believe Her

believe Her September 27, 2017

believe her(1)by Alia Azmat

#NAK news has me reflecting on spiritual worthiness.

My thoughts and prayers are with the brave women who have come forward and disclosed interactions to individuals they trust. My thoughts are also with those who are surprised and in disbelief about this incident. I am angry, hurt, and feeling betrayed alongside you. Some of you maybe feeling confused and uncertain about your relationship with your faith and faith community. Some of you may not know what to do or how to help.

Believe Her.

In scrolling through social media the last few days, I’ve come to recognize this news is not “new” to survivors of childhood abuse, this news is not “new” to individuals who saw uncles in their community cheat on their wives, this news is not “new” to boys who have studied in madrasas, this news is not “new” to individuals who do reproductive justice work.

Poetry is a form of healing for me. For those impacted and triggered by this news I encourage you to find healing spaces and engage in healing practices for yourself. This could be talking with a friend, unplugging from social media, drinking tea, exercising, or seeking support in the form of therapy. I hope you will return to Quran when you are ready. I hope you know you are worthy of spiritual healing. I hope you know you are worthy of God’s mercy. I hope you know you are worthy of living.

i start in the name of god, the most gracious, the most merciful
master of the day of judgement
lord of the worlds
the compassionate
the merciful

you alone do we worship
you alone do we ask for help

guide us on the straight path
the path of those who you have blessed
not the path of those who have earned your anger, or gone astray

Al-Razzaq (the provider)
Al-Alim (the knowing)
Al-Sami (the hearing)
Al-Baseer (the seeing)
Al-Latif (the subtle one)

when did we stop believing we are worthy?
worthy of the God’s love and the message
neither feminine nor masculine
how can the all-powerful be limited to such a binary?
God is bigger than this world, these constrictions.

God is larger than the pain you are experiencing in this moment
God sees your hurt; God acknowledges betrayal, confusion, uncertainty.

Can you see it in yourself?

We deny ourselves our humanity
When we believe MAN is infallible
Adam AND Eve ate from the tree
some say of because of our forgetfulness
some because of whispers of the nafs
we humans are creatures of desire, pleasure, play
the snake that whispers of arrogance is the jihad I wage against myself
every. single. day

We deny ourselves our humanity
When we fail to believe our (wo)MEN
When we call each other
sluts, bitches, hoe-jaabi’s

“I could never”
“She deserved it”
“It is not rape”

Whose ego are we protecting here?
Whose sense of security is comforted here?
Acknowledging she did something to “deserve” it
Absolves us from believing it could happen to us.

I know how much it hurts to think it could happen to you.

“I don’t drink”
“Hijaab protects me”
“They were talking for the purposes of marriage, he has needs”
“Why didn’t she say anything”


These conversations are complicated and complex
Barriers to disclosure wrought with tensions of manipulation, love, personal and community shame

Survivors don’t speak
because when they do
who believes them?

Who says
“I see you”
“I love you”
“I hear you”
“I care for you”
“I want to facilitate healing for you”

Who says
“This is not your fault”
“He/she/they will be held accountable”

How often do we hear:
“How dare they slander a leader”
“Provide the evidence”
“Make 70 excuses for a brother (not, sister) of faith ”

for my own experience

my God is my God; there is no God but God
my God is merciful, compassionate, loving
especially of JUSTICE
my relationship to Her, sacred
my relationship with Him, tested

“to you is your religion, and unto me is my religion”
my faith stands for equity
recognizes oppression

my God
believes I am worthy
by simply blowing Ruh into me

my God
believes I am worthy
irrespective of my
marital-status, and childless existence

my God
believes I am worthy
simply being me

“I am better than he. You created me from fire, and him from clay.”
What kind of arrogance do we DEMONstrate
When we begin to believe we are better than one another
I perform salat without a rock
I wear my hijaab tied in a knot
I stay away from drugs, alcohol

I (said the ego)
must be “better”

I (said the ego)
could never be manipulated by a spiritual leader
therefore these claims are unfathomable

I (said the ego)
have never had that experience

I (said the ego)
fear God

On that day, when our eyes, our ears, our tongues, our hands
Will be called to account, will you fear how your words hurt another?

On that day, when the baby girl buried alive will be asked
for what sin she was killed?

Do you fear Her wrath?

Our daughters are blessings
not reasons to grieve (16: 58)

I (said the ego)
put all my trust in a human
instead of the All-Almighty
to guide my truth
my values

I (said the ego)
took on this identity to find meaning
recognizing humans hurt another
means I could be the cause of someones pain

I do not like attending
to this quality within me

Repentance requires
Restoring the rights of others

Repentance requires
Forgiving ourselves for being unkind

the snake that whispers of arrogance is the jihad I wage against myself

We (said the collective ego)
Don’t engage in these behaviors
“Muslims are protected, the chosen ones”
This community arrogance sickens me.

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