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The Prom Problem

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Being a Muslim at a public high school comes with its own set of challenges.  One of the biggest problems in high school that we all are faced with is: Prom.

I’m writing this post in order to help any young Muslim students struggling with the Prom season to figure out whether or not Prom is for them.

Let’s face it: Prom is a huge deal.

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For some reason, Prom seems to be a huge deal here in the US (and possibly schools in other countries have a similar dance/social event).  We hear things like “Prom is the milestone of senior year,” or “Prom is one of the best experiences of high school.” We keep hearing these ideas over and over and we begin to believe them.

It doesn’t help that popular culture has propagated the idea of Prom as being an extremely crucial event of high school life.  Prom itself can play a huge role in teenage movies and fictional/reality shows, with some as old and iconic as Back to the Future and Never Been Kissed, to more recent movies like Mean Girls and Napoleon Dynamit, to the latest Glee episodes, to Disney’s latest movie and attempt to corrupt the children of the world.  Pop culture also reinforces the stereotype of the cool kids attending Prom while the losers are sitting on the sidelines, too lame to get a date to go with.

As if seeing Prom repeatedly on the big screen wasn’t bad enough, just being on a high school campus during “Prom season” can be another form of torture for the young Muslim faced with the dilemma of attending Prom.  The student government spends months upon months planning for Prom and this event is one of the most hyped up of the whole year.  There are rallies and assemblies devoted to making people excited to go to Prom.  Everyone is buzzing with the latest gossip about who is going with who, who is asking which girl out in what cute and creative way, and what drama has arisen in the process.  The girls are talking about what dresses they will be wearing and where they are getting their hair and make-up done.  The high school class anxiously follows the Prom Court and looks forward to seeing a friend be crowned as Prom Queen or Prom King, or an extremely disliked classmate not being crowned.  There is so much excitement that builds up on campus, it’s hard not to get sucked in to the topic of Prom and start feeling excited too, especially when it’s the only thing that everyone keeps talking about.

It comes to a point where it seems as if 4 years of your high school life really does culminate in the one evening of Prom.  It also may come to the point where you really want to go and don’t want to miss out.  But how can you decide on whether or not going to Prom is something that should be a part of your high school experience?

Arguably, when looked at from a purely Islamic perspective, it is pretty black and white what a person’s decision should be about Prom.  However, we don’t always go by or necessarily agree with or see the logic in what we know Islam or our parents say.  Maybe there is another process that we must go through on our own as young adults which takes Islamic principles and our parents’ preferences into account to some degree, but is largely an independent and individual decision.

To go or not to go?  That is the question!

There are many things that you should consider.  I have used reflections from my own experiences in high school (Class of 2009!!) and reflections from experiences of other brothers and sisters I know through the Muslim Student Union (MSU) and other organizations.

We all agreed that Prom is an extremely conditional thing which is very relative to your specific high school and group of friends.  There is a lot of gray area that you will have to wade through, so I hope that the advice we can give your from our experiences help you in making your big decision.

First things first, stop and ask yourself these main questions:

What does Prom really mean?  What good will going to Prom do for me? What bad will going to Prom do to me?  What will I miss if I don’t go?  What will I gain by not going?

Make sure you have stopped and seriously asked yourself and really thought about these things.

Here are the top 3 reasons that I found to be the most compelling for those debating about going to Prom.

1. Everyone is doing it and I don’t want to be left out.

After being in high school with the same class for 4 years, you’ve learned that it’s all about going with the flow and doing what everyone else is doing.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing or a good thing, but it can definitely influence the decisions that you make.  Sometimes being Muslim and having a strange name that even your fellow Muslim classmates refuse to pronounce correctly is hard enough, and our goal can turn into laying low and sticking out as little as possible.

It may be hard to explain yourself to 400 classmates, especially when you don’t have a group of Muslim peers who will do the same.  If you’re all alone, it can become very difficult to keep telling people over and over again that you aren’t going to Prom “because of my religion” or “because it’s against my religious beliefs.” I was pretty much all alone and was one of the 5 Muslims who graduated in my class.  I was open with my close friends and they didn’t even really need to ask why I wasn’t going to my Prom.  However, with people who were more like acquaintances, coming up with a response that made me feel comfortable was a little harder.  In my case, I would simply say “I’m busy that day and I don’t feel like going anyways” and Alhamdulillah it turned out to be completely true because my masjid’s Youth Group was taking a huge rock-climbing trip the day of my senior Prom so I had that as a valid excuse.  Rock-climbing beats Prom any day!

One thing that I learned the hard way in high school was that I am a Muslim and I will always be a Muslim.  That means I will always be different from my classmates no matter what I do. As soon as I started realizing that and stopped trying to fit in and stopped caring about what others thought of me, I was able to come to terms with my Muslim identity and embrace my faith.  For me, it was a gradual and side-by-side, grueling process.   All of the mistakes that I made and struggles I went through in high school truly tested me and shaped me into the person I am today.  My experiences in high school gave me the conviction that I have in my deen today.  (I am not saying to go out there and do a bunch of stupid things and make bad decisions.  Learn from the experiences of those who came before you and don’t fall into the same problems.)  But maybe going to Prom isn’t something that you think is opposed to your Muslim identity.

A really important thing to truly reflect on is how many of the people that you went to high school with will be a part of your life after high school?  Do you think that your relationships with all of these people you know will continue once you are all off to different colleges?  In my experiences and in others,’ no one really cares about anyone from high school and everyone pretty much forgets and gets over everyone else.  There are only a handful of friends that you will keep and stay in contact with, otherwise the rest of the people you know will become distant memories.  It may seem like your graduating class is so special and that you will be so sad to leave everyone, but you’ll get over it in no time inshaAllah and then look back and think that you were being incredibly dumb the whole time –  trust me.

Another thing that many people said is that going to Prom isn’t as huge of a deal as it used to be.  Many people don’t go to Prom for various reasons, not just the losers who can’t manage to find dates.  Maybe Prom is lessening in its importance and it’s not that big of an event at your school.

2. I am just going with my friends.

Some of us will go to Prom just to hang out and share this once in a lifetime experience with our friends.  You might not be in it to go with a date or to dance with anyone from the opposite sex.  You might not even go to dance at all and will be chilling in a separate arcade type section.  If this is the case, if Prom isn’t a big deal, was there another place to go and hang out with your friends somewhere else?  Maybe going to Prom is something you consider to be a social event in which you can uphold your principles and values.  Maybe Prom is just a way for you to get a little dressed up, take some pictures, and be at an event with your whole class.  If this is what you are thinking when making your decision about going to Prom, also see if there are any alternative hang outs or things you can do in a different place.

See if Prom really is the only and the best place for you to hang out with your friends and have an amazing and memorable time.

It is also important to see whether or not you feel comfortable discussing these sorts of decisions with your friends and whether or not they respect your principles and values (even if your non-Muslim friends have to relate a little to your Islamic beliefs).  How valuable is their friendship to you if you can’t feel comfortable and can’t trust them?  We all know how important having good company is.

3. I won’t do anything wrong.  I just want to see what Prom is all about.

We think that we are extremely strong in the face of temptation and immune to falling into questionable practices.  The truth is that we have to take into consideration the environment we are in and that we shouldn’t be the ones who are testing ourselves with things, we should leave that up to Allah.  There is a story of when the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was a child and was in a situation where he was about to do something just to check it out.  He went into the city where there was a wedding and music playing.  Right before he was exposed to the gathering, he became so sleepy he fell asleep and didn’t wake up until the next morning.  He went back again the next day and the same thing happened again.  We see that Allah had protected him from entering into an environment in which questionable things were happening.  Allah had kept his Prophet (peace be upon him) safe and pure.  Sometimes our curiosity gets the best of us and we just don’t want to feel like we’re missing out on anything.

If you’ve set ground rules for yourself, or even if you and your parents have sat down and set ground rules with one another, that is a great start.  But really consider the environment that you will submerge yourself into.  Will you fall into that sort of “mob mentality” and start compromising things you had promised yourself, your parents, or even Allah that you would not do?  Is it really going to be that easy to stay within your own boundaries if a song that you love comes on or if the person you’ve had a crush on for the whole year asks you to dance with them?  Will you be able to stand firmly upon your rules when no one else around you is following them?  Will coming to Prom with all of your rules in place make you feel even more left out than never coming to Prom in the first place would have made you feel?  At least for me, when I know I am disobeying Allah, or my parents, or by being in a place that I shouldn’t be, I freeze up and can never have a good time.

With all of these rules you may have set for yourself, will you really even be able to have the “full” Prom experience or enjoy yourself?  Back in my day (I’m saying this as if I am now old, I’m just afraid at how fast kids are “growing up” and pushing the limits these days), there was a huge debate and controversy about “freak dancing”/”freaking”.  Take a second and think about the phrases used to describe that kind of dancing.  Yeah…gross.  Would seeing your classmates, maybe people you even respect or admire in some ways, engaging in strangely perverted, shameless, and to be blunt, animalistic mating-like actions be something that you would be okay with to just stand and watch?  Or could you ignore it even if you tried?  What about the fact that some kids will show up drunk or high, or will be getting drunk or high afterwards?  Is that something you’d be comfortable or feel safe about?  Will seeing all of this serve as a string of constant reminders about why you maybe had doubts about attending Prom in the first place?

You might have gotten permission to attend the dance, but what about an after-party?  Are your parents okay with you being out really late or all night long?  What happens at after-parties?  Will the party be mixed?  Is the whole Prom experience even about Prom in the first place, or does the fun part really not start until the after party?  And what about the whole idea of Prom night being all about having sex?  This is the night to prove your manliness or that even a good girl can “give it up,” and the pressure is there to some degree no matter how conservative the person is.  Maybe your group of friends isn’t one that is into that kind of stuff, but what about the fact that this notion that has arisen out of Prom?

It is important to think about what kind of environment you are putting yourself into by attending Prom or any Prom after-party.  Is the amount of risk of falling into doing something bad by placing yourself into an environment like this truly worth it?  Will you even manage to have a good time when you’re in this sort of environment?

Advice

  1. Weigh the pros and cons of going to Prom after considering all of the information above.
  2. Talk to other Muslim students/youth in your area that you trust and look up to.
  3. Ask your parents for their thoughts and be honest with them.  Listen to your parents and don’t make going to Prom a big deal if they aren’t letting you go.
  4. Make sincere dua to Allah to do what is the best for you and to always protect you.
  5. Evaluate your group of friends.  Determine what kind of relationship you will have with them after graduation.

Keep in mind that you might be missing out more by going to Prom than by not going!   You can always come up with an alternative trip or hang out with Muslims, friends, or family.  Convince your parents to be a little more lenient with you and spend that money on something worthwhile!

An important thing to note is that Proms are different from school to school and that going to a Prom might not necessarily be too wrong.

I pray that this has helped you make a decision and/or come to terms with a decision that you have made or one that has been made for you.

**Quick Advice to Parents

  1. Are you overreacting?  Don’t make this a bigger problem than it is.  Don’t take your child wanting to attend Prom as a failure of your parenting.
  2. Be open with your child and talk to them.  Get an idea of where they are coming from.  Prom might not be as bad as it seems.
  3. Make sure you give your child enough breathing room and don’t make them feel as if you are smothering them or forbidding them.  The tactic of forcing your children to do things and being “too strict” can really backfire.

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Meena is a high school English teacher, DIY enthusiast, wife, and new mom. She loves working with Muslim youth and is interested in literature, arts, and culture. She studied Comparative Literature and Creative Writing at the University of California, Irvine, briefly dabbled in Classical Arabic studies in the US, and has a Master’s in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

62 Comments

62 Comments

  1. Aly Balagamwala

    May 24, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    i remember the official Welcome and Farewell parties during my A-Levels. It was a majority-Muslim school, in a almost-100% Muslim country, and now that I look back to it, may Allah (SWT) forgive me for my role in the organizing committees. Fact is that back then I had been a Friday Muslim with a bit of religion sprinkled here and there for good measure.
    I can’t really imagine what it would have been like had I been different from the rest and not at those parties. I would just say that it must be possibly the single biggest challenging event in the life of a Muslim teenager in a non-Muslim environment who is just trying to fit in with the rest.

    May Allah (SWT) make it easy on the youth to avoid these functions and remain steadfast on their Imaan. Aameen.

    -Aly

    • Meena Malik

      May 24, 2011 at 8:38 PM

      I was active with my student government one year in High School and I ended up resigning from my position because I had to help plan dances. SubhanAllah, I had no idea things like this happen in Muslim countries.

      May Allah protect us.

      • Zara

        June 20, 2016 at 9:11 PM

        Can I ask a question? I am a practising female muslim and Alhamdullilah I do pray (at least 4 times, try my best to do 5) and my prom is this Friday. I have a dress and it is covering in all way Alhamdullilah and not revealing at all but recently my friends asked my mother(a few of my friends are also hijabi’s) if I was wearing my hijab to prom and my mum replied No. I was shocked but am considering it. It is also Ramadan but my friends are telling me just because it is Ramadan it shouldn’t change your views, you should do what you think is right? So if my mother has given me permission to take my hijab off should I?

    • F

      May 24, 2011 at 9:01 PM

      Aly, would you say the school you went to were elite schools where the majority were the children of the rich or it was a normal school with middle/lower class demographics?

      Just wondering.

  2. Coorled38

    May 24, 2011 at 2:10 AM

    I did not attend any dances, proms or whatnot during my 12 years of American education…and I still managed to turn out all right (depending on who you ask)…the prom is not the beginning and end of our highschool experience for everyone….just those that are concerned about such things. My daughter hasn’t shown any interest in attending any of them either (as well as my sons) so it’s not a give-in that this issue will come up for everyone…Muslim or not.

  3. ahmad10

    May 24, 2011 at 7:38 AM

    “Pray istikhaarah and make sincere dua to Allah to do what is the best for you and to always protect you.”

    You pray Istikharaah when you need help making a decision between two halal things, not between a halal and a haram.

    Undoubtedly, any muslim teenager who lives within the borders of a Public School in The United States of Amerca (I cannot talk about other places, as I have lived only in the States in terms of Western Countries), it is haraam for him or her to go there. Have you even seen how the women are dressed?

    Are you allowing a muslim boy to go to one of these things and look at these women in such a state!?! I could understand interaction when it’s needed, or even when they are in a normal setting, but in a setting with many scantily clad, sexually dressed, with perfume, and make up….all the formulas of fitnah piled up into one? You can tell a brother to pray istikhaarah whether or not to go there?

    And for a sister? When all her friends are going off at night to go sleep with their respective boyfriends, and the temptation has never been any greater? You will tell her to go there? What, do you expect her to be wearing hijaab – and hanging out will all the other hijabis at Prom, like it’s a halaqa at the masjid?

    I have been around to many different states, and have personally been part of school systems, and I have seen the promiscuity that goes on in Public Schools. Please show me one place, in Public Schools, were this is different, and what I described does not really happen? As for private schools, I know that is a different story – and I can definitely see, and maybe even agree on some parts of allowing them to go.

    As one of my non muslim acquaintances once told me during high school….

    “Dude, you gotta go to prom. That’s where all the ‘magic’ happens.”

    Yes it is, and that’s where babies happen as well

    Yes, and as an advice to parents….unlike the advice you gave – Remember that if you send your daughter off to Prom, dressed and behaving like the other non muslim girls there, then just be ready…because there is a chance that you may have a pregnant girl on your hands. It will destroy her life, her education, her honor in society, just about everything. So do your utmost to keep the girls and boys away from the “traditional” type of Prom we see. However, if you know that it’s in a private “religious (whether Muslim or Christian) school” then it might be okay, and listen to the advice above.

    And Allah knows best

  4. Apricot

    May 24, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    I was a non-Muslim throughout high school but was not interested in prom. Neither were any of my non-Muslim friends. I was not one of the “popular” students, but I was not unpopular either. I would say that my friends and I were in the so-called “intellectual” crowd. Most of us just felt that prom was basically stupid and a big waste of time and money. It had nothing to do with the ability to get a date or anything else one might commonly think.

    A lot of non-Muslims don’t go to prom for various reasons that have nothing to do with religion. I think if you are a Muslim who is confident in your faith, you should refrain from going to prom. It is not the big deal that people make it into at all, and the environment at such events is the opposite of one that is Islamic. As an adult Muslim, I would not even go to a wedding between two Muslims that contains prom-like elements, such as mixed dancing, music and shameful behavior. Such a wedding would not be considered Islamic, right? So, how about prom, which does not even approach being a halal gathering for a halal purpose.

    • Meena Malik

      May 24, 2011 at 8:40 PM

      Definitely something I’ve noticed is that Proms aren’t as big of a deal now as they used to be. It’s great that Muslims aren’t the only ones who are sitting out :) it makes it easier to not go!

  5. Muslimah

    May 24, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    Jazak Allahu khairan for quick advice to parents #3:Make sure you give your child enough breathing room and don’t make them feel as if you are smothering them or forbidding them. The tactic of forcing your children to do things and being “too strict” can really backfire.

    YES. This has happened to me and I am paying the price. I did not have TV in the home and forbade my daughters to listen to music, wear skinny jeans, etc. However, the majority of girls in their Islamic school were indulging in these practices. In my case, following Sunnah too strictly did backfire (and I won’t go into details, but it has been very difficult).

    Alhamdulilah, I am remaining steadfast in my Deen and as a role model to my daughters. HOWEVER, there are some things they have had to and will have to learn and discover for themselves. Letting go of them is the only way they can find themselves and by the time of the senior prom, they are young adults. Alhamdulilah, I have learned that taking the path of moderation is most effective as teens start to make decisions for themselves and internalize the lessons learned as something part of their own separate and unique Muslim identities rather than something thrust or imposed upon them. Watching this process of their individuation unfold, while nerve-racking and stressful, is rewarding as I see the seeds of Islam take root in them and grow.

    Sayyidna Ali radi alay ‘anhu said, “Play with your child the first 7 years, discipline your child the next 7 years and then befriend your child the following 7 years.”

    Wa Allahu ta’ala ‘alam.

    • UmmSarah

      May 24, 2011 at 11:36 AM

      Muslimah, I very much appreciate your advice. I have a six year old and I think I’ve already begun being a little “too strict’ … I almost instantly notice her defense kicking in and trying to ‘explain’ things to me. I have seen mothers around me who are so very nice and serious about deen however, it doesn’t seem to transfer to their kids. Some kids have so much appreciation for their deen from the begnining , yet a lot of kids couldn’t care less.
      This article is a good example of how we as parents need to show our kids the path but the inspiration needs to come from inside themselves.

    • BintKhalil

      May 24, 2011 at 12:12 PM

      Assalamu alaikum

      Are there young pious Muslimaat, in their 20s, for instance, that you could introduce your girls to? Very often, at that age, parents are the least likely people you take advice from, and young adults seem far more “cool” and approachable, and they will be a lot more receptive to them – it helps to see people they can emulate instead of just fountains of verbal advice. I hope that makes sense.

      • Meena Malik

        May 24, 2011 at 8:43 PM

        I definitely think that leaving some decisions to your children is what is best for them. They will come around eventually, iA. It’s better for them to figure things out on their own the hard way instead of turning them off and away forever.

        It’s tough. It’s tough for me to see my younger friends go through these things, too. You wish you could make them see, but they just won’t…It’s important for them to have people who are a little older that can talk to them. It almost never works to dictate their lives, especially when they’re getting older and becoming adults.

    • Muslim

      May 27, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      Salaam,

      I also know several Muslim families who have gone through the same thing. The mother of the household was, Mash’Allah, a very God fearing person. However, they sheltered their kids too much and when their kids got older, whether because of TV or the internet or people they were exposed to, they started to rebel in the worst of ways.

      The environment is just different these days.

      Back in the day, you weren’t the only one on the block not letting your kids watch TV or wear unappropriate clothing or go out late. And parents felt a responsibility to protect their children from evil. Kids realize this when they see others going through the same thing they are. They can relate. A girl will understand why her dad doesn’t want her to go outside late at night because 3 of her other friends are going through the same thing. And she didn’t have 100 cable television channels and thousands of websites hitting her pyschologically about why she needs to walk around naked outside to be appreciated.

      These days, if you tell your daughter that it is not appropriate for her to go out at night to new york city with a bunch of other girls to grab something to eat, they will look at you as if you are crazy or mentally insane. (and most people reading this might be like “what’s wrong with that?” but a decade or so ago, that wouldn’t be accepted in Muslim families)

      It is the nature of evil that as a society keeps indulging in it, slowly the resistance to it is forced into acceptance.

      For example, when I was growing up, it was still taboo or unappropriate, even amongst young kids, for Muslims to have boyfriends or girlfriends. If you had one, you had to keep it quiet and all your friends would help you to keep it a secret for the most part. If your mother ever found a picture of a girl in your pocket or on your computer, you had to duck. Now, it is completely normal for a Muslim girl to post 400 pictures of herself on facebook and make sure the whole world knows she is dating someone by putting “in a relationship” on her facebook wall. Her parents know she has her pictures online but they can’t even say anything to her. Times have changed DRASTICALLY. And it is only getting worse.

      Which is why it is natural that we are all going to face these types of problems.

      It is a brain washing war out there. You have to admit that there are several players trying to brain wash your kids into thinking that the purpose of their life is to spend money, be sexually deviant and find happiness in material things. Constant bombardment of these messages are hitting your kids. The only way you can save them is by brain washing back. You have to strike back harder than the environment is hitting your kids. And that seems like an impossible battle to win.

      I just came back from the Masjid, and ANOTHER father told me that their son doesn’t believe in God. A lot of the high school kids tell me that their science teachers argue with them about the existence of God.

      Also, just another comment. The home has no longer remained the “shelter” that it once used to be. If you shelter your kids at home, you have to realize they will end up being outside 6 hours a day at school where you have various teachers with various different lifestyles and students who come from several different types of cultures and religions influencing your kid. Then when they come home, most schools require students to use the internet for their assignments. The internet is the gateway to every message there is out there in the world. Whether religious or evil. It is all there a click a way. In your home!

      Throw in cellphones, Ipods, laptops and wireless connections, your child is not even safe in their own locked room at night.

      I recently found out that a girl was blackmailed by some boys in her school because a boy convinced her to take her clothes off at night in her room while she was using skype. Somehow, the kid recorded it and blackmailed her to do other things. A few years ago, kids had to physically walk to a certain place to do something haraam. Or plan when they will receive a phone call in ther house to make sure their parents didn’t pick up. Or jump out of their window. Now, because of technology, we have made it so easy that the keys to haraam are in their pockets and sitting on their laps in their own rooms with broadband speed.

      BTW the reason why kids don’t care about the Prom anymore is because when you become a freshman, you can get into night clubs that were made for adults. Its called “teen night”. Everything is the same at the night club (including the illegal drugs), except the alcohol. And the funny thing is, parents actually DROP their kids off to the club. The only restriction is no one above the age of 18 is allowed in these clubs. So what is the point of the prom?

  6. MW_M

    May 24, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    Sorry, got to disagree. Prom is no where close to this big of a deal. Seriously, I remember in high school many non-Muslims who didn’t go and nobody thought twice. The day after prom, no one remembered who did and did not go. It’s only as big a deal as you make it. If you have unbearable peer pressure forcing you to go to prom, you gotta ask yourself, “What kind of people am I hanging out with?” If your “friends” are pushing you to go to prom, the problem isn’t prom, its that you’ve got to change your environment and the people you count as your friends.

    • Muslim

      May 27, 2011 at 3:36 PM

      Depends on if you live in a big metropolitan city, or a small town. Also depends on the demographics of the area you live in.

  7. Abdul-Qadir

    May 24, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    Assalamualaikum,

    “There are only a handful of friends that you will keep and stay in contact with, otherwise the rest of the people you know will become distant memories. It may seem like your graduating class is so special and that you will be so sad to leave everyone, but you’ll get over it in no time inshaAllah and then look back and think that you were being incredibly dumb the whole time – trust me.”

    O Muslim High School Students, reflect deeply on this statement.

    This entry is fantastic, may Allah bless your life and bless you in all your endevours.

    • Abdul Quader

      May 25, 2011 at 4:33 AM

      Agreed! (also, nice name akhi lol)

  8. Farhan

    May 24, 2011 at 10:41 AM

    When you’re a nerd in HS, you don’t have this problem :-)

    • BintKhalil

      May 24, 2011 at 12:14 PM

      Lol, being a rebel in general helps a lot – helps being a Muslim, in general.

    • Khojestah

      July 13, 2011 at 5:08 PM

      Agree!!!!

  9. Humble Muslim

    May 24, 2011 at 1:27 PM

    Salam

    Jazak Allah for this. Just emailed it to my 12th grade daughter. Mashallah she is very pious, but is not sure what to do. Upto now my attitude has been ‘don’t even think about it’. Maybe I’ll let her read it and decide for herself.

    • Meena Malik

      May 24, 2011 at 8:44 PM

      w/asa

      iA khayr :)

  10. muhammad ovais razzaq

    May 24, 2011 at 3:55 PM

    mashallah good topic to bring to muslim youths knowledge,may ALLAH grant all muslim youth the quality of “haya” (modesty) really….. this is lacking in our life. haya and ieeman always go 2gather like sun and its light….. when 1 leaves other also leaves..

  11. F

    May 24, 2011 at 9:04 PM

    Prom really is a fitna for the Muslims. May Allah(swt) save our younger brothers and sisters from it.
    I remember my high school days and the pressure was immense. The interesting thing was that the people who wanted to go to the prom the most were usually the ones barely graduating.

  12. Syed

    May 24, 2011 at 10:37 PM

    Ah, this article was two weeks late for me. But Alhamdulillah I didn’t go. Went to an AlMaghrib course instead.

    • Meena

      May 25, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      I know this article came out during the end of the Prom season :( it hadn’t crossed my mind to do something on it until I saw it as a problem that kept popping up with some of the girls from my Youth Group.

      Nice alternative :) mA!

      • Brother

        May 25, 2011 at 8:58 PM

        Just curious, were boys in the high school asking the girls in your youth group to the prom?

        • Meena

          May 26, 2011 at 12:02 AM

          Um……..I don’t think so. I think the girls who wanted to go were going to go with their friends.

  13. Irfana

    May 24, 2011 at 11:06 PM

    I didn’t go to my prom instead I went on a volunteer trip with my environmental club and planted sea grass in the estuaries, went on a boat ride, and met some really cool people and got wonderful prizes from the whole event.

  14. Damali

    May 25, 2011 at 1:11 AM

    This is late but it was kinda of hard for me not to go…but I didn’t. I kinda just told myself it wasn’t a big deal & the same day was my 1 year old sister’s bday & in the evening I went to a family friend’s house for a BBQ & watched a movie. Then since I didn’t go my mom got a dress for me (floor length & of course with a cardigan cover up) kind of expensive like a simple prom dress for graduation & i cant wait to wear it. Afterwords I talked to people who said prom was fun but by not going i didn’t miss out :) it made me feel good.

    • sakina

      May 25, 2011 at 4:30 AM

      Me too, my mom bought me a prom dress after I said that I wouldn’t be going to the prom – it was kinda like a well done gift – so id still be able to dress up at halal events. I think all parents should find a way to treat their kids like this. My younger brother has his prom in a couple of weeks and he’s going fishing with his friends instead!
      My friends showed me the photos they took at prom and I was so glad I didnt go!

      • Meena

        May 25, 2011 at 12:20 PM

        Yay! That is so exciting! I think a huge thing for girls IS “the dress” in and of itself lol :)

        I definitely agree-parents SHOULD treat their kids. And if they don’t think of it on their own, tell them to treat you!!

  15. IslamSetsMeFree

    May 25, 2011 at 4:12 AM

    For 15 years I have lived in American and not once have I ever thought of going to a dance event. I personally think it is a pointless event. These types of events aren’t a part of my culture, Kurdish, so I never felt like it was something I should try because it was taboo to adopt these types of things in my community.

  16. AnonyMouse

    May 25, 2011 at 5:36 AM

    When one of my best friends (Allah yarhamha – she passed away last year) graduated from high school, she really wanted to go to the whole graduation ceremony (which, after the diplomas are handed out, is basically the Vancouver-Island version of prom)… we (myself and our other close friends) managed to convince her not to.

    Instead, we had a special grad party for her at my house – we, her best friends, invited some of her family members (women only, of course) and other friends, we decorated the house like crazy, we had a big fancy cake, and TONS of gifts for her… we all dressed up too… we kept it as a surprise for her, so that when they brought her over, she was completely blown away. It was a really special experience, alHamdulillaah.

    And masha’Allah she said later on that she loved it, and was sooooo glad that she didn’t stay for the entire grad ceremony/ party.

  17. Haleh

    May 25, 2011 at 5:17 PM

    What a wonderful source of support for Muslim teenagers in the West! Masha’Allah I really enjoyed your approach – it’s very effective.

    It is critical to organize halal events during prom & gradution so that the Muslim teenagers have an outlet and a good distraction during these possibly stressful times.

    Haleh

  18. Carlos

    May 25, 2011 at 8:09 PM

    If you have to isolate yourself from non-Muslims out of fear of being influenced away from your religion, perhaps you have not entirely convinced yourself of your own belief in your religion. Strong belief does not fear being challenged.

    • Meena

      May 26, 2011 at 12:09 AM

      I think you’ve misunderstood this. I never said that anyone should isolate themselves from non-Muslims. I said that you should take yourself out of situations and environments that might tempt you to do the wrong thing. I would say this same thing regardless of it was non-Muslims, or even MUSLIMS who are indulging in wrong acts.

      The things that happen at Prom are what you need to take yourself away from, not from the people. Someone else mentioned how going to some weddings of Muslim friends is like a mini-Prom in and of itself and that they refuse to go to those kinds of weddings as well. It’s not about the people, it’s about what happens there.

      If, as Muslims, we are not supposed to drink, then why in the world would we go to a bar….?

      I only had non-Muslim friends in high school and they were one of the most amazing groups of people I have ever known.

      • Muslimah

        May 26, 2011 at 6:55 AM

        What Brother Carlos and Sister Meena have written are both true. Their points of view need not be mutually exclusive.

  19. someone

    May 25, 2011 at 10:16 PM

    I went to my prom, it was back in the day before social networking. I went to a small residential catholic high school. I was one of 5 muslims and one of two hijabis in the whole school. I was considered an outcast but I had a handful of friends but we were never that close. For me prom was mostly a last ditch effort to be accepted and validated by my peers. In reality, I put so much emphasis on that day, because my whole self esteem was riding on that one moment. I had a strict Muslim upbringing but one thing my mom never opposed me was my decision to go to my prom, and i thank her for that. Do i regret going to prom : yes.

    In summary, i went to prom for the sake of people i barely liked because i was tired of being an outcast.

    • Meena

      May 26, 2011 at 10:50 AM

      Sounds like a teenage movie that ended with a not so happy ending :/ That must have been very tough. I kind of wanted to go to Prom myself, as does everyone, and part of it was for the social aspect as well. To be honest, I disliked some of those people so much I was happier to stay away from them than to try to impress them. It wasn’t worth it for me to compromise my principles for the sake of people I didn’t like.

      It’s nice when our parents let us make our own decisions, that way we can regret them and see how wise our parents are instead of feeling resentment towards our parents.

      • W

        June 4, 2011 at 5:09 PM

        Much-needed article, I always think back to the Maniac Muslim classic as well :D

        http://maniacmuslim.com/?p=313

        A friend who recently converted mentioned that his parents (non-Mulsim) have been pressuring him to go to prom, against his own wishes…what a reversal of the typical situation.

  20. Lana

    May 27, 2011 at 12:06 PM

    One of the things that bothers me the most about the Prom type of event is the way many muslim parents behave. I know friends from Pakistani culture who forbade their daughters to go, but their sons were allowed to attend Prom with a date … no questions asked…This type of event once again allows double standards to rear it’s ugly head. Prom is not the end all be all of existence, however as someone in this forum mentioned before there are so man prom type events in the muslim community , such as weddings… It makes sense that a young woman who never attended Prom and grew up watching her own brothers and non-muslims friends have fun dating… would want a huge expensive wedding with music etc… The real issue that is being ignored here is that there are many events that challenge muslim’s throughout their life, if not Prom then Spring formal in college, then mixed parties at work, the list goes on… It’s very easy for adults to pass judgement on the youth about Prom, but how many adults from the corporate world have attended office parties with alchohol and made excuses about it…. Let’s see those same adults tell their daughter not to go to Prom !!!!

    • Nidal

      May 30, 2011 at 4:58 PM

      As far as letting the boys go to prom, of course it is wrong. But that shouldn’t be an excuse for something else, should it? I think we are really in the depths of darkness if these are the issues we are collectively dealing with. You can’t miraculously change the circumstances, but can we at least get recognition of how bad the situation is rather than just continue sinking happily?

  21. Abez

    May 27, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    When I was in high-school, my Muslim girlfriends threw Morp: The AntiProm. No dates, no dancing, lotsa friends, food, fun, and our parents knew we would be staying late and where exactly we would be. They were very supportive of the idea, and we even had a Hacidic Jewish friend attending as well. Muslims aren’t the only ones opposed to what is (in my school, at least) Lose-Your-Virginity-Night- with students booking hotel rooms for the night with their parents’ knowledge, driving around in rented limousines and drinking until the wee-hours again- with their parents’ knowledge. It’s considered a rite of passage for some people.

    I strongly support MSA’s to provide ‘clean’ alternatives and open them up for students of other religions as well, because they get ostracized as outcasts too- even when they’re ‘mainstream’ Christian but their parents (thankfully) have enough morals/character to disallow them from attending Prom.

    • DL

      August 20, 2016 at 7:54 AM

      Please tell me how parents allowing their children to attend prom is ‘immoral’. You honestly seem to be grossly over generalizing the type of people who attend these events. If kids want to attend prom, let them. If not. than that’s completely fine too. I have read many arguments about all the ‘fit nah’ in prom & the temptations it poses, but I wonder if they realize how they sexually repress themselves & their children. Making sex such a taboo is what causes such assumptions & it’s ironic too. People who grow up in such an environment where they’re completely covered up & segregated could think such as that a simple handshake or a touch could cause instant arousal. Furthermore, men who grow up witnessing women ordered to be completely covered up & not seeing any skin could possibly be aroused by a simple handshake or a mere interaction when dealing with the opposite sex. It’s no surprise when Muslim countries according to pew research have some of the highest pornogrophy consumption in the world because when you sexually repress a society by whatever means (& usually by religion) people will find other ways to satisfy themselves, hence porn.

  22. wade

    May 27, 2011 at 6:04 PM

    `are we really asking Muslims to admit to sins?..really?..is bro.yasir moderating this site?

  23. Nidal

    May 27, 2011 at 6:49 PM

    Really? Is this what it has come to? I can understand people have issues and have been in situations they shouldn’t have been in, but you are seriously saying it might be better to go for some people? How much sin will you normalize? When MWU! came on the scene, I thought they were going to do some good by engaging people who were left out, but I quickly realized that they were propagating everything from drinking, zina, all the way to downright atheism. I was glad when even most modernists abandoned them. Are Muslim Matters and all the rest going down the same hole?

    • Meena

      May 29, 2011 at 3:46 AM

      In some cases, it’s better for the kid to go if they are being overly adamant about it, rather than the parents forcing them to stay at home that night and locking them up, only to find that this has caused a huge deal of rebellion in the kid and now the kid is doing way worse things than attending a Prom.

      Yes, going is dangerous. But not going can be equally, and even more, dangerous in some cases.

      I’m not saying that I approve of Proms or would encourage people to go, and I believe I made that clear in my article. I was actually afraid of people taking it that way and was afraid of being possibly held accountable by Allah for people to take it that way and decide to go based off of this article.

      • Nidal

        May 30, 2011 at 4:50 PM

        Yes, the parents can’t force the kids to do anything. You can’t even force them not to go out commit zina. Its just that if even “islamic” sources start to have these slippery slope arguments, you know where things are headed. There were whole waves of muslim immigrants earlier, of which nothing is left now, their kids are completely assimilated into the dominant religions of agnosticism/atheism and christianity. You can find lots and lots of descendents of albanians, africans, syrians, and muslim reverts all over the US in these positions. If this is where we are really headed, then I think the best article one could run is about Hijrah, even for people who have family and other deep reasons to stay here. Our kids WILL push us into Hell if they can ever get a chance to say that you knew better, but you kept diluting Islam until it was nothing substantially different than anything else. There is a reason that classical punishments for some things seem so harsh, its because those things completely destroy individuals, families, and communities. I don’t want to keep arguing with you and I understand your article was a step towards educating people about certain issues. Its just that when I look at the sort of discussions taking place in a forum that is supposed to be more conservative, supposedly somewhat salafi, educated, I wonder what is the rest of the community doing? And if this is what it is, shouldn’t we be making hijrah to basically anywhere?

  24. Aamir

    May 28, 2011 at 2:47 AM

    I’m a Junior, Male and Muslim and I live in a Midwest town of mainly caucasain people. I go to a smaller high school in the state. I went to prom this year with a date and it was deffinetly a blast. The way your high school treats prom, which ours does as more of a “friends” kind of thing rather than all about sex, had a big influence on my decision to go. Most of the other Muslim guys at our school went to prom too and everything was very controlled. We surprisingly have no Muslim Girls at my high school (I live in a small town).

    After reading the article, I think the main difference I had was the small size of my high school which meant that prom was more controlled.

    • Carlos

      May 28, 2011 at 7:51 PM

      Good for you, Aamir. I am glad you had a good time, and I hope you remember prom fondly.

      Prom has never been about “sex,” at least it was never meant to be about sex. My own knowledge about the prom tradition in America is that it is meant to be an introduction into adulthood. Young people, for the first time in their lives, are being told it is okay to get dressed-up like adults go to a fancy event, and behave like adult gentlemen and ladies. The idea was to introduce brand new adults to the way socializing is ideally supposed to be done, men dressing like men, women dressing like women, paying for your own clothes, having a nice meal, paying for your date, music playing, learning to dance, awards and speeches being given, acting chivalrous and ladylike, like young adults. It is meant to be an ideal example of social relations between the two sexes, a classy alternative to kids meeting in secret and acting like children, while dealing with very adult issues. With everyone going-off into the real world, this is both a chance to say goodbye to the people with whom you grew up, and to get a sense of how adults are expected to behave when they are out in adult society, particularly if they aspire to high society. Of course, prom traditions in some places might have degenerated a little, but I doubt prom today is signficantly different than it was half a century ago.

      And, as I said before, the prom itself is heavily chaperoned. No drinking or intimate contact allowed. If one is concerned about his/her kid getting into trouble, s/he should be more concerned about any after parties. Just make sure your kid comes home after the prom is over. And, if you are afraid your child will misbehave when s/he is out of your sight, then you are in trouble. S/he is almost an adult, and will not have you around, much longer, to look over his/her shoulder.

    • Meena

      May 29, 2011 at 3:54 AM

      I would still say to be very cautious of the environment you’re putting yourself into. Having a small class will make it even harder to not go to Prom, since I’m assuming everyone will go.

      I used to think that I wasn’t going to be held as accountable for what I did when I was in HS, just cuz we have that idea that being a teenager means I can do a bunch of crazy and stupid stuff and it’s forgivable because of my youthful spirit and raging hormones. There is no middle/”teenage” category in Islam. Your’e a kid til you hit puberty. After that, you’re held fully acctble for your acitons, regardless of whether you’re just having a crazy teenage stage in life.

      I think something to think about is asking yourself is “what would the Prophet saws say if he walked in and saw me here/” If you would feel embarrassed or sad that he’d see you in that state, who is the Prophet saws compared to Allah swt?

      I dunno bro, I hope things change for you by your Senior Prom and you decide NOT to go because you truly do not want to. Plan a camping trip or something with the other Muslim guys at your school! :) I will be making dua for you.

      I hope I have said nothing which you have taken as offensive, I’m just really passionate about this topic specifically and I want what is best for my bros and sisters out there, especially because I went through so much in HS and I wish that I had someone there for me that could help me out during those times. I’m really just trying to look out, please don’t take any of this the wrong way.

      • Aamir

        June 1, 2011 at 10:24 AM

        No I’m offended and it all makes sense to me. From what I’ve read though, all you you guys live in places where there was an extremely high amount of muslims in your schools. In my school, there are 4 Muslim boys and zero Muslim girls. And because of this, there is no MSA or anything like that. My situation is different from the rest of you guys, but it makes sense

        • the guy

          June 3, 2011 at 12:26 AM

          Assalamualaikum Aamir,

          I’m a Grade 12 student and I am not going to Prom this year Alhamdulillah.
          There isn’t an “extremly high amount of muslims” in my school. The whole Prom decision really boiled down to one thing for me. What are your priorities? Do you want what is best for yourself? Is that thing that may seem best for you going to be pleasing to Allah?
          I may stick out like a sore thumb for the decision I make but in the end it’s pleasing my creator that really matters. Not my classmates. I personally discussed with some of my friends why I didn’t want to come to Prom. I didn’t put down their gathering but rather explained my reasons for not going. My real friends understood and were quite okay with me not coming.

          I find that being honest and open about my values and my religion is often the best way forward when it comes to decisions like these.

          • Aziza

            June 9, 2011 at 6:17 PM

            I didn’t attend my junior prom, however I was determined that I would be attending my senior prom. I had already attended homecoming and, at the time, I loved every minute of it. I was so upset that I couldn’t go my junior year. Almost all of my friends were going and I felt so left out. I secretly hoped it would rain and mess up everyone’s hair and makeup. I sort of know how you feel Aamir because at my tiny midwestern high school, I was one of two Muslims and the only girl. So the pressure is super intense in those situations and sometimes you just don’t know what the right thing to do is.
            Alhamdullilah, towards the end of my junior year, Allah guided me to Salah and my whole life began to change. Prom didn’t seem that important to me anymore, in fact I no longer wanted to go. Of course, everyone was all “YOU’RE NOT GOING TO YOUR SENIOR PROM!!!!!!!????” And hey, I can’t blame them, everyone puts so much emphasis on the thing. At first I was lying and brushing them off, but then I just told them the truth and it felt good. They totally understood and wanted to know more! And in the end, it wasn’t even a big deal that I didn’t go. Nobody treated me any differently, I wasn’t any more or any less popular than I had been before. The way I see it, it’s a huge waste of money (at least for a girl) and has, potentially, much more harm than good, even if you are careful. Once you are in that situation, you know, one thing can lead to another.
            I’m not telling you not to attend the prom, because ultimately the decision is between you and Allah and I am very far from being perfect. I just wanted to share my experience so you know you’re not alone. :) My best advice is to sincerely pray to Allah for guidance. Ask Him to guide you to what is right and most pleasing to Him and to keep you away from that which is bad for you and that will anger Him. Inshallah, He is always with us and He knows how difficult the life of an American Muslim teenager, trying to do the best they can, can be. He won’t let you down. :)

  25. Aanisat

    February 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM

    assalam walaikum
     i am n ib second year studng in india …we have this farewell i.e prom night plus graduation day party at the end of the year…..in my school 95% of majority are hindu hence its a rule to wear sari (indian dress) which includes a blouse in which u have to show your body with hair nicely done and a long skirt type of a thing….you can search it on google…..
     
    my parents don’t have problem for me to got to farewell as they trust me and i know how to keep that trust and be honest to my Allah….but the main problem arises is that i don’t know how to wear sari as i cover each and every part of my body and wear hijab..

    please please help me out with this ! 

  26. Aanisat

    February 12, 2012 at 12:29 PM

    and ya in indian schools we are strictly not allowed to get alcohol….dance/loud music is there …so yea

  27. kim

    June 22, 2012 at 8:48 AM

    I hope you can recognize that others not of your faith but committed to their own find themselves facing the same struggle. We are Mormon, so my children have also committed themselves to dressing and acting modestly and refusing alcohol and drugs. So many of the youth refused to go to Prom that a large, regional alternative dinner and dance is now held every year, drawing from about an hour-and-a-half drive distance around a central location. It is organized by the youth, and more and more religious, conservative young men and women of many faiths are participating. We need to strengthen each other and take matters into our own hands!

  28. amuslimgirl

    June 25, 2015 at 11:02 PM

    Tbh it is a painful struggle when ur dad or mom is always mean to you when it comes to things and they make everything seem haram ! And when theres no tv in the house theyre never letting you wear anything but all black and big huge hijabs and they dont care about you or your feelings especially when ur in ur teen years u gonna start to think of escaping the house runnying away,thinking of getting accepted into only a faraway college on purpose so u can live on campus and not in the house so u can have ur one mini tv ,dress the way you want and invite ur girlfriends over aka girl best friends and go out with ur friends to the mall or have lunch with them without having to have ur parents there to say no and keep u in the house all day to just clean and do work all day and stress and struggle without them giving a care about how u feel and just caring about u following there strict rules and no ifs literally for those parents who let their kids go out with their friends and have some halal fun I can tell u guys they mature faster mentally but when a teen was raised in a household tht was way too strict then and always got no as a answer and didnt get to go here or ever shop there then I can say theyre gonna wan to try it out and even try not halal things which will lead to the rebellion of the teen

  29. Yazi

    December 31, 2016 at 10:33 AM

    I have my son who is 15 years old ,he goes to a Private school and think that prom is one of the coolest thing there is, he also finds that it is amazing to go to the prom so he can hang out with his friends
    As a parent I find myself not to strick but at the same time I followed the dean very closely and I do not like the Idea of prom
    Can you advise me please

  30. Yusuf

    January 1, 2017 at 12:10 AM

    It matters, are you spending a lot of money, If so then prom isn’t really worth it, it’s a waste of money to rent a limo, and get a suit just for a junior/senior prom. His friends, if you mean a girlfriend I really don’t think he should go(or have a girlfriend). Self control is another thing, can he make right decisions? If so then sure. It’s not bad if he’s with male friends, but with a girlfriend, that’s a terrible idea. But as previously stated prom is a big waste of money, I know some people that spend hundreds of dollars just for their child’s prom. So if you’re willing to spend little to no money, and he with guys then sure.I have been to my senior prom and there isn’t much to it, tell your son it isn’t the coolest thing in the world

  31. Someone

    April 25, 2017 at 2:05 PM

    Assalamualikum, I am in 8th grade and our 8th grade dance is coming up. The problem is that the dance is during the month of Ramadan. Just like it was written I was weighing my pros and cons and the fact that it is Ramadan is a big factor. Should I go? Or should I not go because of Ramadan

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