I’ve been traveling a lot in the last few years of my life speaking to different communities both in the United States and abroad. In at least the last two years of my travels, there hasn’t been a lecture or event that I’ve participated in that hasn’t introduced me to at least one young woman (and usually more) that has been abused in some way during her life and, subsequently, doesn’t know what to do about it.
Rape, molestation, beatings, verbal abuse, emotional distress, the issues continue on end. In most instances, the hardest part of it all seemingly stems from the young woman being unable to find someone to speak to about it. And so she will follow suit unknowingly to those who came before her and experienced similar abuses, left to talk only to herself. Critical questions of why it happened to her in the first place now take on the form of self criticism, and in most instances the young girl will begin to blame herself for everything that has happened. Why did my husband hit me? Why did my uncle take advantage of me? Why did my husband cheat on me? Why did that boy end up not marrying me after having an intimate relationship with me? Perhaps it is my fault and I deserve it.
As a Muslim man, I can say its already difficult enough to understand how to be Muslim in the context of the United States. I think its also important for us to acknowledge that most of us haven’t grown up being taught how to be men. If you are a man and you are reading this, at no point in time should you ever think its ok to hit a woman.
I spoke at the University of Pennsylvania on the topic of Dealing with Domestic Violence in the Muslim Community a couple of weeks ago. You can hear some of my thoughts on the subject matter in the videos below. Please do share with others if you think its worth it. I’ll write something more in depth in the future.
About two months ago, I had the opportunity to speak with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and Sister Dania Ayoubi on a panel at the ISNA conference in Washington DC entitled Living the Single life: Benefiting from Your Time Before You get Married. It was recorded and I was debating as to whether or not post this video during Ramadan but I figured it probably would make more sense to do so now rather than wait til afterward, as during this month of introspection it would serve many of us well to realize that there is nothing wrong with us if we are not married.
More often than not it becomes very hard for a person to make a critical sense as to why they want to be married so badly, but yet they aren’t married for whatever reason. In the short time that I was allotted on this talk, I wanted to convey to the audience that it is hard to deal with the emotions that come from being single and wanting companionship, and how we need to learn to deal with those emotions constructively. Please do share with others if you think there is benefit in it.
Thanks to Fatih Alev from Denmark for sharing the original video. Fatih runs a group called Muslims in Dialogue that focuses on integrating Islam in a European context. You can visit the MID website here and see the original video in its entirety here.
I’ve also posted Shaykh Faraz’s and Sister Dania’s talks as well as our Q&A session below. Be sure to check out Shaykh Faraz’s response to the question on being obedient to one’s parents in the first part of the Q&A at 3 minutes and 15 seconds. The entire Q&A session is pretty good so try to listen to the whole thing.
You can visit Shaykh Faraz’s bloghere and check out the online classes that he teaches along with many other notable individuals at Seeker’s Guidance here. I am going to look for an online resource for Dania Ayoubi and update this post if I find one inshallah.
I’m sure I’ll write up something more on this topic in the coming months. Please feel free to share with others