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December 13, 2004
He's Just a Friend, Part II

by Sister Munazza


Sophia stood outside her parents’ room. She felt this sudden urge to knock on the door and confess to her mother about Tariq…to relieve the burden on her…she reached for the knob…she couldn’t…she turned around and went back into her bedroom.

Locking the door behind her, she took out her prayer rug and began to pray her nawafil. The only one she could turn to was God…She prayed with all her heart…the tears started to roll down her checks, until she was sobbing in sajjdah. Her prayer rug was drenched with her tears…suddenly she felt a presence supporting her, consoling her, giving her hope and blessing her. She knew what she had to do, and Allah gave her the courage to do it. After finishing her nawafil, Sophia got up and turned on her laptop to write a letter.

BisMillah Hirahma Neerahim
Dearest Tariq,

Assalamo Alaikum,

I pray that this letter reaches you in the best of health and that God bless you in every step of your life. I feel it my duty to tell you that I don’t think we should talk to each other anymore. If we are just friends then it is useless to risk the love of God for a friendship or for anything else for that matter. Islam doesn’t allow our friendship and neither do I. I pray that Allah guides you and gives your prosperity and success.

Sophia

She finished typing the letter…with tears dripping down her cheeks and emailed it to Tariq.

Tariq caught the phone from Ahmad and punched in his home number. “Assalamo Alaikum bata, how are you? How are your studies going? Did you eat?” said his mother. “Walakum Asalam Ami jaan, yes I’ve eaten, my studies are going well, and I’m coming home for the weekend Ami” replied Tariq. “aww does my laddla son miss his mother’s chappli kebab?”asked his mom. “Haha Ami of course I do and make some of your favorite biryani too please,” responded Tariq. He quickly finished off the conversation and started to pack some clothes.

“You’ve got mail” sang his laptop, he went over to check it and saw it was from Sophia. He sat down and started to read the letter she sent him. He felt his heart sink as he read Sophia’s words…he couldn’t believe it…well he’d fix this, once he told his parents.

Without replying to her email, he picked up his bag, got the keys to his car, and left the room.

After the biryani and the kebabs Tariq cleared his throat. “Ami and Abu I have to talk to you two…I know this girl at school. She does pardah, she’s beautiful, she’s understanding, she’s perfect for me and I want to marry her, or at least get engaged to her and then get married after medical school.”

There’s dead silence in the living room…
Tariq’s father finally says, “Beta you are too young to be thinking about marriage this is your time to study and become something.”

“Abu I’m 25 I’m almost done med school, you were married at my age” replies Tariq.
“Is she a Choudary?” asks his mother.
“No Ami she’s Khan, her family is pathan”, answers Tariq.
“PATHAN! Do you know what our family will think? We wont be able to show our face to them if we let you marry her,” says his mom.
“Beta, what about your cousin she is so pretty and lambi and gori, what is wrong with her?” asks his mom.
“Ami, she’s my cousin I think of her like my sister that’s gross, and anyway if I marry anyone it’ll be Sophia” Answered Tariq.
“Let’s all sleep on this, Tariq beta, we’ll talk about it tomorrow,” said Tariq’s father.

The morning after the talk…Tariq woke up to the voice of his dadi jaan. “DADI JANN ! How are you? How was your trip?” screams Tariq to his grandmother.
“Hai mera saddqa jawan, yes beta Allah ka shukar hai im good, the trip was good, I came just to see my favorite grandson” replies his grandmother.
“To see me? You knew I was gonna be home?” asks Tariq.
“Beta look who I brought with me” says his dadi. Sarah steps out of the kitchen and says Salam to her cousin blushing and smiling as she stands at the stove to make him breakfast.
“And she’s making you French toast, your favorite.” Says his mom with a grin on her face as she steps out of the next room.
“Sarah, you didn’t have to make me breakfasts,” says Tariq.
“It’s ok I wanted to” replies Sarah.

The two adults in the room grin at each other.

After breakfast, dadi jaan makes Tariq sit down and hear what she has to say. “Tariq beta I have never asked you, for anything. But today I ask you beta, please marry Sarah” says his grandmother in her loving and gentle voice.
“Dadi Jaan I don’t love her, I love Sophia, “ replies Tariq.
“Love is nothing, relationships are based on family ties. Beta Sarah is a good girl and she will be good for you do this for me?” Replies his grandmother.

His grandmother used all the right moves, the tears, the guilt trip, even the “I’ll die if you don’t” line…. after hours of brainwashing Tariq gives in, and the family doesn’t waste a second. With in a couple of hours the family is gathered the ring is bought and the engagement ceremony is ready to go.

Tariq makes one final call before he leaves his room in his Armani suit from Eid…”Salam man what’s going on?” answers Ahmad’s voice. “Ahmad I’m getting engaged…


of and relating to...
Ibtisam said

Aaah, what kinda of a "religious muslim" is Tariq, when he says "she’s my cousin I think of her like my sister that’s gross". This is American brainwashing and thinking and un-islaamic to make people haraam on you. And I also think you should remove that statement because it is highly offensive for people like myself. Thanks

on December 13, 2004 5:31 PM
ibtisam said

Well Sarah IS prettier than Sophia, isnt she?
LOL! just kidding
ma asalaama habibti

on December 13, 2004 5:34 PM
sam said

where can i read part 1??

on December 13, 2004 5:34 PM
Faisal Akhtar said

Go to the gust start column and browse down

on December 13, 2004 6:04 PM
Muhammad Ali said

Masha'Allah ! the article was really good.

Do you know what it is called? I mean, "the Dadi Jaan's tears", "Sadakay Ja'nwa lines" and "I will die if you..."
I find it really amusing and personally thought that it is usually done by mothers but in this case any ways it was the beloved dadi jaan who did the act. May the dadi jaan live long.
Sisters and brothers, be careful and be very very cautious of this thing, which is called "EMOTIONAL BLACKMAILING".

on December 13, 2004 6:46 PM
Faisal Akhtar said

Assalam-o-alaikom.

"Aaah, what kinda of a "religious muslim" is Tariq, when he says "she’s my cousin I think of her like my sister that’s gross". This is American brainwashing and thinking and un-islaamic to make people haraam on you. And I also think you should remove that statement because it is highly offensive for people like myself. Thanks"

Actually I kind of know what he is talking about. I don't want to speak ill of my elders but they made a big mistake by not separating me and my female cousines at puberty. Even after we were islamically adults and non-mahrams to each other, we continued talking to each other openly with full knowledge of our elders as only a brother and sister should.

This was never a problem because the kind of relationship that developed between us was viwed as that of a brother and a sister by us. That was wrong I know but that was before my "Islamic episodes" and had i not had my islamic episodes, I probably would be open with them even today.

In the years of young adulthood, us cousines came to know so much about each other that all the excitement and the sense of longing that comes with expecting a new spouse was lost. We now know each other too well and even though it shouldn't and even though i have severed all contact with my female cousines, the thought of me marrying one of my cousines sickens me to my stomach. I know that it is not Islamic and that marriage with cousines is allowed but it is too late now (for me atleast).

I am not against cousine marriage at all and infact, if some long lost cousine that I never knew pops up somewhere, I would definitely consider her. In fact, my parents are cousines and they have a great marriage.

More power to you sister Ibtisam. I don't think that was meant to be offensive.

walaikomassalam

on December 13, 2004 6:48 PM
Justoju said

Sophia has won my respect. 'The letter' is never an easy one to write (if you are attached)...but its a necessity for spiritual/psychological salvation and is the biggest blessing one could have been given at that moment. Its effects on one's being are far more beneficial and greater than one's actual attainment of one's object of interest. Our real object of interest is Allah, Glorious and Exalted, anyway.

I dont understand Tariq. How did he go from being bent upon having Sophia as his wife to agreeing to get engaged to his cousin?

Many of us sisters had to FIGHT our families for the sake of covering. We had to deal with grandmothers that threatened to disown, mothers who cried/pleaded, aunts and 'aunties' who ridiculed, mocked, and went off on defensive rants. Many of us had to deal with going from being the family's 'golden' child, the 'trophy' child of the family ("oh mashaAllah, she knows urdu, knows all the old ghazals, knows her culture, is pretty, respectful to elders, educated, outspoken...") to being ostracized and ridiculed. We had to deal with having the people we loved the most be disappointed with us for the sake of our deen. We had to be able to swallow our pride and hurt feelings when the people whose opinion we cared about called us 'ugly' or 'frumpy', or said that no one would ever marry us and that we would become a burden on the family (in a society where a woman's worth is based on her looks, that is a really low blow). Those that decided to give up socially-acceptable, yet unislamic, entertainment and steer clear of certain gatherings had to deal with even more of an averse reaction.

These sisters made sacrifices for their deen and for their right to practice it. And the changes they underwent were usually beneficial for the entire family and helped 'them' see that there was 'more' to life, to existence, than they had anticipated. If a woman stands her ground and asserts that her identity as a Muslimah comes BEFORE her identity as a daughter/niece/granddaughter/etc., MAGIC happens. WaAllahi, I PROMISE you this. Family members change, and if they dont change, they at least come to accept the person and all her 'quirks' and stop bothering her. People need to have tawakkul and do what they need to do. Their deen is theirs and no one elses opinion matters.

If these sisters could struggle with their families for the sake of their deeni rights, why cant this brother?

I am afraid of guys that have never patiently and respectfully struggled with their families for the sake of their deeni rights. These men will never 'truly' understand and empathize with the muhajjiba's struggle. Their islamic experiences will be worlds apart.

And sister Ibtisam, I dont think Sister Munazza is saying that it is wrong for cousins to marry (shoot, if I had a mullah cousin with a halfway decent sense of wit I'd be like "jee daadi-jaan, ok, qubool hai, sure, jaldi nikkah parwahiyay"), she is just trying to make the story more realistic for the American Muslim by including a sentiment that is OFTEN shared in the West. It has nothing to do with right or wrong, it just has to do with literary realism. Na'mean?

on December 13, 2004 7:22 PM
Humayun said

Asalamalikom,

Sister Munazza these stories have been SUPERBBBB! Just brilliant masterpieces. May Allah keep ur intention pure ameen.

As for the part in the story:

Is she a Choudary?” asks his mother.
“No Ami she’s Khan, her family is pathan”, answers Tariq.

If that was me and mom talking, my mom's reaction would have been totally different from Tariq's mom's reaction. My mom would have been like "She's not Chaoudry is she"
Me: "No Ami, she' Khan.... I would never want to give you a heart attack."
Ami: "I love you beta"

No offense to any non-Pathan non urdu speaking people but I know thats just the way my whole entire family is. Its nots like they hate non urdu speaking people but they just have to Have us marry peoople exactly like them. How can I make my family ( not just for my sake, but the sake of the rest of cousins) just a bit more open minded. I really need suggesstions from people! Pleaseeeeeeeee help me!

on December 13, 2004 11:23 PM
Rami said

Asalaam Aleikum Warahmatullah Wabrakatu

Khan? Sayyed? Chaudery? What's going on with these classifications. Is this like the caste system?

Someone please explain this to me further.

I am only used to the traditional Arab caste system:

-The Government Offical: ("Hello sir, what can I get you sir, may i wipe your butt for you sir")
-The Doctor
-The Engineer
-The Accountant
-The Sheikh
-The Lowly Employees
-The Peasants" ("Pick this up, do this, lift this, and.. and... and...")

Wasalaam Warahmatullah Wabarakatu

on December 14, 2004 12:38 AM
IBtisam said

LOL!
Chaudhary, Khan are family names and what not and sub-ethnic groups. Kinda like in Egypt, if you are Hashmite or Egyptian or Palestinian descent.
Wow, Br. Faisal I totatlly understand, in my case, I never spoke to any of my male cousins in my life, so they were more of strangers than guys here actually. I never even said salaam to them. My husband said that once when I was 16 he met my dad and I and said salaam. I did not reply,my dad did.

Justoju, I can understand you're point, but marrying Sophia is not exactly standing up for your deen. He is moving away from a haraam relationship, as is Sophia, by writing the email.
May Allaah help them.

Emotionally blackmailing and what have you is a normal part of marriage and marriage life, at some point people experience it.

I am a slave to my parents, I think, I told them, but they dont believe it. I went to grad school at their wish, I got married at their wish and where they wanted me to get married at their wish. I just hope they dont have control over my kids lives as well, such as grandma in this story, LOL!

on December 14, 2004 12:52 AM
Justoju said

" but marrying Sophia is not exactly standing up for your deen."

No, no, no, but it IS standing up for your deeni RIGHT to choose your partner.

Hmmm...my favorite topic...

With my family it used to be:

Me: He is punjabi
Ami: The 'educated' kind or the crazy bhangra kind?
Me: I dont know Amma, I havent asked him to dance yet.

Now its:

Me: He is punjabi
Ami: Is he religious?
Me: I dont know Amma, I havent asked him to dance yet.

The key difference between these two scenarios is that my parents started caring more about a guy's deeni qualifications. How did that happen? Well, I am not qualified to give advice on the male situation (not having ever been a male myself, alhamdulillah) but I can give some to females. Lemme break it down and tell you the four ways how it usually happens...

1. They mashaAllah, subhanAllah, alhamdulillah, AllahuAkbar, become much more religious themselves. This is the most awesomest of the scenarios. Dont EVER give up on this happening and always continue to make dua for it.

2. You become a pain in the ghadda and refuse to marry anyone that you feel doesnt care about their deen. You do this until they start getting really worried. You do this until they realize that unless they start taking your qualifications into consideration, you wont EVER get married. When they realize this they will add your requirements to their own list. And then, when they realize that it is impossible to find someone that matches their requirements AND your requirements, they will eventually start easing up on theirs.
Warning: This will ONLY work if your own requirements are few and noble.

3. Your immediate sibling/cousin marries someone who is not of your ethnic group, and has a HAPPY marriage that is respected by the older generation. This opens the way for everyone else. It also works if the majority of kids in your parent's close friends' circle marry outside their ethnic group.

4. And finally I cant stress this enough for both sisters AND brothers: Have a cool relationship with your parents. My parents and I are constantly joking around and having discussions about anything and everything. It wasnt always like this, it started when I decided to 'break the ice' when I was 15 and tell them something very very very personal and embarassing. After that, it was easy and we got used to talking to each other and listening. I got used to sharing my deepest insights and most personal poetry with them and they got used to respecting my views, giving feedback, and actually 'asking' me what I thought about certain things. I can say with confidence that, alhamdulillah, if I took myself out of the 'consideration' process today, my parents could probably pick the perfect guy out for me because they know everything there is to know about me, my likes and dislikes. Sometimes my mother has an insight/comment about a certain suitor and I will be like "woooww, thats exactly what I was thinking". They even know what kind of personality/wit I am an aficionado of. Its really a beautiful beautiful thing.

Its actually kind of funny because my parents went from refusing to consider someone not urdu-speaking ahl-al-bayt karachi'ite to considering punjabis, hydros, arabs, pathans, memons, and even reverts. They STILL have their preferences, and still wish that they would find that insaan-e-kaamil who meets both mine and their requirements, but they have also become more realistic and 'contemporary' in terms of their expectations. For me, a combination of the above 4 factors (and primarily QadrAllah) brought me where I am right now---a place where my parents and I are not insanely worried about marriage, are in no terrible rush, trust each other, and dont bicker. We are happy alhamdulillah. Its really a beautiful beautiful thing.

For the sisters: if you ladies are experiencing some difficulty with your parents in this issue, I can have my parents speak to your parents. Sometimes it takes a grownup to knock some sense into a grownup.

I like being the marital-advice giving older sister type :)

on December 14, 2004 12:57 AM
asif said

Hahahahaa...This is rather amusing...but very relevant indeed (especially for the Pakis).

I can relate to almost all part of this article(with my own twists), but I will let that slip for now.

Kudos to both Tariq & Sophia, they are the real heroes of this article. To sacrifice personal feelings for the sake of Allah or for sake of obeying your parents/elders is most commendable. Masha'Allah.

AND, brother Humayun, ideally for all of us, it would be nice if our parents/family would be accomodating to marriages outside our respective culture and background. But thats usually not the case, and there is a good reason for that. Having a spouse of the same background covers almost ~70% of all compatibility that is required for a stable marriage, generally speaking.
(OK I dont want a litany of queries on my unscientific statistics).
Regardless, I pray for you, myself and all single brothers that we each get Allah Fearing Muslimah as our companion...Ameen

on December 14, 2004 1:12 AM
IBtisam said

LOL!
you are too much that is all I can say.
I am glad that yu have a good relationship with your parents.
Funny thing is I do too but somehow I always have a feeling that things are still out of my control. My parents are the religious people in our whole family but they care more about relatives than I do because I never lived among relatives.
Because they were religious from the beginning that is why I listen to them and trust them and do things they want me to even if it is insanely against my own desires and wishes simply because I was blessed and Allaah made it easier for me by making them rigtheous from before I was born. I think it is because I am not a fighter and I am not that strong to have stood up to my parents. I tried and I lost in half the issues that we had a disagreement over(where both opinions were islaamically correct). They only thing that my parents changed in is that they become more salafee than before, because I started to get so much into it(but they were really influenced by the community, lol).

So, I am the best example of losing actually to taqdeer. You think you can try what you want but in the end you always loose to taqdeer. What is going to come you're way no one can stop and what never was meant to be yours, no one can give.

on December 14, 2004 1:22 AM
Ibtisam said

To br. Humayaoun,
sometimes it comes with the dynamics of the family. Even my extended family that is not so religious, the guys and girls dont interact and talk to each other like brothers and sisters, only the ones that have been brought up in joint family system and that the girl is older than the guy cousins. In our family, inside marriages is the norm, outside marriage is an exception.
But there still have been instances of some people marrying outside of ethnic group. One guy from my family married a revert to Islaam.
I really dont know how to give any suggestions on this topic, because my parents were open to me and my siblings marrying to any ethnicity but just qadarullaah I married within my family like my parents and 90% of the rest of my family, lol!

on December 14, 2004 1:40 AM
Humayun said

Asaalamalikom,

thanks for the advice everyone, i really appreciate it! But to tell u the truth I am really more worried of my close friends and cousins who are very close to getting married (I have a while to go). They are being potentially being put in a situation where they are almost being forced to get married to so and so from so and such and such place in Pakistan. And i KNOW these cusins of mine... they will not get along with those people whom there being matched up with. As a matter of fact, some of them have found potential candidates for marriage Alhamdulilah and I am the intermediary! How do I bring this up to my cusins parents (i.e. my uncles and aunts)? How do I tell them that look trust me this choice of theirs will make Inshallah make them happy. Is it wise for me to mingle in the affairs or should I let it be! More advice pleaseeeee!

on December 14, 2004 2:02 AM
Justoju said

I just remembered a funny thing that happened, I was at a wedding a while back and there was this one religious-looking brother there with a big beard. I turned to my father and said "Look daddy, thats my type, I want to marry him", and he said "You are here to celebrate someone else's nikkah, not your own. Lower your gaze". We both cracked up and it was an awesome father-daughter moment.

I love my Abu/Abba/Daddy/Daddoo/Baba.

on December 14, 2004 2:06 AM
Justoju said

Br. Humayun, how is your relationship with your aunts and uncles? Are these cousins of yours older or younger than you? And what is your status/image within your extended family? You need to consider all these factors before deciding how to go about this task. Maybe you should ask a sheikh/imam for advice as well inshaAllah.

on December 14, 2004 2:10 AM
Munnaza said

Salamz wow..i did'nt even know that part2 got posted....im trying to attack culture vs Islam problems with many societies...though they may be ammusing they are key issues we all go thru. I didnt mean to say cousin marriages are gross...the whole point of the article is to discuss view points the young people of today have and how we can fix out thinking to a more islamic perspective to life.

on December 15, 2004 4:53 PM
Munnaza said

Bro Humayun,
pathan power man :)represin all the pathan sisters lol...i get what your saying about families not wanting to marry outside of their culture, ethnicity, or even last name. Though the khan/sayyid/chaudary thing maybe a bit extreme but in a way our parents intentions can be justified... i belong to a family that openly marries outside of pathan culture, infact my dad is punjabi, my uncle black, and my other uncle white. So i see how the experience that my family has had outside of their race/culture has effected their viewpts on the next generations weddings. My mother would never allow me to marry a convert...because of a bad experience in our family with converts...people are scared of differences, the more similar your spouse is to you the less of a clash is gonna occur once uve departed from the honeymoon period of ur wedding. compatability is a key concept that we tend to forget, or overlook when we think bout marriage. Sister Justojos articles are really focusing on finding sum1 that does match up with u, which i think needs to be addressed alot of times girls are pressured to settle for sumthing they know wont work

on December 18, 2004 2:20 AM
Justoju said

Munazza, I love you:)

(See thats how easy it is to win my love. Just mention me in a positive manner and I am all yours. Its egocentrism at its worst.)

on December 18, 2004 6:09 AM
Ibtisam said

cant wait for part 3, sister Munazza will you write again for us?
I really enjoyed reading this series and looking forward?


[by the way, where is everyone, weddings? overseas trips?]

on June 14, 2005 12:33 AM
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