Get Your Haram On

 

Every morning, since meeting Pan’s parents, I would find myself waking up with such a high level of anxiety, because everything seemed to be going in the direction of marriage, and that wasn’t a route I ready to settle in just yet. I didn’t know if that was because I was apprehensive about Pan, or because I was scared of losing myself, or because I just wasn’t where I wanted to be in my life.

I knew I wanted to have my voice heard through my writing or something. I didn’t know exactly what at that time, I just knew I was here for a reason. That feeling never faded. Never!!! But every time I felt overwhelmed, I called Pan, who would promise me that the meeting had been simply so that we could do things right. We both knew that we shouldn’t be dating, so he felt that if our families knew that we were talking to each other, then it would avoid gossip from other Arabs, Muslims, or the community as a whole. He knew how attached I was to reputation, so hearing this all made sense to me. It’s the reason that I introduced him to my family only a week after the initial meeting with his family. It started with my mom.

Now, Mama doesn’t believe in dating. It’s why she chaperoned my first date with the first guy I ever went to dinner with at two weeks before my twenty-eighth birthday: I nicknamed him, Perry Mason. He was an Arab-Muslim lawyer, who saw my picture on Facebook, and “had to meet me.” I love how casually certain MusRab guys ask a girl on a date. It’s so carefree. No worries. No fear of reputation. Whereas a MusRab girl sure as hell better think twice, DESPITE it stating clearly in Islam, that both women and MEN, cannot date. But unfortunately, the faith has been so misconstrued by culture driven by “men”, that there are a great many Muslim’s who don’t know the difference between the culture and the faith. I was one of those.

But not then. Not when Perry sent me almost twelve different emails attached with some article clipping that had been posted about legal cases he was winning. Apparently, it was important to him that I knew how honored I should feel to have a man of his accomplishments sit across from me. That is if I could convince my mom to let me meet him.

Of course, at this time his flattery did away with my ability to see that the interest he had was more lust than a genuine connection. I had to meet him, so, I mustered up the courage to approach my mom about Perry’s dinner proposal. I think my mother’s shocked expression actually made it sink in my mind what I was standing there asking her. I was basically saying, “Can I go on a  date with a guy?” Or as I called it, an “introduction.”

I didn’t want to call it what it was, a date, because if there’s one other word Muslim Arab girls like me dread saying, is dick and date. Both are way too taboo to even think about, let alone say out loud. But there I stood in the living room, asking my Muslim mom if I could go on a date. I don’t know what gave me the courage to do it. I think it was the reality that my twenty-eighth birthday was a few weeks away, and I was now not only officially expired, but a fucken pre-historic dinasour in my culture. A culture that takes every chance it can to remind you of not only how single you are, but how with every passing day you remain un-married, you draw closer to never meeting anyone, never having any children, or never being remotely happy. In other words: settle.

Now, if my dad’s unsuccessful journey to get me married showed anything, it was that I was not going to settle. I suppose it was my wanting an end to not having a choice on love. It was the pursuit of love that gave me the courage to stand there. Oddly enough, my mom, who was also quite eager to see me married, agreed to the “introduction,” under one condition: she had to chaperone. Seeing I was going to be more successful meeting her half way, I agreed.

So on a Wednesday, in a café, sat Perry, myself, and my mother enjoying coffee, conversation, and a juicy dose of awkwardness. Well, Perry and I enjoyed it all, my mom sat there like fucken Attila the Hun. It was hard to really be myself with my mom there. Perry’s discomfort translated to spending the entire night immersed in what often times seemed like a one sided conversation between him and my mom.

Now, I can understand the Islamic belief that when a man and woman are alone, the third person is the devil. Get it! Temptation is always there, but there’s also a little thing we seem to have forgotten: will power. I mean a date doesn’t have to mean shish kabobbing. You ARE able to go on a date with someone and think of shishing their kabob, without actually doing it. If it were to happen, then that’s what was written for you: Destiny, for when it’s written, it shall be done. Pan and I proved this.

Perry, my mother, and I went on a few dates, and the discomfort never faded. On what would turn out to be our last “introduction,” Perry paid the tab, and when my mom excused herself to go the restroom, Perry and I stole away outside where we shared our first kiss- also my first. I couldn’t tell whether it had been a good kiss or a bad kiss. I didn’t even look at him because I wasn’t sure if I could. I didn’t feel ashamed of it, but more like a fish out of water. So many thoughts ran through my head…

FAIZA’S THOUGHTS AFTER FIRST KISS

“OMG did this just happen?”

“Do I look at him?”

“Thank God I put Carmax on my lips.”

“Okay, I wish he would say something.”

“Can I get pregnant this way?”

“The fuck… obviously, the answer to that is no.”

“Will Mama tell by my face that I was just kissed?”

“Does this mean we have to get married?”

“Why the fuck is he so quiet?”

“Was I that bad?”

“Well, at least now he knows it was my first kiss!”

“Do I have to worry about my reputation?”

“No… HE inititated the kiss, this is all on him girl.”

“Okay… seriously dude, say something!”

But he didn’t.

In fact, he never said a word again after that night’s “Bye. Drive safe.” I took it very personal and was extremely hurt by the lack of answers I had. I guess I should have been grateful for being sent the Facebook link by my gf’s with Perry’s engagement announcement.

Approaching my mom about Pan, was very different from Perry, because this time I was saying no to chaperoning. I had done things as culturally and religiously encouraged, but it didn’t work. I was now going to take my search for love into my own hands, even if it would be labeled by many in the culture as haram (a sin). I say the culture, because the word dating doesn’t even exist for Muslims. If you meet a Muslim man, or vise versa, you have every right to be able to get to know that person, with your families permission. You just can’t be sneaking around, being intimate in any way, which obviously means no shish kabobbing. I recognize that Pan and I were 0-2 on that subject.

Naturally, my mom expressed her concerns not only in my going against what I had been raised on but also in my naïveness. I insisted I knew what I was doing and that I wouldn’t stray too far from the person they raised. I only ever wanted one thing: a choice.

I knew my family, like any other loving one, would always want to protect their child from hurt or making mistakes, but I had never truly made any up to that point, and if I was bound to make one, Pan was the person I had chosen to do that with.

“You know how your father would feel about this,” My mom said peppering me with guilt.

I knew my father would never and I mean NEVERRR approve of me dating. He would have done one of the following statements he drove into my head as a child…

THE THREE THINGS MY FATHER WOULD DO IF I WERE CAUGHT DATING

  • Post an article in the Arab newspaper, disowning Faiza publicly, so the community would detach him (Faiza’s father) from all responsibility.

In other words, “My daughter isn’t a hoe because of me! Now, please pass the falafel.”

  • Dig a tunnel from the house to his job so he wouldn’t have to face anyone.

I always wondered who my dad was going to get to actually construct this.

  • Change his name (Faiez) legally

I was named after my father so he would say that if I ever did anything to humiliate his good name, he would, after 1&2, head over to City Hall, and demand the judge change his name. I’m not exactly sure how the judge would have reacted, but I would tease my dad by saying that if anyone had to change their name, it should be me considering I’d had it for a lesser amount of time.

My father wouldn’t be happy, but I had thought of every one else for the past twenty-eight years of my life, and I was done doing that. So I dared myself to make that move and seeing my assertiveness about it, forced my mother to lean on the trust she had in me.

“I trust that you’ll respect yourself and your family,” She said peppering me with guilt. I guess I felt guilty anyway. Not only because Pan and I had shish kabobbed, but because I never wanted to be the reason my family had to bury their heads in the sand. I couldn’t help but wonder if our families knowing would really stop the community from talking because regardless of that fact, we weren’t engaged, we were dating- in other words- SOUND THE WAGGLING TONGUES!!!

When Pan, picked me up the same day to take a ride around downtown, I decided to discuss my concerns. I can’t tell you how many times the topic of reputation was brought up in the first part of our relationship. He was suffocated by it, but no more than me. If anyone had found out about us dating, they wouldn’t look at Pan like an indecent faux Muslim. They WOULD however look at me that way. Pan completely understood my concerns as he knew the community all too well. I mean every week we would hear about some Arab-Muslim girl who’d been caught dating, and was now facing the loss of not only her reputation, but that of her family as well.

He suggested we move about our relationship as any other in our situation, like two Navy Seals. We started by establishing areas that were No Date Zone’s (NDZ’s) and others that were Get Your Haram On (GYHO).

BTW: That’s meant to be sung to Missy Elliot’s ‘Get Your Freak On,’ track. Moving on…

NDZ’s were areas we KNEW had a lot of MusRabs or were MusRab hangouts, and we could not go to breakfast, lunch, or dinner there: No hanging out, grabbing a coffee, nothing! COMPLETELY OFF LIMITS!

NO DATE ZONE’S

 

  • Orland Park
  • Bridgeview
  • Burbank
  • Oak Lawn
  • Tinley Park
  • Palos Hills

Whereas, areas designated GYHO, were places we didn’t have to worry as much about, although the fear was always there that we might go into a restaurant, mall, or simply walking around in those places and be seen by members of the Haram Police.

Faiza’s Dictionary

Haram Police: A “conservative” Muslim woman or man who feels the need to publicly shame another Muslim about how Un-Muslim they are acting, dressing, laughing, sneezing, walking, talking, breathing, etc. Commonly heard saying, “Just so you know, that’s haram.”

We had to be careful regardless, but we felt confident in setting the following areas to be GYHO…

GET YOUR HARAM ON

  • Downtown Chicago
  • Lincoln Park
  • Joliet
  • Schaumburg
  • Plainfield
  • Kankakee
  • O’Hare

It helped that the last four haram zones were over an hour away from where we lived and FARRR from any MusRab’s or Haram Police. Sometimes we’d hit into an Arab or two, but they were always couples doing the exact same “haram” thing we were doing: being on a date, holding hands, or embracing. Seeing them we felt a sense of connection in our “haram.” Even if we didn’t say a word to each other. A look that said, “I get it. This sucks, but hey!” was all it took to be reminded that there was someone else out there who just got it.

After the long conversation, I felt not only more proud of myself for daring to think of me as I made a move forward in my life and search for love, but more than ever, I felt deeply connected to Pan. It was the first conversation we had in the over 90 days together where we actually communicated. He listened to me as much as I did to him. He cared as much as I did. And for the first time, I trusted him with all my vulnurabilites without any regrets.

So we were now officially “talking,” with our families well wishes, or as much as they could give considering. I still had my fears with Pan, but at that moment, they all turned to hopes.

 

 

49 thoughts on “Get Your Haram On

  1. What I loved the most about this post was how you pointed out the faith and culture as two different things. Islam is a beautiful religion. It’s such a pity that they’re are so many people out there giving it a bad name.

  2. You know..if I remember correctly, when i was 18, in my MUSLIM school class, in 2011..almost every single girl had a boyfriend.. all which most of our parents did not know of..
    My self included, except my mom, she was so supportive of me, although advised me that what I was doing was wrong, but she understood love and she also didn’t want to push me to hard bcz she knew being a teenager, I would rebel. Today I look back and realise that bcz of my mom, I made a mistake, but I learnt, I burnt my fingers with the guy I dated, which caused me to turn bck to Allah and repent.. after which i promised myself never to date again,but to leave my life in the hands of God, and so alham, a short while later, Allah sent me my amazing husband

    Islam is not difficult, the problem is, many of us are exposed to “dating” through friends or even TV, and in some cultures, parents fail to discuss these matters with their kids, which is so sad..
    I love the way you differentiate between culture and religion in your posts. And I really hope many parents actually learn from this and also girls, really, Muslim girls, It’s hard to stay away from sin when everyone around u is doin it, it really is, to cover our hair, to look down and not talk to boys.. I was a rebellious teenager, I was so caught up in being “popular” and looking good, that I didn’t realise, that was not the reason we were created, and after having burnt my fingers, I settled, by the will of God, I was at peace, peace in the fact that it was nvr in my hands, but His.
    Sorry for long blog post, but your post is so relatable is just had to share, and I don’t want to be haraam police on you, I just hope so much that you turn to God and find peace🌹

  3. Your writing is amazing and the way you write is very convincing. But of course we aren’t going to deny what you are doing is haram. I hate how you are trying to normalize your sins. If you really like the second guy go do it the right way. Nothing good comes from haram relationships. And don’t get mad when people call out and call them “haram police”. You are sinning publicly so you will get called out publicly.

    1. Who is anyone to say something is “haram” or “halal” I think it’s appropriate to point inwards and reflect on yourself first. What sins are you doing regularly? Because I assure you that you are not following your faith to best of your ability, just becuase you’re not dating and covering your hair. Lying is haram. Gossiping is haram. Having bad intentions for ANYTHING is haram. Which sins are the biggest? Only god knows that.

  4. Faiza you are the woman!! I had so much fun reading this and the way you presented such a serious issue in a fun way is truly amazing ❤️. Thank you for speaking up about this because there are sooo many others that cannot and you give them power through your voice. Stay blessed ❤️.

  5. You seem like a nice person. But what you’re doing is completely out of line. You’re unmarried and shish-kabobbed, dated (haram!!!)وَلَا تَقْرَبُوا الزِّنَا ۖ إِنَّهُ كَانَ فَاحِشَةً وَسَاءَ سَبِيلًا 
    And come not near unto adultery. Lo! it is an abomination and an evil way.
    (17:32)
    Basically just stay away from this. This would’ve been a lot easier if you had gotten married, or stayed away from boys. Yes, sister, it’s difficult. But Allah is Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem, and all the pleasures that you experienced in this dunya will get you nowhere in the Hereafter. Pray, please, and repent.

    1. Ohh look, the Haram police fighting against the forces of evil 😂.

      1. nothing to do with Haram Police, she knew what she was doing was wrong. There’s a difference between committing a sin intentionally and unintentionally, abd she did the first. Sister Amira I think is trying to help her.

  6. I dislike reading much but when I was reading this, I felt so interested and it seriously felt like I was reading a book where I just wanted to keep reading and switch to the next page. It was so vividly described. Loved how you structured your writing. Loved how you would do notes like “what Faiza was thinking, Faiza’s dictionary, etc”
    I def will turn post notifications on!

  7. too many concerns for a muslim girl living in non muslim country !
    Like first you grow up among a whole different culture where dating is so much accepted by the parents , like its something normal that dating will eventually start at your teenage years ! while we are so scared of that word .. so haram !
    Then there comes the high school , where all your friends start their “serius” relationships and experience a new dating stage … having sex ! and since you have friends you hear about it so much and in your mind once it seems discusting ( because of what your parents used to tell you) and other times you feel like so out of the world , so weird not to experiecing the same things , so not fair to think too much for something others doing it with no doupts ! any ways you close up , you tear betweet what your friends will be thinking of you and what will happen if you so what your friends are doing ! Then the time passes you get older , you start to close up , dont want friends anymore why ? because of what they will think of you when they find out youve never been in a relationship ! when they find out youre a virgin , zero experience ao you will never be 100% in a group of friends , always a weirdo ! and Now that you are alone and older new thought and concerns pop up ! like what id i want to fall in love with a non muslim guy , or with a europeN guy ! no that ainto gonna happen for you why? not because your parents wont let you , but because kn the first place which european guy would date a 25 years old girl who had never been in a relationship ??! and worst? whixh guy would date a virgin 25 year old girl ? duuh super weird ! so your last chance ? a stupid closeminded guy from your culture …and the future is known then ! marriage , misery , fucked up life yaaaay ! 😭

    1. I am so sorry, I have the same problems with my family, they disowned me, and I am living in another country. I choosed not to be different because infact that kind of lifestyle is not for me. And I am not an arab either a muslim. If you want to talk to someone, or get any tips of how you dont end up with a ignorant fuck from your culture, I am here

    2. Ahahaha just shut up

  8. Only love for you

  9. Im from india & muslim & my family is very orthodox as well. Dating is forbidden and i cant even look at guys When im with my parents/ brothers. its like what will they think of me. But i like to balance my faith and others. I 100% believe in Islam. I may be doing sins like talking to boys etc but i also ask for forgiveness from Allah. All u gotta do is make Dua. Its the most powerful thing in this world.

    1. Woahhhh just because you know you’re doing something wrong does NOT mean Allah will forgive you for it if you keep doing it. Make dua’a and keep doing what’s wrong? No. It’s do what’s wrong, ask for forgiveness, and never return to doing what was bad. Allahu A’lam.

  10. having group up in totally different culture than Arab, I always took for granted that we can go for dates or even hanging out with opposite sex without being scrutinised. although I must say, when we were in high school dating is almost no no (at least my father wasn’t that strict for he let my sister go on date, with a boy known to him).

  11. Hey Faiza,

    I love your posts!! Omg i can totally relate to this. Indian ladies are also not allowed to date in their lives and it does get crazy when they have to tell their parents about the relationship. This is why so many run away cases happen. Parents should understand that if the guy has a good salary and loves their daughter, then they should not stop the wedding. This causes a lot of clashes between a lot of familes.

    You look soo pretty and gorgeous. At first I thought you were 23. Then when I heard that you were 30, I was like “whoah she maintained herself a lot”

    Lots of love from an Indian girl who lives in the US.

  12. How come we Arabs girls always have to go through the same shit no matter where we live? :-/
    I wish you the best Faiza.

    – fellow Arab girl in Germany

    1. Feel you, I am also from Germany. The struggle is real. Auf der einen Seite bist du Muslima, wirst von der Community aber nicht komplett aufgenommen, auf der anderen Seite lebst du in Deutschland und Nicht-Muslime verstehen nicht warum du Muslima bist. Diese Gradwanderung ist einfach zum kotzen

  13. I love your stories and I your videos too. As a Muslim girl living in Syria I really haven’t had anything like this. Maybe when I was in high school I was’nt allowed to go out with boys but in university it was much easier. My family maybe don’t belive in love and dating but sometimes i feel it is much easier to date here in Arab countries than in Muslim communities in Europe or the USA. This realy is so strange for me. I always thoughts that when a muslim travels to a new country became a little free of those old habits or belives, but I guess it is the opposite.
    I am waiting for the rest of your story, I really am excited to read it.
    Good luck in your journey. I guess the muslim society should see the real muslims her in Arab countries they are really more opened up to the young minds and demands. These days I do not know a single muslim girl who didn’t date or loved or being loved. Even girls with hijabs they go and meet and date.

    Again great story waiting for more
    Good luck Faiza

    Maya..
    Damascus – Syria

    1. Hi Maya,

      As a fellow Muslim arab living in Europe, I can give you a little insight on why we get less freedom. Our parents are scared that we will go rogue, fall in love with a man outside our faith and shish kaboob.
      And they want to make sure they hold the reigns tight so none of this happens.

      Stay fabulous!

      1. Yeh I guess that is right. Everyone here in Arab countries thinks that living abroad will give you freedoom, but I guess it’s not that simple

        Wish you all Girls the best

  14. Faiza…this is took short..:p..we need more..

  15. Amazing. You really know how to paint a picture with your words, Feels like I was on that chaperoned date with you aswell. You’ve found your destiny in life, to write and raise awareness. Thank you.
    Ps- I can totally relate.

  16. Loved this new chapter Faiza, heh as always 🙈😘😍it seemed so “nice” between you and Pan. Like before, he was kind of understanding and trying his best with your situations, if I got that right? 🤗😚but what the fuck happens next! What he fucking did😡😠😑like even though we get now more details of your past by you now, I still have your from broken 💔💔 to fab✨😎👑💎vid in my head. Like “I know what’s coming next” and it ain’t pretty, it’s bad and hurtful af!!!and I can’t bare to think of you crying, being mistreated that way like I get so emotionally when this has nothing to do with me u know, sometimes I’ve thought like, maby this is too much for me, can I really read this?😖😥 Cuz I wanna escape from the truth and the reality of your unhappy part of your story… Cuz I care so much about u as my 👑Idol👑like I can’t read how you felt soo fucking shameful at soo many times it doesn’t make sense, but it does in the arab community… BUT I’m really curious too🙈🙉In the end I simply have to read no matter how things gowes❣️I’m just got addicted and there is no escape 🤗😁🤷🏻Love you😍🤗😘💞

  17. Wow…this reminds me of my teenage years..i never tot I was allowed to date I viewed boys very differently…but well when the BAD(not sex..way worse cos now sex scares me) started happening…i started seeing that some males should be avoided like the plague but not all of them….some give you the ability to choose honestly not becos they are trying to guilt you but they just care…funny thing is my dad is one of them…he has his flaws but unlike his family who gave me the ultimatum to either pray 5times a day or be stoned(yea I got the stoning threat and so many others) my dad just sat me down (Ok so we were walking actually) and gave me benefits to being a Muslim (I waited for this for years since I was a little girl and I got it in my midtwenties). In my country am what one tribe calls hybrid…and others call confused or mixed and with my name, face and religious choice am d very definition of different…I’ve had to face a lot in my life but all most people know is my smiling self…for the few I’ve let close…some have hurt me and I live in dread that one day they’ll ‘Tell’ on me and I won’t be able to raise my head…I’ve always lived for my mum..i know no matter what she’ll lift her head for both of us. So Faiza(I love your name by the way…its joining my future baby names)…am So Happy for the strength you have to raise your head above it all…u lend your to the many that can’t and to me too. Thank you.

  18. Dude u always relate to me and that’s the most thing that I love about everything u write!!!! Ur writing is always on point❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  19. amazing!!!

  20. Loved your story.. and as an arab girl you had to deal with lots of shit and you survived ..yeah girl keep going !

  21. We go through this in Michigan as Arab Americans as well. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to get to know someone without there being accusations about the type of Muslim we are being thrown at us. Fortunately, however, it’s getting a lot better, at least with the younger generations. Is this the case in Chicago? I hope so..

    Stay strong, thanks for sharing your story ❤️

  22. I don’t follow nor read blogs. Urs is my 1st and I completely relate. Being brain washed and not able to differentiate between religion and custom.
    Keep going girl. Nothing can stop you now.

  23. I honestly can’t wait to see the rest of your story. I know so far Pan has a few issues, but so far he seems to have really wanted you and love you. I want to know what goes so wrong!

  24. I hope things will change because nobody needs the haram police. We don’t need to keep people in check

  25. Love it can’t wait for the next chapter

  26. Wow girl you’re amzing wallah ❤❤❤❤ and I love you.

    1. Thank you so much Penguin.

      Stay FABULOUS!!!

      Faiza

  27. Aaahh literally can’t wait for next week x

    1. Thank you Penguin <3

      Stay FABULOUS!!!

      Faiza

  28. I love you soo much xxx you’re an amazing strong person. I wish you all the best. Thank you for all the support and helping me through the shittest times. You truly are a blessing and a special kind x

    1. Thank you for your love and support Penguin. Truly.

      Stay FABULOUS!!!

      Faiza

  29. I love this story so much

    1. Feels amazing to be able to share my life and have this kind of response. Thank you Penguin.

      Stay FABULOUS!!!

      Faiza

  30. I really wish our parents had a wider perspective about giving their kids a chance at learning from their mistakes !!
    But we are denied that right because our parents are way more concerned about what the society , community , religion , culture and evry ” virtually non – existant ” person would talk about them or their kids!! I believe in the fact tht unless yu dont fall n cut open your knees , one doesnt learn to run without fears!!

    Faiza, your saturday updates are the only exciting thing going on for me ryt nw❤🐧🖤 thankyou for sharing your story with us 😍
    Sooo mucchhh lovee for you penguuiiiinnnnnnnn🖤🐧🖤
    *sending positive happy thoughts*

    1. Couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you for the beautiful words, support, and giving me the ability to share my life with all of you.

      Stay FABULOUS!!!

      Faiza

  31. Awwwh it ended so quickly, i love your writing ma sha Allah. I get so excited !

  32. I can’t wait to read the next chapters ahhh i just hate boys they are all the same and want the same things from girls they do the same shit like they forget they have a mother or a sister like do they want the same thing to happen to her we all want true love in our lives the one that will make us want to fly fight the world for it but in this life all we get is pain we give it all for nothing i feel your pain your a strong woman and one day you’ll rule the world you give me power and this story should be a lesson keep going and follow your heart loveeeee you so so much

  33. Waiting for the next chapter .❤️😍

  34. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  35. You are an amazing writer. Ma sha Allah!
    I wish to read more. I was like. Aahh!! Why did this end so quickly.
    Lots of Love:)

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