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I was not happy with my life and very insecure about how I look…..

Q:

Good day!
i would like to explain a situation to an Islamic scholar and get some feedback on.
i grew up in an abusive household with my parents always fighting. i was not happy with my life and very insecure about how I look. I was obese and depressed. I tried to ask god for help but nothing worked. Four years later I failed school, moved schools and slowly appreciated life. As a child up until now I don’t socialize in real life. It used to be because I’m shy then it led to insecurity and now I’m a loner. One of my dreams when I was 12 years old is to travel alone and look at nature. As I mentioned I’m a loner and I’m always in my room even if my parents are at home and I build this tiny dream as a 12 year old and now I’m 19 almost 20 and I want to achieve this dream after I graduate from university and get a job and income. I mentioned my dream to my parents many times but they always are against me and say I’m westernized or I watch too much tv. The thing is I really feel negative energy when I’m with my family and I found peace within myself and I would like to travel alone but they said it isn’t accepted in Islam and that I would need a man to do so. it’s a solo project so why would I need a man. for me I personally don’t look to get married any time soon I still see myself as a teenager and I want to go on theme parks and play games and make friends and enjoy the world and do things for myself and I really don’t care if i age and I don’t get married because I really just want to work on myself first. There is many things I want to do but I feel like I can’t because it’s either traditions and culture can’t except it or Islamic reasons and it’s slowly making me hate having a label of religion and culture because it’s stopping me from everything I ever wanted to do other than this. I really no longer got no idea how to handle things and I really need help with this. Is it truly wrong for us female to travel alone even if it was safe? I believe that the rules that were made in the past doesn’t really have to define everything right now since centuries have passed by and things are slowly changing.

Thank you for taking your time to read this.

A:

Salaamun alaykum sister,

Thank you for your question.

Firstly I would like to mention that unfortunately, these days we as Muslims have alot of cultures and customs which we tend to associate with Islam, whereas Islam has no association with them.
And this is because of our lack of knowledge about the real and true Islam.

Islam does not deny women to do things they like or travel alone or enjoy. It rather has emphasis on people to have time for enjoyment BUT HALAL enjoyment. Enjoyment that is not affiliated with any sin (like mixing with namahram, or music or not having proper hijab..), is allowed in Islam be it for men or women.
قُلْ سِيرُوا فِي‏ الْأَرْضِ فَانْظُرُوا كَيْفَ بَدَأَ الْخَلْقَ

Say, ‘Travel over the land and observe how He has originated the creation.’(sura ankabut:20)

Allah Himself tells us to travel, to look around and see and ponder on the blessings of Allah. Everything around us is blessings from Allah so that should give us a chance to know Him more and thus love Him more and get closer to Him.
امام رضا(ع) و پدر بزرگوارشان موسی بن جعفر(ع) حدیثی است که فرمودند: تلاش کنید که وقت خودتان را به چهار قسمت تقسیم کنید. «اجْتَهِدُوا فِي أَنْ يَكُونَ زَمَانُكُمْ أَرْبَعَ سَاعَاتٍ» برنامه‌ریزی داشته باشید و وقت خود را به چهار قسمت تقسیم کنید. «سَاعَةً لِمُنَاجَاةِ اللَّهِ» ساعتی برای خدا، نماز و دعا و قرآن، «وَ سَاعَةً لامْرِ الْمَعَاشِ» قسمتی برای تأمین زندگی و کسب و کار، «وَ سَاعَةً لِمُعَاشَرَةِ الاخْوَانِ الثِّقَاتِ» بخشی برای ارتباط با افراد مورد اعتماد تا ما کامل باشیم و دیگران عیوب ما را بگویند و ما آن را رفع کنیم.از این روست که اسلام روی صله رحم خیلی اصرار دارد. «وَ سَاعَةً تَخْلُونَ فِيهَا لِلَذَّاتِكُمْ فِي غَيْرِ مُحَرَّمٍ» (تحف العقول، ص 409) یک قسمت هم برای لذتها وتریحاتی که حرام نباشد که ماآن را تفریحات سالم نام نهادیم.
There is a beautiful hadith from our 7th and 8th Imam,Imam Musa Ibn Jafar (as) and Imam Ridha (as) who have said: “Try and divide your time in four parts
1-سَاعَةً لِمُنَاجَاةِ اللَّه
Time for Allah (swt), prayers, supplications and quran
2-وَ سَاعَةً لامْرِ الْمَعَاشِ
Second, keep time for earning a livelihood
3-وَ سَاعَةً لِمُعَاشَرَةِ الاخْوَانِ الثِّقَاتِ
Third, spending time with reliable people. People who love you and will tell you your mistakes, not out of hate but out of love because they want you to become a better person and progress in life.
4-وَ سَاعَةً تَخْلُونَ فِيهَا لِلَذَّاتِكُمْ فِي غَيْرِ مُحَرَّمٍ
Fourth, is to have time for healthy enjoyments; meaning halal enjoyment which are not affiliated with any haraam and are within the Islamic boundaries.

So islam has no problem with people having halal enjoyments. So this is very unfortunate that we end up putting all the blame on religion when it is actually our own customs which are wrong at times.
But I would also like to add a point which is very important, parents never want bad for their children, I feel your parents are restricting you from doing certain things because they love you and are concerned about you. I am sure if you try and build that bond of love and care with them which all parents deserve, and then sit and talk to them politely, you will be able to sort things out with them and if that is not possibe thenmaybe if you have a family member whom they trust and can talk to them. Allah has commanded us to obey and be kind and polite to our parents even if they are non-Muslims. So this is a humble sisterly advice, that try and bond with your parents, for if you make them happy, Allah will be happy with you, and open doors for you from places you never thought of. It is not worth breaking any parents heart for the worldly enjoyments, when we think about what they have done for us, we realise we are indebed to them for life.

And as your sister, I feel i should mention that marriage might not be wajib but it’s highly highly recommended in Islam. And when Allah highly recommends it then there is alot of good in it.
Lastly I would say, we as Muslims all have a responsibility to know our religion properly so we can act on it whole heartedly and when time comes defend our religion as the enemies are working very hard to spoil the name of Islam.

I pray that Allah (swt) keeps us steadfast and save us from all evil temptations.

Regards
Zahra Davdani