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A letter from a Christian to Muslim women

Dec 05, 2009
March 7th, 2007
By Joanna Francis
Writer, Journalist – USA

Between the Israeli assault on Lebanon and the Zionist "war on terror," the Muslim world is now center stage in every American home. I see the carnage, death and destruction that have befallen Lebanon, but I also see something else: I see you. I can't help but notice that almost every woman I see is carrying a baby or has children around her. I see that though they are dressed modestly, their beauty still shines through. But it's not just outer beauty that I notice.

I also notice that I feel something strange inside me: I feel envy. I feel terrible for the horrible experiences and war crimes that the Lebanese people have suffered, being targeted by our common enemy. But I can't help but admire your strength, your beauty, your modesty, and most of all, your happiness. Yes, it's strange, but it occurred to me that even under constant bombardment, you still seemed happier than we are, because you were still living the natural lives of women. The way women have always lived since the beginning of time. It used to be that way in the West until the 1960s, when we were bombarded by the same enemy. Only we were not bombarded with actual munitions, but with subtle trickery and moral corruption.

Through Temptation
They bombarded us Americans from Hollywood, instead of from fighter jets or with our own American-made tanks. They would like to bomb you in this way too, after they've finished bombing the infrastructure of your countries. I do not want this to happen to you. You will feel degraded, just like we do. You can avoid this kind of bombing if you will kindly listen to those of us who have already suffered serious casualties from their evil influence. Because everything you see coming out of Hollywood is a pack of lies, a distortion of reality, smoke and mirrors. They present casual sex as harmless recreation because they aim to destroy the moral fabric of the societies into which they beam their poisonous programming. I beg you not to drink their poison.

There is no antidote for it once you have consumed it. You may recover partially, but you will never be the same. Better to avoid the poison altogether than to try to heal from the damage it causes. They will try to tempt you with their titillating movies and music videos, falsely portraying us American women as happy and satisfied, proud of dressing like prostitutes, and content without families. Most of us are not happy, trust me. Millions of us are on anti- depressant medication, hate our jobs, and cry at night over the men who told us they loved us, then greedily used us and walked away. They would like to destroy your families and convince you to have fewer children. They do this by presenting marriage as a form of slavery, motherhood as a curse, and being modest and pure as old-fashioned. They want you to cheapen yourself and lose your faith. They are like the Serpent tempting Eve with the apple. Don't bite.

Self-Value
I see you as precious gems, pure gold, or the "pearl of great value" spoken of in the Bible (Matthew 13: 45). All women are pearls of great value, but some of us have been deceived into doubting the value of our purity. Jesus said: "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you" (Matthew 7: 6).

Our pearls are priceless, but they convince us that they're cheap. But trust me; there is no substitute for being able to look in the mirror and seeing purity, innocence and self-respect staring back at you. The fashions coming out of the Western sewer are designed to make you believe that your most valuable asset is your sexuality. But your beautiful dresses and veils are actually sexier than any Western fashion, because they cloak you in mystery and show self-respect and confidence. A woman's sexuality should be guarded from unworthy eyes, since it should be your gift to the man who loves and respects you enough to marry you. And since your men are still manly warriors, they deserve no less than your best. Our men don't even want purity anymore. They don't recognize the pearl of great value, opting for the flashy rhinestone instead.

Only to leave her too! Your most valuable assets are your inner beauty, your innocence, and everything that makes you who you are. But I notice that some Muslim women push the limit and try to be as Western as possible, even while wearing a veil (with some of their hair showing). Why imitate women who already regret, or will soon regret, their lost virtue? There is no compensation for that loss. You are flawless diamonds. Don't let them trick you into becoming rhinestones. Because everything you see in the fashion magazines and on Western television is a lie. It is Satan's trap. It is fool's gold.

A Woman's Heart
I'll let you in on a little secret, just in case you're curious: pre- marital sex is not even that great. We gave our bodies to the men we were in love with, believing that that was the way to make them love us and want to marry us, just as we had seen on television growing up. But without the security of marriage and the sure knowledge that he will always stay with us, it's not even enjoyable! That's the irony. It was just a waste. It leaves you in tears. Speaking as one woman to another, I believe that you understand that already. Because only a woman can truly understand what's in another woman's heart.

We really are all alike. Our race, religion or nationalities do not matter. A woman's heart is the same everywhere. We love. That's what we do best. We nurture our families and give comfort and strength to the men we love. But we American women have been fooled into believing that we are happiest having careers, our own homes in which to live alone, and freedom to give our love away to whomever we choose. That is not freedom. And that is not love. Only in the safe haven of marriage can a woman's body and heart be safe to love. Don't settle for anything less. It's not worth it. You won't even like it and you'll like yourself even less afterwards. Then he'll leave you.

Self-Denial
Sin never pays. It always cheats you. Even though I have reclaimed my honor, there's still no substitute for having never been dishonored in the first place. We Western women have been brainwashed into thinking that you Muslim women are oppressed. But truly, we are the ones who are oppressed; slaves to fashions that degrade us, obsessed with our weight, begging for love from men who do not want to grow up. Deep down inside, we know that we have been cheated. We secretly admire and envy you, although some of us will not admit it. Please do not look down on us or think that we like things the way they are. It's not our fault. Most of us did not have fathers to protect us when we were young because our families have been destroyed. You know who is behind this plot. Don't be fooled, my sisters. Don't let them get you too. Stay innocent and pure. We Christian women need to see what life is really supposed to be like for women. We need you to set the example for us, because we are lost. Hold onto your purity. Remember: you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube. So guard your "toothpaste" carefully!

I hope you receive this advice in the spirit in which it is intended: the spirit of friendship, respect, and admiration.

From your Christian sister with love.

* This article is published with the kind permission of the author. The original can be found on Crescent and the Cross. Joanna Francis is a writer and journalist. She manages her own blog.

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Leading Ladies: who made a difference in the lives of others

 
MAADHAH BINT ABBDULLAH ADWYAH:
She was a student of Aisha RA, the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)'s wife. After her husband's death she vowed not to lie in bed When she would fall asleep she would wake herself up by going for a walk and say to herself, "I won't let you sleep, you will have the chance to sleep well when you are in the grave". It is said that once when she fell ill, the physician advised her to take nabiz (a non alcoholic fermented beverage prepared from malt and dates). She held the cup containing nabiz and said, "O Allah! You know that Aisha RA conveyed the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)'s word, as he had prohibited consuming nabiz".

UMRAH BINT ABDUR RAHMAN (d. 103 AH)
Regarded as an authority of hadith and fiqh, she was the grand daughter of one of the famous companions, Asad ibn Zararah Ansari RA. The scholar, Imam Bukhari RA said that she was like the secretary for Aisha RA, the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)'s wife,and that people who sent Aisha gifts/presents and letters, would send it through her. The scholar Ibn Hajr Askalani said that she was one of the scholars of the early Muslims as she was an authority on the hadith transmitted by Aisha RA. The scholar Ibn Hibban said she was the best person who had knowledge of the hadith of Aisha RA. The scholar, Imam Zahri said that when he wanted to learn hadith he would go to Umrah, saying that when he would meet her he found her in a 'deep sea of knowledge'. The chief Judge of Madinah, Umrah's nephew, was asked to collect hadiths with the following order from the Caliph (ruler) of their time, "Umrah's ahadith are to be despatched to the Caliph in black and white". The scholar, Imam Malik RA said that Umrah would CORRECT the mistakes her nephew, the Chief Judge of Madinah, would make. The scholar Imam Dhahabi classified her as a Jurist. She died aged 77.

AISHA BINT TALHA:
The grand daughter of Abu Bakr RA, and was taught by the Prophet(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)'s wife Aisha RA.Abu Zahra the early Muslim said, "Aisha was cited because of her authentic knowledge". Aisha was also graced with physical beauty. Once Caliph Hisham invited her to his court where she engaged dialogue with eminent scholars of different fields. The Caliph was so impressed with her knowledge that he gave her a gift of 100,000 dirhams.

HAFZAH BINT SIRIN (d. 101 AH)

The sister of the scholar Muhammad ibn Sirin, she had memorised the Quran by the age of 12, and by the age 14 she was well versed in the exegesis (explanation) of the Quranic verses. She became famous for her beautiful recitation of the Quran. Her recitation was of such a high standard that when her brother had difficulty with recitation he would ask her to correct him.

NUFAYSAH BINT HASAN (d. 208 AH)

Known for her committment to Islam, she would frequently fast, and it is reported that she performed hajj over 30 times. The scholar Imam Shafi, is said to have learned and been taught from her. Imam Shafi thought so much of her that he stated in his will that he wanted his funeral procession to pass by her home – and when it passed by her home she prayed the funeral prayer. She died during the month of Ramadan whilst reciting the Quran.

RIBAH QAYSI's WIFE
She was known for spending much of the night in prayer. In the early parts of the night she would begin to pray. She would wake her husband, but if he didnt wake up she would pray. Sometime later she would try again, but if he failed to wake, she would pray. And again, some time later she would try again. Sometimes she picked up straw from the ground and would say "By Allah, I regard the worldly vanities less than this". Occassionally she would dress in a shiny dress at night and ask her husband if he wanted her company (intimacy) in bed – the times he would say no, she would resort to prayer instead.

JAWHAR BRATHYAH:
A resident of Baghada, she was the slave of one of the Abbasid rulers, one day she was returning home and she heard a teacher at a nearby school teaching in an eloquent manner. In captivated, she stayed listening to him, then went to the grand mosque to listen to a scholar teach hadith. The encounter changed her such that when she returned home, she was a changed woman. She would spend her time constructively whilst others would mock her.One day when asked why she was so quiet she said, "I am a slave of Allah and it is incumberant upon me to obey His command" (she said this as they were speaking improperly, so to avoid putting herself in difficulty she remained silent not contributing to the bad talk). She was then asked, how she would explain her silence to the Caliph, to which she replied the same. When the Caliph heard this news, he set her free. She became a scholar of hadith, and later began teaching hadith. Once the Caliph sent her a gift of 10,000 dinars, she returned it saying, "Wealth brings pride and arrogance and so I do not need it".

RABIYAH KHATUN
The sister of the Muslim General Salahuddin al Ayubbi, she was well educated and established a great institution bfor religious learning near Damascus. She established a waqf (trust) in the form of an endownment of a very large property which met the expenses that were generated by the institution.

UKHTUL MAZNI
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MULAYKAH BINT MUNKADAR
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FATIMAH KHANUM
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SHAD KHANUM
A descendant of the famous conqueror Amir Taymur, she was a master of calligraphy with no one else in her time being able to match her skills of calligraphy of the Quran. It was said that in 1045 AH, she sent a gift of the Quran written by her calligraphy to the then ruler, which he was most appreciate of.

THE SLAVE WOMEN WHO CONVERTED THE MAGUS FAMILY

One of the leading scholars said that a slave woman would come to him to ask him questions about shariah (islamic law). Some years later he saw a man selling her in the market saying she was worthless. He enquired and the man said that his family were Zorasterians, they bought her beauce of her beauty. They would worship the fire and light. Some days ago a Muslim went to their house and recited the some words. Hearing these words she started to cry. From then she reused to eat their (Zorasterian's) food and she began to pray (like a Muslim). They tried to prevernt her but they couldnt so she was worthless. The scholar asked the girl if she was the same girl he remembered from years ago, she replied in the affirmitive. The scholar then asked her what verses that man recited, she said, "Therefore flee unto Allah, Lo I am a pla warner to you from Him". Hearing these words she became restless and said that is the condition she was now in. The scholar then offered to complete the rest of the verse, and said, "Lo Allah! He is the one who gives livelihood, the Lord of the unbreakable might". Hearing this she said, 'The matter, which is guarnteed by Allah livelihood) must be left unworried for'. (Basically she put her trust in Allah knowing that Allah would provide for her if she did the right things). Hearing this trust in Allah, the scholar was amazed. The scholar asked what her price was and wanted to buy her. The man trying to inflate the price said his cousin wanted to buy her. The scholar couldnt match the price, so the man sold her to his cousin. Now the cousin, also a Zorasterian was determined to convert her back to his faith. He set about trying to find a way to reprimand her. He decided to give her a purse of money to keep and protect or him for some time, a bag full of dinars. She took the money and kept it with her in a safe place. Later the man, when she was praying went to her safe place and took the bag. His intention was that after prayer he would ask her where the bag was and she would not be able to find it, so he would criticise her faith and tell her that she has to come back to Zorastianism. After the prayer he asked her to fetch the bag. She went and she retrieved the bag.The man was in shock, how could she have given him the bag which he took while she was praying? He concluded that she had help from a divine authority. Upon this, he decided to accept Islam. Upon this, his family, relatives and friends also chose to accept Islam. The slave girlthen lived with them, not as a slave girl, as she was set free, and she was invited to live with them as a member of their family.

MOTHER OF IMAM BUKHARI:
Imam Bukhari left with his mother and his sister to gain knowledge at the age of 14. All of his provisions were provided for by his mother and his sister.

[Ref: 'Leading Ladies: who made a difference in the lives of others, approved by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani, and Mufti Abdul Qadir, published by Idara Talifat e Ashrafia]

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