Ruminations on the Last Post

4 Dec

The majority of feedback to my last post during its short life-span was positive; many people expressed that I had put words to what they had intuited after watching the video. While it was gratifying to hear that my sisters found their voice through my blog, I also reflected on the intense criticism, despite it being in the minority. I am faced with an ethical dilemma. I don’t know where the line should be drawn. When are we supposed to respond in concern and when do we extend others the grace that we all seek? These are murky issues, varying only slightly in their hue of gray. In these types of situations, sometimes the only options are choosing between the least disruptive and preserving community. Even in this, I’m not certain that I am making this choice correctly. That, I suppose, is the nature of the color gray.

After much angst, I’ve decided upon the following course of action:

Though I remain convicted in my analysis, I choose to use the criticism as an opportunity to reflect. In my blog post I wrote, “I have a sharp tongue without 70 excuses to bear.” After meditating on the alternate viewpoint and the wisdom behind this Prophetic tradition, I’ve made the difficult decision to extend seventy excuses and let God alone judge, as He surely will, and may we all be encompassed in His Mercy, Love and Light.

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21 Responses to “Ruminations on the Last Post”

  1. Isra December 4, 2013 at 2:43 am #

    Prior to today, I had never seen or heard of you site. Your blog post appeared on my news feed a couple of hours ago and I read through it and truly connected with so much of what you had to say. I really love your writing style, by the way.

    I really loved what you said about stereotypes in particular and wanted to reread the article and share it with a few of my fellow Muslim sisters. When I checked back later, I was upset to see that you had removed the post.

    I can see why you may have felt the need to remove it but for what it’s worth, I would love to see you put the post back up.

    I just wanted to share a couple words of encouragement from the best and most beautiful source in the world, which will hopefully give you even more courage and strength than you have displayed.

    A friend sent me these verses after Veteran’s Day. (I had signed up to volunteer at my University’s Veteran’s Day Banquet and was turned away and treated very rudely by the volunteer coordinator [I could not help but feel for multiple reasons it was because of my hijab]). When my friend heard about this they were more mad at me than at them, they were disappointed in me for just letting it happen without saying a word. This verse, to me, means that yes I was right to deal with the situation with patience and tolerance BUT I am entitled to an opinion and I am to an extent encouraged to voice it. As a generally soft spoken person, I tend to just let things happen and not speak out or against. This experience really encouraged me to take a different approach.

    You have a lot of opinions and a lot to say. You are entitled to them. Yes Allah sbt is the best and ultimate judge but I believe you have been given special abilities and gifts. I really think you can use your voice/writings to do God’s work. They mean the world to girls around the world, including myself. You’re very intelligent, and you must be knowing all this but I just had to say something. I’m not asking you to put the post back up, I’m asking you to recognize your beautiful power and use it the way you were meant to.

    16:125-126 CALL THOU (all mankind] unto thy Sustainer’s path with wisdom and goodly exhortation, and argue with them in the most kindly manner- [149] for, behold, thy Sustainer knows best as to who strays from His path, and best knows He as to who are the right-guided. Hence, if you have to respond to an attack (in argument], respond only to the extent of the attack levelled against you; [150] but to bear yourselves with patience is indeed far better for (you, since God is with] those who are patient in adversity.

    16:127-128 – Endure, then, with patience (all that they who deny the truth may say] -always remembering that it is none but God who gives thee the strength to endure adversity -and do not grieve over them, and neither be distressed by the false arguments which they devise: for, verily, God is with those who are conscious of Him and are doers of good withal!

    Thank you for all that you do!

    Isra Sharnez

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 4, 2013 at 4:50 am #

      Jazak Allahu Khayran for taking the time to write such a thoughtful post. Your words are truly merciful. May Allah (SWT) be pleased with you. I’m sorry to hear about your disheartening experience with the event coordinator. MashAllah it looks like you have come out of it stronger and wiser. Alhamdulilah.

  2. Hidayah December 4, 2013 at 4:44 am #

    Ok, for the sake of argument, let’s say that, yes, the man’s intentions are good. Yes, that he has the good of Muslim’s at heart. Let’s say he’s a great guy. One that we’d all like our sons to grow up to be like.

    That’s a bit of a stretch, right?

    Or, let’s say that this is a man with an ugly agenda. Perhaps, with less than altruistic motives. Perhaps with a bit of an exploitative axe to grind.

    That one seems like a bit less of a stretch, yes?

    If people who are gifted with the ability to do media analysis and write eloquently against this sort of ugliness, say, well, we’re just going to sit back and be quiet, where to we find ourselves?

    CGM, your writing is a gift and you use it to benefit the Muslim community in so many ways. Ma sha Allah, barakallahu feeke, and may Allah preserve you.

    I hope to see your most recent post restored.

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 4, 2013 at 9:36 pm #

      Is this “my Hidayah”:)? I could just call you up and tell you this! I’ll repeat what I corresponded with another Muslim via email regarding some of the sentiments you shared. Which is that a dear friend shared Imam Suhaib Webb’s outlook on the video just a few hours after I posted, it was a decisive moment for me in the inner battle whether to keep or remove my open letter. I derived from Imam Webb’s response the spirit of the hadith which instructs us to be kind and easy-going with fellow believers. Yet, I remain conflicted over my last decision, and I don’t see myself coming to peace with it anytime soon. Today I heard from local students who were so sad and disappointed, feeling that I let them down, wherein before they had felt uplifted that someone had vocalized thier upset. May Allah (SWT) help me along this path. As only He can.

  3. ummyounes December 4, 2013 at 5:26 am #

    Somehow I missed the last post though I think I get the gist of it from our recent conversation. I know whatever decision you make will come after much thought and prayer. May God bless you and guide our ummah.

  4. sameera iqbal December 4, 2013 at 8:04 am #

    Salaam

    I loved your article- I found it much more than a perspective. The video, regardless of content was a violation of the sisters in it, and As young as many of them are, I’m willing to bet they also did not know what they were in for. I hold that this man exploited them, and that is why he deserved to be outed, especially if this is something he may do again. I wish you would put it back up.

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 4, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

      AsalaamuAlaikum,

      It is my understanding that at least for one of the young women who participated in the production, she was told that a completely different song about friendship and love was to be used. That furthers my thinking that exploitative conduct was involved. I concur with you that at least not all of the sisters knew what they were in for.

  5. Pam December 4, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    ASAK, After reading your previous post, I was so proud of you for putting into words what we women often feel. I have not seen the video, but I think less of any man who objectifies women, especially when that man is a Muslim and should know better. At the least he should be lowering his gaze. He should not be commenting on any woman’s looks, Istraghfirallah. This is like Islam 101.

    I understand your decision to remove the post; however, I must say that as Muslims and as women we have a duty to “call out” those among the ummah that are not respecting us and going against the sunnah of our Blessed Prophet SAW. We have the God- given right to be respected. That is even more vital for our youngest sisters who are just finding their way in a perilous world fraught with all sorts of systemic and entrenched misogyny.

    Regardless of his intentions, which Allah alone knows, he has put something out into the world that is demeaning and at best derogatory towards young women. That video, thanks to media and the internet, can never be recalled. Insha’Allah, Allah will guide his heart to at least feel shame and regret for what he has done.

    As a mother of three daughters and a son, I feel my obligations daily to raise them to “go against the tide” to stand up for themselves in a righteous way and not to allow anyone to put them down. With my son, I feel the obligation to raise him to be like his father, i.e., strong in moral character and straight in the deen, Masha’Allah. With the pervasive allure of media and haram culture, it is sometimes scary to think how much influence outside forces will have on them. May Allah SWA keep all our kids safe and on the straight path and protect them not only from the evil forces in the world at large but also from the “well meaning?” but misguided voices within our Ummah.

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 4, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

      Asalaamu’Alaikum,

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. It is so beautiful to read about the abiding respect and love that you have for your husband Mash’Allah. Alhamdulilah, sister, that Allah (SWT) has blessed your son with an excellent role model. Insha’Allah he will grow up to respect women and respect sacred knowledge.

  6. Mariam December 4, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    There are countless articles out there in support of the film,and the only one I found that speaks against it is quickly silenced and removed? I am sad to see that…Allah says:

    كنتم خير أمة أخرجت للناس تأمرون بالمعروف وتنهون عن المنكر وتؤمنون بالله ولو آمن أهل الكتاب لكان خيرا لهم منهم المؤمنون وأكثرهم الفاسقون You are the best nation produced [as an example] for mankind. You enjoin what is right and forbid what is wrong and believe in Allah (Quran 3:110)

    We must speak against it, for the right reasons and with the right intention, Wallahu A3lam….

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 4, 2013 at 9:12 pm #

      Jazak Allah Khair. Trust me, I am not at peace with this decision, but neither am I completely at piece with the alternative. A dear friend suggested to me that I call this piece ‘Ethical Quagmire’ which is exactly what it is.

  7. maha December 4, 2013 at 9:31 am #

    My friend and I were discussing your initial post on this issue, and we admired your bravery, regardless of the outcome. Your writing is able to shake and stun the reader, open eyes up to the core issues, and is a powerful tool (or weapon). I also reluctantly agree with the decision to take it down-perhaps this story should have been shared primarily with the models in the video or in less certain terms. The words “I don’t know” are sometimes the clearest. But also perhaps there is a wisdom and unseen reason that your words appeared and had a voice for a fleeting moment, made their point, and then disappeared for the sake of remaining silent when in doubt about someone’s reputation. May Allah swt use our talents and abilities always for His sake.
    Thank you sis.

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 4, 2013 at 9:13 pm #

      Asalaamu’Alaikum Sister,
      I found your comment very soothing and inspiring. Jazak Allah Khair. You wrote: “But also perhaps there is a wisdom and unseen reason that your words appeared and had a voice for a fleeting moment, made their point, and then disappeared for the sake of remaining silent …” Alhamdulilah by the Grace of Allah (SWT), those reasons have already become clear in the past 24 hours and I am so grateful.

  8. imran December 4, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    May Allah reward you for your mindfulness sister. Seriously.

  9. imran December 4, 2013 at 10:11 am #

    May Allah reward you for your mindfulness in this matter. Seriously. I find it very inspiring.

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 4, 2013 at 9:15 pm #

      Asalaamu’Alaikum Imran,
      I thank you for your kind words. The Prophet (pbuh) said: A kind word is charity.

  10. Maggie December 4, 2013 at 10:16 am #

    Maybe you could rewrite your critique and limit it to an analysis of the piece and take out the more emotional parts or parts that might be seen as a personal attack. Your piece provides an essential voice and perspective.

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 4, 2013 at 9:18 pm #

      Jazak Allah Khair, Maggie for your sincere advise. I considered it but decided that it is such an emotional issue for so many people that those who comment really need the time and emotional endurance to sift through all of the positive and negative energy. As a homeschooling mom of three, I desperately need my sleep and sanity, so for the health and well-being of my family, I’ll refrain from offering more critical analysis, though I may look forward to sharing some of the personal stories of those who were positively impacted by the post.

  11. Pam December 4, 2013 at 11:37 am #

    ASAK, In thinking about your post and this comedian, something else came to mind that bears discussion, insha’Allah. There is a whole rash of comedians who are “Muslim” and are trying to “normalize” Islam for the public. I have no problem with building bridges and helping non-Muslims to see us in a friendly light. I function in a secular world every day and have many friends of all faiths. But something is seriously wrong when a comedian in the forefront of it all starts her stand-up routine talking about her promiscuity and private parts. While we don’t all have to be at the same level of taqwah, it seems something is wrong here.

    Don’t know the answer. It certainly points to the fact that we are all individuals and not just reflections of a stereotype. But I shudder to think of the Ummah in 20 years when my own kids are trying to raise theirs, insha’Allah.

    May Allah SWA protect us and keep us on the straight path, Ameen

  12. Azeem Khan December 5, 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Interesting.. why not just edit the post? instead of deleting it?

    • CollardGreenMuslim December 5, 2013 at 7:56 am #

      Good question. As I stated in another comment, as a very busy mother of young children, I’m content to return to the periphery of this conversation for now. It is a very controversial topic, as I see it was meant to be, which requires a lot of emotional endurance and time, in order to remain active in the conversation.

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