Friday, December 23, 2011

Missing Muslim Girl

A covered Muslimah from a traditional family.

An anxious phone call.

Suddenly and frighteningly a young woman has disappeared.

Because this beautiful girl was so modest, respectable and above reproach, the hunt for her feels that much more important.  The police, the news media and the social media buzz about the need to find her quickly.

Alhumdulillah, she is found. 

Subhanallah, she is alive. 

She is, however, reluctant to meet with her family.

Though the family's media representative thanks the community, there are no thanks from the girl.  She remains silent on why she went missing, where she was and what she was doing.

She is therefore shunned by the very some of the very same people who once prayed for her safe return. 

This is, of course, a synopsis of the Aisha Khan news story which played out as a high tension drama this week.

It's actually a replay.  I've seen it all before.  Read my blog post about Etidal Abdullah.  and see what I mean.  Every single aspect I've listed above was true in that case as well. 

What is in such turmoil within first-generation American-Muslimahs that they run away from troubles rather than face up to them?  Sure, it's only two national cases.  I realize that while, alhumdulillah, it's not an epidemic, it is worth questioning.  We should come up with some answers before there's a third case.

People felt drawn to Aisha's fragile beauty.  They wanted to help her despite any differences in ethnicity or religion.  That's great!  So they prayed for a girl they never knew.  Maybe they prayed for the first time in a long time.  They prayed that the suffering for family would cease.  It felt good to open their hearts and to ask God for help.

After she was found, Media Coordinator Sara Jawhari posted this message:

"The Khan family is ecstatic. Their daughter is ALIVE and safe. I cannot begin to express how much of an honor it has been getting to know them, even if it were a tragic event that brought us together. Isn't that what humanity is? Caring, helping, giving selflessly to our brothers and sisters ESPECIALLY in time of grief? Our prayers that she would be located safely, regardless of background, have... been answered.

I witnessed something beautiful this past week. Our community -local, national and global- setting aside all differences and banding together as one for something. It was truly what kept everyone motivated and positive throughout the whole ordeal. I received phone calls from people I've admired my whole life asking ME how they could help with efforts. I also received calls and emails from priests, rabbis and imams across the nation letting us know that they are all praying for Aisha. It was absolutely beyond inspiring.

Please, let us not forget what we have gained from this. We are at times vicious beings that are so quick to be critical and judgmental of others and this is certainly not a time to allow anything to dissolve this new-found global community, ESPECIALLY when the full story has yet to be announced.

Aisha brought us together. All efforts, all sleepless nights and exhaustion was worth it. Why? Because we found her, and she is alive and NOT DEAD.

Sincerest "thank you" to everyone for your selfless efforts. It has not gone unnoticed and each and every one of you was extremely crucial toward this goal. So proud of you all. Thank you."

I was really relieved to get the news.  I almost cried and prayed two rakhas.  When God gives us what we ask for, we need to say "thank you" so I posted, "Alhumdulillah!"

The message boards were as equally full of "Alhumdulillah!" elation as they were full of hate.  There was name calling and anger.  That vulnerability people had allowed inside themselves had left them feeling hurt and cheated.  Even though their prayers had been answered, they felt let down.  They forgot that they really didn't have a relationship with Aisha.  They had a relationship with Allah which had improved through this time.  Subhanallah!

The hundreds of negative comments moved me to write another comment,

"Asalamu Alaykom,

Every single person commenting today has cared for Aisha's well being and safety. That's thousands of people! Most didn't really know Aisha but they FELT like they knew her. In a way, they claimed a part of her by keeping her in their thoughts and hearts during the days she were missing. Because they took her and her problem to heart, they felt really tenderly towards her.

In today's society, I bet that they prayed more about her than about their own family. She didn't ask them to do that. It was something they felt compelled to do. It felt good to pray and to care. They prayed for her to be found. Alhumdulillah that she was found! Because the circumstances were different than they imagined, they felt that they had been wrong to open their hearts to Aisha. It hurt them even though she never meant to hurt anyone. They forgot that loving and praying are beautiful and isn't something which diminishes us EVER. They felt that they had lost something in a kind of transaction.

I want to remind all the people who feel upset that your prayers were answered. Thanks be to God! We never really know how many people have prayed for us through the years. We might not have even known it. Maybe the circumstances for you or me are very different but we all have made mistakes along the way and disappointed others. It's best to have forgiveness of faults and acceptance of "what is" rather than wishing for "what isn't." I will continue to keep Aisha and her family in my prayers during their time of sorting through what really matters in life."

I read through the other remarks and found something really well written from Nadia Ahsan.  With her permission, I'm posting it here:

"We felt something for Aisha because of some goodness that still exists in the world by the mercy of God. Thank God I still have the ability to feel someone's pain. We are constantly travelling in life... along comes a person that catches our attention and we do what we think is right to help them out. Our deeds and intentions are between us and God.  It doesn't have anything to do with Aisha.

Her family will deal with we don't even know the reality. What if you were told she was raped but they wanted to hide it. So just let it go! I don't want to undo my good deeds by falling for this kinda talk.  I am NOT sad that she didn't end up dead or that she didn't announce every detail to the world. 

I thought Aisha was in trouble and I couldn't bear her parent's pain.  My prayers aren't wasted.  Her deeds are with her and mine are with me  And I for one am not gonna undo my deeds.

Those of you who would rather get your gossipy details.  Is that why you prayed?  Were those your intentions?  Was there anything pure in that intention?  If so, use those pure intentions to give her her privacy.  Whatever the reason, background story, etc., her parents WERE in pain; feeling the worst pain.  There you go, Aisha's punishment...feel satisfied."

What Nadia wrote echoes the great wisdom of The Holy Quran:

"Whoever does what is just and right, does so for her own good; and whoever does evil does so for her own hurt; and in the end unto your Sustainer you all will be brought back."

Honestly?  When someone is injured in their iman, we don't need to wish them any bad.  It feels badly enough for them.  Whether the Shaytan was working from the outside-in or from the inside-out, it is a freeing from evil that these runaway Muslimahs went through.  We can really thank God that both Aisha, from this week, and Etidal, from years ago, found their way back.


Oh Allah, please protect the Muslimahs all around the world both from others and from themselves. 


egyptchick7 said...

She was married at 19....enough said (at least to me)....Anyways I do hope she finds happiness.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom EGYPTCHICK!

Nice to see you!

Ya...I know...I could barely handle college at 19. I could not have handled NEWLY MARRIED and college. Allahu Alim what it was exactly that freaked her out.

Alhumdulillah she recovered enough to make her way back home.

You've been with me soooo long. Did you remember the Etidal story from 2008?

Ameen to all the wayward Musliahs finding happiness...or at least peace...or barring that....their cell phone and car keys ;)