I’m taking an Islamic class this summer. Its just two weeks long, and on the website, they describe it as Footsteps: a journey of knowledge, insights, and spiritual progress. Now usually when people say that (You know what I mean, the Al-Huda type aunties) you think okay okay, I get it. Same old stuff, all over again.
Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of trouble with my religion. Anyways, once I actually started going to this class, I started liking it. It seemed like they were showing us the bigger picture, relating religion to US, the students, not some philosophical perfect utopian Muslim living in Lala-Land. (www.zaynabacademy.org)
One day in class, I heard a story about a woman who committed adultery/fornication (zina in Arabic). Now in this situation, Islam prescribes stoning to death (adultery – married woman/man) or 100 lashes (fornication – unmarried woman/man). ITS CAPITAL PUNISHMENT! Its scary and it IS a big deal. These days sleeping around seems so okay. We’re all desensitized. Haha, think Gossip Girl, 90210, Friends, Seinfeld :p and you’ll know what I’m talking about.
Anyways, this post is not to preach, it’s to share a story that touched my heart.
This woman (sorry, no refernce, will add that to this post asap) went and slept around. She came to the Prophet (pbuh) and told him, confessed and repented and wanted the punishment (stoning or lashes). She was pregnant so he sent her back, saying go give birth and then come back to me.
So she gives birth. And right after, she shows up again. Note: the first time she came, he didnt let her come in front of him so he would not know who she was, because if he knew, he would have to punish her. So now she says, okay my baby’s out and we should get on with the punishment. She was truly sorry and she wanted to be punished so that she could die with a clear conscience. He tells her no. Wait. Go and give your baby milk. He needs it. So she goes back.
After she’s weaned her baby she comes back. Third time, people. That takes guts. She’s basically walking up to the Prophet (pbuh) asking for death via extremely painful means. She wanted God to forgive her sin. He (the Prophet) says no. Your baby can’t eat solid food yet. Go and feed him. So she is sent away yet again.
Prepare to be amazed. After the child is old enough to eat on its own, she comes back! This woman is adamant. She brings her kid with her, and a slice of bread. Efficient, no? She tells the Prophet (pbuh) that her child can eat on its own. She can show him, prove it. So now the Prophet (pbuh) has no choice. He lays the punishment upon her. He officially declares that she has committed this sin, and will be accordingly punished, but while he does it, he’s crying.
This woman, this brave, strong, woman was pure. So sincerely did she regret her mistake, so adamantly did she demand her punishment, that it brought him (pbuh) to tears. The Prophet (pbuh) gave her so much time. She could have run away. He didn’t know who she was. He gave her time to think about what she was bringing on herself, but she held firm. What’s wrong is wrong. She didn’t want to die one day with the guilt of adultery in her heart, with that sin weighing down on her soul. She wanted to meet her Lord with a pure heart, with dignity, with repentance.
This is true courage, people! I used to think it was brave when the hero goes dashing off to save Helen of Troy in the movie Troy (Brad Pitt version is my favorite :P) and when Jennifer Garner soldiers on in the face of her husband’s death in P.S. I Love You. But to stand up in the face of your own death? And to demand that death? Stones flung at you till your flesh rips open, until you bleed to death. Whips smacking against your skin, leaving burning red wounds.
This woman is a true example of bravery, strength, faith, trust, belief, dignity. She stood up for what was right. Her morality came first.
(References to come soon – sorry for the delay!)