‘’I’m so fed up with my old fogey parents!’’ she moaned. ‘’I want to be able to go to the café, wear short skirts, and hang out with both guys and girls! I just want to be free!’’

Shaima was a pretty sixteen-year-old with strict Muslim parents, and their monitoring of her life was wearing on her. The girls she saw in Hollywood movies seemed so carefree and happy, and nothing bad ever happened to them. Why couldn’t her parents just step back and let her live her life as she saw fit?

‘’But you are free,’’ I told her. ‘’A lot more free than you think!’’

‘’How?‘’ she asked. ‘’Those girls all look so strong and capable. In comparison, we Muslim girls seem so weak and helpless!’’

‘’Those Hollywood films give you a really false idea of reality,’’ I pointed out. ‘’That girl who leaves the house at night to hang around with friends that her parents don’t even know? She’s vulnerable to seduction, peer pressure, and assault.

‘’That girl who has boyrfriends? Her chances of having an unwanted pregnancy, a sexually transmitted disease, or even a broken heart from which she may never recover, have just gone up 500 percent.’’

‘’That girl who decides to try smoking? Alcohol? Drugs? Just out of curiousity, of course? She’s in danger of becoming a helpless slave to an addiction that could destroy her life.”

Shaima suddenly looked sober.

‘’Take a closer look at those films and videos. They try very hard to define freedom for you. And what do they say freedom is for girls? Wearing revealing clothes, going to dangerous places, and engaging in intimate relationships before marrige.’’

Shaima blushed, ‘’Yeah.’’

‘’Ever ask why they want you to think that freedom is ‘doing what you want’ and then telling you that you should be wanting questionable things?’’

Shaima shook her head sheepishly.

‘’Because,’’ I told her, ‘’This kind of behaviour isn’t really in your best interests. It’s in the best interests of the people selling tobacco, alcohol, drugs, fancy clothes, and jewelry. It’s also in the best interests of men who simply want to use women as objects, not human beings.

‘’As a Muslimah you’ve been granted freedom from addiction, exploitation, abuse, and materialism,’’ I told her. ‘’And the more you learn about the world, the more you’ll be glad your parents are ‘old fogeys’ who care enough about you to protect you from that kind of suffering.’’

She laughed. ‘’Okay. But what can I accomplish in life?’’ she asked.

‘’Work hard in your studies,’’ I told her, ‘’and for everything you do in life, give it your best shot. Most important, study the Quran and obey the commands of Allah (swt), because there’s no greater freedom than in being His slave.

”The ummah is full of Muslimahs who’ve made amazing contributions to the world. You could be one of them!’’

Shaima grinned happily. “I guess that beats wearing short skirts!”

Let not the free disposal (and affluence) of the disbelievers throughout the land deceive you. [Quran, 3:196]

May your mind and heart be opened,

The Understand Quran Academy Team


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