To the Muslim Women and to whom it may concern

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Oppressed! Subjugated! These are probably the words that come to your mind when you see a Muslim woman covered in Hijab (the Islamic modest covering of a woman). You assume it’s her father or some radical male member from her family who is forcing her to dress that way. At least that is what people say to you. That is how the media views Muslim women who cover.

Let me ask you, have you heard of the famous sayings: “go straight to the source?” Or “walk a day in my shoes?” I am sure you have heard these a million times.

Let me use the first. I ask you sincerely, have you ever gone to the true source for information about Hijab and Islam? Have you read books, asked scholars or visited a Mosque? Have you ever asked a Muslim
woman why she is so covered in a world that seeks to shed as much clothing as possible? If you asked a Muslim woman, she would inform you that the purpose behind her Hijab is to obey her Creator over the creation. Her Creator, Allah (God), did not legislate Hijab in order to oppress her,
but rather to free her from the shackles of this world. He ordered Hijab as an honor and sign of dignity for women.

When a Muslim woman covers her hair, chest and body, she is sending a silent message that she respects her body and like a pearl in the ocean, she covers it with her beautiful shell (Hijab). No one has the right to observe, gawk at and judge a Muslim woman by the highlights in her hair
or curves on her body. Instead they judge her for what is in her mind, her character, and her goals and ambitions. Hijab is prevention from being accosted by ignorant minds who only judge a woman by the
clothes she wears and the skin she shows.

A woman’s body as you know is sacred and this is why Islam encourages women to strive to cover and protect it.

Let us return to the second saying, “Walk a day in my shoes.” This is where WHD comes in. What is that you ask? WHD is short for World Hijab Day. This second annual event will be held on February 1 st, 2014 (God willing). On this day, we ask Non-Muslim and Non-Hijabi Muslim women worldwide to observe Hijab for a day. It will be a day for everyone willing to experience
what it’s like to step inside the shoes of a Hijabi. Our hopes are no less than that. We wish you will gain a wealth of knowledge and experience a slightly different definition of FREEDOM.
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RESPECT THE LETTERS (CONTINUES)

Fatou will think that is a terrible idea but this sisterhood means everything to me. If it was not for this sisterhood, I would have… I can’t finish my sentence.
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My name is Rebecca Tia Lorenzo. I was born in Mexico, and came to USA as an illegal immigrant along with my family. I am currently a Doctoral student in Chemistry. I am very bright without trying to be full of myself or conceited. I just had a weakness which was partying like a wild animal.

A party was not a party until I came in. I drunk like a fish, I smoked like a chimney, and I got higher than a Georgia pine. I was home schooled so I had a gift to learn on my own. I did not need to show up for boring lectures. I just showed up on exam days and walked out cocky as ever because I knew I just aced another test. Teachers hated me but they could not do anything about it. I had a boyfriend but “he was too good for me” meaning he cheated on me constantly. I loved him, and I did not want to give the pleasure to be free by breaking up with him. So, to cope with this dysfunctional life on mine, I just spiraled down with the illegal stuff. I am sure you thought I slept around. I would have probably if I was not so hung up on the boyfriend. I actually received a lot of advances that I rejected, claiming allegiance to a cheater. My subconscious is rolling her eyes in a grimace.

So, one day, I was at a frat party in my first year of college and this beautiful girl approached me. I mean she was very beautiful. It seemed like she was glowing with angel like rays. She was veiled, and she was mixed. She asked me why I was behaving the way I was.  At first, I gave her a quizzing look then I said, “It is a boring and shameful story.”

“I don’t judge. Let me hear it.” She said quietly with a compassionate look.

People don’t have this effect on me. This girl was poised. She had graced to make me envious for million of years. I wanted to be like her. So, I told her my story.

“Then, she said. I am a member of RTL.”

“What’s RTL?” I asked. Then, she told me everything there was to know about her sisterhood. I became very interested but I was not Muslim. I could not blame them for not letting me join down the road if I wanted to because there is a religion requirement and a good reason to back their stand up. I put the Muslim thought aside and said.

“This may sound cheesy but my initials are RTL.” I let out with a dork tone.

“No way!” She exclaimed amazed.

“Yes, my name is Rebecca Tia Lorenzo.” I smiled. And on an impulsive tone, I said “I want to become Muslim. This is a Sign!”

“Masha’Allah!” Fatou beamed. She helped me recite the shahada (An Islamic creed to declare belief in Monotheism, Allah and his Messenger) and I became Muslim. I changed my name to Rokeeya after that. In the Greek world, they would say that Fatou had just rushed a new member. The sisterhood helped me get back on the right track and fulfill my purpose on this earth; worship Allah. Lord knows I would have self-destroyed myself in this ratchet past life.
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After debating on my options about the weed situation, I went to knock on sister’s Fatou’s door.

“Come in.” She yelled over.
I went in then.

“What’s up?” She asked.

“Drugs are not allowed here, and I don’t to strip the responsible sisters of this beautiful sisterhood. I am torn. I don’t know what to do. I never had to make such an important decision.”

“Please forgive them. Don’t take their badge away.” She pleaded.

“I know. I have forgiven them. I just can’t forget. What kind of Muslim would have been if I don’t forgive them?” I asked confused. “Anyways, I want to talk to the president of the fraternity. We need to keep this under a lid. It is shameful.”

“Yea, it is said ‘he who covers a Muslim (his mistakes and shortcomings), Allah will cover him in the Dunya and the Hereafter;’ ” Fatou said pensively and added, “Having said, meeting this guy is risky. May be we should go with my brother just in case.”

“Not a bad idea but I don’t want anybody between our two houses knowing.”

“Rokeeya! Come on, don’t be so self-centered and make a bad judgment call here. You are no Olivia Pope!” She finished.

I was not listening to her anymore. This is the first time I actually did not take her advice into consideration. I hope I don’t go down for my “lapse” in judgment. I am going to fix it!

To be continued

BY

Papatia Feauxzar
Author of “Between Sisters, SVP” Novel

“The Hazardous Life of Nilüfer” Upcoming novel
“The Dream” Upcoming novel
“Freedom Fighter” Short story
“Fixed Up!” Short story
“Change of Shoes” Short story

A lesson for all the SISTERS [Must & Please]

 

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A girl emailed an Islamic website the following story of regret, embarrassment and pain, this will help you not only to think over it infact to aviod it as soon as
possible:

Assalam Aleikom waand RahmatullahAllah’s Mercy wa
barakatuh,

I hope you can be of use to me in this problem: I’m 17 year old Arab girl living in an Arab country and still in high school.
Unfortunately, I learnt about the internet, I misused it and spent my days chatting with guys and watching prohibited websites
(I did such things behind my parents back and no one knew about them) even though I used to be religious and hated girls who chatted with guys.

  This is how I got to know a 21 years old guy-through the “Messenger” living in the same country but of different nationality and we went on chatting till we exchanged true and untainted love “just for the sake of Allah.It is an Arabic term and is the most correct name for the one true God (Almighty). The term ‘Allah’ is derived from Al-Ilaah and means literally
‘The One’,’The God’ or ‘The One God’. “.

He used to educate me about teachings of religion and lead me to righteousness and guidance. He
allowed me to see him through a camera, we sometimes prayed together.
Later he started to show me parts of his body which in return caused me to become an addict to the secret habit. Such situation went on for a month in which we learned a lot from each other. We
maintained voice chatting and when I trusted him I allowed him to see me, my hair and most of my body parts through the computer camera. My love for him
grew more and I thought only of him and nothing else to the extent that I couldn’t concentrate in my
studies, consequently causing my level of educational pursuit to decline.
He then told me about where he lived and so did I. I called him on his mobile a while after that and
checked the validity of the information he gave me. He said he wanted to marry me, I agreed to his proposal for marriage, although I’m supposed to
marry my cousin, yet I’m now so afraid of my parents’ disapproval especially after he started to
threaten me saying,

“If you leave me I’ll disgrace you and spread your pictures”!
He also said,

“I’ll call you using the numbers you dialled to reach me and tell your folks all about you.”
When I discussed this matter with him he said that it was just threats yet I feel that he is not just threatening me and that he’s really going to do something. Now I’m thinking seriously of leaving him and returning to the path of Allah.

My parents are Muslims and religious and if they knew that I’m in love with a guy and actually in
contact with him they’re going to kill me (by “kill” I mean beating and humiliating) to avoid the scandal and bad reputation.

I don’t know what to do! I’m so scared;
I want guidance;
I want to be happy and safe;
I’m sick of thinking and feeling scared.
Please help me. Because of this problem I quit praying; I quit worshiping in general because I’m
bored and desperate with my life; my sisters’ reputation and futures-as well as mine- will be destroyed if I don’t die, and I want to, today before tomorrow.
I want to leave him but I fear the scandal. He will call back so how can I stop him?

Will Allah forgive me if I
return to his path? What are the conditions of repentance and how should I repent?
I fear that I may go back to what I used to do?
Where’s the way out?
How can I get rid of my addict to the secret habit?
And now that I suffer from sexual frigidity, how can I
treat it without my parents knowing about it?
I seek your reply so bad; don’t throw my mail away.
Please help me as soon as you can; there’s no one else to help me; please help me, please.

The sister’s message is over; a message that is truly rich with lessons, is anyone out there willing to learn? SOURCE

The nurse and the muslim patient.

  My name is Cassie, I am 23 years old. I graduated as a
qualified nurse this year and was given my first position as
a home nurse.
My patient was an English gentleman in his early 80s who
suffered from Alzheimer’s. In the first meeting, the patient
was given his record and from it I could see that he was a
convert to the religion of Islam, therefore he was a
Muslim.
   I knew from this that I would need to take into account
some modes of treatment that may go against his faith,
and therefore try to adapt my care to meet his needs. I
brought in some ‘halal’ meat to cook for him and ensured
that there was no pork or alcohol in the premises as I did
some research which showed that these were forbidden in
Islam.
My patient was in a very advanced stage of his condition so
a lot of my colleagues could not understand why I was
going through so much effort for him. But I understood
that a person who commits to a faith deserves that
commitment to be respected, even if they are not in a
position to understand.
Anyway after a few weeks with my patient I began to notice
some patterns of movement.
    At first I thought it was some copied motions he’s seen
someone doing, but I saw him repeat the movement at
particular time; morning, afternoon, evening.
The movements were to raise his hands, bow and then put
his head to the ground. I could not understand it. He was
also repeating sentences in another language, I couldn’t
figure out what language it was as his speech was slurred
but I know the same verses were repeated daily.
Also there was something strange, he didn’t allow me to
feed him with my left hand (I am left-handed).
Somehow I knew this linked to his religion but didn’t know
how.
One of my colleagues told me about paltalk as a place for
debates and discussions and as I did not know any Muslims
except for my patient I thought it would be good to speak
to someone live and ask questions. I went on the Islam
section and entered the room ‘True Message’.
Here I asked questions regarding the repeated movements
and was told that these were the actions of prayer. I did
not really believe it until someone posted a link of the
Islamic prayer on youtube.
I was shocked.
A man who has lost all memory of his children, of his
occupation, and could barely eat and drink was able to
remember not only actions of prayer but verses that were
in another language.
This was nothing short of incredible and I knew that this
man was devout in his faith, which made me want to learn
more in order to care for him the best I could.
I came into the paltalk room as often as I could and was
given a link to read the translation of the Quran and listen
to it.
The chapter of the ‘Bee’ gave me chills and I repeated it
several times a day.
I saved a recording of the Quran on my iPod and gave it to
my patient to listen to, he was smiling and crying, and in
reading the translation I could see why.
I applied what I gained from paltalk to care for my patient
but gradually found myself coming to the room to find
answers for myself.
I never really took the time to look at my life; I never knew
my father, my mother died when I was 3, me and my
brother were raised by our grandparents who died 4 years
ago, so now its just the two of us.
But despite all this loss, I always thought I was happy,
content.
It was only after spending time with my patient that felt
like I was missing something. I was missing that sense of
peace and tranquility my patient, even through suffering
felt.
I wanted that sense of belonging and a part of something
that he felt, even with no one around him.
I was given a list of mosques in my area by a lady on
paltalk and went down to visit one. I watched the prayer
and could not hold back my tears.
I felt drawn to the mosque every day and the imam and his
wife would give me books and tapes and welcome any
questions I had.
Every question I asked at the mosque and on paltalk was
answered with such clarity and depth that could do nothing
but accept them.
I have never practiced a faith but always believed that there
was a God; I just did not know how to worship Him.
One evening I came on paltalk and one of the speakers on
the mic addressed me. He asked me if I have any
questions, I said no. He asked if I was happy with the
answers I was given, I said yes.
He asked then what was stopping me accepting Islam, I
could not answer.
I went to the mosque to watch the dawn prayer. The imam
asked me the same question, I could not answer.
I then went to tend to my patient, I was feeding him and
as I looked in his eyes I just realized, he was brought to
me for a reason and the only thing stopping me from
accepting was fear…. not fear in the sense of something
bad, but fear of accepting something good, and thinking
that I was not worthy like this man.
That afternoon I went to the mosque and asked the imam
if I could say my declaration of faith, the Shahadah.: lā
ilāha illà al-Lāh, Muhammadun rasūlu Al-Lāh. There is no
god except Allah, Muhammad is Allah’s messenger.
He helped me through it and guided me through what I
would need to do next.
I cannot explain the feeling I felt when I said it.
It was like someone woke me up from sleep and sees
everything more clearly.
The feeling was overwhelming joy, clarity and most of all….
peace.
The first person I told was not my brother but my patient.
I went to him, and before I even opened my mouth he
cried and smiled at me.
I broke down in front of him, I owed him so much.
I came home logged on to paltalk and repeated the
shahadah for the room.
They all helped me so much and even though I had never
seen a single one of them, they felt closer to me than my
own brother.
I did eventually call my brother to tell him and although he
wasn’t happy, he supported me and said he would be
there, I couldn’t ask for any more.
After my first week as a Muslim my patient passed away in
his sleep while I was caring for him. Inna lillahi wa inna
ilayhi rajioon.
He died a peaceful death and I was the only person with
him.
He was like the father I never had and he was my doorway
to Islam.
From the day of my Shahadah to this very day and for
every day for as long as I live, I will pray that Allah shows
mercy on him and grant him every good deed I perform in
the tenfold.
I loved him for the sake of Allah and I pray each night to
become an atoms weight of the Muslim he was.
Islam is a religion with an open door; it is there for those
who want to enter it…. Verily Allah is the Most Merciful,
Most Kind.
* Note * Our sister Cassie passed away October 2010 Inna
lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajioon, after she gave da’wa to her
brother, who had accepted Islam Alhamdulillah.
(Source: a da’wa organization in the UK)

Story Of Samara Zafar

Comment: I was very moved by this story. Men like this should realise they cannot hold women back. Everyone has a right to realise their potential inshaAllah.

Attending the graduation ceremony of students at the prestigious University of Toronto, my daughter pointed out Samra Zafar, saying

    “She topped in Economics and she is a Pakistani!”

Samra was flanked not by parents, but two daughters, aged 12 and seven. I wanted to know more about her, and hence invited her over to our house next evening. At home, while sipping tea, Samra shared her 14 year journey with me and I was absolutely floored by her story.

   In 1999, in Abu Dhabi, Samra was a brilliant 16-years-old student of grade 11, dreaming to go to a foreign university to pursue higher studies. Her only fault was that she was tall
and extremely good looking – she was a dream bride. Hence when the proposal from a ‘well settled boy in Canada’ arrived, it was difficult for her working class parents to refuse . Eldest of four daughters, the parents thought this would give her a great opportunity to go aboard and pursue her dream, under the safety of her husband and in-laws. The in-laws reassured their support too. However, once married and in Canada,
things changed. She was told, 

“The atmosphere in high schools is
not good, and hence it is better to
not be thankless and stay happy at
home.”

Samra refused to give up though and completed her high school courses through distance learning. Despite being a mom at the age of 18, she excelled in her high school exams and got accepted to the University of Toronto. Her husband, however, refused to support her and his good financial status left her ineligible for university loans. She tried to convince her inlaws for three years but to no avail. It was not just her education; she was under strict vigil all the time. She was not allowed to leave the house, had no cell phone and was not allowed to learn how to drive. She never had a penny on herself and was constantly abused and neglected.
   Samra had not visited her parents for five years. The first time she went back was when her father sent tickets for Samra and her daughter. When she was leaving, she asked her husband for a meagre $10 so that she could have some coffee and buy some chocolate for her daughter during their transit stop at Heathrow Airport. He just snarled at here and said,

“Ask your father for that too.”

   She had left and did not intend to come back, but her husband begged her to return with a promise that he would change and that she will be allowed to study this time; he
said that he realised he could not live without her. Reassured, Samra returned, only to know that once she got pregnant the
second time, the physical abuse was to
became worse. Samra stated that,

“A bruise on my upper arm was a
permanent fixture, as in every bout
of anger, he would grab my arm
really hard and squeeze. Often he
pushed me, pulled my hair and spit
in my face, even in front of my
daughters.”

Again disheartened, she went back to her father’s home, pregnant with her second daughter. Within a couple of months her father suddenly fell ill and passed away. Samra recalls the day before his death and the advice her father gave her when he said,

“My life is uncertain, I may not live
to look after you. You have to be
strong and pull yourself out of this. I
have always envisioned seeing you
at the top of a world ranking University.”

Things had changed. Her mother was alone now and had two other unmarried daughters to support. Samra, accepting it as fate, returned to her husband. To earn her own money, she began baby sitting in her house. As consolation to continue her work, she would give her husband some pocket money from which he would buy his cigarettes and a share to her
mother in law, too, to earn their approval.

In 2008, she applied again and got accepted to the University of Toronto. This time she did not have to look to her husband for financial assistance, as her child care business could enable her to pay her own fees. However, this led to escalation of physical abuse. She was instructed by her husband on a daily basis,

“Don’t talk to your male professors,
don’t talk to anyone on campus and
don’t go to the library.”

The abuse was so severe, that she had to take a break after the first year. Several times she had suicidal thoughts and her self-
confidence had completely shattered. That led her to a meeting with the Psychological Counsellor at the university campus. She attended the sessions in secrecy and there she was informed that what she was going through was a typical cycle of domestic abuse. And that it was not her fault, or her
destiny to bear it.

She reveals;
“It was my daily routine to beg my
husband and ask him, ‘Why do you
do this? Why don’t you love me? ’”
And all he replied with each time was,

“Because you deserve this.”

The psychological counselling at the university, gave her the strength to get back to university. By the second year, the abuse had become worse but she had been told that she could call 911 if need be.

“I will call the cops, if you hit me
again.” She uttered once, while her
husband raised his hand. That is
what triggered him to say,

“Talaq, talaq, talaq. ”
(I divorce you, I divorce you, I
divorce you.)

Samra says,
“I was shattered, and I did not know
what to do next. If I left the house, I
would not have childcare income.
How would I continue to study? I
had two young girls to support.”
Samra’s husband and in-laws ran from pillar to post to get Fatwas to invalidate the divorce.

Samra laughs,
“Once my mother-in-law even
brought a person for the
necessary Halala to rectify
the Talaq .”

However, by now Samra had, despite many weak moments, gathered enough strength to move out of this cyclical abuse and face what came her way. She shifted to a residence at the university campus. Her husband and in-laws then tried threatening her; they said either return or they would malign her in the local Pakistani community of her ‘living’ with men at the university. Her husband often told their daughter,

“Do you think your mother goes to
university to study only?”

Samra revealed that,
“After a decade of physical,
financial, psychological and
emotional abuse, it was only in the
summer of 2011, that I finally had
the courage to go to the cops and
give a detailed, date by date account
of the abuse I faced, along with the
evidence.”

As a result, her husband was arrested on four counts of assault. Despite two court cases, three jobs and two children, she continued to excel in her studies and became head teaching assistant.
On Monday June 10, 2013, at the official convocation of the prestigious University of Toronto, Samra will not only be awarded a Bachelors degree in Economics, but she will also be awarded the prestigious Top Student Award in Economics. She also has to her credit a dozen more awards given to her for her academic excellence in the past four years, including the prestigious John H Moss Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a single student in the entire university (all three campuses). She has also been admitted to the PhD program in Economics at the University of Toronto, with a full scholarship.
When not studying or working, Samra loves cooking for her girls and gives them all the free time she gets.

“We are now the happiest we have ever been.”

I asked her how she would advise other girls who are trapped in the same scenario and to that she said,

“Do not let anyone disrespect you.
Believe in yourself. You are the only
one who can change your
situation. It is not easy, but it isn’t
impossible either. I had all the
disadvantages any girl could have.”

She refers to the myth of needing a man as a support,

“I have no father, brother, son, or
husband to support me. But I have
done it, all by myself. If I can do it,
anyone can.”

SOURCE