Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Response Time

First, why post anonymously if you really intend for me to take you seriously? Strange...

But, I'l reply and say I love Safa, solely for the sake of Allah. I hate what she went through. I hate that she was hurt, that her children were hurt and that her deen was hurt! It was and I know I was only one of many who pleaded with her to live - not to destroy the marriage, but to help try to safe guard her deen. Deen is not constant. Eman is not constant. To many battles and we all can lost our way. That's not a chance, that I think I will never take, but of of course, that's enshallah.

I used Safa as an example because she has and is using herself as an example. She has spoken to the media and is online therefore, I would hope she would not be offended at my using her as the example she has already made herself.

Quite frankly though, this topic is bigger than Safa. We need to get real; as Muslim sisters, mothers, wives and daughters. We need to examine the choices that we are making in our lives and the lasting side effects they will create.

What is the real outcomes of polygyny? Is it something that all Muslim women should "try"? Do you have the responsibility to know whether your strong enough or too weak to endure polygyny? Should Muslim men have free reign to subject their wives to polygyny?? What is what?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Polygyny & lessons learned from Safa (her blog)

Well, this is a conversation that is long over due and I don't know if some one has already discussed it, but let's get real: Does polygyny weakened the faith of Muslim women?

Before I answer that let's go to back to lessons learned from Safa's blog. You know I've been missing from the blogger ummah for some time. I was called back to the site by one name: Safa. We all love this sister for the sake of Allah. We read every blog with her and cried (atleast, I did). We begged her to get away from her Egyptian husband who was treating her like crap with polygynous marriage from Hell. We all prayed for her safety.

Alhamduleelah, our prayers were answered, right? Safa went back to Canada. She's divorcing her husband and building a new life....oh, yeah, the new life doesn't include much Islam?!? Shocked? I'm not!

Despite Safa's age and the years she spent as a practicing Muslim woman, there was something very obvious to me and I hope it was very obvious to you as well. Safa loved her husband too much. Worst, he didn't deserve her love. After jumping feet first into polygyny he wasnt much of a Muslim man; he hardly took care of his kids, he never showed fairness or justice. He left Safa to fend for herself. She didn't get anything out of his plural marriage except a bunch propolygyny banter of good deeds. Sorry, good deeds aren't enough for most today to stay sane. The brain is interesting muscle. Exposing it to too much bad stuff: stress, anxiety, heartache - and you and I and us all could destroy it's health.

Allah says in sura Al Baqarah that the Qur'an was sent to those who think.....you can't do to much thinking Muslims if your mind is constantly dealing with sharp emotional troubles. But we Muslim are told and expected to expose our minds to the harshest of emotional turmoil ---- when supposedly we are already known to be the emotional ones? Does this make sense?

It doesnt make sense. And its not natural and it WILL affect your deen - if not KILL your deen.

Back to that question: Does polygyny weakened the faith of Muslim women?

Are you a woman who loves hard and wears her emotions on her sleeve? Are you "in love" with love? Is your husband the only man you've ever been with for 10 plus years?

The the answer is: IT CAN! IT CERTAINLY CAN! If you know you cant handle polygyny, dont let some fool talk you into going into it, even if your already married!! Why, because your mental health is directly tied to your deen's health! If Safa is not a good enough example of how mental health is tied to deen health, then take a good trip back down memory lane to sister Myra Morton of PA's case. Another elder in the community, married over 20 years, a good mother, a nurse and strict in her deen, maashallah -- now her husband is dead and she sits in a federal prison.

Let's start talking about what is really happening to us as Muslim women, let's be honest. Let's not shoulder pain by our self....BUT before we can do that, we have to be honest with ourselves. We have to love ourselves and most importantly love Allah more than any other being. Don't give up on Allah, because He is Al Haqq and Ar Rahman. Give up your loser men, stop marrying these low down brothers (and low down isn't just in the West sisters)! Stop putting sex over sanity!! Stop putting shortchanging your children on full time fathers. Stop crying yourselves to sleep while your children listen.

Learn lessons from others!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Born Muslim ...but DON'T want to marry a Muslim man?!?

You know how there some stories that are so far out in left field that you have a hard time believing it to be true. Then you get the facts and proof and you're floored! You feel like you've heard it all! That's me. I tell I have see it all. This is how it goes, I met this South African/ American (a little confusing but you gained citizenship) sister, Soumaya, at a function. It was funny how we didn't know one another but somehow ended sitting at a table with all the other brown and black non Arabs. So she was a striking sister. Well dressed, I mean Islamically sophisticated in a nice jilbab, matching hijab and stilletos. We began to make small talk and she told she was expecting her first child. I congratulated her and she went on to tell me that she been trying for six years Mashallah and this was the best feeling to be pregnant. She was beaming and said that her husband was more excited than her. He was 49 and this would be his first child. After the evening was over she gave me her number and invited me to come over. She wanted to meet my son and have an opportunity to play with the baby.

I went by to see her week later and Mashallah her home was absolutely gorgeous. We sat on the pation drinking mango smoothies and watching my son play in the grass. Ever now and again, Soumaya would mention her husband, Marc. I thought it was odd that she called him Marc. Most of the reverts that I knew back in the States always changed their name. Not always legally but still they gave themselves a Muslim name to use in the community. Although, I know theres always exceptions. Soumaya said her parents were going to come from her child's birth and she most happy that her dad would enshallah call the adhan in the baby's ear. I know its neccessary, but I didn't mention it to her. For many its cultural anyway. But what sparked my interest again was why would her dad do it and not her husband? So I asked and she replied very plainly that Marc, her husband, was not Muslim.

I think I looked away and scratched my head in order to gain a little composure. I have never met a Muslima married to a non Muslim. I did speak up about it to her, in the most non confrontation way I knew how to. She didn't take offence. She said she always knew she would never marry a Muslim even as a young child growing up in South Africa. She said she loved her father but he'd never been a good man to her mother and her brothers were the same. I think that was the saddest part of my day. I felt horrible because I felt the exact opposite. I have great Muslim father but my husband can neve measure up to him. I WISHED I had a husband more like my Muslim father and I pray sooner or later Allah allows me to have one. But if not, I think I'd have to agree with Soumaya...I don't want another Muslim man .....like the one I have. I rather be divored and single.

Now on to you....Muslimas who were born Muslim, Muslimas who reverted, Muslimas from the East and West, how do you honestly feel about Muslim men? Is there were no limitations on who we could marry, would a Muslim man be your first choice?

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Elect - Barack Hussein Obama

Yes he did! I think this is a beautiful moment in history. This has been one of the most watched, followed and heavily weighed campaigns in my time and I wanted to recognize the significance of this win for this man.

Im not ashamed to say that I am equally pleased that the President elect has such a beautiful family with many hues of brown- from his daughters to his wife, that the President elect stood before the world and said the love of his life was dark skinned black woman and you could see in his face the pride he felt in that. I think this is profound image, black pride and black love being viable in this world today when countless people of the world and even blacks within the African diaspora doubt it, deny it and are ashamed of it. But he proved people wrong in that too. Yes he did!!

Ofcourse history is still being written but without doubt, I think President elect Obama's landslide win over a wealthy, elderly white man gives instant legitimacy to educated people within the African diaspora. In our lifetime?

Yes, in our lifetime, a qualified black man has earned his place in history and brought his family along as well!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Faking "it"???????

Salam blog world! I have been gone for too long. I have missed you all but unfortunately this dunya is a fitna and I am in the midst of a huge one. Khayr, with every difficulty come ease. Sabr.

I didn't log in to talk about me any way. No way. I went out the other night to the cafe with a couple of local sisters. All very tribal but they have become my "homies" of some sort here. The oldest, "Suzan", I work with and she alerted me earlier in the week that she had been having problems. I knew she meant in her marriage because those are the only problems most married Muslim women have any way, and since I met this sister she has never seemed satisfied with her marriage. Her husband is her cousin and he had always excelled scholastically and she and he were similar in age and there you have it; after she completed college she married him. Now some 15 years later over steaming hot coffee in 100 degree weather I listened with two other sisters as she explained exactly how her problem was affecting her.

Her husband, like many Arabs, was very calculated. He went to work, came home watched TV, had his coffee then prayed at masjid and retired to sleep. He barely talked to "Suzan" or his 3 children let alone spent much intimate time with her. But here's the biggie Suzan said she NEVER, EVER has had ...you know, the big "O"! In fifteen years! Subhan'Allah, I spilled the coffee on my niqab and nearly got a blister on my lip I was choking so hard! And then the two other sisters, "Maha and Nahla", both said they had never experienced it either (9 and 6 years of marriage), they said they fake it always! I could of fell out of my chair. I tried to tell them this was not right Islamically. That it was the sunnah for their husbands to please them and by Allah, for goodness sake, speak kind words to them, but my arabic is weak and they would not accept it. They say this is how marriage is with their men and I'm thinking, not with my husband. But I felt horrified. How can marriage be a protection for the Muslima is she isn't being satisfied emotionally and physically? Is it me or do you all not see this can lead to big fitna?

Suzan told us that she thinks her husband is going to take another wife because she cannot have any more children. She said that if he takes another wife she will run away forever because she does not love him very much. And the kicker was that she said that she always wished that she could marry an American (White)Muslim man so that she can know romance.

Yeah, I know she probably has watched Cindrella one too many times because there are millions of romantically disabled White men in the world too, but I don't know. Allah knows best maybe she is right to some degree. By and large, especially amongst young American men, intimacy seems to be important. It's embedded into the culture and American men seem eager to please their partners (for the most part).

Now here's my question, Suzan certainly has grounds to ask for a khul' from this marriage, but would she have to disclose her reason to her husband or even the qadi if it went that far?

And what would you all do? Keep faking it or try to get out of the marriage and find the intimacy you need?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A new marriage contract available to Muslim women in the UK

New Marriage Contract for UK Muslims

IslamOnline.net & Newspapers

"The document is a challenge to various Shari`ah (Islamic law)
councils who don't believe in gender equality," Siddiqui said.
(Google photo)

CAIRO — British Muslims will unveil Friday, August 8, a new marriage
contract guaranteeing equal rights for Muslim women, a move praised
by both Muslim organizations and women rights advocates.
"In Britain, more marriages are breaking down and young people have
said that we need to update things," Ghayasuddin Siddiqui, Director
of the Muslim Institute and one of the contract's authors, told The
Daily Telegraph.

The new contract emphasizes on mutual consultation and on the
financial independence of the husband and wife.

Under the new document, a husband will have to waive his right to

The contract does not require a "marriage guardian" (wali) for the
bride, and gives the wife the right of divorce while retaining all
her financial rights.

It stresses that "two adult witnesses of good character" (whether
males or females, Muslims or non-Muslims) must be recognized as just
as capable of providing a reputable guarantee of the marriage and
agreed upon terms.

The contract also provides women with written proof of their marriage
and of the terms and conditions agreed between the spouses.

"The document is a challenge to various Shari`ah (Islamic law)
councils who don't believe in gender equality but the world has
changed and Islamic law has to be renegotiated," said Siddiqui.

The current Islamic marriage in Britain is not legally binding and
its contract does not provide written proof of the marriage and of
the terms agreed upon.

The new formula, which took four years to negotiate and create, has
been compiled by the Muslim Institute, a leading Muslim think-tank.

It is backed by leading Muslim groups including the Imams & Mosques
Council, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Muslim Law (Shariah)
Council UK.

There is a sizable Muslim population in Britain estimated at 2


The new marriage contract won plaudits from Muslim groups.

"The Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) is pleased to have collaborated
with the Muslim Institute in this important initiative," Reefat
Drabu, the Chair of the MCB Social and Family Affairs Committee, said
in a press release on the Muslim Parliament of Great Britain's

"It meets a pressing need of our communities by explaining in clear
and simple language the importance of marriage, the process leading
to its solemnization and the rights and responsibilities flowing from
it for the parties."

The Muslim leader called for a broader application of the new

"The MCB calls upon all the Imams/Qadis (judges) involved in
performing nikah to use the documentation, as its correct use will
facilitate the success of marriage and will lead to harmonious and
healthy family life."

Ziba Mir-Hoseini, of Centre of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, said
the new contract is a step in the right direction.

"The launch of the new standard marriage contract is a welcome
initiative, a right step in the right direction, that provides the
Muslims in UK with a model for a harmonious and egalitarian marriage."

Usama Hasan, Director of the Muslim City Circle, said the contract
keeps a breast with modern developments.

"This new Muslim marriage contract is an excellent development, since
it draws on those traditional Islamic legal opinions that are more in
keeping with the spirit of gender equality."

Shahid Raza, Secretary of Imams and Mosques Council (UK), believes
that the new contract will enhance Muslims families' harmony.

"It is a commendable initiative and likely to enhance the family life
of Muslims in Britain."

The new marriage contract also drew appraisal from British lawmakers
and women rights advocates.

"The advice contained will, I am sure, help thousands of young people
and I congratulate the Muslim Institute for having the foresight to
prepare, publish and launch this excellent piece of work," said Ann
Cryer, a Labour MP.

Anne-Marie Hutchinson, a leading family lawyer, echoed a similar

"I am delighted to support this very important and inclusive

"It will provide civil law protection to many women and children
through the obligation on the parties to enter into a binding civil

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Bruises and a blind eye in Italy


Bruises and a blind eye in Italy Tied up in a knot
By Tracy Wilkinson
July 15, 2008

A few miles from the Vatican, Najat Hadi kept house with her husband,
his other wife and their assorted children, an unhappy home with a
hateful woman 10 years her junior and a cruel spouse who left her
with a jagged scar peeking from her collar.

Finally, she says, her Egyptian-born husband, who worked in Rome
making pizzas, beat her so badly that she left him. But he kept her

Thousands of polygamous marriages like Hadi's have sprung up
throughout Italy as a byproduct of a fast-paced and voluminous
immigration by Muslims to this Roman Catholic country.

Despite the obvious culture clash, Italian authorities largely turn a
blind eye, leaving women in a murky semi-clandestine world with few
rights and no recourse when things go especially badly, as they did
in Hadi's case.

"It is absurd that in a civilized country like Italy, so little is
acknowledged about this," said Souad Sbai, a Moroccan-born Italian
lawmaker who has emerged as a one-woman champion of female Muslim
immigrants here.

Italy is one of several European nations faced with the issue of
polygamy. In Britain and Spain, where large Muslim communities have
also settled, some officials favor recognizing polygamous marriage as
a way to ensure the wives' access to pensions, medical care and other
state benefits.

But Sbai, who has lived 27 of her 47 years in Italy, thinks that
misguided attempts at cultural sensitivity backfire when customs that
stray into illegality are tolerated. Italian law sanctions marriage
between a single man and a single woman only.

Sbai estimates that there are 14,000 polygamous families in Italy;
others put the number even higher. Many take advantage of the so-
called orfi marriage, a less formal union performed by an imam, that
does not carry the same social or legal standing as regular marriage.

She is convinced that the polygamists in Italy are practicing a more
fundamentalist and abusive form of multiple marriage. Because they
feel so threatened by the Western culture around them, the men often
imprison their wives and confine them to a life of solitude wholly
dependent on the husband.

"They are kept in a kind of ghetto," Sbai said.

When Sbai recently created a hotline for Muslim immigrant women, she
was inundated with 1,000 calls in the first three months. To her
astonishment, she had tapped into a hidden community of women
desperate for information, many trapped in violent, polygamous
households, isolated and lonely.

Hadi, a Moroccan, had endured beatings and humiliation because she
felt she had nowhere to turn. She said she met and married her
husband in 1987 in Italy, where she was visiting on holiday. They had
a religious ceremony at a local mosque and a legal wedding at the
Egyptian Embassy in Rome. Over the next decade, she gave birth to
four children.

Then, one day in 2000, Hadi returned from a vacation in Egypt, where
she had taken the children to spend time with her husband's family.
In her Rome apartment was a new woman. Her husband had married again
while she was gone.

"I returned and found her in my house," Hadi, 46, said. Hadi said she
at first challenged her husband but then decided there was little she
could do.

"He said, `I've married this woman.' I wanted to know why. I told him
to send her away. He refused. But where could I go with four
children?" She tried to accommodate the other woman, an Egyptian whom
Hadi describes as full of hatred.

"I tried to accept her, for the children," Hadi said. "But she wasn't
a woman with a brain."

Her husband's beatings got worse, landing Hadi repeatedly in the
hospital. The pale scar on her chest is a remnant of the time she
says he took after her with a knife.

Then, about a year and a half ago, he turned on the children. And
that was when she decided she had to go. From other Moroccan women,
she learned of Sbai's center and prepared to file a criminal
complaint against him. But he seized the children and fled to Egypt.
Hadi has not been able to move authorities to help her regain custody.

Sbai, the politician, remembers polygamy from her childhood in
Morocco. There, at least officially, the husband could marry no more
women than he could adequately and justly care for. Here in Italy,
she says, polygamy is often distorted. The immigrant experience is
turned on its head: regression and isolation instead of integration.

Of the hundreds of women Sbai hears from, most are Moroccans and
illiterate, at a much higher percentage rate than in Morocco. That
also tends to isolate them, a condition compounded by mistrust of
Italian authorities and fear of the unknown.

Aliza Kalisa, 50, joined her Moroccan husband in Italy in 2001. They
had been married for many years, but when she arrived in Rome, she
found he had used his time here to take on a second wife.

"Why didn't you tell me?" she recalled asking him.

"I needed a woman here, and you were in Morocco," he responded.

Kalisa was devastated. She lived with her husband, his other wife and
the woman's two children in a one-room apartment, where she was
forced to sleep on the floor and listen as her husband and the
younger woman had sex. He treated her badly, flaunting the second
wife like a prize and forcing Kalisa to do the housework and care for
the children – the second wife's children.

He forced her to fork over all her earnings as a maid in an Italian
family's home. He beat her. Kalisa thinks the other wife delighted in
the abuse she suffered; the woman peppered Kalisa with taunts that
she was the favorite.

"I had been his wife such a long time," Kalisa said. "Then I was like
the servant."

When, at the end of her rope, she threatened to leave, her husband
locked her in the apartment for 10 days. Eventually her screams
prompted an Italian neighbor to call the police, and Kalisa was able
to leave. At Sbai's center, Kalisa is learning to write her name for
the first time.

Zora, a Moroccan who has lived in Italy for 27 years, met and married
an Egyptian in Rome in 1989. Though he swore he was single, it turned
out he had another wife back in Egypt. Zora (who asked that her last
name not be published) learned of the marriage when a grown son from
that union showed up at her Rome apartment.

"I was speechless," said Zora, who is 52 but looks 35.

Zora began to suspect that her husband's son was molesting her son,
who was 6 at the time. The boy was bruised and terrified to be left
alone with his older half-sibling. She, in turn, was terrified to say
anything to her husband. When Zora confirmed that the abuse was
taking place, her anger overcame her fear. She grabbed her son and

Sbai, the politician, helps women such as Zora get or keep jobs,
however low-paying, and begin to navigate the basics of Italian legal
red tape. Zora, for example, is trying to have her son's name removed
from her husband's passport and added to hers to prevent him from
taking the boy and leaving the country. The women are also receiving
elemental education and are given access to a psychologist, though
counseling has been slow-going because most are reluctant to discuss
their ordeals.

"We are not at the point of integration yet," said the psychologist,
Lucia Basile. After what they have been through, "we first need to
teach them that they have dignity and that they exist."

Hadi, for one, has taken up that cause. As she campaigns for the
return of her children, she has joined Sbai's office, works the
emergency hotline and is reaching out to other Moroccan and immigrant
women to inform them of their rights and opportunities.

"It's always the women," she said, "who pay the price."