Friday, July 26, 2013

Ramadan Reflection Day 17: Community of Healers

Photo by Sulejman
Bismillah.

A Muslim woman emailed me her story. I edited it a little bit, but the overall message is still in tact.

I believe everyone has his/her own dark past and I have mine that I have to deal with. I am a mother, but I am not married.

Despite being pregnant out of wedlock, I was determined to deliver this child. Abortion wasn't an option. I didn't care what other people think. I want to raise this child like any mother would. I don't want to punish my innocent child for the crime I have committed.

It has been three years. I accepted what had happened to me and I'm doing my best for my child, but I can't stop thinking about what I had done. Did I do the right thing by taking the responsibility and raising my child?

I can't go out. I can’t go to work. People are murmuring behind my back. I feel like people will keep judging me. I somehow lost the will to live.

I know that only to Allah I should turn for help, but I can't contain this feeling; this feeling of overwhelming sadness.

True story.

Zina (fornication) is committed by at least two consenting, non-married individuals and both are equally responsible for what they had done. She realized that she had done something wrong and I believe that she has repented. So I commended her for that.

I also commended her for not punishing the child for the sins that she and the man did. I have seen enough baby dumping cases in the news, and I am grateful that her child didn't end up as a part of the statistic.

I'm not writing this to argue about the prohibition of zina. I have a feeling that she and the man already knew about the prohibition of zina. The problem is less about knowing that zina is wrong, but more about taking preventive measures to avoid zina in the first place.

"And do not approach zina. Indeed, it is ever an immorality and is evil as a way." (Surah al-'Isra': 32)

On top of that, I find no benefit in guilt tripping her about what she had done. Saying "You should be ashamed of yourself!" doesn't really do anyone any good, except making myself feel better for saying it (which is stupid).

Besides, she repented. Insha Allah, her record is now clean.

Focus on the solution, not the problem.

What she needs right now is to move on with her life; something that is proven to be very difficult and close to being impossible considering that the people around her don't allow her to move on. She's walking with a huge sign on her head that says "I committed zina" and we are the ones who put that sign there.

How could she move on when all that the people do is reminding her of her past mistake?

After someone has sincerely repented from a sin, Allah erases the sin from his/her record. The sin is now gone. Allah is no longer holding that person accountable for it anymore.

If the Ultimate Judge has pardoned her, then who are we to hold our own judgment sessions? To speak about someone else's past? To dig up all the buried trash? To cut deeper on a healing wound?

It's hard enough for her to forget the past, but it becomes 10x harder when we superglued her to her past. She made a mistake and she repented. We should help her to move on, not ostracize her like she's an outsider. She's still a Muslim. She's still our sister in Islam.

How can she heal if we keep on hurting her on the same spot?

Shame on us.

The Muslim Ummah is not an exclusive club reserved for only the sinless Muslims (by the way, there is no such people). The Ummah is a place of solace; where all people from all backgrounds with all their different issues and problems can find a shoulder or two to cry on. We're brothers and sisters who support each other in dealing with our individual struggles.

Are those just a bunch of fluffy words, or are we really living by them?

In the time of the Prophet, it was no fluff. The Prophet built a community of healers. He empowered the sinners and he taught us to do the same. No one is free of sins so we should stop expecting people to be sin-free.

Yes, in the case of the Muslim sister in the email above, she committed a major sin. It's serious stuff. But we must understand that no matter how big the sin of a sinner is, it is no match for Allah's Mercy - His Mercy is bigger.

So shouldn't we, the slaves of the All-Merciful, be merciful as well?