-From the IANH family
Ya Allah, please help us, please cure us of all our ailments, forgive us of our sins, for Muslim men and Muslim women, for believing men and believing women, those who are with us and those who have passed away.
Ya Allah, please accept our fasting of this month, please accept our prayers, please accept our sujud, our ruku’, our recitations (of Qur’an), our repentance, and do not take us to task for what we have forgotten and our mistakes, help us and guide us to the straight path.
Ya Allah, do not let our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy, ya Allah, bring us closer to You, shield us from the fire, please grant us Jannah, build for us—near You—a house in Jannah, save us from the trials of oppressors, ya Allah, please grant Your mercy, in this life and in the next for those who are wronged, please help those who are suffering, those whose suffering we know of and those we do not.
Ya Allah, bring us closer to Your Light, grant us Your Mercy, indeed You are The Bestower, our Lord, have mercy upon our parents as they brought us up [when we were] small, please forgive our brothers and our sisters, our families, and our communities, guide us to You.
Ya Allah, grant us Rizq that is Halal and pure, incline our hearts, our limbs, our words, and all our endeavors to Your Glory and Truth, You are The One who Forgives greatly, and loves to Forgive, so Forgive us.
Ya Allah, please help the oppressed, please ease the pain of the oppressed, please grant them Your Mercy, and keep their hearts close to You during their trials and grant them Paradise.
Ya Allah, make us among those who believe and do righteous deeds, who enjoin upon one another the truth, and who enjoin upon one another patience in adversity.
There is no god but God, Him alone do we worship, Ya Allah, bestow Your blessings on our master Muhammad, and on the family of our master Muhammad, and on the companions of our master Muhammad, and on the helpers of our master Muhammad, and on the wives of our master Muhammad, and on the progeny of our master Muhammad,
Ameen ya Rabb Al-Alameen.
This Ramadan has been hard. For me, personally, and, from what I’ve seen, on a lot of the Ummah. Gazans have been suffering unimaginable horror at the hands of Israel’s latest massacres. Muslims in America had their President defend Israel during Whitehouse Iftar. Indian Muslims were violently attacked when they tried to protest. If I’ve been silent recently, it’s I’ve been constantly listening to the news. I’d come home with burns on my arms from work, and see more deaths, more devastation. And it’s been breaking my heart.
From what I’ve seen, I’m not alone. I’d like to think this is where the advantage of age comes in handy. Where I can point to the times it seemed hopeless before, and how they turned around. But the truth is I’ve never seen it like this. It’s a new world, and to say it isn’t scary would be a lie.
Prayer has been a solace. For several minutes each day, I’m forced to remember that all the violence and tyranny and oppression that’s been happening is powerless before Allah. That for all the injustice, He is present, and He will be Just.
Beyond that I’ve read Qu’ran, and been mindful to give extra zakat. It’s important to keep remembering the suffering of those around you, whether it’s the Gazans or the beggar on the street corner. On Yawm al Qiyam. I broke down before Allah, again. Around the same time, Palestinians in the West Bank erupted in a protest that’s being called the Third Intifada. And a 12 hour cease fire was negotiated, and extended.
No, it doesn’t change the 1000 Gazans who lost their lives over Israel’s lies. Or the thousands more injured, displaced, traumatized. It doesn’t change the situation as it stands. I don’t know what it means. I do know that, for all that’s happened, my faith remains. I’ve learned about myself, for better and worse. In shah Allah, I’ll have the strength to do better. If I’ve felt broken before, I’m starting to feel whole again, and better for it.
For those who are still lost and struggling: take heart. It’s amazing to me how quickly Islam returns to a person, once they’re ready for it. Pray, ask for mercy and guidance. And know that sometimes, you have to endure. The question is how we endure. Do we take solace in Allah, knowing that all suffering will end? Or do we let it harden our hearts, to break our spirits and make us despair? Allah is stronger than our misery.
In my post Asexuality, Islam, and Queerness, I wrote that marriage is out of the question for me because I am not willing or able to have sex due to my asexuality, aromanticism, non-libidoism (lack of sex drive), and sex-aversion.
Marriage in Islam is understood primarily as a means of regulating sexual desire. Since sex is forbidden outside of marriage*, the marital relationship is considered the only legitimate outlet for sexual desire. Each partner is thus considered to have an obligation to meet the sexual needs** of the other partner and to not withhold sex from them to the degree that it would cause them to seek it outside the marriage.
For this reason, most scholars of Islamic jurisprudence believe that setting a stipulation in the marriage contract that the marriage will not involve sex is contrary to the purposes of marriage and is invalid. The one fatwa (scholarly opinion) that I’ve found that specifically mentions asexuality basically says that if an asexual does enter marriage, they need to disclose their orientation to their partner and (although the wording is a bit odd in this part) they can’t then withhold sex because that would be unfair to the partner. It therefore recommends asexuals to not marry and says that the usual Islamic recommendations to marry don’t apply in this case. As I noted in my earlier post, this is the conclusion I had come to myself long since, and is why I have not married and do not plan to marry.
Having said this, I’ve done a good deal of thought and research into how I would navigate a Muslim marriage if I had chosen to enter one. Are there ways it would be possible to have a celibate marriage by mutual agreement? And what would happen if that agreement fell apart? The second question led me to confront some very challenging questions about Islam and patriarchy and to delve deeply into Islamic feminism. If you are interested in these questions (and have the patience for a long read), follow me below the fold.
I guess this is hard, writing this. Im not really much of an ‘open’ person. but Im tired of hiding from who I am and so this is my story…im 17 years old and from England. Im from a very large, Muslim family and although I wouldn’t say we’re particularly “religious”, having strong faith is very important to my family. Since I can remember, I’ve always known, deep down, that I wasn’t entirely ‘straight’ and even when I was as little as 7, I did used to get attracted to other girls in my class although I used to brush this to the back of my mind and ‘pretend’ I didn’t like them. Up until even now, I’ve always told myself ‘no monica you only like boys and that’s it’ and I told myself this so many times that for a while I even convinced myself that I was heterosexual. Whenever I used to fantasise about girls I used to quickly move on and not think about it, believing that if I didn’t think about it, I wouldn’t be attracted to girls. This sounds silly I know but I used to actually believe this or at least I wanted to believe this…but it was only a couple of months ago , that I was lying in bed at 1 am and I said to myself ‘ok now is the time to be honest with yourself, stop fighting your feelings like you have done for so many years’ and whilst thinking about it, something just clicked in my head and I just knew it. I am bisexual. Now I did cry that night and not because I ‘hated’ this revelation but because it was such a relief to finally admit the truth to myself. Something I had been running away from since childhood. I have to admit I did struggle a couple of weeks after that night. As wrong as it might sound, I didn’t want to be bisexual. Not that I thought it was wrong, believe me I don’t think it is, but because it’s just such a huge revelation for myself and is a part of my identity. I guess I found it hard because I’ve been lying to myself all these years and to finally say to myself yes you are bisexual was tough. At that point, I hadn’t told anyone. I just wanted to come to terms with it myself first and to be honest I was terrified of telling anyone, afraid of how they’d react. But it wasn’t helping me, bottling this when I so wanted to speak to someone so I eventually, one lunchtime, met up with my class teacher in college and told her. Now at this moment it seemed like fate happened. It just so happened that my teacher is actually bisexual too and lectures at a university on equality in the LGBTQ community. She immediately told me how proud she was of me to come to her and reassured me that im not alone. She told me her experiences of coming out and I couldn’t help smiling. Just knowing that she also has felt exactly what I was feeling in that moment. She gave me many resources and helped me so much. It was hard admitting out loud the words I am bisexual for the first time but im so glad I decided to tell her. A couple of days later and I told 2 of my best friends. Now I have a lot of best friends (16 in fact, crazy I know haha) and I wasn’t sure who to tell. All I knew was I wanted to tell at least one. I have to say, my friends aren’t homophobic but I do know that they do struggle with understanding ‘how’ someone could be LGBT. So I told two of my friends who I knew wouldn’t question my identify and just accept it so I told two of my friends and they were so supportive. One of the two just hugged me and said it doesn’t change anything, she still loves me and the other did at first ask me how I ‘knew’ I was bisexual and all I said was ‘I just do’. She accepted this and also told me it doesn’t change a thing. I was so happy and proud to call them my best friends and was so glad I decided to come out to them. my family still don’t know and neither do the rest of my friends currently apart from the 2 I told. I think it will still be this way, for now at least. I hope to tell the rest of my friends one day in shaa Allah but if im honest, I don’t think I will ever tell my family. I know they would definitely struggle with it and won’t accept it. I know maybe I shouldn’t but I care too much about what they think. And I think I will be happy with at least some people knowing like my friends but I wouldn’t ever tell my family. I commend those brave brave LGBTQ Muslims who do come out to their family and I wish I had your courage but my family are already going through enough without knowing this. I just wanted to share with you my experience and to say that im proud to be a young woman who’s also Muslim and bisexual. It shows that not only are we not afraid to be who we are but also to be proud to say you know what yes I am Muslim and yes I am bisexual too but that doesn’t give anyone the right to undermine my faith or say im not “Muslim”. I have so much trust in Allah (swt) and cannot wait to discover his path for me in shaa Allah.I do not believe that this is a choice, I do believe that I was born like this and I am proud of that. To hear anyone say ‘oh you can’t be Muslim and bisexual’ makes me angry because I still have faith in my religion and in Allah (swt), just because I identify myself as bisexual doesn’t diminish my faith, I am not haraam. We can choose to call ourselves Muslim and Bisexual without all this prejudice and hate. We are who we are and we are in no way haraam.
Honestly, if you were in love with someone, you wouldn’t need to ask. You’d know.
Edit: The thing is, there is no specific criterion on what makes ‘love’. It’s something personal for everyone (sidenote: a big part of relationships is navigating you and your partner’s expectations of love). At some point, you decide that what you feel is love. Go at your own pace, and don’t over think it. Crossing the line and saying “I’m in love”, that’s not something you think about. It just happens.
Also, don’t worry about needing to label yourself, or needing to conform to a label. You can figure that out at a slow pace.
Also also, from doctormemelordmd:
It could also simply be the case that you are attracted to men and women. Whatever the case, you are not unusual :)
Salaam alaikum and no worries at all, this isn’t too personal. I’ve never been asked this on tumblr, so thanks for the opportunity!
I admit it used to be a problem, especially since I was pretty determined to introduce her to the religion in hopes she’d convert. I’d talk about kids and toss around Arabic names like mine.
Through the years though, I realized I enjoyed talking about religion and faith as its own entity, no strings attached. Telling her about Islam stopped having any sort of underhanded connotation, it was telling her about myself, the same way I could tell her the latest fashions I was interested in. And she would tell me about her spirituality, her small brushes with Wicca and her interest in Western astrology. She would tell me my horoscopes of the day and I would tell her ayat from the Qur’an.
It wasn’t even about religion after a while, it was about us, where we’d been, what our families were like, our history before we met.
It became liberated and without expectation.
If or when the time comes and we consider kids, I want to introduce them to us, their parents. To love them in a way that is religious and cultural and spiritual, to love them in a way that is purely me and her. They will be built on the foundation of our experiences, but, like my journey with Bee, I want them liberated and without expectation.
As far as whether or not if our relationship is haraam, the fact we’re both girls is already something that invalidates us to many Muslims. But that’s between us and Allah (swt), who has already intertwined my life with hers.
This is in response to a question we recieved, about whether or not a person’s sexuality can change over time. The person didn’t want their information published, so it seems relevant to address the larger point. Can sexuality change if it’s something Allah gave us?
I’m sure you’ve all been watching the ongoing attack on Gaza. At the time of this writing, there are nearly 200 dead, and over 1300 injured. And that number is still going up, despite the rumors of a potential cease fire. You can find a good source of on the ground by following Mohammed Omer on Twitter.
Ramadan is the time that we remember those who are suffering, those who are less fortunate than us. Even if a cease fire is realized, it won’t change the basic facts on the ground: the slow annihilation of Gaza, Gaza’s civil society has called on everyone to help change this situation through Boycott Divestment, and Sanctions of the State of Israel for war crimes. Our prayers matter, but so do our actions, here is some information about taking part in the consumer boycott yourself.
And we should remember that there are Muslims suffering all over the world right now. Bombs are still falling in Aleppo, Shia are fleeing for their lives in Iraq, and Rohingya Muslims are being denied their basic rights on multiple fronts. We should keep all those suffering in our prayers, thoughts, and, when possible, our actions. May Allah have mercy on them. And may he listen to all our prayers this Ramadan.