The daily chronicle of my family as we embark on our quest to relocate from New York to Cairo... the impending journey to get there and the daily lives of myself, my husband and our four children... and other random thoughts while living in Cairo!

Looking to make contact with other Muslimahs who are like myself with small children living or will be living in a foreign country.

I invite you to share the experience with us as we try to make this happen!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Sisterhood: Are YOU your sister's keeper? The lost art of friendship

Salaam Alaikum everyone in the blog world.... you know, I have been talking about an issue for a while as I've been watching how we, as Muslim women, embrace each other with companionship/friendship... and our relationships amongst ourselves have deteriorated into nothing!

I've met more than a few women after moving here to Cairo and me being me, embraced everyone for "face value" but after a while, you "weed out" the not-so good ones and keep the rest... meaning I see if the person is one I would want to keep company with long enough to consider her a friend: is she upstanding? A backbiter? A slanderer? A liar? A drama queen? These type of people are counter-productive... and very bad for YOUR Islam. You ARE the company you keep as if you don't start out that way eventually you WILL become part of that which they do... seriously, are you looking for extra sins??? I know I have more than enough to repent for, as we all do but you need to protect yourself and your deen from the fitnah that lies within these treacherous borders....

An honorable sister posted a good message in one of the Muslimah forums on Facebook about backbiting/slander which I think, would be beneficial for ALL to read...

Salaamu alaikum everyone,

Some of the fitnah on here needs to be stopped dead in it's tracks. I am one of those people who feels like everything is what you make of it. I don't think Facebook is evil or that it is a fitnah because the same people who will be on here causing all kinds of trouble will be on the phone doing it if they didn't have internet, or will be at the masjid saying all kinds of things etc... it is all about what you make it but there needs to be an understanding attained from all of this. There is NEVER a reason to knowingly sin. I don't care if someone is on your page, in their house or even in YOUR house sinning, what you do will go right along with them, or even do something that is haraam back, you are just as wrong. Your being angry is not an excuse. Honestly, there are only two excuses for it, either you are not at the age of understanding (puberty) or you are majnoon (insane). If you have a mental disease or ailment, this isn't the same as being insane. Being insane means you don't understand and lack the intellect to control yourself and your actions. It's not just having some diagnosis, no matter what it is, and thinking this is now an excuse to hurt others and oppress them with no accountability

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The Pen has been lifted from three: from the insane person who has no control over his reason until he recovers, from the sleeper until he wakes up, and from the child until he reaches puberty. ”Narrated by Abu Dawood (4399); classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

When the woman asks about her husband the scholar replied in the case of your husband’s sickness, either he is aware of what he is doing and saying, or he is not aware. If he is aware, then he is accountable for what he says and does, and it is not permissible for him to accuse you or to fail to raise his children; he must do what Allah has enjoined upon him of acts of worship and obedience, and not do that which Allah has forbidden. In this case you must carry out all marital duties and it is not permissible for you to neglect them. If he is not aware of what he is saying and doing as the result of this sickness, then he is no longer accountable for what he says and does.

As you can see from the above statements, you can't have some and not the other... Either you understand and know what you are doing is wrong or you don't. If you do, then you do and using a mental ailment as an excuse (unless it is valid) is not a reason to mistreat and oppress others. The way I feel personally is that if enough of us put in some mental symptoms that we experience into Google, I am sure we would have some kind of diagnosis at the end of the day, myself included. I am pretty sure I would come out with anger management issues, and maybe even ADD... At times, I am sure I was even depressed... but it was and still is NO reason for me to do wrong against myself, or others, and most importantly, my lord. As he is an ever all watcher over us and knows what we do.

Prophet Muhammad said :"Do you know what backbiting is?" They said, "God and His Messenger know best." He then said, "It is to say something about your brother that he would dislike." Someone asked him, "But what if what I say is true?" The Messenger of God said, "If what you say about him is true, you are backbiting him, but if it is not true then you have slandered him." (Muslim)

"I asked the Messenger of God : Who is the best Muslim? The Messenger of God replied, "He is the one from whom Muslims are safe from the evil of his tongue and hands." (Muslim)

"When man wakes up in the morning each day, all parts of the body warn the tongue saying, ‘Fear God as regards us for we are at your mercy; if you are upright, we will be upright and if you are crooked, we become crooked.’" (At-Tirmidhee)

Backbiting isn't only something that someone does about one person, it could even be about a group of people. And before you go listening to what someone says about someone else, just remember that it may not be something that is true that is being stated. The person could be out right lying or lying by omission. I have seen it so much where people tell only what others do to them, not what they do to other people. Then everyone is looking at the other person as if they have wronged the other individual when really, it was none of your business to begin with and it didn't help you to find out and would not have hurt you to never know.

It was narrated by Abu Hurairah that the Messenger (Salallahu Alayhi Wa Salaam) said, "Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent." Sahih Bukhari.

Allah said what was translated in the Qur'an, "Oppression is worse than murder." (Surah Baqarah: Ayah 192)

Even if you are not the one saying something about anyone else, if you are listening and lending an ear to it, then you are just as guilty and will carry the same sin. We all have the ability to cut it off at the head and end it often time before it even begins.

Here is a suggestion... the next time someone comes and tells you what someone did to them, ask them what they did to make this person do this. If they come acting innocent, just remember that if the other person has any sense about themselves, then you are NOT getting the whole story. You get what you give. If you are not going to get both sides to the story, then don't lend an ear to either side as this is what is fair.

I personally feel that was a very powerful message.... what happened to being your sister's keeper? Most women are so shallow these days, they don't (or won't) form bonds with women for STUPID reasons and then they tend to backbite based on their jealousy... I know what I'm talking about... it's happened to me. These women (for lack of a better term) will dislike you and backbite/slander you because your husband is better looking than theirs(!)... or your children are more beautiful than theirs(!)... or you have some wealth or more means that Allah has blessed you with... you dress better than them... you live in a nicer home than them... your husband is from another nationality than you (yes, people... petty women are even jealous of this)... your shoes are nicer than theirs... your group of friends is bigger than theirs... ?????????????????????????? Is this what we as Muslimahs have become? Why not say, "Masha'Allah" for that sister for all these things that were not begotten by her own hands but was giving to her by the Most-Merciful Allah?

Instead these SAME sisters who backbite and slander will brag and tell you they study Qur'an and Arabic at some of the best centers here and there along with Fiqh and 'Aqeedah but yet they don't practice or apply ANYTHING they've learned.... so, your knowledge is for what exactly? They come home from these same centers of learning and pick up the phone and slander/backbite her sister about something that happened at school... something she heard from another sister... maybe something she saw another sister doing wrong (oh yeah, can't pass up THAT opportunity!)... or PRYING into people's business to get information about other sisters which is none of your concern to begin with- what is this all about? Shaytan has corrupted the minds of more than a few of us... and it's starting to wear away at the very fabric which keeps us tied together as humans, as women, as MUSLIMAHS in Islam.

And let's not forget our children... if your children play often enough with the children of these women, you will more than likely see the same from them... the apple tends not to fall too far from the tree. If they see or hear Mommy doing it, then it's normal and okay. And it's funny, kids will "give you up"- have you ever witnessed this scenario: when you know someone is a backbiter and she loves to talk about people and YOU ARE the target of the moment, you will notice their kids will look at you strange and/or their behavior towards you will be different... seen it... it's happened to me- and I laugh! But they heard Mommy and ALL she had to say about you... and kids are innocent so what do you expect? They are creatures of their environment... so be mindful who your kids are playing with as well- all the little boys who curse or swear or beat on other kids... and all the "too sassy" little girls whose Mothers put colored lip gloss and/or lipstick and nail polish on them when they just stopped wearing diapers... these are the kind of girls you want your daughters playing with? And when she starts to like "Amina's look" and ask you for some, what do you say? I must tell you, I'm very selective with whom my bigger children play with... both of them, Masha'Allah, are good kids and I want to keep them that way as long as possible so I watch the action/behavior of those kids I let them be around. If I see or hear things that I feel should not the behavior of that child, my kids can not keep their company, full stop. My kids circle of friends may not be big but that's okay as they don't need to play with every kid because all the other sisters let their kids play together- if you see something questionable, I would suggest removing your kids from that environment as well... heed the warning!

I blogged about this sisterhood issue over the last few years so if you have time and care to, read my entries from these periods:

Sisterhood... where are thou?


Moral Support

Where has sisterhood gone?

We all must try to remember our duty(ies) to our fellow sister... and do you really want to eat your sister's flesh? Be mindful of the company you keep for yourself and your children... may Allah protect us all from the whispers of the dejected one (Insha'Allah, Ameen!)

A sweet little Muslimah posted something recently I totally liked... and I think it reflects my attitude as well... if my circle of friends here in Cairo perishes, I feel like this: "I'm in my own little world... that's okay, they know me here."

I'm ever thankful to Allah for all the friends and sisters who know and understand the essence and heart of TRUE sisterhood back home... I do miss them so... may Allah always keep them that way!!!

Will you be your sister's keeper... or will you eat her flesh??? Think about it..... I love you all for the pleasure of Allah!


Umm Katheer said...

assalaamualaikum wa rahmatuALlahi wa baraaatuh,
very very true indeed, been there seen that lol. Have to be very picky nowadays of the company one choses to keep, for our own sakes and those of our precious children, who will be influenced one day-hopefully not by the wrong crowd. I also love u for His Sake. take care sis, dont despair, Allah will give you what you need from the people, u take the good and leave the rest of them alone!

Empress Anisa said...

Umm Katheer: Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatullah wa barakatu!

Yes, sometimes, we tend to forget about the little ones but these kids are influenced VERY early so we have to pay close attention to their "friends".

Yes, I do, my sister.... I take/keep the good ones and DELETE, avoid and cancel out the rest! :)

Candice said...

Very important reminder. Thank you for posting

Empress Anisa said...

Candice: yes, a good reminder for us all... thanks for reading!

Anonymous said...

looks like you are going through tuff time- friendships have honeymoon periods too until you get to know people better and then you have to weed.
Good naseeha from the sister on the forum- i read it when you posted on fb
but glad came over to read your input on the influence on kids. You r 100% right. They pick up habits from other kids so fast and it takes so much time to get rid of the bad habits.
To sisterhood

Empress Anisa said...

Ummezaynub: Does it really? LOL.. actually, Alhamdulillah, I don't have any issues right now... but I've been thru it. And we must weed, weed... and weed again!

Yes, I pay close attention to the kind of kids my little ones are exposed to... ESPECIALLY my daughter... people want their kids to play with ALL the other kids like it's some status thing (for a few of them) but that's okay, my babies aren't out for the popularity contest! Keep the group selective and you will have positive results. Masha'Allah, Alhamdulillah, I know a few "good" girls here that my daughter enjoys their company and I am grateful for that.

And yes, my beautiful sister, to true sisterhood!!!! :)

أم ترافيس said...

I will be ur keeper :) Will u be mine?

Empress Anisa said...

For the love and pleasure of Allah, I will always try to be my sister's keeper... and you, you got a corner spot in my heart.... luv ya!

N said...

"A sweet little Muslimah" hehe thanks :D :D :D

Empress Anisa said...

And that you ARE, my darling.... had to borrow your brilliant quote!

ipv6 said...

gee empresss..

Empress Anisa said...

Uncle Pee Vee!!!! Well, I had to "pu tit out there".... we have so many issues and as Muslim women which we shouldn't have... but we must "check ourselves" every now and then for the sake of ourselves as women and as Muslims... this is the duty we owe to each other.... if you see your sister/brother fall, we must be there to aid them... to correct them and guide back towards to right path... I see MANY of us slipping so just a loving (many it sounds harsh but it's better to be direct than skirt the issues) reminder!!! :)

Cassandra said...

Asalamu Alaikum Sister,

Encountered some of these experiences when I was new to Islam, as time progressed onward some sisters true colors began to show {red light going off in my head danger...danger...drop what you are doing run and do not look back}. I explained my dislike of their actions and behavior and completely removed myself from their circle and ceasesd all social contact{of course I love these sisters for the sake of Allah (swt}} and when I may happen to see them in passing I say "Asalamu Alaikum", smile and move on...

Alhumduliallah I knew it was a blessing from Allah {swt} showing me the the darkside of bad behavior...May Allah {swt} help and guide them on the straight path... :-)

Empress Anisa said...


Wa alaikum salaam, my sister! Talk about a delayed response!!! LOL... been a little busy on the home front with my brood... but yes, with time, those whom do not possess the "right intention" will be brought to light... it's best to just walk away and give them their "rights" in Islam and maybe if the actions/behavior aren't too out of line, engaged in small talk/contact and keep it movin'!!! There is NO benefit in befriending people who actions aren't in accordance to our glorious religion.. and especially with being a new Muslim, you need to be directed down the correct path, not lead astray from jump start!
May Allah have mercy upon on us all and keep us on the rightly-guided path to Him! (Insha'Allah, Ameen!)
And thanks for stopping by! :)