Friday, July 24, 2015


This brought tears to my eyes...
A young girl comes home to her family, her hand resting over her stomach, while others’ faces turn red in shame and anger. A young woman stands in the streets, cradling her infant and silently bearing the acrid judgment of the public.
Whether victims of rape, financial difficulty, or their own unfortunate sins, young women who find themselves unexpectedly with child are immediately judged, shunned, and written off as burdens to society. The attitude towards them is that they are not only unwelcome, but are useless and have nothing of benefit to contribute to the world around them. As a result, this turns into the cycle of self-fulfilling prophesy – by condemning them for their mistakes and withdrawing meaningful support, these young girls and women find themselves adrift, worn down and often unable to believe in their ability to provide a better life for themselves and their children. Furthermore, they may find it difficult to believe that their children will be able to become a force of positive change in the future.
Maryam bint ‘Imraan (‘alayhas-salaam) was a very young girl when she was visited by the angel Jibreel and given the news of her miraculous pregnancy. The priests and masses of Bani Isra’eel reacted with anger and disgust, and she was no longer permitted to live within her sanctuary after the birth of her son, Prophet ‘Isa (‘alayhis-salaam).
In today's day and age, Maryam bint 'Imraan would be considered just another young girl pregnant out of wedlock. When the priests of Bani Isra'eel kicked her out of her sanctuary, she was effectively rendered homeless. We would have written her off as another unfortunate statistic and pity her child as being unable to have a stable home or any kind of meaningful future.
Instead, Maryam became one of the most famous women in Islamic history. She defied the odds and the animosity of her society, and was able to raise a Prophet who changed the course of history.
Although Maryam was falsely accused and was honored in the Qur’an for her great status, a core lesson remains: it is all too easy to judge a woman for her sins, whether perceived or real, but it is a higher level of good character and wisdom to recognize the blessing in every individual’s situation.
One of the reasons that Maryam was able to remain strong, and to raise her son with firm belief in Allah, was because she had support: the support of her family, including her mother – whose unique supplication to Allah ensured that out of all of mankind, only Maryam and ‘Eesa would not be touched by Shaytan. Maryam was not only supported by the women of her family, however, but also by a man: Prophet Zakariyya (‘alayhis-salaam), who had been her guardian and knew first-hand of her character, and who was well aware that the birth of ‘Eesa was a divine miracle.
Without the support of those who believed in her, Maryam could have allowed herself to surrender to despair, and live a quiet, ignominious life without making an effort to raise her son to become the man who was one of the greatest Messengers to walk the Earth.
Often, young girls and women are stigmatized for their mistakes and given little, if any, chance to repent and strive for a better life. Their children, too, are labeled and ostracized, marked indelibly as being unfit or unsuitable to be a part of the greater Ummah.
Just imagine young ‘Eesa (‘alayhis-salaam), being raised in a society where everyone knew the gossip related to his mother. Even today, there are distasteful words used to describe children who are considered illegitimate – and it is known that the Jews considered ‘Eesa (‘alayhis-salaam) as such, wa’l iyaathu billah. Although the miracles of his infancy were known, and it was obvious that he was no ordinary child, he and his mother were still human, and thus subject to the cruelties of slander… just as the children of young women in unfortunate circumstances today are treated.
Despite their outer circumstances, despite the accusations against Maryam’s honour, despite the stigma that ‘Eesa grew up with due to the circumstances of his birth, Maryam and ‘Eesa were both chosen by Allah above all of mankind:
{"O Maryam, indeed Allah has chosen you and purified you and chosen you above the women of the worlds.”} (Qur’an 3:42)
{"O Jesus, indeed I will take you and raise you to Myself and purify you from those who disbelieve…”} (Qur’an 3:55)
It is all too easy for us to pass judgment on others simply because of what we see from them, but it is those same people who could be our Ummah’s greatest hope.
As Muslims, our duty is not to shun and condemn, to withdraw hope and assistance from fellow Muslims, no matter how severe we see their sins as being. Rather, our duty is to help these individuals – to help them overcome their errors, to seek Allah’s forgiveness, to repent and to strive to become greater Muslims. The very people whom we may look down upon, may be the ones who have the potential to become leaders for this Ummah.
Never give up on the hundreds and thousands of young, pregnant girls and single mothers. Never write them off as "hopeless" and their children as 'burdens' to this Ummah.
Instead, think of them as one of the most powerful sources of hope for this Ummah: Those who, with strong emaan and the right tools, could raise a generation of heroic Muslims who have overcome the odds with a strength that will help change this world for the better.

No comments: