By Umm Reem (Saba Syed)
Dear Muslim girls,
I want to apologize to all of you on behalf of Muslim adults, Muslim parents and the Muslim community as a whole.
I am sorry that your struggles as females are often overlooked. I am sorry that your sensual temptations are always underestimated. I am sorry that your fitnah for the opposite gender is rarely ever addressed as if, for some miraculous reason, you are expected to have stronger control over your carnal desires.
We have failed to recognize Muslim women's, especially the female youth's, trials of their voluptuous desires. At the most we have made an effort to acknowledge your desires to interact with guys, to be around them, to talk to them, to laugh with them, to share with them the details of your day, to have a boy follow you around, if at all your trials are recognized. Your desires have been marginalized to simply some emotional need of getting attention from the opposite gender. Let me be brave enough to say: That is wrong. Women want more than just the attention.
I confess that the strength of carnal desires in females is almost always underestimated within our Muslim societies. I am not here to run a comparison between the needs of men and women, I am here to simply acknowledge, affirm and attest that sexual desires are no less a struggle for a girl than a boy. Let it be clear, Islam makes no distinction. Truly Allah is the Most Just!
Allow me to say: I understand….
I understand that the opposite gender is a fitnah for you as much as you are a fitnah for the opposite gender.
I understand your battles and your struggles.
I understand that if you slip, on the surface or deeper, it's because you couldn't fight the strong inevitable desires coupled with the extreme hypersexual society we're raising you in.
I understand that it is wrong for our Muslim societies to have double standards, and I want you to know that no matter how many times you are reminded that you, as a female, should have a better control over your sexual desires than the guys, that you should be the one guarding your chastity more than the guys, that you are a girl and it isless likely for you to give into your carnal desires than the guys, please know that your religion makes no such distinction. Islam has prescribed the exact same punishment for the girls as for the guys.
I understand and my heart goes out to you, for all the trials of the opposite gender you are going through, for all the temptations you have to fight or you fail to fight.
I understand that if you slip and give into your voluptuous desires, it doesn't make you a whore. It simply makes you a human. Although, I truly admire those of you who have thus far kept your chastity, may Allah azzwajal increase you in your strength and in your purity.
I understand, when I look at you teenage girls, especially those who are committed to their faith, trying their best to withhold their religious and moral values, modestly dressed yet can't help but fall into the trials of the opposite gender, I understand…
I understand that when that cute guy, or any guy that seems attractive whether because of his looks or his personality, asks for your number it is very hard to resist, when he calls in the middle of the night it is almost impossible not to pick up the phone. When he offers to pick you up from school, you just can't hold back, and when his hand runs through your hand the feeling is so amazing that you just can't stop him and when he leans in to kiss you the temptations can overtake your senses of right and wrong.[i]
I understand that although, without a shadow of doubt, these actions are wrong, the temptation of experiencing what you have been hearing about, watching, and observingsince you were in kindergarten, every single day of your life, almost every minute, on TV, online, at school, at work, at the park, and especially what you've been reading in books, is simply too irresistible.
Do I feel for you? Absolutely! I feel for you if you couldn't hold yourself back from giving in to your very much existing and strong temptations of carnal desire.
I am sorry that we have not built a safer environment around you girls. And I am especially sorry, wholeheartedly, when we Muslims judge you and underestimate your bodily yearnings and cravings for the opposite gender, yet we give boys more benefit of doubts, more excuses for their temptations, for their fitnah than we offer you girls.
I am sorry that our societies only feel for boys, reinforcing again and again that girls are the biggest temptations for boys, but we almost never mention that boys are equally a temptation for girls, sexual temptation not just emotional temptation.
Although I might not be able to change the mindset of many Muslims out there, I promise you that I will not judge you insha'Allah. And that I will always be here to offer you an attentive ear and a shoulder to lean on should you need someone to talk to or understand your struggles.
Before I close my note, just remember two things as advice from me:
Firstly, if you fall, don't forget to repent and know that we fall so we can learn to pick ourselves up[ii].
Secondly, don't give up. Keep trying to fight your temptations even if you keep falling. If you didn't guard your chastity from the beginning, it doesn't mean you have lost your chance. Allah's Mercy encompasses all, and He is always ready to envelope us in His Forgiveness and Mercy no matter how deep we fall in our sins. Chastity starts when you leash your carnal desires and wait for the halal alternatives. That's the beginning of your chastity!
(And Allah knows best)