experience or what others have told you? People tend to exaggerate these stories. I supervised the prom last year and it was even tamer than the Muslim alternative where all the girls did was gossip.

    The potential for crimes against society are not the only issues to worry about, actually. More often than not, the main issue is the environment itself. While I doubt most drink at the prom, there is the issue of the dancing, the skanky prom outfits, the removal of the garter belt, the music, and so on. There’s many a problem at prom for the practicing Muslim.

    I didn’t go to our high school prom because it was ALL about dancing and picking out a dress and corsage and limo and all that .. but we did have another dine and greet with the faculty and awards and guess what.. drinks WERE served there.. but I went as it was honoring those graduates and I don’t see anything unIslamic about it.

    When you say you don’t see anything unIslamic about it, what you’re saying is, I didn’t see anything that I could do there that would anger Allah subhaana wa ta’aala. Mezba, what’s your basis for what is and isn’t unIslamic?

    Siraaj

  38. Mezba

    May 8, 2008 at 10:56 AM

    I think a little bit of compromising and understanding is needed which is lost when one gets into a language like “imitating the way of the kuffar” or “importing jahiliyya“. Reality is we live in a non-Muslim society and flexibility requires BOTH parties (muslim and non-Muslim) to be accomodating.

    When Mecca was ruled by idolators and idols filled the Kaaba and the Hajj was a Grand Carnival where so much wine flowed that that Arabs had over 100 words to describe it, it still didn’t stop the Muslims from going to the Kaaba and doing their own thing.

  39. Siraaj Muhammad

    May 8, 2008 at 11:47 AM

    When Mecca was ruled by idolators and idols filled the Kaaba and the Hajj was a Grand Carnival where so much wine flowed that that Arabs had over 100 words to describe it, it still didn’t stop the Muslims from going to the Kaaba and doing their own thing.

    I’m not aware of the details of this situation, but regardless, the analogy has a fault in that it describes a situation in which the Muslims were around the jahiliyya, not participants in the same gathering, saying, “Hey, let’s go to the halaal part of this celebration and stay away from the haraam part.”

    The analogy offered is more like different groups of people who are not together, but they’re attending the same restaurant for food. One group is at a table eating good food, and the other is at another table ordering alcohol – same restaurant, same purpose, but the two tables are not affiliated with one another. In the situation presented above, it seems everyone is part of the same gathering.

    Also, is a difference between avoidable and unavoidable situations. Hajj is a specific act of worship, done in a specific place and specific time. As for awards ceremonies with alcohol, I’d avoid them because I need not go, but that’s just me and how I’d do it, life will continue with no regrets and the award can be mailed out.

    Siraaj

  40. 'liya

    May 8, 2008 at 12:29 PM

    Siraaj, I apologize for going off topic by mentioning the mendhi but there’s so many Western (and Eastern) practices that Muslims adopt and adapt to their own that it just seems silly to pick and choose a few not to like because of maybe personal reasons. I guess if we choose one we should apply this thinking to all, so I look forward to a post in the future that does address this.

    “The potential for crimes against society are not the only issues to worry about, actually. More often than not, the main issue is the environment itself. While I doubt most drink at the prom, there is the issue of the dancing, the skanky prom outfits, the removal of the garter belt, the music, and so on. There’s many a problem at prom for the practicing Muslim.” – Siraaj, I do think you’re missing my point. I said it’s okay to have a HALAL prom. Girls like to dress up, why not let them dress up for each other (girls) and it doesn’t have to be “skanky” …I’ve seen some lovely hijabi Muslim sisters dress very modestly at prom.. this would in fact be the perfect way to make modestly fun! You also don’t have to dance at a real school prom… I certainly didn’t.. and the garter belt? this isn’t a Christian wedding we’re talking about! This is what I mean by not knowing all the facts. Basically my point is that sometimes we make a mountain out of nothing because we don’t really know much about it to begin with and when fear of the unknown comes into play then the imagination likes to run wild with it. That’s all.

  41. Alima

    May 8, 2008 at 12:33 PM

    Salaamu alaikum all,

    Good post alhamdulillah,

    I haven’t read all the comments due to the lack of time…exams.

    Abu Ninja, sorry to break it to you bro but the UK does have Proms! For the past 4 years my high school has been organising proms much to my dismay, and every year i’ve been constantly doing dawah to the muslim girls to persuade them not to go. SubhanAllah its difficult, because it opens sooo much avenues to haraam…girls who have never dated meet the perfect guy and guess what he asks, and she accepts. Astaghfirullah.

    This post has been enlightening…it makes you realise your not alone.

    This is not a trivial matter, the muslims have never been involved in this in the Uk, this is a new trend that has begun a few years ago and if we don’t deal with it, these haraam things will one by one creep into muslims lives. We have a lot of issues to deal with, for too long they have been overlooked.

    If the practicing folk will not bring up this topic then who will?

    WAllahu a’lam

  42. SH

    May 8, 2008 at 2:21 PM

    Muslim Girl: I can’t wait for this weekend

    Non-muslim : yeah I know the prom is this weekend

    Muslim girl: oh yeah I forgot about that

    Non-Muslim: isn’t that what you were excited about?

    Muslim Girl: Oh no I was excited because I get to take a Love Notes/(insert your class here) class with al-maghrib institute its going to be awesome… get to meet up with all my friends and learn with this totally knowledgeable and funny teacher…yeah I know I’m a nerd I get excited about learning but it gives my heart such a rush I can’t get over it….I can’t think of anything better than being in a gathering of smart people.

    Non-Muslim Girl: (confused/admiring look on her face) Oh well have fun.

    Muslim girl: thanks I will (leaves with a felling of confidence and an emaan rush knowing she pleased her creator and in her own way also gave dawah!)

  43. Alima

    May 8, 2008 at 3:39 PM

    SH, lol thats so me,

    Countless times i have muslims and non-muslims asking me ‘do you have fun,’ or telling ‘go and do something fun with your life, move away…’ Bad friends eh!

    Then i tell them all the things i’m involved in, and then i ask them do you have fun, what do you do?

    haha then they realise that is fun is relative and you don’t have to give in every whim and desire to have fun.

    By the way, some people may attend the beginning of the prom when it is halal and leave when it is okay.

    I have to disagree, the girl or boy may have the correct intention, but who’s saying the other attendees will have a clean intention, even attending it can be fitnah, it is better to avoid it.

    We can do our own thing, i think it’s a good idea, for example we will be having a farewell dinner where all the sisters will have a chance to dress up and have fun. This was purley for dawah, and i didn’t even have the prom in my mind, until a few girls came and reminded me about it.

  44. FearAllah

    May 8, 2008 at 4:01 PM

    SubhanAllah a person once said….

    Say Bismillah before you go do ANY action. Then you’ll know automatically what the reality is.

    “Bismillah…….let’s go to prom!”………

    ’nuff said.

    Wasalaam

  45. Faiez

    May 8, 2008 at 4:55 PM

    Say Bismillah before you go do ANY action. Then you’ll know automatically what the reality is.

    hahaha that’s awesome.

  46. S

    May 8, 2008 at 6:43 PM

    I THINK IT ALL DEPENDS ON HOW KNOWLEDGEABLE AND HOW STRONG YOU ARE IN UR DEEN…IF YOU HAVE THE KNOWLEDGE YOU WONT FEEL LIKE UR MISSIN OUT ON LOUSY EVENTS SUCH AS PROM…YOU RATHER HANG OUT WITH UR CLOSE BUDDIES AND CELEBRATE UR ACCOMPLISHMENTS…

    ABOUT THE WHOLE HALAL ALTERNATIVE THING….EVERYONE HAS THEIR OWN OPINION…
    I PERSONALLY THINK ITS NOT A BAD IDEA AS LONG AS THEY ARE HALAL..IF SOME MUSLIMS FEEL LIKE THEY ARE MISSING OUT…HEY WHY NOT A HALAL ALTERNATIVE? IT WILL ATLEAST STOP THEM FROM BEING A PART OF A HARAM EVENT…

  47. Muslim brother-

    May 8, 2008 at 7:44 PM

    Bismillah

    Good article, may Allah preserve you.
    Some comments:

    1. I agree with the author, we do not need to have this apologetic and defeatist attitude. We don’t have to adopt all the customs of the kuffar and ‘halalize’ them. We have our own customs and cultures and most importantly we have our Shar’ee Rules set by Allah. We should be proud of the Laws that Allah has placed for us, rather than try to hide them and decorate them with ‘halal nasheed concert’ ‘halal comedy shows’ ‘non-alcoholic beer’ ‘halal prom’ and so on…I shudder to think where this will lead…

    2. Someone said:
    “Also, its so naive to think that most Muslims are practicing.”

    No one said or even implied that most Muslims are practicing. This website has serious articles that (from what I have read) are aimed at Muslims who actually care about their Deen. Do you think the guy who hasn’t prayed in years and doesn’t practice whatsoever will regularly visit this site? And if he does happen to, what is wrong if he sees an article like this?

    3. Someone said:
    “I also like this suggestion. Join the part that is relatively ok, and then leave the worst part. That of course means that you don’t have a date, which I don’t believe is required, is it?”

    Why even go to such a place of filth? Be the only loner without a date. Can’t shake hands with the students of the opposite gender or hug and kiss them goodbye as everyone else is doing. Everyone else is dressed up all flashy (and as for the girls I will use the word ‘undressed’ instead) and you are in your hijab or whatever. There is no reason for a Muslim to subject her or himself to such a pathetic pathetic state. And then going home right when the ‘fun’ is about to start for everyone else, feeling all sad and dismayed. Why put oneself through such a horrible situation? So he or she doesn’t feel left out? Oops, got the opposite effect…

    4. Someone said:
    “If parents/elders shelter them now, they’ll only be tempted to go “check out” the parties on campus to get an experience they felt they missed out during HS. And theres no one there to stop them then.”

    This is not good at all. So let us subject our children to dating, music, porn, smoking, and all kinds of evil (all of which are readily available in this society) because if we shelter them, they will only be more curious to try it out when they are ‘free.’ The parent is responsible for raising the child correctly even if it means getting away from an evil environment if that is possible. If the parent chooses to live in a steaming pile of feces but tells his child to close his nose all his childhood, then the child grows up and finally opens his nose and embraces the feces, then the parent says “Hey, not my fault, I did the best I could!” No you didn’t, you could’ve moved out of the dump you raised your kid in, rather then force him to hold his nose for 15 years…

    5. Someone said:
    “The problem starts with parents enrolling kids in public school. Why would you expose them to an environment where everything is haram and expect them to push aside all peer pressure?”

    Dear brother you hit the nail right on the head. It is like tying a pitbull to a short leash and putting a big mouth-watering steak right out of range, and leaving him for days, constantly adding more and more steaks right out of range. That’s torture man.

    6. Brothers and sisters please don’t let the blame of the kuffar and the defeatists get to your heads. Islam will return to being strange as the Messenger of Allah – Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam – said. And Allah al-Hakeem tells us in suratul-Baqarah:

    al-Baqarah 120: And the Jews will not be pleased with thee, nor will the Christians, till thou follow their creed. Say: Lo! the guidance of Allah (Himself) is Guidance. And if thou shouldst follow their desires after the knowledge which hath come unto thee, then wouldst thou have from Allah no protecting guardian nor helper.

    And the Messenger of Allah – Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam – said:
    “You will follow the ways of those before you even if they would enter a lizard’s hole you would follow them.” The companions replied: “The Jews and the Christians?” The Prophet – Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wasallam – said: “Who else?” [Bukhari and Muslim].

    Halal get-together = no problem

    There is no need to be extreme in either side of the fence. But we gotta draw the line somewhere.

    Allah knows best.

  48. Muslim brother-

    May 8, 2008 at 7:54 PM

    Someone said:
    “When Mecca was ruled by idolators and idols filled the Kaaba and the Hajj was a Grand Carnival where so much wine flowed that that Arabs had over 100 words to describe it, it still didn’t stop the Muslims from going to the Kaaba and doing their own thing.”

    Yes. The Muslims had nowhere else to go. When they had a chance, many left to habasha. When they had a chance, they ALL left to Madinah. (except for those who did wrong as Allah tells us in the Qur’an.)

    Our current situation can be compared to the Makkan stage in many ways, but this is definitely not one and Allah knows best.

    And your point makes no sense, anyway. You said “it didn’t stop the Muslims from going to the Kaaba and doing their own thing.”
    Yes, their own thing. Not copying the idolators!! I don’t understand what point you are trying to make, please clarify.

    Please consider more carefully before you make such comments because people eat up that stuff. Many people are convinced but such ‘arguments’ that don’t even have a point and are invalid to begin with. May Allah reward you and forgive you.

    Someone also mentioned that the mention of rape was an exaggeration. Okay, forget rape. How about we mention the (implied but unmentioned thus far, unless I missed it) fact that prom night is THE night for all the high school kids and there is no need to clarify more than than. Don’t kid with yourselves…please.

  49. Siraaj Muhammad

    May 8, 2008 at 8:52 PM

    Siraaj, I do think you’re missing my point. I said it’s okay to have a HALAL prom. Girls like to dress up, why not let them dress up for each other (girls) and it doesn’t have to be “skanky” …I’ve seen some lovely hijabi Muslim sisters dress very modestly at prom.. this would in fact be the perfect way to make modestly fun! You also don’t have to dance at a real school prom… I certainly didn’t.. and the garter belt? this isn’t a Christian wedding we’re talking about! This is what I mean by not knowing all the facts. Basically my point is that sometimes we make a mountain out of nothing because we don’t really know much about it to begin with and when fear of the unknown comes into play then the imagination likes to run wild with it. That’s all.

    Hey ‘Liya,

    I know I may at times come off as the resident fundo speaking from hearsay, but unfortunately, I’m the resident fundo speaking from knowledge borne of personal experience. I did attend my high school prom (boo! haraami!) when I didn’t know better, and yeah, I’ve seen that and more than I care to admit.

    My point is simply, if you’re part of a gathering of people who are up to no good, even if you don’t participate, you’re still an accomplice to the crime, whether those people are Muslim or nonMuslim.

    Simple example – backbiting others. It’s not just the backbiter that’s in the wrong, it’s also the ones who sit and complacently listen to the backbiter, rather than either advise the person, or walk away. I take the same principle and apply it here – sure, the brothers and sisters may not be dating, dancing, or participating. They could be cold chillin’ like halaal villains while looking at their feet, but they’re still with the group.

    Besides, there are lots of other issues involved, from desensitizing one to unIslamic behavior, vulgar music, and if someone is feeling particularly retro, disco balls (my parents used to throw disco parties on my birthdays with their friends and send me to bed).

    Y’know what I think is good halaal fun? Going out to a restaurant with your friends and just having a good time. Planning out some really awesome daw’ah and community service oriented activities, that’s my cup of tea. Turning on youtube and laughing at the drama and politicking of the three remaining presidential candidates til 2am in the morning, that’s fun to me (ok, I think that may just be me).

    Siraaj

  50. Muslim brother-

    May 8, 2008 at 9:17 PM

    Bismillah

    Upon re-reading my post, I might’ve seemed a bit harsher than I intended. I don’t have a problem with providing halal alternatives for the youth, attempting to divert them from the haram. May Allah reward those who try, and may Allah bless their efforts.
    My entire point in one sentence: We need to draw the line somewhere.

    Brother Siraaj mentioned something which is very good and must not be ignored or brushed off: “desensitizing one to unIslamic behavior…”

  51. Pingback: Islamify.com

  52. vindicated

    May 9, 2008 at 8:42 AM

    One thing that I would mention pertaining to this post, is that although there is no ‘grad season’ or such out here in Pakistan, but the general atmosphere or environment is deteriorating rather alarmingly here as well.

    There are examples of university and/or some student body organized events where a lot of the stuff mentioned takes place… One of the reason for that, in my opinion is that muslims in my age group (university going students) all over the world are losing the identity that Islam has given to them- due to ignorance of what their religion is, and why they are commanded to do what they are. It’s really surprising how little students seem to know about their ‘code of life’ after studying Islamic Studies for more than 12 years.

    For example, people generally know facts like music is ‘haraam’, but yet pay no heed to it- and the only reason i can think for explaining this is that they know but don’t believe because they have been brought up in an environment where asking questions regarding one’s beliefs is considered wrong- and in turn it has vanquished their desire to learn more about their deen.

    From the first day, every muslim is taught he should pray 5 times a day as it is fard, but is not told alongside the real reason behind it is being grateful to your Rabb for everything you have. Hence, after growing up in this environment, they ‘know’ a lot of stuff, and have memorized a lot of ‘Islamiyat’ without actually believing in it.

    Hence, in my humble opinion, one of the solutions to such problems lies in the proper upbringing of a child due to which he or she feels proud to be a true Muslim, and in following the injunctions of Islam. Then, be it grad season or any other season, he/she will proudly up hold his/her beliefs, even if it means becoming a stranger to the pack.

  53. muslimgal

    May 9, 2008 at 11:52 AM

    I totally agree w/ Vindicated. Well said.

  54. Charles

    May 9, 2008 at 1:03 PM

    This article is a good one, and one that deserves careful consideration. But one point I would like to comment on is that of “imitating kuffaar.” As an American convert, I do not “imitate” the customs and culture of the kuffaar. American customs and culture are mine: I was born in them and with them. Where they contradict Allah’s guidance, I put them aside, but where they do not, I keep them.

    So, for me, speaking of “imitating the kuffaar,” denigrates all of my culture instead of a specific practice. In addition, it may assume that any custom not based in Arabic culture is unIslamic. It would be better to leave aside the notion of “imitation” and focus on determining whether a particular practice (such as the prom, mendhi parties for weddings, Basant festival, saint worship, the salary tax in Bahrain, women driving cars, and so on) is haram or halal. In this way, we can examine the particular practice objectively from the perspective of Islam rather than emotionally from cultural prejudices.

  55. Muslimah

    May 10, 2008 at 1:46 AM

    ” When Mecca was ruled by idolators and idols filled the Kaaba and the Hajj was a Grand Carnival where so much wine flowed that that Arabs had over 100 words to describe it, it still didn’t stop the Muslims from going to the Kaaba and doing their own thing.” – Mezba

    I’m not aware of the details of this situation, but regardless, the analogy has a fault in that it describes a situation in which the Muslims were around the jahiliyya, not participants in the same gathering, saying, “Hey, let’s go to the halaal part of this celebration and stay away from the haraam part.” – Siraaj

    — Just to add, the analogy is also faulty considering Muslims did not have the power to abolish idols or the traditions of the idol-worhsippers. They were forced to be in that position while Muslims are in no way compelled to attend their high school proms. And no doubt about it, during the conquest of Makkah all the idols were destroyed and the Muslims no longer had to put up with the situation.

    I agree with sister Mouse, we have to learn to think and behave independently of the present culture when it comes to preserving our religion. I’m Canadian-bred (through and through) but Islam always comes first. It never once occured to me to attend my high school prom because it soo *obviously* runs contrary to Islamic etiquette (it’s almost absurd how haram it is). At any rate, we should promote a culture among Muslims that doesn’t just host social events to prevent our youth from attending their haram counterparts but strives to make halal entertainment/recreation available throughout the year (prom is not the only vice — clubbing, etc is a 365 day/year deal).

  56. Dawud Israel

    May 10, 2008 at 6:36 PM

    I didn’t read all the comments or the whole post but I was in a similar situation when I graduated.

    I was pretty loud and proud about being Muslim in my high school despite living in an isolated area. I did as much dawah as I could and even got a chance to give a talk about Islam to an entire grade. I even threw a temper tantrum so they had to “cater” to my Islamic senstivities. :)

    So when grad time came around I went and was speaking to my principal and told him how the sisters wouldn’t be willing to shake hands with him and he told me that others had already told him not too and he is going to accommodate for that. BUT you cannot tell them that every single Muslim girl wants this–only the ones that request it and if they can speak to them earlier it would be better.

    As long as you are loud and proud about being Muslim–they accommodate to you. It’s a democracy not a dictatorship and at the end of the day, there are more than enough ways to work yourself through the system. And yeah, they will be rude to the sisters and females got their own issues in this (kaffirah women badmouthing muslimahs) so it’s better if your an imposing guy who is vocal. :)

    Avoid the prom–it’s stupid to attend since usually the food is haraam too and you can’t dance so you just end up looking like an idiot. The Muslim tradition is to do a Muslim grad party which is always good. :)

    As long as you get active in the community and set a good example–they will notice and feel good to make things easier for you.

    It’s EASY so don’t make it difficult. Actually it’s so easy an idiot can do it so you all should relax and be happy! :D

  57. inexplicabletimelessness

    May 11, 2008 at 12:44 AM

    Good points brother Dawud. Let’s think of ways we can turn this paradigm upside down and use prom and the whole graduation culture for da’wah! Since I’m also graduating this year I’ll definitely see how many of these I can implement:

    Let’s see…

    – if you are valedictorian, give an awesome da’wah-licious speech! If you have read A Voice by Umm Zakiyyah, you know what I’m talking about!
    -organize some events for Muslim youth who are graduating with college advice from an Islamic perspective
    -have an all sisters’ all halal graduating party (or all brothers’ all halal graduating party) with cool prizes, outdoor activities (hiking, horsebackriding, etc..)
    -if you are giving grad gifts to people (Muslims or non-Muslims), you can give candy, homemade desserts like brownies or something else but why not add in a ‘Purpose of Life’ booklet
    -I try to make da’wah to as many teachers as I can esp. science teachers whom I try to give “A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam” to; when you are graduating and are saying your goodbyes to teachers, why not give them a gift with an Islamic book also?
    -be really vocal about not going to prom/ senior ball / senior breakfast / parties and act PROUD. if someone asks you, are you coming? Reply: Heck no!!! Why would I go? (of course in a nice way ;)) Then you can explain why you are not going and bring it back to Tawheed
    -a lot of people at this time (esp high school seniors) talk about what they want to major in and what they want to ‘do in their life’; explain how the decision is so easy for you because as a Muslim, you already know your purpose in life and whatever you study in college, etc… it will bring you back to this purpose

    Please add more tips! We can turn a culture or time period filled with fitnah into a da’wah filled, positive energy atmosphere, inshaAllah, bi ithnillah.

  58. mcpagal

    May 15, 2008 at 6:40 PM

    I like inexplicabletimelessness’s (phew!) points :)

    For the person who said prom hasn’t really reached the UK, well… it has. I left high school like 3 years ago, and prom had been going strong for about 3 years before. I thought it was stupid – UK schoolkids have this thing about wanting school to be like what they see on American TV shows, everyone having lockers and homeroom and cheerleading and prom. So our year campaigned for lockers (we got them!), and we even had a cheerleading team set up – nevermind that we didn’t have any sort of sports team for them to cheer on…

    That was a bit of a tangent.

    Anyway, I think prom in the UK turns out even worse than in America and so on, because the legal drinking age here is 18 – meaning that most people ‘graduating’ high school are old enough to drink, turning the prom into an alcohol-fest as well as everything else haram going on.

    Thing is, I knew that I wouldn’t enjoy myself in that kind of atmosphere, but it was sad not to have an event where I could say goodbye to everyone, say thanks to the teachers I didn’t hate and so on. That was the element I missed out on – I couldn’t have cared less about the party and dressing up. I think a lot of the halal-alternatives miss out on the whole point – it’s a chance to meet up with everybody socially, not just the Muslim students. So if an alternative is really going to be that, it has to still incorporate that aspect. I don’t like the idea of a separate Muslim event anyway – it seems pointlessly exclusionary (no, I don’t know if that’s actually a word).

    Also, it doesn’t just end at prom. I go to dental school, and everybody is really sociable and friendly. There are countless events in the year – a ball in november each year, plus an extra one halfway through the course, and another one at graduation. Plus countless events throughout the year. So far, every event has involved people getting drunk – like stereotypical students. At the beginning, nobody really asked me & my [Muslim] friends if we were going – but as time’s gone on, and they’ve learned that we’re not actually silent repressed towelheads, some people have gotten really friendly and insistently invite us. I always explain that I couldn’t be comfortable in that sort of environment. But some girls have gotten hurt, they think we’re snobbish and don’t like them. I don’t much care, but again, at the end of the course I would like some opportunity to say goodbye to students & staff. I couldn’t buy a ticket to the dinner or whatever though, knowing that my money would pay for someone else’s alcohol. Anyone think of any alternatives?

  59. Saleha

    May 15, 2008 at 11:41 PM

    Quoting Brother Dawud
    “So when grad time came around I went and was speaking to my principal and told him how the sisters wouldn’t be willing to shake hands with him and he told me that others had already told him not too and he is going to accommodate for that. BUT you cannot tell them that every single Muslim girl wants this–only the ones that request it and if they can speak to them earlier it would be better.

    As long as you are loud and proud about being Muslim–they accommodate to you. It’s a democracy not a dictatorship and at the end of the day, there are more than enough ways to work yourself through the system. And yeah, they will be rude to the sisters and females got their own issues in this (kaffirah women badmouthing muslimahs) so it’s better if your an imposing guy who is vocal. ”

    Jazakullah khair for this advice, I’m graduating in a few weeks and was thinking about this over and over and wondered how I would do this, and I didn’t even think of this. So thank you, because I’m one of the two hijabis in the graduating class, and would be glad to tell muslim brothers about this too who don’t want it. Of course, we all know who these muslims are, because as you said, not every single muslim wants this. But I do so jazakullah!

  60. Omar

    May 24, 2008 at 4:13 PM

    Usually grad night and prom are two different things, prom comes about a month or two before school finishes, you dont have to be graduating to go to it, and the night is meant to revolve around you and your date, who you generally try to hook up with if you’re following the true essence of american culture (thus the phrase “off like a prom dress”).

    Now a “grad night”, at least most i’ve heard of, is a special celebration, just for graduating seniors, and is more like a stay up all night party with entertainment to celebrate the end of school; it doesn’t involve taking a date and doesn’t have the same intergender connotations ascribed to prom.

    Kufaar did not invent the concept of a celebration, I think commemorative feasts are something that can be referenced all the way back to the earliest prophets peace be upon them.

    Non-Muslims are definitely wrong about alot of stuff; but things do not become wrong just because non-believers do it. We have to understand what intrinsically makes something wrong before knowing whether to do it or not.

    By questioning the lawfullness of our behavior based on how closely it resembles the behavior of non-believing kaffirs, we have again allowed them to set the standard for what is right and wrong.

    So what if Muslims invented grad night first, independent of any influence by a kafir, would it be okay then? And the answer still is no! Just because a Muslim came up with it doesn’t make it right either.

    We have mechanisms to test whether things are right or wrong and these are the rulings of fiqh and adab, based on the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the prophet.

    Our consistency in using these mechanisms to test whether something is right or wrong, (because everyone knows sometimes those silly kuffaar come up with a good idea) is the only way to avoid creating unnecessary paranoya about everything we do.

  61. Logan Baker

    September 30, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    my sister always like to attend bridal showers and she enjoys it a lot~,.

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