The liberal Sheikh
‘Sheikh’ Mohammed. He introduced himself as Sheikh. This man claimed to have freedived the arch in Blue Hole back in the days – impressive but we were preety neutral with his claim because every egyptian seemed to have freedived the arch! He was an interesting person, he told us about a library of Islamic books that was planned for his hotel and how he has converted many to Islam. May Allah reward him. But at the same time, his hotel was…it wasn’t very islamic. Every hour of the day, there were half naked women walking around in swimwear – they even wore it to break fast. The least he could have done as an owner was minimize the munkaar and have a no-swimwear-at-breakfast-or-lobby-or-anywhere-in-my-hotel-accept-for-the-beach policy.
Convincing me to remove my niqab
And then there was this bedouin guy with an estonian wife. Yes, bedouin man with an estonian wife. He was….. Allah yhdiho. I sincerely pray that Allah will guide him because he has the position to influence so many people to khayr. I have never left a conversation with anyone feeling so stained as if I’m covered in thick black polluted smoke – I swear I went back to the hotel and had a shower first thing. I had wrote a long story about him but my husband told me not to give him much importance so I will cut it short. He kept giving me flawed arguments to convince me to remove my veil.
1. Many women wear niqab to cover up their identity and get away with promiscuity so why would you want to associate yourself with them by dressing the way they do? 2. You are allowing your husband to get away with cheating on you because he can bring any woman out and claim her to be his wife. 3. You should dress appropriately according to where you are. You should be like a chameleon. 4. There is no compulsion in religion and if your husband is asking you to wear it, you should not. 5. You are restricting yourself from living life.
I couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of this muslim bedouin. The conversation was worse and I’m just not in the mood to write all about it. I left him with something along the lines of: “First of all, I am a muslim and I have my principles as a muslim and I live according to the legislation of my Creator and not the legislation of the society. I think it’s hypocritical to live like a chameleon because that means living with a weak personality, without principles and values and it means that anything goes for you – whatever people wants you to do, you do. I am not that type of person and no one tells me how to live my life. I understand why your view on the veil is tainted, it is because most of the women you meet wear it for the wrong reasons but you should not conclude your opinion based on that. Some of us actually wear it for sincere reasons and for our own protection. You won’t understand because you don’t live in a woman’s shoes. And as a veiled muslim woman, I can proudly tell you that I have no restrictions in life but what I have is boundaries set by my religion that I don’t cross, I have experienced life more than most of the uncovered women on the beach. I have gone to 25m on one breath, I’ve galloped on a horse, skiing, scuba diving, river trek for 5 hours upstream and I did all of that in my veil”
I don’t intend to sound like Niqabi the Great or self-righteous. I just had to stand my ground as a muslimah so as to not let him think he is right. By staying quiet, it would have given him the impression that practicing muslim women have weak personalities and are defenseless.
The bedouins are the worst in disbelief and hypocrisy, and more likely to be in ignorance of the limits (Allāh’s Commandments and His Legal Laws, etc.) which Allāh has revealed to His Messenger. And Allāh is All-Knower, All-Wise. (At-Tawbah 9:97)
Sadaq Allah al adheem! (Allah the Magnificent has spoken the truth)
A sinful agreement
On my last few days in Dahab, I started to notice many awkward looking couples – A young egyptian boy with an older white woman. I guess I wasn’t really expecting anything like that coming to Dahab (my ignorance, I should have read more) so I wasn’t really paying attention. I could only attend the theory classes since there were men so I was in the room everytime there was training at sea. So I did a little research on the town and I could barely grasp the fact that I was actually in jahannam on earth. Such a beautiful town yet so sinful. These young egyptian boys were male prostitutes – astaghfirllah. I asked a waiter who had been serving me and my husband for 10 nights in a row (because they served the best Chinese and Indian/Pakistani food ever!) what was up with these ‘couples’ and why is there so many of them? He gave me a whole background of it and told me “They make nice deal togezer”. She’s divorced, depressed, longing for ‘company’ and has a good amount of savings and he is young, poor, not happy with his egyptian passport and a man – you figure the relationship out.
A tearful journey back to reality
While on transit at the Cairo airport, I saw a man in his early 30s wearing a kandoora and shmagh at the bar with a tall glass of beer in his hands. I was saddened by the sight of it. Fast forward to the time of departure, he was standing in line infront of me and handed his emarati passport and boarding pass for the crew to verify his departure to Dubai. He was a quiet person, had very bad teeth and yellow scelera (what looks like the effect of drugs). I felt sorry for him and wondered what his life story was. On the plane, he sat in the same row as us, subhanAllah. I studied the things he was doing and he seemed so helpless and lost. He took the safety instruction card out and put it back in and out again and back in and kept shifting around in his seat and took all his mobile phones out and he was just lost and didn’t know what he was doing. I don’t know why but I cried and just made duaa to Allah for him.
Was I naive for being so worked up about the immorality and shamelessness I witnessed? I know sick things happen in this world but to actually live amongst these people and to hear and see lewdness day in day out was just overwhelming. As if it doesn’t happen where I live!? It does but these things are done discreetly and not freely in public. The messed up clothes women wear, not so discreetly of course. BUT the things is, I can actually walk up to a woman and tell her that what she’s wearing is not acceptable and make her understand the culture and our values. But in Dahab, although a muslim land, I was helpless and subhanAllah, I was over-ruled. I guess that’s why it hit me hard. I can’t imagine living under their rules in their lands. May Allah aza wa jal grant all the muslims living amongst them the ability to make hijrah.
Landing in Dubai airport, it made me realize that all the while, it was just the reality of this world and nothing more.
Why did I write this?
My husband asked me today, what is my objective in sharing this experience of mine. I thought I had it figured out, but I sat to think hard about what I want to achieve through writing this. What was clearest in my mind was that I want my children to read this one day and as I said earlier, realize that this world is so full of
shi imperfections. Life doesn’t end here. We have two lives and the one we are living now is a test. A test of who we truly are and if we deserve to be in the eternal company of righteous, good, moral and kind people in the eternal life. I hope they understand what I’m trying to say. And even if they don’t, I hope they will have taqwaa of Allah and live their lives with the principles and values of a true muslim.
Other than than that:
1. To raise awareness about Dahab – This is an advice for muslims thinking of travelling to Dahab, DON’T if you do not have to. It is a beautiful place that has been corrupted by immorality and lewdness. Allah said “…and do not come near Zina; indeed, it is an abomination and an evil way” (Al- Isra’: 32). You may think you are strong and that nothing will be able to corrupt you but think again and reflect on the story of Barscisa. Unless you plan on going with a group of people to make some serious da’wah.
2. To make people understand the root and solution of the problem – Dahab’s economy from it’s very inception was not well thought of and was very short-sighted. Here it is explained in a non-economist lingo:
Once upon a time, a group of short-sighted people were planning to develop a little city called Dahab. Dahab was a beautiful piece of land surrounded by the crystal waters of the Red Sea and inhibited by bedouins.
“Why don’t we start charging people to enjoy the beauty of nature?” they thought to themselves.
So they disorganized a plan for their project and took out a map. As they scanned through… “Bad….bad…..terrible…. hmmh preety good….forget about these guys…..bad….. these guys are booming!” and so they made the worst decision of their lives and decided to depend on the wealth of europeans.
And so they did everything they could to attract the european tourists and boy did they make a whole lot of money – at the expense of their moral values AND it didn’t last very long.
Fast forward to today, Dahab’s economy is depressed. If you haven’t been watching the news, you’ll ask why. But I’ll tell you anyways, the people they depended on are broke.
Look, I’m not saying these guys were stupid for depending on them. I’m saying they could have been
less stupid smarter if they depended on the guys who were “doing preety good” and not the guys who were “booming”. Although Europe was booming at the time, the egyptians and bedouins (who refuse to leave their land) have had to compromise so much of themselves and they’ve become desensitized towards the worst-than-an-animal lifestyle and I can tell you that they are not happy – they are muslims at the end of the day. The smarter thing to do was to depend on the filthy rich khaleegi (google it) because it would have lasted and they would not have had to resort to losing their integrity!
So if any of you ever plan on developing a city or ever had to decide your main economy, PLAN YOUR MARKET WELL AND THINK LONG-TERM!
3. I’m intrigued by life and by the fact that Allah gave everyone a different story in life – each with different successes and different difficulties. And I like listening to people’s life stories to understand where they come from and why they behave the way they do and what they do the things they do. It humbles and matures me. And most of all, it teaches me to never judge the book by it’s cover.
4. I recently discovered a passion for writing and I believe I’m good at it.
Every person you meet, every single one of them, has a story – and it isn’t completed yet. There are no exceptions. You become part of it, by how you treat them.