Friday, May 30, 2008

RE: The No-No Sisterhood

I prayed and pretty much waved goodbye to my social life and reputation (if so be the case...), and sent this message to all of my contacts on Facebook:

Salaam, Ladies.

InshaAllah I really hope all of you are enjoying your summers by now.

I grew up in this area and I was well aware of the hundreds of churches in the area and the two Jewish centers. I had never heard of or even fathomed that we had a masjid here. While I don't blame anyone, I think it is largely due to the fact that we are, by nature, drawn to those most like us. Once we find that group, we seal ourselves off from the outside world, and carry on. Therefore, we do not make our presence known or allow others to join.

If you've been involved with the college-age girls [here] for any length of time, you would notice that it is an extremely clique-ish atmosphere with an "us" vs. "them" mentality. Really, if you don't see it, you're an "us" or "them" or don't have your eyes opened wide enough.

This has something that has been heavy on my heart for quite some time, and I speak to myself before I speak to any of you when I say: Something has got to change.

In high school, I was the girl who was friends with all the different groups, and I find myself in the same circumstance at this time in life today. For me, personally, I go where invited - meaning, if someone calls me up and I'm free, I go. I like having a wide variety of friends and like to hang out when I have time. During those times, I have listened to girls who most of you don't know talk about how they came to the masjid or some function and found it uncomfortable, unfriendly or found themselves completely ignored. (Most were even converts like me.) I have been in conversations where I have heard one girl explain her utter disgust for another and vice versa. I've heard groups collectively criticize others. I've heard ladies talk about how they feel so alone on campus. There are girls who walk across this campus every day seeking someone to be with, yet they have no one. All of it is rather tragic.

Most of Muslim women are away from their families. Everyone should have a strong circle of friends to rely on. As women in Islam, it is especially our duty to destroy the stereotypes that bind us. But none of this can be achieved with such disunity. We have the power to change if we want to.

While most of you consider Purdue your temporary home, you were placed here for a reason. Allah puts us places in our lives for specific purposes. It may not just be to get your degree and leave - but you could make an impact on this unique community. We should thank Allah for the opportunity he has given us to meet so many of our Muslim sisters from across the globe.

It is merely impossible to assume that we will never have arguments or disagreements among us, or that we will forever be best friends. But we could be cordial. We could be civil. We could treat each other as Muslims should treat each other.

Please think over the summer, and delve into some serious soul searching and introspection. Pray and think about how we can change.

Please consider the following:

- Forget your grudges. If you're upset with someone, confront them in a loving manner or simply drop it.
- Think of ways to better reach out to other Muslim girls on campus and put those plans into action.
- Be more aware of what you say to someone and how you say it.
- Be more aware of how you speak of others.
- If you need to seek forgiveness from someone, then do so.
- If you should apologize, then do so.
- Pray for guidance.

It is definitely easier said than done, but should all put our differences aside and realize how sad it is that in a community so small we have such division and how we have people feeling uncomfortable and judged among their Muslim sisters. I would love, over the next year, to see us, as ladies, go out, do things and get to know each other.

If you feel comfortable and among friends in your life, alhamdulillah, I'm happy for you. But please keep in mind there are sisters who do not. Please make du'a to keep us closer together.

Please keep in mind:

"11.) O you who believe! Let not a group scoff at another group, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor let (some) women scoff at other women, it may be that the latter are better than the former. Nor defame one another, nor insult one another by nicknames. How bad is it to insult one's brother after having Faith [i.e. to call your Muslim brother (a faithful believer) as: "O sinner", or "O wicked"]. And whosoever does not repent, then such are indeed Zalimun (wrongdoers).

12.) O you who believe! Avoid much suspicion; indeed some suspicions are sins. And spy not, neither backbite one another. Would one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? You would hate it (so hate backbiting). And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is the One Who forgives and accepts repentance, Most Merciful." - Surat 49. Al-Hujurat

Sahih Al-Bukhari, Chapter 15. Hadith 2025
"Narrated 'Aisha (ra) : Allah's messenger (saw) said: "Be calm, O Aisha! Allah loves that, one should be kind and lenient in all matters." [8:35-O.B]

Take care. Have a great summer, inshaAllah.

Asalaamu alaikum,

Thus far, I have gotten only one response from a girl who feels just like I described in the letter:
May 29 at 10:04pm
Amie .. I love you for your courage .. and I am glad I met you .. :) .. see you soon .. iA

:o) Well, that's a start.


Molly said...


Molly said...

did anyone else respond?

HijabIsOverrated said...

thats so sad :(

Amie said...

Other people responded alright. They were upset, irate even that I would "call them out." Chalk it up to a guilty conscience, I suppose. I sent this message out to every Muslimah I know in this area, not to just certain groups. And you're right HIO, it is sad. We live in a small community, and people aren't close. They spend their time verbally battling with each other. It's not right. I want to move. : (

Jana's Journeys said...

Salam Amie
How have you been?
I live in an area where there is actually quite a large Muslim population, but still we are not united, there are so many issues going on and a lot of it you've talked about in some of your other blogs. My husband says you have to do things for your community individually, but sometimes it's a lonely process. NO matter where you live these problems will still exist....unfortunately. The best thing you can do is make people aware of what is really going on.
Great post!

pixie said...

Are you doing ok?