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Fifty Shades of Grey: What Muslim Teens Need to Know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Christian Grey in Real Life:

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

Addiction and BDSM:

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

Virginity and Intimacy:

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

Romance between Ana & Grey:

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

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

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Saba Syed (aka Umm Reem) is the author of International award winning novel, "An Acquaintance."Saba has a BA degree in Islamic Studies. She studied Arabic Language & Literature at Qatar University and at Cairo Institute in Egypt. She also received her Ijaazah in Quranic Hafs recitation in Egypt from Shaikh Muhammad al-Hamazawi.She had been actively involved with Islamic community since 1995 through her MSA, and then as a founding member of TDC, and other community organizations. in 2002, she organized and hosted the very first "Musim Women's Conference" in Houston, TX. Since then, she's been passionately working towards empowering Muslim women through the correct and untainted teachings of Islam.She is a pastoral counselor for marriage & family, women and youth issues. She has hosted several Islamic lectures and weekly halaqas in different communities all over U.S and overseas, also hosted special workshops regarding parenting, Islamic sex-ed, female sexuality, and marital intimacy.



  1. Avatar


    January 24, 2014 at 5:32 AM

    Finally a clear Muslim response to Fifty Shades of Grey!

  2. Avatar


    January 24, 2014 at 6:20 AM

    MashaAllah. Very educating. Jazakillahu khairan

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    January 24, 2014 at 9:12 AM

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

    • Umm Reem

      Umm Reem

      January 27, 2014 at 12:05 PM

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

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

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

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        January 16, 2015 at 9:31 AM

        Awesome post btw. Jazakillahu khayr. Do reward her for not reading by getting her a copy of Naima’s she wore red trainers. Am a married adult woman and reading Ali and Amirahs Story made me feel I wasted three days of my life reading Christian and Ana’s. Barakallahu feekum

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        March 6, 2016 at 10:37 AM

        Dear Umm Reem, this was a very interesting and essential article. Being an avid reader, this was one I had no wish to read. The idea such concepts are acceptable in a relationship is deeply flawed and dangerous. My other point is how right you are about parents needing to be open with their kids despite the embarrassment. Currently in the school my kids go to they have a program where the kids are taught about important factors in relationships, what danger signs to look for, and generally about growing up. The programme is not aimed to be secure in any way but for young kids to be aware. Your point on parents nit wanting to discuss such issues is true of this programme whereby parents don’t want their kids learning about relationships, puberty etc. If we don’t teach them then they will ultimately find resources elsewhere that are not so suitable.

  4. Avatar


    January 24, 2014 at 9:50 AM

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

    Jazaakumullahu kheyr ukhti

    • Umm Reem

      Umm Reem

      January 27, 2014 at 12:25 PM

      Br. Youse, JazakAllah khiar. May Allah reward you for all your work.

    • Avatar

      Umm Nazaha

      May 2, 2014 at 6:11 PM

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

  5. Avatar

    Umm ZAKAriyya

    January 24, 2014 at 10:21 AM

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

  6. Avatar

    Umm ZAKAriyya

    January 24, 2014 at 10:54 AM

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

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

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

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

    Jazakillah khair sister . I love reading your articles .

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

  7. Avatar


    January 24, 2014 at 10:58 AM

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

    • Avatar

      Umm ZAKAriyya

      January 24, 2014 at 11:08 AM

      Source : internet

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    January 24, 2014 at 11:14 AM

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

  9. Avatar


    January 24, 2014 at 11:17 AM

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

  10. Avatar


    January 24, 2014 at 12:08 PM

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

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    January 24, 2014 at 12:13 PM

    Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    So disturbing to hear that religious looking Muslimahs are reading this stuff……I hope they quit it. I want to marry a young, pious, attractive, virgin, super-sweet, caring, loving Muslimah and live happily ever after. I’ll have to look really hard……..Allahul Musta’an.

    • Avatar


      January 25, 2014 at 4:04 AM

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

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

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

      • Avatar


        January 28, 2014 at 7:52 PM

        I’m very certain you aren’t perfect, but you still have standards you expect in a husband I’m sure…..

        Hopefully you aren’t a crazy feminist who seeks to distort Islam and oppress men, eeek.

        Honestly, finding a sweet caring virgin is such a big requirement? Should I look for a harsh, zani, big-sinner woman or something?

        So when girls get crazy expectations in men(ahem, article above) they are treated with utmost care, as if it’s not their own fault for reading the book but that really someone else is oppressing them?

        When a guy like me mentions expectations which really aren’t that high (sweet, virgin, loving, pious) we get shot down? I can’t really take you seriously.

        Maybe there should be an article on what young Muslim men looking for love need to know. I’d like that………..

    • Avatar


      January 25, 2014 at 6:20 AM

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

      • Avatar


        January 28, 2014 at 10:41 AM

        “Newsflash, that image of a Muslimah in your head, it is an idealisation.”

        Super-sweet, caring, virgin are exceptional ideals? REALLY? I want to be romantic, caring, manly, everything like that….and virgin at marriage…………..but this Christian Grey stuff seems to attract them? Hmmmmm

        What kind of world was I born in! People reading books like this and acting like marrying a loving, sweet virgin is like winning the lottery…..they can’t be THAT rare right?Riiight?

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


        “I do hope you’ll also be young, pious, attractive (astaghfuru Allah, I most definitely am not trying to be flirtatious, Allah knows best my educational intention), super-sweet and caring husband when you do, then!”
        Yup, inshaa Allah

        “Just as I am certain you are not perfect, you must be aware she won’t be either. No one is.”

        So…..the attributes I listed are perfection in your eyes? Woa…….Christian Grey is the perfection for some perhaps but seeking loving sweet virgin is asking for too much!!!

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

        No, I’m not. Hence the fact I only want to marry one (loving, virgin) girl in this life…………..

        and best it’s not your intention, but hopefully your not one of those crazy psychotic, nutcase feminists who are jealous of feminine young women who attract guys like honey attracts bees…eeek.

        All I can say is…..I’m not going to give up looking for this because someone like her wont be too hard to fine inshaa Allah…..lots of dua and I think I’m better of in this matter then those girls who are fantasizing about Christian Grey. It’s like the modern age hasn’t just warped women’s expectations of men, it’s possibly made previously acceptable ideals strange…..what was the norm then is strange now? Ina lilahi wa ina ilayhi rajioon.

        • Avatar

          Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

          January 29, 2014 at 12:10 AM

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

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

          • Avatar


            January 29, 2014 at 11:52 AM

            Ok, Aly, jazzakAllahu khair

        • Avatar


          January 29, 2014 at 3:03 AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

          • Avatar


            January 29, 2014 at 9:34 PM

            Ok, jazzakAllahu khair for the thoughtful points.

    • Avatar


      March 6, 2016 at 10:42 AM

      It is good Muslimahs read such stuff to know how awful they are and find more educating and interesting material around. Rather than wishing for type of woman you want to marry, maybe ficus on the type of husband you should be :)

  12. Avatar


    January 24, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    please keep writing …. jazaakillaahukhairan katheerah

  13. Avatar


    January 24, 2014 at 1:39 PM

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

  14. Avatar

    Tanveer Khan

    January 24, 2014 at 4:52 PM

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

  15. Avatar


    January 24, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    I understand that you don’t “get” the book. However, many people do “get” the book and know this is a story, and not real life. Also, if a teen is interested in reading it and there are concerns about them reading it. Perhaps it’s better to allow them to read it with a trusted adult who can discuss the book with them and make sure they are understanding the themes in the books and what may or may not be appropriate.

    But what saddens me most about your post is that you don’t believe woman, Muslim or not, can distinguish was is a “healthy” relationship and what is a fantasy love story. For the record, I do agree that the material can be too much for most teens. But, instead of trying to keep the book from woman, perhaps it should be pushed forward so that the Muslim society can discuss it as a whole instead of pretending it is not there.

    • Avatar

      A Khan

      January 24, 2014 at 9:13 PM

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

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

      • Avatar

        Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

        January 25, 2014 at 1:34 AM

        Dear Blueportal

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

        Best Regards
        Comments Team

    • The Salafi Feminist

      The Salafi Feminist

      January 25, 2014 at 12:43 AM

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

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

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

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

    • The Salafi Feminist

      The Salafi Feminist

      January 25, 2014 at 12:45 AM

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

      • Avatar


        February 3, 2014 at 6:14 PM

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

    • Avatar


      January 25, 2014 at 5:46 AM might as well be promoting porn. I’s a fantasy not real life. Lol, yes let’s discuss what is and is not appropriate in porn later, but first invite garbage into your lives, eyes, ears and heart. Once that’s done we’ll discuss which piece of trash is really an artistic piece !!! Thanks for trying.

    • Avatar


      January 25, 2014 at 6:34 AM

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

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

      • Umm Reem

        Umm Reem

        January 27, 2014 at 12:59 PM

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

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

  16. Avatar

    Taiba Nasir

    January 24, 2014 at 11:51 PM

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

  17. Avatar


    January 25, 2014 at 4:17 AM

    Assalamu alaikum Umm Reem.

    Thank you for this article.

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

  18. Avatar

    Jerome Binten

    January 25, 2014 at 9:43 AM

    Fantasies of elderly woman, that’s what this book is all about, why should teenage muslim girls want to read that?
    They should be learned about the difference of fiction and reality, otherwise we should forbid all warmovies and violence movies and all religious books.

    • Avatar

      Farha Rayes

      March 14, 2015 at 1:54 PM

      I totally agree with this…

  19. Avatar

    ahsan arshad

    January 25, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Umm reem murdered the plot of the book. hats off for it.

  20. Avatar


    January 25, 2014 at 11:28 AM

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

  21. Avatar

    Mariam Saeed

    January 25, 2014 at 1:19 PM

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

    This article was the need of the hour!

  22. Avatar

    Megan Wyatt

    January 25, 2014 at 11:38 PM

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

    • Umm Reem

      Umm Reem

      January 27, 2014 at 1:10 PM

      JazakiAllah khiar Megan :)

      I really hope that this article helps the parents and our teens.

  23. Avatar


    January 26, 2014 at 1:11 PM

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

    But I enjoyed reading this article, thank you!

  24. Avatar


    January 26, 2014 at 4:27 PM

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

    • Avatar


      October 10, 2015 at 11:16 AM

      You say “HELL NO” to BDSM when you are receiving it but are okay with inflicting pain on a man. It means you really are not against it, but are fine with it as long as it’s the man who is in pain. Well guess what, it was a woman who wrote those books and it’s the women who read those books, so it’s the woman who want those things.

    • Avatar


      August 12, 2016 at 7:15 AM

      lol lol .. best comment

    • Avatar


      September 25, 2018 at 12:04 PM

      I have read through the article and many of the comments, I find your comment summarizing it all and relating to reality..
      I would say it largely depends on what the media is exposing the population to in a given society, and that in certain societies women perhaps choose to stay naïve..

      Relating to your experiences and understanding, do you feel it is or rather should be more acceptable where the woman inflicts pain to the man then the other way, being the weaker sex, and usually having relative roles in life..
      As you say that you doubt any men enjoys being trodden with stilettoes, and having their privates mutilated,, then do you feel its always done for the woman’s pleasure, if yes then why do you feel muslim women should be deprived of such pleasure if anyone of them may like to experience it, and if no then would you say its allowed by men just for their wife’s pleasure, again why should muslim women be left out any different.

      I feel this stuff is more to do with relationships and marriage, then money, have you had anyone take pain for money..

      If as you say they are fake, so you mean they never occur in a relationship/marraige?

  25. Avatar


    January 27, 2014 at 2:04 AM

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

  26. Avatar

    Amal Sarmatar

    January 27, 2014 at 6:26 AM

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

    • Umm Reem

      Umm Reem

      January 28, 2014 at 5:43 AM

      Dear Amal,

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

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

  27. Avatar

    S Kari

    January 27, 2014 at 1:38 PM

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

    • Umm Reem

      Umm Reem

      January 28, 2014 at 5:58 AM

      S Kari,

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

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

  28. Avatar


    January 27, 2014 at 2:36 PM

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

  29. Avatar


    January 27, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    Hi Umm

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

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

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

    • Avatar

      Aly Balagamwala | DiscoMaulvi

      January 28, 2014 at 8:38 AM

      Dear Rosie

      Glad our content is making a difference to more than just Muslims. We hope you will take some time out to check out more content on our site.

      Best Regards
      Comments Team Lead

    • Umm Reem

      Umm Reem

      February 3, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      Hi Rosie,

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

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

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

  30. Avatar


    January 27, 2014 at 4:46 PM

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

    • Umm Reem

      Umm Reem

      February 4, 2014 at 5:18 AM


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

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

      • Avatar


        February 4, 2014 at 2:47 PM

        Thank you I’ll look into those series In sha Allah!

  31. Avatar


    January 27, 2014 at 7:34 PM

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

  32. Avatar


    January 28, 2014 at 2:18 AM

    As salamu alaikum

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

  33. Avatar


    January 29, 2014 at 5:53 AM

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

  34. Avatar


    January 30, 2014 at 1:00 AM

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

    • Umm Reem

      Umm Reem

      February 4, 2014 at 5:31 AM

      Dear UmmAmmaarah, assalamo alaikum

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

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

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

  35. Avatar


    January 30, 2014 at 10:11 PM

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

  36. Pingback: Reality on fifty shades of grey! | let's open up

  37. Avatar


    February 3, 2014 at 6:07 PM

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

    • Umm Reem

      Umm Reem

      February 4, 2014 at 6:03 AM

      Dear Amy,

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

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

  38. Avatar


    February 27, 2014 at 12:34 PM

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

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

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

  39. Avatar


    May 1, 2014 at 5:48 PM

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

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

  40. Avatar


    August 8, 2014 at 11:11 AM

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

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  43. Avatar


    December 26, 2014 at 4:51 PM

    I agree with your article wholeheartedly. It’s a bit disheartening to hear people glorify that ‘relationship’, if it’s to be called that – between Ana and Christian. I recently had a discussion with an older woman, with a high position, who seemed to believe that Christian’s ‘past’ is an excuse for his horrible behaviour. Others talk about his attractiveness and almost instinctively you can guess where the problem lies. Apparently it’s okay for him to be abusive because he’s attractive.

    Christian goes after women that have a trait similar to that of his mother, but instead of respecting them, he abuses them. Criminal Minds shows this same trend with the unsubs (criminals) – a trait is seen -whether a person’s ethnicty, hair colour, height, in a person that reminds them negatively of another person and hence the unsub is driven to acts of violence that may lead to death. Christian hasn’t killed anyone but his behaviour is similar.

    I’m also glad you did not dismiss the BDSM lifestyle. I am not a part of it and honestly I have mixed feelings. But E. L. James has never ever took the time to do her research properly. Even people who are into it are insulted by what she wrote. One woman who liked the book asked me “So you know better?” I was going to ask her. “So same with you?” I don’t know better. However I do know myself well enough to understand that my own self respect means a lot to me.

    Besides the glorification of abuse and the misrepresentation of BDSM, the writing itself needs a lot of work.

    This article was very much needed.

  44. Avatar


    January 15, 2015 at 10:21 AM

    Nice and balanced approach to the subject. Fiction can be an exaggerated of reality though it does speak a lot about the inner nature of humans. Imagination has no limits but reality has and Islam has this beautiful balance between reality and imagination so that human nature can actualize itself in every way with in the bounds of shariah. On the one hand this kind of lifestyle like BDSM ( in its extreme ) tells about the inner wild of nature of intimacy and the natural difference of both the sexes ( coz in 99% cases submissive role is played by the women and in Gorean lifestyle woman is a slave by her own consent) and on the other hand it shows that by leaving the social structure and the natural dynamics of dominant/submissive relationship man and a woman in a healthy and creative way that is the requirement of the ‘fitrah’ of the opposite sexes , the west has opened the door for the wild expressions of such relationship. West loves to paint Asian and Muslim women in a miserable way completely ignoring the fact that Muslim women and asian women are into this natural relationship of marriage with their consent and they too fantasize about being led by a strong man since their teen.

    Recognizing the physical, psychological differences between sexes and both sexes natural desire to be in dom/sub relation with each other leads to love and a healthy relationship..Even when people deny this labeling and linguistic expressions of dom/sub ( coz they might find it offensive) they very well live on an unconsicous level this way and this is evident by the whole human history and it is prescribed in all the religious scriptures as well no matter how much one try to deny this fact.

    The beauty of Islam is that it gives woman the protective nature so that man can not misuse his authority and it becomes a loving dom/sub relation of Qawaam and Qanitaat in Quranic terms. As the writer sister has herself mentioned BDSM is halal in Shariah boundries when the couple is mature enough to understand it. Having aid that, in my opinion we as muslim should recognize the very obvious teachings of Quran and Hadiths on this dom/sub relation which is not difficult to understand by the human nature as well. Selectively following Islam on such issues is the problem. husbands are athourity over us and they can spank us in the case of disobedience and denying it is denying the Quran. People who are apologetic about have recently tried to derive new meanings from 4:34 but that is an excercise in futility. All the major and authentic scholars have agreed on it.

    • Avatar


      March 1, 2015 at 5:58 AM

      Regarding what the Quran says about spanking deviant women cannot be fully understood without hadeeth. And the Prophet saw said the intensity of ‘spanking ‘ should be that equivalent to hitting with a miswaak. Keeping that in light , Quran does have a stance of husbands having authority over us but that does not mean that theyhave unjust authority over us. Dom/sub has nothing to do with that ayat. Because dom/sub is voluntary and that ayat is about defiant women.

  45. Avatar

    Aamir Khan

    January 26, 2015 at 1:46 PM

    Shouldn’t Christian’s acts of indulging in sex before marriage be enough to convince our daughters that he’s not to be desired? Shouldn’t also the fact that this book is soft porn and inappropriate be enough to deter our daughters from pursuing it? Why is there a need to rationalize, in painful lengthy details, and that too on non-core issues such as Christian’s personality disorders and future problems as a husband?

  46. Pingback: Fifty Shades of Gray – The Obsession with Hypersexualisation | HijabiHafs

  47. Avatar


    February 28, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    Appreciate your work and we need such writing more and more. Keep going !

  48. Avatar

    Will Fadel

    March 1, 2015 at 2:47 PM

    Thank you for this wonderful article. It’s quite informative and well written.

    The concern I have about the article is 2 folds:
    1) It ignores the economic aspect of sexual exploitation of women
    2) It doesn’t discuss the “free pass” given to wealthy people for psychopathic behavior (Affluenza)

    I think women must be taught the strong correlation between sexual exploitation and economic injustice.

    I would recommend reading Chris Hedges’s article on TruthDig addressing “Fifty Shades”:


  49. Avatar


    March 2, 2015 at 3:51 AM

    This is Nonsense! Watever you do you should know where to draw your line. When u understand this is not a childrens movie, why are u involving children. What about all other A+ movies??? Why do u nly stress of 50 shades of grey?

  50. Avatar


    March 2, 2015 at 3:52 AM

    Why only The daughters??? BEGIN WITH THE SONS!!

  51. Avatar


    April 22, 2015 at 3:45 PM

    You don’t have to be a Muslim to agree with all of Umm’s points. I’m a Christian, and was (like most Christians would, I believe) nodding along to all the points young women need to know about how these books (written under free speech, which happens to freely be discussing harmful and inaccurate things) do not match up to reality. Most women in the west–whatever their religion–can see that these books send the wrong message to girls and boys, men and women, in terms of normal healthy sexual/romantic relationships and marital life. However, please be clear on the fact that westerners typically value free speech and intellectual freedom more than almost anything. The fact that we can have a dialogue about this is a very western ideal in action. We agree that the subject (the books’ content) is disgusting, unhealthy, and potentially emotionally damaging…. but the difference may be that we stand by the author’s right to publish it, and the reader’s right to buy it. It is a steep price to pay, absolutely… but as a Canadian now living in a country with arguably the world’s worst human rights/women’s rights record and reality… we need to educate our girls and boys in our homes, and stand by the freedom to read/write even things like this. Does that make sense? Respectfully and warmly, Ava

  52. Pingback: A message to Muslim teens on 50 Shades | Work The Grey Matter

  53. Avatar


    May 29, 2015 at 2:48 AM

    assassamualaikum sister may bless you for the article published above …Mash really benefited me.!!!

  54. Avatar


    October 6, 2015 at 11:46 AM

    Aawrwb, came across this article when searching for “BDSM in Islam” – curious if anyone can direct me to discussions of the admissibility of mild consensual BDSM within marriage in Islam? I’ve seen a couple of fataawa that forbid it, but only based on it being non-consensual, or the going against the injunction not to harm oneself or others. It’s been a “fetish” of mine since well before converting to Islam, and I want to bring it up with my Muslim husband but afraid he will find it strange or haram.

    • Avatar


      August 7, 2016 at 12:23 AM

      I have the same problem! Although I want my future husband to do these things with me when I am married.
      I haven’t met anyone yet but when I do how do I bring up this matter?! Surely it is haram to ask my future fiancee if he is into BDSM?

      • Avatar


        September 25, 2018 at 12:31 PM

        So you see this as a problem then just a part of a relationship,, or you see sharing/discussing such things with your husband as a problem..

        If you have managed to bring it up with your significant other, then was it easy for you to discuss such or…
        It wouldn’t be haram to ask your husband if he is into bdsm.. and not sure if discussing something with fiancée is haram.

  55. Avatar


    August 1, 2016 at 9:36 AM


    I am a practicing muslim. I recently had a proposal from a guy I know. I really like him and I find him cute and everything. But there is a problem I want to discuss here. That guy after proposing to me discussed with me openly that he is a submissive and he wants me to be a dominant in the relationship. He has a shoe fetish and for some reason he loves shoes so much that he wants to worship my prettiness by sitting in my shoes. He says, his place is where my shoes are. He will be happy if I put him as low as I can. He craves my control. He will do anything for me as long as I accept and expect his submission. He wants me to order him to love me or take care of me. I even watched fifty shades of grey only to understand what BDSM is. I looked up shoe fetish but I didn’t find any movie on it. I am guessing it is less common. Unfortunately the guy I was interested in has it. Coming to the point, the fifty shades of grey is a movie and even though it was utterly unpleasant to watch it I still feel that it is portraying the facts quite unrealistically and fancifully.

    Now it took me by surprise. Before this, I didn’t even know this was a thing. It took a really long time for me to grasp this and to this day I don’t really know what it truly is and how it can impact a relationship. And most importantly whether it is permissible in Islam or not. My gut doesn’t allow me to fall for this and I am 90% sure it is haram. I want to not consider this guy and move on. But for the sake of my knowledge and inner satisfaction I need to know that I am making an informed decision so I need an honest opinion from someone who knows what the heck it is and whether this kind of thing could lead to a successful and accomplished relationship.

  56. Avatar


    August 7, 2016 at 12:19 AM

    I’m a bit worried because I am a young Muslim girl and I fantasised about BDSM a lot years before 50 shades of grey even came out. I went through a period where my faith wasn’t amazing and I tried a few things with a few men and I really liked it. Now, however, I am a good girl and refuse to date anyone and I now do not believe in sex before marriage. I am very worried, however, because I would like a husband who would do hardcore BDSM with me when we are married… But it’s not something I can ask a man before marriage, he would run a mile! This is really worrying me as my father wants me to get married soon and advice would be much appreciated.
    I have put a false name on here to protect my identity.
    Peace be with you all.

  57. Avatar

    Natalie Payne

    January 3, 2020 at 6:38 PM

    Thank you for your wonderfully educated and unbiased views on the book. For anyone condoning how bad the books are really need a reality check. Your views are spot on and all women need to be aware of the points you made. As an non Muslim woman I cannot understand the impact such a ridiculous book would have on young women who may only ever be with one other man but I thank you for highlighting it and hope that your voice is heard.

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Muslim Literature: The Pros, The Progress, And The Pitfalls

The burgeoning field of Muslim literature, and Muslim fiction, in particular, is an exciting development for the English-speaking Muslim community. However, it is necessary for Muslim writers to seriously consider the quality of their work.

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Once upon a time, it was extremely difficult for English-speaking Muslims to find good books – fiction and non-fiction alike – that was catered to their demographic. Fiction, in particular, was scarce, for both young children as well as teens. Much of it was poorly written, filled with atrocious spelling and grammar, and stilted from beginning to end.

It was not an enjoyable reading experience.

Alhamdulillah, the Muslim literary scene has evolved significantly since the early 90s. Today, we have award-winning Muslim authors such as Na’ima B. Robert, whose excellent YA novels have been published through mainstream publishers and numerous emerging writers whose debut novels are wonderful contributions to the existing body of modern Muslim literature.

Muslim publishers such as Kube Publishing, Daybreak Press, and Ruqaya’s Bookshelf are taking the lead in producing and distributing stories by and for Muslims. In addition, the publishing company Simon and Schuster launched an entire division dedicated to books by Muslim writers. Hena Khan, S. K. Ali, Karuna Riazi, and Mark Gonzales are just some of the authors whose Muslim-centered stories have been published through Salaam Reads and made accessible to schools, libraries, and the general public. The We Need Diverse Books movement has also played a significant role in promoting multicultural and marginalized voices within mainstream publishing, and the results are wonderful. 

Elevating Standards in Muslim Literature

Within the Muslim community, however, work still needs to be done. Unfortunately, as ever, the tendency to fall short of professional continues to make itself clear, in both self-published works as well as work that is published through Muslim publishers. It is common to find children’s stories that are riddled with typos, run-on sentences, poor plot structure, and nonexistent character development. In the pursuit of promoting Islamic values, too many fall into being overtly preachy and moralizing, with no regard for the fine art of storytelling.

The result is that time, effort, and money are wasted; having a plethora of “Islamic books” does us very little good when the final product is of little benefit and serves to turn children and young adults away from Muslim-focused stories. Parents and educators also find themselves frustrated with these poorly developed books, especially when they are seeking stories more representative of religiously observant Muslims rather than those who take Islam as a cultural identity marker. 

While it is certainly encouraging to see more Muslims actively contributing to the field of Muslim literature, we must recognize the difference between quality and quantity – and the importance of the former over the latter. It is true that traditional publishing is a difficult niche to get into, especially for those with no previous experience with writing or the publishing industry. This is often a motivating factor for many Muslim writers to either go with a Muslim publisher or turn to self-publishing as a means of making their work available.

However, the push to keep costs low comes at a price of its own. The vast majority of the time, it is clear that a qualified, professional editor was not hired to look over the manuscript. While some people may think that it is not a serious issue, especially for children’s books, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

Children’s books actually require extra attention; one must be clear on the targeted demographic and tailor the story and language appropriately, and the illustrations and the words alike need to be engaging and lively, regardless of the intended age group. In particular, when the subject matter is religion-focused, it is important that the approach taken is not dry, academic, or presented in a way that young readers cannot connect with personally.

The quality of a book should never be sacrificed in order to keep costs low; as Muslims, we should be even more particular about producing high-quality work that will be a valuable resource to be used both within our own communities as well as to the non-Muslim public. 

Self Publishing Woes

Self-publishing is particularly dangerous when the aspiring author has done little to no research on writing and publishing and has even less experience with writing well. Unfortunately, too many Muslim writers over-estimate their own abilities and rush headlong into self-publishing… with painful, often cringe-inducing results. It is particularly distressing when certain over-confident and under-qualified Muslim writers then exult over unearned praise from readers who, unfortunately, are not always as discerning as they should be – leading said writers to feel secure in their writing abilities and going on to produce even more subpar work.

The importance of having a strong editor cannot be overstated; having a “friend of a friend” with no qualifications to review and ‘edit’ the story simply does not cut it. Choosing the professional way to write and publish will inevitably take more time and effort – and yes, financial cost – to produce a final result, but that investment of energy will be much, much more worth it in the long run (and will also spare readers the agony of seeing “there,” “their,” and “they’re” constantly used the wrong way).

Having higher standards and holding Muslim writers (and publishers) accountable for their work is not meant to be discouraging. Rather, our intention is to encourage their success – in a way that is meaningful, not blindly supportive. We all wish to see our brothers and sisters in Islam succeed and to continue to contribute to an extremely important field. Addressing these weaknesses from the very beginning will ultimately result in long-term success and benefit the writers and the readers alike. 

The burgeoning field of Muslim literature, and Muslim fiction in particular, is an exciting development for the English-speaking Muslim community. However, it is necessary for Muslim writers to seriously consider the quality of their work, and to seek professional and qualified editors and publishers with whom to work and produce their books. The current substandard quality of many Muslim-produced books is counter-productive to the intended goal of providing beneficial resources for Muslim and non-Muslim audiences. It makes parents and educators reluctant to use and share those works with their children and students.

Investing time and energy into improving the quality of our literature will only result in success, for the writers and their readership alike – so let us truly take our work seriously, and be committed to undertaking our efforts with Ihsaan.

Credit to MuslimKidsBookNook for her valuable contributions.

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Death In A Valley Town, Part 4 – The Psychology of Forgiveness

He let the vision go, feeling a moment of dizziness as he did so. He stood stock still until the dizziness passed and the world resolved before him.

Mayon volcano
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See the Story Index for Wael Abdelgawad’s other stories.

Previous Chapters of Death in a Valley Town1. Moving Day2. The Black Jesus. 3. A Fighter and a Thief.


Moroccan teapotThe hot tea stung Yahya’s bruised mouth and swollen lip, but he did his best to drink as he sat in Imam Saleh’s living room, sipping from a small ornate glass, and eating a bit of baklawa. It had been two days since his release from the hospital. The Imam tried to refill his glass from an old-fashioned looking Moroccan teapot, but Yahya waved him off.

He’d spent the previous day recuperating in bed. Yusra had tried again to talk to him about their father, but he’d told her he was too tired. Tired and unwired. This morning he left while the sky was still dark and the household was still asleep. He went to Masjid Madeenah in Fresno for Fajr prayer, and exchanged a few words with Imam Saleh, making an appointment to see him later that day.

He knew his wife would be angry that he had not spent more recovery time in bed. She’d taken time off work to help him recuperate. He was being ungrateful by going back to work so soon. But he needed to get out. Hit the road for a bit, open his window and let the crisp night air rush over his face. Work the city like a speed skater on ice. Downshift his mind and let his hands and feet take over. Or hand and foot, more like it, since his left leg and arm were still incapacitated.

So yeah, he’d done a handful of Uber rides in the morning. If anyone minded him driving one-handed, they did not complain. People going to work, college students going to school. He always crossed into neighboring Fresno to work, as it was a big city. At one point he arrived at a drugstore to pick up a woman named Caridad. Spanish for Charity, he knew. There was no one in the parking lot but a rail-thin, middle-aged white woman carrying a frayed duffel bag, and a young Latina hanging out near the bus stop, examining her phone. He rolled down his window, called out, “Caridad?”

The middle aged woman took a step toward him.

Yahya frowned. “Are you Caridad?”

“Uh-huh.” The woman came around to the passenger side, opened the door and dropped in, her duffle bag resting on her lap. Yahya studied her. She didn’t seem to have a phone. Her blonde hair was disheveled, and she smelled bad. Her arms were as thin as curtain rods, and the skin on her face was pulled tight across her cheekbones. An old tattoo of a swastika defaced the side of her neck.

At the same time he noticed the young Latina approaching, looking at her phone then up at him quizzically. Hmm.

“You sure you’re Caridad?” he asked the middle aged woman.


“And you’re going to…” he checked the Uber app. “Hoover High School?”


“You’re a high school student?”


The young Latina was now a few steps away. Yahya nodded a greeting to her. “I’m guessing you’re Caridad?”

She nodded earnestly. “Yes.”

Yahya gave his would-be passenger a reproachful look. “You’re not Caridad. You have to get out.”

She glared at him. “I am so.”

Uber stickers“You’re not.” He looked at his phone. “I can see her picture right here.” That was a lie – Uber did not display photos of passengers – but this woman would not know that.

“You mean this picture?” The woman threw her hands up, opened her mouth wide and stuck out her tongue. Then she took her duffle and exited the car.

“Hey lady!” Yahya called the homeless woman back and handed her a twenty dollar bill, which was half of what he’d made thus far that morning, along with his business card, which provided his name, contact info and Uber referral code. Anytime someone signed up for Uber with his code, he got paid. Not that he imagined this woman would be signing up for Uber. “Get yourself something to eat,” he told her. “Some meat.” He wanted to add, “would be neat,” but restrained himself. People didn’t always appreciate his rhymes and alliteration. “My number is on there. If you’re ever hungry, call me and I’ll bring you some food.”

“Thank you,” the woman said solemnly, her demeanor becoming saner, as if the craziness was a tattered garment she could shuck off at will. “My real name is Jinx. But my really for reals name is Barbara.”

He did a few more rides after that, and was now here at the Imam’s stately, tree-shaded home near Fresno City College. The Imam sat before him, a tall man with midnight black skin and a trace of an African accent. Yahya had heard he was highly educated. He had also, from what people said, shaken the community up a bit. He’d founded his own masjid and stipulated that half of the board of directors must be women. Converts too were well represented. The mosque was open to walk-ins by non-Muslims any day of the week. And the Imam was not afraid to address controversial topics. He was a strong advocate for combatting violence against women, mobilizing the Muslim vote, and ending FGM. But this was Yahya’s first time meeting him one-on-one.

“My wife says I should sue the boy,” Yahya said after explaining the situation. “But it doesn’t feel right. Doesn’t the Quran say, ‘Repel [evil] by that which is better; and thereupon the one whom between you and him is enmity [will become] as though he was a devoted friend.’”

The Imam nodded. “Are you hoping this young man will become a devoted friend?”
“Ehm,” Yahya stammered. “Not really. I just don’t believe in taking personal vengeance. Didn’t the Prophet forgive the woman who used to throw garbage in his path every day? When he went out one day and there was no garbage, he went to see her to check if she was alright.”

“That’s true.”

“And when he conquered Mecca and all the Meccans were afraid he would take revenge for their abusing him, he forgave them all.”

The Imam smiled. “That’s true, but you’re all over the map, akh Yahya.”

“What do you mean?”

“You are conflating incidents from the Meccan period with those from the Madinan period. That’s a mistake, especially from a psychological standpoint.”

“What do you mean psychological?”

“It’s very popular these days to speak of forgiveness. New Age spiritual thinkers and pop psychologists love to talk about the power of forgiveness, and how those who forgive live happier lives. There’s a brother who lives right here in Fresno who writes a blog called Islamic Sunrays. He penned an article titled, “When you forgive, you live.”


“And true, to a degree. The brother says that forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, regardless of whether the perpetrator deserves it. But here’s the problem. When the perpetrator holds the power in the relationship, forgiving them is pointless and dangerous. It gives them permission to continue abusing. And with narcissists, forgiving them merely signals that what they did was not so bad. Look at it this way. Say a woman comes into my office. She’s being beaten by her husband on a regular basis. She looks like you.” The Imam gestured to Yahya’s body. “Bruised and bloody. She’s afraid her husband will kill her. Do you think it would be right to counsel her to forgive her husband and remain in the relationship?”

“No, of course not.”

“Right. The question of forgiveness must be tied to the power dynamic between oppressed and oppressor. On the other hand, if she were to escape her husband, divorce him and start a new life, there might come a time when she could forgive him. Not reunite with him – she might never speak to him again – but let go of her hurt and anger, for the sake of her own soul. That brother with the blog, he points out that holding onto resentment ties us to the abuser, but forgiving liberates us. He’s right. But security first, then forgiveness. Can we tell the Palestinians to forgive the occupiers who gun down their children, torture their fathers, and beat their women at checkpoints? Can we say, ‘Never mind, go about your business and pretend it isn’t happening, and we will do the same.’”

“Well, no.”

“That is the example of the Meccan period.”

“But,” Yahya objected, “the Prophet forgave his tormentors even then, like the old woman with the garbage.”

“She was no threat. When the Prophet went to see her she was bedridden. Forgiving her was an act of compassion. But when the family of Yasir was being tortured by Abu Jahl – the archenemy of Islam – in the desert, and the Prophet passed by them, did he tell them to forgive? No, he told them to be patient, and that their meeting place was in Paradise, because that was all he could do. And in the end, at the battle of Badr, when Abdullah ibn Masood – who was nineteen at the time – encountered Abu Jahl as he lay gasping on the battlefield, what did he do? Everything had changed by then. It was the Madinan period. The Muslims had established a sovereign state and were officially at war with the Quraysh. Abu Jahl, though wounded, was an unrepentant torturer and murderer. A monster. So did Ibn Masood forgive him? No, he stepped on his neck and killed him. That is the proper end for tyrants. I’m not suggesting you go to war,” the Imam added hastily. “Not at all. I’m saying, safety first. Forgiveness has a time and a place.”

Yahya was a little taken aback. This was not the line of reasoning he had expected from the Imam, who was known for his moderate, progressive views. “But I’m not talking about forgiving acts against other people. Only against myself. Isn’t it true that the Prophet never sought personal vengeance?”

“Yes. That was his role. He was a bringer of truth to the world, and therefore had to come with unlimited compassion, or he would have sabotaged his own mission. Furthermore, he had the protection of God upon him. Abu Jahl, who I mentioned earlier? Once, during the Meccan period, he vowed that the next time he saw Muhammad prostrating in prayer, he would crush his skull with a heavy stone, consequences be damned. So the next time he saw the Prophet praying before the Ka’bah, he tried to do exactly that. He picked up a boulder and approached him to kill him, then suddenly dropped the stone and fled, pale with terror. The Quraysh questioned him, and he said that when he approached Muhammad, a camel’s stallion got in his way. ‘By God’, he said, ‘I have never seen anything like its head, shoulders, and teeth on any stallion before, and it made as though it would eat me.’”

“And when Suraqah Bin Jusham came at him on a horse, intending to kill him with a spear, the horse kept stumbling and stopping and would not advance. The Prophet was protected because his mission was vital to the world. Are you similarly protected? If you forgive this man Chad, will it mean anything to him? Will it stay his hand from future attacks? Or will it encourage him?”

Yahya thanked the Imam and left feeling confused and conflicted. He understood what the Imam was saying, but he wasn’t sure he could change who he was at his core, or that he even wanted to. As he was leaving, another brother came up the walkway and greeted him and the Imam. There was something about the brother that immediately caught Yahya’s attention. He was of average height, maybe 5’10”, and lean, and wore a brown fedora tipped sideways on his head, like some old school detective. Even though the guy wore worn jeans, surplus army boots, and a shirt that looked like it came off the rack at Walmart, and even though he seemed weatherbeaten and literally hungry, he emanated personal power and charisma. Yahya could see that even without looking at his light.

A Mountain of Gold

Imam Saleh greeted the newcomer warmly and said, “Zaid, I’m glad you’re here. This is brother Yahya. He might need your services.”

Yahya shook the newcomer’s hand and tried to smile, though it hurt his face to do so.

“Oh? What do you do?”

“I’m a private detective.”

How cool. He’d never met a Muslim private detective. He broke out in a grin, but his bottom lip split and a trickle of blood ran into his beard. “Sorry,” he said, wiping his chin with the back of one hand. “I was going to say, that sounds exciting.”

“What happened?” Zaid gestured to his face and arm. “Car accident?”

Yahya shook his head. “No. But I have it in hand. It was good to meet you.” He started down the walkway. Then, curious as to the source of Zaid’s strength, he turned and quite deliberately looked at the man’s light. Relaxing the muscles around his eyes, letting his gaze go soft and unfocused, he looked past Zaid’s rough exterior. At the same time, he consciously dropped his own guard, opening his chest as he thought of it.

Mayon volcanoWhat he saw stunned him. Whereas the man he’d given his shoes to in jail had been a living mountain physically, this mountain was a spiritual mountain. That was in fact what Yahya saw: a mountain, shimmering before him. That was a new thing. He normally just saw colors. This mountain was not tall but was wide and covered in forest. Animals moved through the trees, but they were unfamiliar: a jaguar, something like a cow with a long nose, and some sort of thick groundhog with long legs. There were birds, and monkeys that hooted and roared. A long fissure ran vertically through the center of the mountain, and red light and smoke emanated from it, as if the mountain were filled with fire. Yahya looked deeper, to the very heart of the mountain, and saw ribbons of pure gold that ran all through the stone like veins. As Yahya watched, clouds gathered around the peak. Thunder pealed, and rain fell in dark curtains.

He also saw that the man was torn from his moorings, for the mountain was not rooted in the earth, but drifting through the sky like a cloud. No, that wasn’t quite it. It wasn’t that it had broken away from the earth: it had never belonged in the first place. Yet the man was not lost. He did not despair. It was almost as if he carried a beacon fire within him, and never had to wonder which way to turn. Seeing this prompted Yahya to think about the concept of home, and what it might mean to such a man.

He let the vision go, feeling a moment of dizziness as he did so. He stood stock still until the dizziness passed and the world resolved before him. Imam Saleh and Zaid stood regarding him quizzically. Yahya felt as if he’d been gone for hours, but it seemed no time had passed. It was always that way when he looked at the light. He asked a question before he had time to consider. “What do you say about home?”

Zaid cocked his eyebrows. “Pardon?”

“I can see that you’ve been uprooted. The place that should have been your home never was, the place that actually was your home should not have been, and your latest, truest home has expelled you. So what is home, really? How do you even define it?”

The man gaped at Yahya in apparent amazement. His mouth opened but nothing came out.

“It’s not magic,” Yahya said, realizing that he’d already said too much. He must not reveal his full talent. People rarely believed him. Sometimes they thought he was crazy. If they did believe him, they either feared him or they became over-attached, wanting him to be their personal life coach or spiritual guide, neither of which he desired to do. “I read facial expressions, body language.” That was true as far as it went. “Anyway… Maya Angelou said that home is the safe place where you can go as you are and not be questioned. So if that doesn’t exist, then what is home?”

“Uhh…” Zaid cleared his throat and paused, thinking. “Maybe home in this dunya is not meant to last. Maybe it’s a series of moments when you felt safe and loved, and maybe you hold on to those moments, each one like a thread or a patch, and make a suit out of them that you wear wherever you go.”

Fascinating. Yahya nodded slowly. “I’ll take your card after all.” Zaid handed him a card and he took it, limping as he left.

Think Outside the Bag

“So here’s my idea,” Chad said. He sat on the floor of his room with his back against the wall. Ames’ lanky frame was sprawled across the bed on his back, looking up at the ceiling, his long blond hair fanning out across the pillow. Bram sat at Chad’s little wooden desk. The desk and accompanying wooden chair were holdovers from when Chad was a kid and used to like to draw. Chad was worried that the little chair might collapse beneath the weight of Bram’s hulking, muscular body.

Each of them had a beer in hand. It was a bit cramped with the three of them in this small room, but it was private. His mom and Amelia knew not to enter his room without knocking.

“The raghead works for this new Uber thing, right?” He pronounced it ubber, rhyming with rubber.

“It’s not Ubber,” Bram corrected, still looking up at the ceiling. “It’s Uber, rhymes with goober.”

“Uber goober, Uber goober,” Ames parroted. He might be a karate master with all-American good looks, but he was not the brightest bulb in the box.

“Uber?” Chad frowned. “That’s not a word.”

“German,” Ames explained. “Means exceeding the norms of its kind of class. Super, basically.” He took a pull from his beer.

Chad was annoyed. “German? Why does everything have to be foreign? What’s wrong with American?” And how could Ames drink beer while lying on his back? Chad was jealous. “Anyway,” Chad went on, “my grandma used to have this country house about a half hour out of town. It’s abandoned now, nothing else around. Nobody goes there. So we set up there and call Uber to that address. We tell them to send the new guy, the raghead, because he’s our favorite driver, yakkity yak. Then-”

“Won’t work,” Bram interrupted. “Uber doesn’t work like that. You order it on the internet, through your smartphone-”

“Sh*t.” Chad didn’t have a smartphone. He had a basic phone, an LG Chocolate. He thought it was cool the way it slid up to open. “You have a smartphone, don’t you Ames?”

“Also,” Bram went on, “you get the closest driver, as determined by GPS. You can’t request a particular person.”

Chad gave a disgusted snort. “That’s shot then.”

“How about this?” Ames pointed his beer bottle upward as if it were a pen and he was writing on the ceiling. “We put Ex-Lax in his food to give him diarrhea, then when he goes to the hospital we pose as nurses and kidnap him. We roll him out of the hospital on a gurney and put him in an ambulance that we hijack. From there we drive him to your grandma’s house. We tie him up and kick him in the nuts for what he did to Amelia. We kick him in the nuts until his face turns blue and his eyes pop out.”

Chad and Bram exchanged a look. Chad rolled his eyes. He was about to tell Ames to shut his idiot mouth when Bram said, “That’s problematic. Hospitals require I.D. badges. And I suspect a stolen ambulance would be easy for the authorities to track. Built-in GPS, you know.”

“What about this then?” Ames gestured at the ceiling with the beer bottle, still brainstorming on his imaginary white board. “We invite him to a rave at a downtown warehouse. When he shows up we spike his drink with a roofie, then tie him up and kick him in the-”

“We don’t have a warehouse,” Chad broke in disgustedly. “And there’s no rave. And the guy’s a Muzzie. They only drink camel wine or some crap.”

“We break into a warehouse,” Ames countered. “Throw a rave, give him cranberry juice. Think outside the bag, guys!”

Chad was about to tell Ames to get his skinny blond ass off the bed and make tracks, which would have been a bad idea since they needed his karate skills, when Bram said, “The grandma’s house isn’t a bad idea. But we must be realistic in our approach. How about this? We follow him when he goes to do Uber. We wait until he’s driving alone on a dark street, and we bump into him from behind at a stop sign or light. He gets out to exchange insurance info, we club him with a baseball bat, toss him in the trunk and take him to your grandma’s house.”

“And commence nut-kicking!” Ames crowed.

“Indeed,” Bram agreed.

Chad considered. “Not bad,” he said at last. “Not bad at all. Gentlemen, we have a plan.”

Author’s Note: There will be a delay before the next chapter. I’m working on the final edit for the print version of Zaid Karim. That’s my priority at the moment. Also, with this story, I feel like I need to take time to get to know Yahya better. I’m not quite ready to proceed. – Wael

* * *

Next: Part 5 – To Be Nazi or Not To Be Nazi

Reader comments and constructive criticism are important to me, so please comment!

See the Story Index for Wael Abdelgawad’s other stories on this website.

Wael Abdelgawad’s novels, Pieces of a Dream and Zaid Karim Private Investigator, are available on

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Death In A Valley Town, Part 3 – A Fighter And A Thief

Filing a lawsuit – against anyone at all – didn’t feel right, but the lawyer was an expert in these matters, and Samira seemed adamant as well. “Fine. We’ll proceed with the suit against the city. But not the kid.”

Support MuslimMatters for Just $2 a Month

MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

See the Story Index for Wael Abdelgawad’s other stories.

Previous Chapters of Death in a Valley Town1. Moving Day2. The Black Jesus


AxeZombies were overrunning the world. Yahya was trying to hold his own, but it was hard. Hitting them in the head, like in the movies, didn’t work. To kill them you had to hack at the base of their spines with an axe or ice pick. Hack attack. The pick trick. It was brutal, sickening work. To make matters worse, many of them retained their minds and personalities, so they would try to negotiate with you, or plead with you to stop, but if you stopped they would attack and devour you. Yahya did not know if he could exist in this new, merciless world.

But he had no choice. There were people he loved here, and he must protect them. That was what home was, wasn’t it? Being with the people you loved. Laughing and crying with them, fighting for them, dying for them. That was the only home that existed in this world, wasn’t it? And if they loved you back it was wonderful, but you couldn’t count on it, because orphans were unwanted. That was the essence of orphanhood: to be abandoned, to be alone.

No matter, no matter! He swung his axe, sweat flying from his face, zombie blood spraying. His sister Yusra possessed karate skills and had hardened her hand to the point that she could snap a zombie’s spine with a karate chop. She was cutting through the monsters like a harvester through wheat. His wife Samira was using her strict, motherly voice, commanding the zombies to “stop this horsing around.” That wasn’t working at all. A man’s voice came over the P.A., telling the zombies he would sue them for ten million dollars if they didn’t cease and desist…

* * *

His heart raced. But the smell in the air was not of blood, but of lemon disinfectant and laundered blankets. His twin sister Yusra was saying, “He’ll be fine, Samira. He’s been through much worse, trust me. He may not look it, but he’s as tough as they come.”

Was he still dreaming? What was his sister doing here?

His mouth and throat were as dry as moon dust, while his entire body ached as if he’d been tenderized with papaya juice and a mallet. He made an effort to open his eyes and immediately squinted, blinded by too-bright overhead lights. Blurred ceiling panels… everything white… This didn’t look like their little apartment in Fort Worth. Where was he? Oh, wait… that’s right, they’d moved to California. To… Alhambra. Alhambra! The memories rushed back in a flash flood. The cops, the beating, the jail. Did that really happen? Or was it a bad dream?

He tried to push up with his hands in order to sit up, and discovered that his left arm was encased in a black plastic splint and was cradled against his chest in a shoulder harness. Pain hit him like a matatu bus. His head hammered, his arm ached all the way to the bones, and the rest of him just generally hurt.

“Oh, ruh albi. Lie still.” Samira was there, sitting on the edge of the bed. She wore no makeup and, in his view, never needed it, since she was extraordinarily beautiful as is, as Allah made her. But her eyes were puffy, as if she’d been crying. Her long black hair was tucked away beneath a gauzy orange hijab. She loved wearing colorful clothing. She cupped his chin and kissed him with her full lips. Ouch, that hurt too! A sudden thought came to him and he blurted out, “The kids?” He was filled with an irrational fear. Had the kids been hurt? Had they been taken away?

“They’re fine.” Samira stroked his cheek. “I left them with Munirah. She’s been very kind.”

Munirah, he remembered, was a nurse who worked at ACH – Alhambra Community Hospital. Samira had met her on her first day at work, and they’d become instant friends.

“I had a crazy dream,” Yahya said slowly. His throat was so dry. “You were there, and Yusra too.” He rubbed his face, remembering. “You should have seen her. She fought like a machine.”

“Nice to know,” Yusra said. “That my talents are well regarded, even in your dreams.”

Yahya jerked in surprise and looked around the room for the first time. To his right a large window filled the wall from hip height to the ceiling. It had a wide sill on which one could sit and look outside. Someone had placed a profusion of flower vases there. His sister Yusra perched among them, looking sleek and sangfroid as always.

Yusra was his fraternal twin, and though shorter than him she still stood an imposing 5’10”. She was thin, her features chiseled and uncompromising, her hair straightened but short, Halle Berry style. She wore a navy women’s suit patterned with yellow flowers, and a yellow blouse that buttoned up to the neck. Knowing Yusra, that suit cost more than Yahya made in a month. No doubt it was made by Gucci or Armani, or some other designer whose name ended in a vowel. And no doubt it was either stolen, or paid for with the proceeds of something stolen. Though Yahya loved his sister, he was under no illusions as to what she was. She was a fighter and a thief, just as she’d been back when they were kids in foster care. Except that back then she fought and stole to protect and feed the two of them. Now, she just did it to do it. She was a lustrous, sinewy tiger with a taste for man-flesh, hunting for the savage joy of it. Thriller killer.

“What?” Yahya had so many questions crowding his mind, he didn’t know where to start. “What are you doing here? Where am I?”

“Be nice, honey.” Samira squeezed his hand. “You’re at ACH.”

“It’s wonderful to see you too,” Yusra said. “My little brother is arrested and nearly beaten to death. Of course I’m here. And I have news about Baba. I have a source-”

“Stop!” Yahya held up his right hand to silence her. The very last thing he wanted was to hear about her delusional, never-ending obsession with “finding” their dead father.

Yusra’s face went as hard as stone. He’d offended her. Whatever, he couldn’t worry about that. Arrested, she’d said… that’s right, he’d been arrested. This didn’t make sense. SubhanAllah, his throat was like the Mojave desert! “I need water, please.”

Samira poured him a cup of water from a pitcher that sat on a small table. He drank, then tried to get things straight. “Where am I? How did I get here? Why am I not in jail anymore?”

As he was speaking, the door opened and a tall, lean man entered. “I can answer that,” the man replied in a deep voice. He was clearly Arab, and GQ handsome. He wore a finely tailored charcoal suit and blue tie, and was clean shaven.

“As-salamu alaykum.̈” The man shook Yahya’s hand. “My name is Basim Al-Rubaiy. I’m an attorney with CAIR Sacramento. Initially you were charged with felony menacing, resisting arrest and burglary.”

“That’s nonsense,” Yahya commented.

“Of course. The night of your arrest – last night – the local news media aired a video showing the police beating you without justification. The police ROR’d you and transported you here. This morning I filed a motion to have the charges dropped, and posted bail. I’m currently drafting a lawsuit against the police department.”

“We’re going to sue them for ten million dollars,” Samira added.

“I don’t care about the money,” Yahya said reflexively.

Samira sighed. “I know you don’t, babe. You never do. But the money isn’t the point. The money is how we get their attention, make them take action against their officers.”

“She’s right Mr. Mtondo,” the CAIR lawyer added. “Lawsuits are the primary tool available to us to demand justice. Hit them in the pocketbook and they listen. Gives us leverage. We should also sue Chad Barber, the man who called the police on you for no reason.”

“Don’t worry about this Barber clown,” Yusra commented. “Point me in his direction and I’ll take him apart. He likes calling the cops? When I’m done his fingers will be pick-up sticks. Let’s see him call anyone then.”

“Yusra!” Samira exclaimed.

Yahya sighed heavily, already weary of his sister’s drama. Not that he didn’t take Yusra seriously. He knew she was quite capable of executing her threats. Violence triggered and excited her. But he needed facts. He looked to the lawyer. The man was confident, as if he’d been through this a thousand times before. Maybe he had. “Chad Barber. Is that the white boy across the street and two houses down? Twenty, twenty one years old?¨

“I don’t know, let me check.” The lawyer opened a briefcase that sat on a small table by the window. He looked through a file. “Chad Barber, 714 Minarets Avenue. I don’t have his age. And sister,” he added, addressing himself to Yusra, “I would caution you against illegal or precipitous action that could get you or your brother arrested, not to mention torpedo his legal case.”

Good, Yahya thought. Let someone else talk sense to her. 714 Minarets… Yup. That was the house. He was sure it was the young man who’d flipped him off. He pursed his lips. Filing a lawsuit – against anyone at all – didn’t feel right, but the lawyer was an expert in these matters, and Samira seemed adamant as well. “Fine. We’ll proceed with the suit against the city. But not the kid.”

Anger flashed on Samira’s face. “That man set this whole fiasco in motion. He endangered all of us, including our children. You could have been killed. And why? Because we’re Muslim. We can’t let him get away with it.”

“She has a point, Mr. Mtondo,” the lawyer added.

Yahya held up a hand to the lawyer, who was beginning to get on his nerves. The man seemed to take his point, and stopped talking. Yahya looked towards Samira. “I said no. The city I’ll go along with for now. But the kid, no.”

“But why not?”

Why not, indeed? Yahya’s eyes wandered around the room, taking in the line of flower vases and bouquets by the window. Who had brought those? Did they know that many people in Alhambra? “Do you know,” he said eventually, “about the Jewish woman, Zainab bint Al-Harith, who brought a poisoned lamb to the Prophet Muhammad as a gift?”

“He forgave her,” said Basim, the lawyer.

Yahya was impressed. “Yes. The woman tried to assassinate him, and he pardoned her.”

Samira gave an annoyed cluck of the tongue. “Are you the Prophet now?”

“Though he later ordered her executed,” Basim added.

“That’s because Bishr ibn Al-Baraa’ died. He was the first to eat of it. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) forgave the attempt on his own life, but he could not waive the punishment for the murder of someone else.”

Samira raised a finger. “Hold on. Don’t I remember reading that the Prophet suffered the effects of that poison for the rest of his life?”


“Aha!” She pinched his earlobe and glared. “You see what happens when you let bad people get away? We’re filing a lawsuit, not putting his head in a guillotine.”

Speaking of heads, his own head was pounding. Trying to escape this conversation, he said, “I’ll consult with Imam Saleh.”

Samira looked at him with eyes narrowed. “Okay, But you’re too soft on people, Yoyo. And look how they repay you.” She waved a hand at his ravaged body.

As if proving her point, he attempted to sit up and swing his legs over the side, only to find the world spinning like a merry go round. Without warning he bent over and vomited over the side of the bed. How embarrassing. In front of the lawyer and everything. Samira fussed over him, wiping his mouth and telling him not to worry about the mess. “Lie back down, baby.”

But he did not lie down. He insisted on checking out of the hospital, to his wife’s outrage. He didn’t want to leave the kids with strangers, or at least someone they were not familiar with.

Samira had brought a fresh set of clothing, since the lawyer, Basim, had taken the clothes he’d been wearing as evidence. They were little more than bloody rags, it seemed. A nurse brought a wheelchair. The attorney, Basim, shook Yahya’s hand, promising to check on him tomorrow. “By the way,” the lawyer added, “your shoes were not among the clothes the police turned over to me. They didn’t take them away, did they? If so I will add that into the lawsuit.”

“No. I gave them away.” From the corner of his eye he saw Samira’s sharp gaze, and knew he’d get an earful later.

* * *

Yahya sat in a wheelchair as Samira pushed him through the courtyard in front of the hospital, on the way to the parking garage. A woman in a hijab sat there, reciting Quran and tossing birdseed to a flock of tiny birds that hopped and flitted all around her. What a strange scene. And the sister looked so much like – wait a minute!

It was his older sister, Hafsa. Yahya was stunned. It was impossible for her to be here. Hafsa did not travel on airplanes. In fact she rarely left her small suburban home in Chicago. And she most certainly did not visit hospitals. She was terrified of germs. But here she was. Birds were gathered all around her. Yahya was no expert, but there were several of the tiny ones he believed were called sparrows, along with a finch – he recognized it because of the red scattered across its head and chest – and a bluejay that was trying to bully the rest. They hopped and flitted, trying to be the first to catch the seeds.

A handful of hospital workers – nurses and technicians – sat in the courtyard as well, eating or chatting, and many watched Hafsa curiously. Yahya had to smile. If this were a scene from a Turkish movie, he would think it cliched – the saintly hijabi, gathering the animals like some Sister Doolittle, charming them with the word of God. But it wasn’t a movie. It was just Hafsa. When she saw him she stood and rushed to him, then bent over to embrace him and kiss his cheek. She looked good. She’d always been chubby, but she’d lost a little weight.

“How did you get here?” Yahya wondered aloud. “I thought you didn’t do airplanes. Or hospitals.”

“Overnight flight. And for my little brother I’ll always make an exception. Actually I’m doing better with the phobias. Still couldn’t convince myself to go up to your room, though.”

The sun was going down, and Yahya shivered in the evening autumn air. “Come on, let’s go home. I’m excited for you to meet the kids.”

Try the Bak Bak

Chad’s eyes nearly popped out of his head when he saw the silver Honda Accord pull up and the sand-chigger get out. Sitting on the porch, guzzling his sixth beer of the day – pretty much his everyday routine, he goggled at the scene, setting his beer down beside him. There were more Muzzies now! They were multiplying like rats. The Muzzie had his wife and kids with him, and also another Muzzie broad in a headscarf, and a tall, dark chick in a suit who was pretty hot, actually. I mean, Chad thought, she’s not white, but hey, a hot mama is a hot mama.

But that wasn’t the point, he reminded himself, renewing his sense of righteous indignation. Un-freakin-believable! Sure, he’d had seen the video that showed the rag-head getting his ass kicked. He was pretty sure Alan, the fairy schoolteacher, was the one who filmed it. And yeah, the liberal groups – like the NAACP, aka National Association for the Advancement of Commie People – were making the usual noises about police brutality. But so what? They were always squawking. They needed to have their heads cut off like the clucking chickens they were. But that was beside the point. The point was that he, Chad Barber, had helped to catch a rag-head terrorist here in his own town, and the cops had let the dude go! What the hell? In Trump’s America?

He watched the rag-head limp into the house with the wife helping him. The two little kids flanked them, one holding the mom’s hand and one the dad’s. Chad ground his teeth. Okay. The police had let the rag-head go. That was the reality. It was up to him now, Chad Barber, to make the next move. He knew exactly what he would do. He would get his friends together, and they would beat the truth out of the rag-head. It would be easy. Dude was an Uber driver, right? They’d call for an Uber to some remote location, like out in the country. When the rag-head showed up they´d lay into him with baseball bats. Break his arms and legs. By the time they were done he’s tell them all about his terrorist plots. He’d name names, give up the whole network. Then the cops would have to send him to Guantanamo for real.

A smile broke out on his face. He felt suddenly energized, like he wanted to jump up and run a mile. For the first time since he’d lost the Walmart job he felt filled with a sense of purpose. Damn, it was a good feeling!

The whole family went into the house, except the hot mama. She turned and stared at him from across the street. Chad sat up straight and sucked in his beer gut, trying to look manly. To his surprise, the woman began to cross the street, walking directly toward him. Her walk was athletic and poised, like a dancer. Damn she was hot. For a second Chad thought he’d lucked out. Maybe she wanted a beer. Maybe he could get some action going! But her stride was too rapid, too purposeful. Chad grew nervous. Then he saw her grim expression, and noticed that her hands were balled into fists. It occurred to him that her athletic, powerful walk was not that of a dancer, but a fighter.

“You little punk,” the woman growled. “I’m going to beat you bloody.”

Chad yelped and leaped to his feet, spilling his beer. The woman started up the steps and Chad turned and ran, dashing through the front door and locking it. Should he call the cops? But when he peered through the curtain the crazy bitch was crossing back to the rag-head’s house. She went inside, not looking back. Christ! What a psycho. What was her problem anyway?

Chad seethed. This was war. He considered. Who could he call? As he was puzzling over it, his little sister walked out of the house wearing slippers and pink pajamas that hung loose on her petite frame. Her mousy brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail. Carrying a plate of chocolate chip cookies balanced on one hand, she descended the crumbling porch steps and started across the lawn.

Chad stepped outside. “Where you goin’ with that? Can I have one?” Not that he always needed to know what Amelia was doing, but she was his younger sister after all, even if she was nineteen years old and technically an adult.

“Stuff it, you beer-blooded clownmeister.”

He grinned. Where did she come up with this stuff? She crossed the street, her slippers slapping the ground with every step. With a sudden sense of alarm, he watched as she made a beeline for the rag-head family’s house. “Amelia,” he called out, but she ignored him. She rang the doorbell. What the holy hell was she doing? Didn’t she know what had transpired yesterday? “Amelia!” he bellowed. “Get your skinny ass back here! That’s the enemy over there!”

He watched, stunned, as the rag-head wife opened the door, still wearing her stupid oppressed orange scarf. What, did she think her hair was some kind of holy relic that ordinary people couldn’t look at? Or did she imagine she was so stunningly beautiful – some kind of Muzzie supermodel – that her beauty would blind mere mortals? Morons.

Then, as he watched, Amelia entered the rag-head house! What was that pigeon-brained mouse turd doing? And was it his imagination or were those her slippers in front of the door? Why had she taken them off?

Chad paced the weatherbeaten porch, squeezing his forehead with one hand and ignoring the pool of spilled beer from earlier. He was going to knock his sister’s bowling ball of a head off her shoulders. She was consorting with the enemy. She was a traitor. She was-

She came out of the house. She was smiling – smiling! – and still carrying the plate, which looked like it still had food on it. Hah! They’d sent her and her infidel cookies packing. As she cut across the lawn, he lit into her, cursing her for consorting with the enemy.

Baklawa“I had to do something,” Amelia said, “to make up for that stupid stunt you pulled. Mama’s afraid they’ll sue us. She said we should try to make friends. Besides, look what they gave me.” She took a golden colored square from the plate and held it out to him. “It’s called baklawa. With a w, not a v. It’s delicious.¨

He knocked the small treat out of her hand, sending it flying onto the lawn. “Get that bak-bak crap out of my face. It’s probably poisoned.”

Amelia glared and held the plate with the remaining treats out of his reach. “If I had a lighter I’d set your stupid mustache on fire and watch you slap yourself to death, you rockwitted plague virus.” She stomped into the house, slamming the door behind her, at which point Chad heard their mother shouting at him – at him! – not to slam the door.

He sighed and smoothed his mustache. What had he been thinking about? Oh yeah, who to call. Why not his best friends, the guys he’d gone to high school with? His fellow track team members. Bram and Ames. Bram was very smart, which could be a problem at times. He didn’t believe in the separation of races like Chad did. Said it was “illogical and only the product of poverty-fueled desperation.” Idiot. Like those ten-dollar words actually meant anything. Just a lot of hot air. But in the end he was a follower, not a leader. A sheeple. He’d do whatever Chad said. Plus he was a big guy, not tall but thick and solid like a rhino. Could come in handy. On top of all that he was a pot dealer and always had money. The two of them got together all the time to smoke weed and play Call of Duty. Sometimes they went out to Rebel Saloon in Old Town – with Bram buying of course – and drank themselves off the stools.

Ames, though – he was a moron, but he was a karate guy. He went to tournaments and won trophies, the whole deal. He’d be a good one to have along. Kick that psycho hot mama’s skinny behind. Chad hadn’t seen him in a couple of years, and Ames might not be as down for the white race as Chad was, but surely he would understand the threat? This was about protecting the American way of life.

There was Mad Morry. They weren’t close anymore, since Morry seemed to spend more time in prison than out. But Chad was pretty sure his thuggish friend was out at the moment. Morry hung around with some scary dudes, and Chad was pretty sure Morry was tight with the Aryan Brotherhood. He would have no problem beating the blood out of a rag-head. Except… Morry scared him. Chad was pretty sure he had killed people, even women. He’d heard that Morry had been involved in the disappearance of a spook family in Oakhurst.

Jim might be down. He was three years older than Chad and had been a friend ever since Chad was eleven, when they’d been neighbors. Well, sort of a friend. Chad used to go over to Jim’s house to listen to music and lust after his busty older sister Cheri. Jim was a dope dealer and would give Chad free liquor, weed and pills. To be honest, Chad had never really wanted those things back then, but he’d taken them so he wouldn’t look like a pansy in Jim’s eyes. Jim was also a bully and a sadist. Once he burned Chad’s arm with a hot glue gun. Another time he used a nail gun to drive a nail through the back of Chad’s hand. But Chad never snitched on him, and as they got older and Chad filled out, the bullying mostly stopped, though it continued in verbal form, with Jim often calling him names.

No, forget Mad Morry and Jim. Screw them. Best to stick with Bram and Ames. Chad would be able to control them, and he’d be in charge. The boss of his own posse.

He tried Bram first, but got his voicemail, so he called Ames.

“Chad my man!̈”̈ Ames’s deep voice, midwestern accent – his family had moved here from Wisconsin – and enthusiastic manner made Chad smile. It was like nothing had changed and no time had gone by. Why had he and Ames fallen out of touch? The guy was always up for something fun. Chad explained to Ames about the rag-head, and how he wanted to lure the man to a remote location and beat him up. And maybe beat up the hot sister too.

“Dude, you been hittin’ the sauce or what? Let it go, brother. Live and let live. I’m a business owner now. I have my own dojo. I can’t risk my business over-”

“You have your own dojo?” Chad was amazed. He didn’t know anyone his own age who owned a business.

“Yeah, it’s on Second Avenue in Old Town. You should come by sometime.”

“Why do you have to call it a dojo? Isn’t that a Jap word? Why don’t you just say gym?”

Ames sighed. “I know it’s kooky but we’re traditional. We belong to a federation based in Japan. We take pride in maintaining the traditions of-”

Chad cut off the practiced sales pitch, realizing this was getting off track, and not really caring about this issue anyway. “Yeah, yeah, that’s fine. But you’re missing my point. The ragheads are in my freakin’ neighborhood. They gave my sister bak-bak. They might sue me. They-”

“Whoa, hold up. Your sister? They what? What’s bak-bak? You sayin’ they did something to little Amelia?”

Chad realized that Ames had misunderstood him. “No, they-” He stopped himself, remembering that Ames had always had a crush on Amelia, God knows why. He could use this. “I mean, yeah. They did. They messed with her, man. She’s really upset.”

“What? What did they do?”

“You know. The rag-head tried to, you know, mess with her. Amelia barely got away. Had to take off her slippers to run.” Well… she did take off her slippers, right?

“Hold up, man, hold up.” Ames’s voice was angry now. “He tried to rape her? That’s what you’re saying, right?”

Chad felt a sense of unease creep over him. This white lie was going a bit further than he’d intended. But he was committed now. He couldn’t back up without losing all credibility.

“Yup. The guy’s a predator.”

“Did you call the cops?”

“Of course. They even arrested him.” That was true enough. “But the cops couldn’t do a thing. They let him out the next day. We have to do something.”

“Count me in, buddy. That sonofabitch won’t be able to walk when I’m done with him. I’m going to kick his nuts until they come out of his ears.” Ames’s voice held rage and firmness of purpose. Exactly what Chad wanted to hear.

When he was done with the call, Chad walked into the house, smiling to himself. Bram would be down too, he was sure. Dude was a sheep. Chad could manipulate him into anything. They would put such a beatdown on that rag-head. Chad considered… It would be cool to really crush the guy’s arms and legs, destroy them so he’d never walk right again. Stomp on his fingers too. And if he could get that hot mama psycho bitch alone, he could teach her a lesson too. Not rape her, just mess with her a bit. Show her how to respect the white race.

He spotted the tray of bak-bak on the kitchen counter. He was pretty hungry, actually. He took one and tried a tiny, testing nibble. Oh – my – God. It was delicious. The layers of pastry were crunchy and sweet, held together by honey it seemed like, with a dusting of crushed pistachios on top. Holy swastika. He devoured the little square pastry and grabbed another. As he ate, he considered. He’d need to make some notes and plan this thing right. It was finally coming together.

* * *

Next: Part 4 – The Psychology of Forgiveness

Reader comments and constructive criticism are important to me, so please comment!

See the Story Index for Wael Abdelgawad’s other stories on this website.

Wael Abdelgawad’s novels, Pieces of a Dream and Zaid Karim Private Investigator, are available on

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