Sunday, March 26, 2006

For the Love of....

I've just returned from a weekend for converts. As always, a popular topic of conversation is marriage, particularly marriage horror stories. One particular tale (worth reciting with a torch shone upwards, ghost-story telling style) involved a Saudi brother, who on discovering his convert wife had boyfriends in the past, declared that she was "like a public toilet". Obviously the various ayah and hadith about conversion erasing past sins had obviously passed this brother by. Although I'm sure he knew the one about angels cursing until dawn. Just a hunch.

Intention is very important in Islam, yet some Muslims have intentions that are definitely not from the Sunnah. On one of the few times I prayed Dhur in the mosque, it was only me and this elderly sister in the woman's section. We exchange Salaams then come the inevitable questions prompted by my pasty pale face.
"Are you a convert?"
"Yes" I reply, not knowing what was to come after the obligatory Masha-Allah ing
"Would you like to get married?"
Stupid, stupid me: "Yes".
"Ahhh" Sister then proceeds to tell me about two brothers looking for wives.
The first is described as very religious, going to the Mosque five times a day. Of course with my shallow mind I ponder what sort of work he is doing to enable him to get to the mosque on the outskirts of town this often. The second brother is from Iraq. I am told he has a wife there, but after seeing my face hit the carpet am swiftly told that they are divorced. Seeing that I'm not particulary taken with her selection of husbands, the sister is keen to know if I know of any other Muslim converts looking for marriage, when that draws a blank, she asks if I know anyone, maybe just interested in Islam. Don't worry about location, the brothers will move anywhere at all in the country

It was at that point that I left, musing on how a bright shiny passport can be more attractive then anyone's face.

I think it is about time we called this behaviour by it's real name: Prostitution. I'm sorry brothers(and sisters), but if you are willing to marry someone with all that it entails, reducing the beautiful mercy from Allah (swt) of marriage to a business transaction, solely to get a particular passport then you are prostituting yourself.

Except that usually, both the customer and the prostitute are aware of the transaction taking place. That in these cases, there is usually a poor duped spouse, often new to the deen (how often have you read on e-groups "I've been Muslim for five minutes and I'm getting married to Brother Fromabroad next week") makes this all the more despicable.

We must stop this, Insha Allah. It is a disgusting, immoral practice which debases us all and it's about time we spoke out against it as a community and take active measures to prevent it.


hamesha: said...

I am not sure I have heard about this sort of program... retreat for converts etc.... would be interested to know more..


ajnabi said...

as salamalaikum,
nice post, me in Saudi Arabia. Allah has blessed you with great strength. may he grant you steadfastness. nice exposure.
Allah bless you and all of us, to practice our faith, as we are commanded to. (ameen)

doshar said...

you are right safiya, they are kind of horror stories.

alas, alot of what people do, esp. in some countries with too much tradition that has not changed, mix up religion with culture . i had fretted over this alot in my life... i had this feeling that women were not fairly treated, that men had more rights, then i started reading alot to know what is from Islam, and what is from culture, and al hamdulillah, now that i know waht my rights are, i feel comfortable. when i talk about it infront of guys they are kind of wary, think i am some kind of feminist, but there is no fault in stating your rights when they are overlooked.

religion is not a pick and choose thing. you use relirion as your baseline to frown upon adultery for example, then with it, you have to take the mercy that God has decreed upon us.

the story about the saudi brother is terrible. i do not think calling your wife something terrible like that is proper no matter what she had done.

this judgemental way of thinking brings us all back. that is why, if you had repented, you are allowed to hide your sins of the past... not becuase you are still at fault... but because some people are like this.why did this brother not think... that even though she had been through all that... al hamdulillah she found Islam, which is tougher probably after living so differently. he was lucky he was born into Islam, he should appreciate her now.

anyways... about the women in the mosque proposing thing... it is not always like that. here in egypt, sometimes a woman with a son would like a girl she sees in a mosque... and would propose the idea of marriage, but for the right reasons. some actually do want marriage. esp. in some states the islamic commuinty mainly gets to know each other through the mosque.

hope your next weekend is better, and may God be with you always.

Hajar said...

You hit the nail on the head sister! You don't even know how many times I've been asked to do that! Booooo! Most people just don't get it!

LouLou said...

I hate that too. The idea of exploiting people's emotions for your own materialistic ends is just contemptible.

Over here people don't do it for passports but they might do it if they think marriage to you might improve their wealth or social position. It is equally disgusting.

Please be careful. Marriage is something very intimate & personal. Don't trust strangers to help you choose. Trust your own God-given instincts & pray istikhara.

May Allah be with you.

Maxxed`ouT said...

I bet you had your eyes on that Iraqi passport didn't you hehe

fairytale knight said...

lol@ public toilet.
the part about prostitution made sense.
one thing though, i still can't figure out y any private conversation has to turn towards marriage when talking to people close to their religion? i have a very religious friend, who whenever i meet, has to ask me if i got married or still living the life of 'a lost man'. now why is my life lost without marriage?? well maybe i am a little unfocused or maybe not settled, but definitely i am good@work, and also i get plenty of time for myself, which is something i won't give up easily just to satisfy mere 'wishes' for marriage.
i believe marriage comes when it has to come, and that is only after true love. but conditioned love, marriage then love, marriage becoz i'm getting old, marriage for anything related only to me without her, will not last. and divorse will have to come along.
well i am sorry to say this, but most people claiming to be religious treat their wives badly, as if they are slaves, as if they are private toilets, nothing more than that, and so unhappiness is a rule.
the solution is simple, there must be 'love' before anything. love never comes after.
btw, where do u live Safiya??

luckyfatima said...

my lord safiya this post has my nostrils flaring and i'm huffing and puffing in anger. funny, but i was working on a post about the same subject. it is a sensitive one because there are some really good guys out there, but i think converts, like honey, attract a lot of flies. I am gonna link this and make my finished post on luckyfatima.


The Neurocentric said...

Absolutely... I know so may people who have had this experience, both brothers and sisters, and not just converts. The damage done to the self-esteem of every one of them is horrific. Well said.

roora said...

Salams Safiya, first time to drop here ,

I just want to comment on the Saudi man , His wife could of not reveal any of her bad sins as long as she repented. God most mercifl encourages that we don;t go and disclosure ourselves, if He by his mercy did not disclose a person in his/ her sin , so why should we ? And she repented after all.

I guess this man . regardless of whether he knows that converts erases past sins or not. The problem is that he might feel jealous , he might take from men side

Safiya said...

My comment on this is a bit old, but better late then never!

Firstly, thank you for all your comments. I felt very angry while I was writing this and I feel reassured that I am not the only to get angry over this. It is horrific what a combination of religious ignorance and materialism can do. Neurocentric is right, it completely destroys people's lives, especially if there are children involved.

I feel that too often, it's the safe subjects that are debated, anything too self-critical isn't discussed.

Oh, and Maxxed Out, you're right, I did want that Iraqi passport!

Organic-Muslimah said...

Excellent post!