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Muslims and prom night

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  • Muslims and prom night

    Arab students seek prom balance

    DEARBORN, Michigan (AP) -- A hip-hop song ends, and as the throbbing beats of a traditional Middle Eastern line dance fill the room, the Fordson High School seniors form a less-than-stellar line and begin to dance.

    Across the room, 23-year-old Hassan Makkad slouches in his chair with his arms across his chest. Though he doesn't care for slinky gowns and coifed hairdos, it's the women wearing the traditional Muslim hijab, or head scarf, who receive the brunt of his disapproval.

    "It's not for me to judge," says Makkad, who is Lebanese but has been in the United States for five years. "But in my opinion, if you take the hijab, you shouldn't be out there dancing."

    Fatimah Ajami, 17, unaware she's caught Makkad's eye, continues dancing with her friend, Zeina Nasser. Ajami's modest silvery-cream dress and matching hijab are in stark contrast to Nasser's strapless blue gown and the glitter sprinkled delicately at the corner of her eyes.

    "I pray, I'm a good student, I do everything I need to do," says Ajami, who is also Lebanese. "My parents trust me, and they know I know what I can and can't do. That's why they let me come tonight."

    The prom at Fordson High, where the enrollment of about 2,300 is 95 percent Arab, underscores key dilemmas confronting Arab-American youth -- balancing assimilation and acceptance, and being American without being too Americanized.

    Like other immigrants, Arab-Americans wrestle daily with holding on to some elements of tradition while adopting or blending in with the culture of their new home.

    But in the post-September 11 United States, they face pressure both from Americans who may expect them to conform and from fellow Arabs who encourage them not to abandon their culture.


    Despite Makkad's displeasure, he is making his own social compromise even by coming to the prom. By the strictest interpretations of Islam, such gatherings are religiously forbidden. But outside Muslim countries, such rules are subject to broader interpretation and compromise.

    Makkad is chaperoning his 17-year-old cousin Zeina Hamyae, who rolls her eyes and shoots him a look when he criticizes the girls in hijabs for dancing.

    "What?" asks Makkad. "We already danced a slow dance. I'm not doing this other stuff."

    Hamyae is also making a compromise. Going with her cousin, who in Lebanon would not have been considered a suitable chaperone because he is someone she could conceivably marry, was the only way her parents would allow her to attend the prom. Other girls were chaperoned by their brothers.

    Wafa Shuragdi, one of Fordson's bilingual teachers, says many parents won't allow their daughter to go to the prom for fear word will get out she was with a boy.

    "It doesn't matter if they were just friends," said Shuragdi, who holds a doctorate in gender studies from Detroit's Wayne State University. "After the prom, they become the talk of the town. That kind of talk lessens her chances of having someone come and ask for her hand in marriage."

    Shuragdi says students living in a small community with a high-concentration of Arabs face the same scrutiny as young people growing up in Arab countries.

    "Dearborn is like a village, albeit a global one," she said.

    Bad influences

    Out of the roughly 450 seniors at Fordson, just over a quarter of the senior class attended the prom.

    Suheib al-Hanodi, an 18-year-old Palestinian, didn't go. He said he didn't want to spend the money renting a tuxedo and limousine for one night, and instead plans a graduation trip with his friends to the Cedar Point amusement park in Ohio.

    But his parents tell a somewhat different story.

    "We don't want him to go," says Naziha al-Hanodi, Suheib's mother. "More importantly, even if we approved, he wouldn't want to go. He didn't even tell us about it. He's been raised from childhood to know the difference between right and wrong."

    "Outside our country, or an Islamic country, there is always concern about bad influences," she says.

    Gary David, a sociologist at Bentley College in Massachusetts who has studied Detroit's Arab community, says outside influences also exist in Arab countries. Whether in Beirut, Lebanon, or Cairo, Egypt, teens go out, dance, and meet friends.

    "Here, they're compared to an Arab ideal that's largely mythical," says David, a Michigan native of Syrian descent. "It doesn't really exist any more."

    Mythical or not, it's a real source of frustration for some Arab-American youth.

    "You can't live here like you live in Lebanon," says Jamelah Haidous, 18.

    Even those who find themselves being steered along a course similar to one they would have followed in their native countries find ways to blend the two cultures.

    Belquis Al-Khateeb, an 18-year-old Yemeni born in the United States, is married, wears the hijab and is seven months pregnant. Her husband dropped her off at the prom but didn't attend.

    "He knows what I'm like and trusts me," she says.

    Her husband also was born in the United States. "I wouldn't have married anyone who wasn't," she says.

    Then, over the music, she yells: "There's not going to be any barefoot and pregnant for me. I'm staying in school!"
    Please Re-update your Signature

  • #2
    In The Name Of Allah, Ar Rahmaan Ar Raheem

    Praise be To Allah, Lord Of The Worlds And Peace And Blessings Be
    Upon His Final Messenger.

    Take Pride In Islaam
    The Friday Report

    In face of the attacks on Islam by the disbelievers, some Muslims
    turn to the defensive with an inner feeling of defeat as they try to
    show that the Islamic values are no different from the western ones.
    If they are told that the Islamic political system is dictatorial,
    they respond by trying to show it is democratic. If they are told
    that Islam spread with Jihad, they respond that Muslims fought only
    to defend themselves when attacked. If they are told that there is a
    problem with the status of women in Islam, they try to prove that
    Islam allows polygamy only under strict conditions which most men do
    not fulfill and hence they conclude it is virtually not allowed! Such
    apologetic attitudes should be put behind. Islam is a way of life
    given to us by Allah, it cannot be put on the same level as other man-
    made ideologies or corrupted revelations. Muslims should have enough
    confidence in themselves to go on the offensive rather than stay on
    the defensive like an accused person. When Quraysh accused the
    Muslims of violating the sanctity of the sacred months on the
    occasion of the fight between the Muslim brigade of Abdullah bin
    Jahsh and the disbelievers, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala revealed: "They
    ask you concerning fighting in the Sacred Months (these are the 1st,
    7th, 11th and 12th months of the Islamic calendar). Say: `Fighting
    therein is a great transgression but a greater transgression in the
    Sight of Allah is to prevent mankind from following the Way of Allah,
    to disbelieve in Him, to prevent access to al-Masjid al-Haram
    (Makkah), and to drive out its inhabitants, and polytheism is worse
    than killing. And they will never cease fighting you until they turn
    you back from your religion if they can. And whosoever of you turns
    back from his religion and dies as a disbeliever, then his deeds will
    be lost in this life and in the Hereafter, and they will be the
    dwellers of the Fire. They will abide therein forever." (Qur'an
    2:217) This is how the Qur'an argues with the disbelievers. The
    Qur'an starts by attacking them on their greatest crime: their
    disbelief in Allah and their association of partners with Him. One
    should not present a false interpretation of our religion for the
    purpose of pleasing the disbelievers.

    Some Muslims try to hide their Islamic identity for fear of being
    labeled as "fundamentalist". Men are shaving their beard and women
    are trying to make their hijab look like the latest fall fashion. If
    presented with food or drink that is haram, they say we are full at
    the moment, or they say we do not like the particular food. Only few
    say that they cannot eat it because it is unlawful in Islam. This is
    not the way of the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa
    sallam, behaved. When the companions accepted Islam, they became
    proud of it and felt that all other ideologies and ways of life are
    inferior to what has been revealed to them from above seven heavens.

    In the battle between the Muslims and the Persians, Rostom, the
    leader of the Persian army, asked to negotiate with the Muslims. Sa`d
    ibn Abi Waqqas, the Muslim leader in that battle, sent a group of
    companions among which was Rabi`e ibn Amir. The Persian leader
    prepared a magnificent reception in order to impress those "Bedouins"
    and weaken their position. The Persians asked Rabi`e to enter without
    his arms. HE refused and entered with his arms and his horse and tied
    his horse next to Rostom. Rstom asked: "What brings you?" Rabi`e
    said: "Allah has sent us to convert mankind from the worship of
    people to the worship of Allah and from the narrowness of this life
    to its wideness and from the oppression of the religions to the
    justice of Islam. Allah has sent us to His creatures with His
    religion. Whoever accepts it, we accept from him and whoever refuses,
    we fight him until we get the Promise of Allah?" "And what is His
    Promise?" asked Rostom. "Paradise for those who die and victory for
    those who survive" answered Rabi`e. Rostom said: "Can you delay this
    matter until we think about it?" Rabi`e answered: "Yes. How many days
    you need, one or two?" Rostom said: "More. Until I write to my
    people." Rabi`e said: "We can't. Our Prophet does not authorize us to
    delay our enemies more than three days. So make up your mind."

    This companion came from a society which was materially far behind
    the Persian empire. Nevertheless he had in himself the seed of Truth
    and righteousness that allowed him not to be distracted or impressed
    with the glamour surrounding the Disbelievers. Civilization starts
    with the correct belief and faith. The material aspects of
    civilization will come later as a by-product. On the other hand, the
    disbeliever, no matter how materially advanced he might be, is an
    uncivilized person and bears in his soul the germs of his own
    destruction. This is why you should take pride in your religion. This
    is why you should take pride in Islam.
    .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
    نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
    دولة الإسلامية باقية


    • #3
      "On the dance floor, this Muslim brother came up to me and
      said `Whoa, [my name] I didn't know you danced!' And then he danced
      -an anonymous Muslim sister's Prom Night experience, from the Salam
      newsletter, Montreal, Canada, Summer 1995

      "It's a night when you don't remember Allah," says Amber Rehman, 20,
      about Prom night. "As a Muslim, that's very hurting and corrosive
      for the soul."

      The Prom is a yearly social event commemorating students' completion
      of high school.

      While this in itself may seem like a good reason to celebrate, other
      activities at the Prom indicate it's not just about academic

      Sex, drugs, rockn' roll and lots of alcohol are four crucial
      elements of Prom night. But it doesn't stop there. Ask Shaema Imam,
      21, who attended her 1994 Prom.

      "It's not just the drinking, it's not just the hotel room and sex
      part, it `s the whole atmosphere that's created where alcohol,
      dancing and varying degrees of nudity are correlated with a good
      time," says the McGill University student.

      It is also big business.

      "[The] Prom isn't about North American society wanting its youth to
      turn into well-adjusted people via grad night," says Imam. "In fact,
      this is a multimillion dollar business of selling clothes,
      accessories, make up, limousine services, food, alcohol, condoms.
      You need to realize what this is all about."

      Prom night often starts off with dinner at a hotel organized by the
      high school. But that's tame compared to what happens afterwards.

      Many of the students head off to clubs, where mixed dancing and
      plenty of alcohol and drugs are part of the scene.

      "Once this clubbing starts, the true face of the Kaffir party is
      exposed," says Imam "This part is the part not officially sanctioned
      by the high school."

      Imam says students in her graduating class rented a club called The
      Underground for the post-dinner part of the Prom. She says she was
      disgusted by the club scene and compared it to Hell, describing it
      as smoky, dark and unsafe.

      Alcohol : No Prom Without It
      "Everybody becomes so drunk," says Shadi Sakr about the Prom.
      The 22-year-old recounted how a fellow student became so drunken
      that when he saw Sakr the year after high school graduation, he kept
      insisting Sakr was in the limousine with him during Prom night.

      Sakr did not even go to his Prom.

      He discovered the details of the evening from his friends who went.

      "Once they're drunk your non-Muslims friends are no longer nice-
      people-who-happen-to-not-be-Muslims," says Imam.

      "This is the point at which you realize that there is a fundamental
      difference between you and them. You are a Muslim and they are
      willing participants in this aspect of North American culture. This
      is where your Fitrah really kicks in," she says.

      Alcohol was also one reason Ali Shayan, 20, did not go to his Prom.

      "I didn't go to the graduation or the prom because I had just
      started practicing [Islam]," he says. "The fact that there was
      alcohol and you had to go with a date, because of those reasons I
      didn't want to go."

      But alcohol can lead to more than making a fool of yourself on the
      dance floor: it could lead to death. According to the group Mothers
      Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.), in 1995, 48.7 percent of traffic
      fatalities that occurred during the first week of the prom were
      alcohol related.

      Sex: Prom Night Is The Night For It
      While dealing with the opposite sex in school should be related to
      learning, "Prom night is a night to kick back and relax," says
      Rehman. "Islamically, you're not supposed to kick back and relax
      with the opposite gender."
      "I was worried there would be fornication," says Sakr, explaining
      why he did not attend his Prom.

      He added youth losing their virginity on Prom night is one of the
      foci of the evening.

      "It's the night where you become an adult, supposedly," he says.

      Hotel rooms are rented, in most cases for this very purpose.

      In particular, clubs are where students "practice all [those] `girl-
      guy' moves," according to Imam and the situation is even more
      dangerous because they are most often under the influence of

      The Build Up & Let Down Of Prom Night
      "It's supposed to be the gala event of your life," says Sakr of the
      Prom. "Non-Muslims literally worship this evening. They hype the
      gala event."
      "There's a whole building of an anticipatory culture around `the
      night'," explains Imam.

      Indeed, youth are bombarded through magazines, websites, television
      sitcoms, advertisements, and general peer pressure to participate in
      this most "essential" of teenage rituals.

      Even parents who are strict with their children tend to loosen up
      for Prom night.

      "This is the pinnacle of the night for you to go out and do what you
      want and non-Muslim parents let their children do whatever they want
      [that night]," says Sakr.

      "The whole year, people were getting their licenses, deciding on
      what clothes they wanted to wear. Reserving their appointments six
      months in advance for the hair salon," he adds.

      But the experience of and letdown from the Prom are much greater.

      "It's almost impossible for any experience to live up to that build-
      up," says Imam.

      "This whole night there's [an] aura of high class escapism, but the
      day before the Prom and the day after you're still the same, unsure
      teen," she says, adding it makes it seem almost like you have
      nothing to look forward to anymore.

      "The next morning I went home on the city bus," she says. "It's
      almost like turning back into Cinderella's pumpkin."

      Intense Peer Pressure To Go To The Prom
      "When in Rome do as the Romans do and that's very true of the high
      school experience," says Imam
      The peer pressure to go to the Prom is intense.

      "I had to be very firm and have a very forward opinion on it," says
      Rehman about telling her friends she was not going to
      participate. "If I let myself, I could have been persuaded."

      Peer pressure is often the deciding factor for a Muslim youth about
      whether to go to the Prom or not.

      "It depends on how dear you hold your non-Muslim friends," says
      Sakr. "I would say most guys would follow the group. "

      Halfway Measures To The Prom
      Some Muslim youth want to go to the Prom not for the sex, drugs,
      alcohol or rockn'roll, but simply to have a good time with their
      friends. They have no intention of approaching these aspects of the
      While on the surface, this may seem acceptable, the reality is very

      "You're seeing people you've spent the last five years [in some
      parts of Canada, high school is for five years] of your life with in
      their worst behavior, and you're rationalizing it," says Sakr of
      this kind of reasoning.

      "It's really hard to have a halfway thing," says Imam.

      "There's no way your Muslim child can just go there and be a
      wallflower and not be affected," she warns parents.

      "Once you're there, you can't say `I refuse to participate in your
      evil kind of entertainment'," says Imam, adding that most youth
      would probably feel it's rude to leave.

      "If you think that you can protect yourself, then you're entrusting
      yourself to your own weakness," says Rehman. She adds that Allah
      warns against even going near Zina. With the Prom, you're not only
      going near that, but also near alcohol and drugs.

      "You're bearing witness to the Haram and ask yourself, if you were
      to die there, how would you face Allah, that this is the last time
      you would be with your friends?" asks Sakr.

      One Night of Jahilyyah, And Never Again!
      "Perhaps, just for one night I could pretend to be a regular Western
      teenage girl, dress up beautifully, make my hair and make up, dance,
      have fun, and then, WAllah, I promise, I swear to God, I'll act like
      a Muslim forever after,?" wrote an anonymous Muslim youth in the
      Summer 1995 issue of the Montreal, Canada newsletter Salam,
      rationalizing her choice to go to her Prom.
      "Many Muslim youth may be tempted to think that this night is their
      last foray into the Jahiliyyah culture," says Imam.

      But the result of this approach could be deadly: it could mean never
      coming back to Islam.

      Or, judging from the statistics on traffic fatalities, not coming
      back alive.

      "When I weigh the pros and cons of what happened, my Deen is still
      here and if I had had fun that night I would have forgotten easily,"
      says Rehman.

      The Prom Night Bubble Bursts
      Apart from the letdown from the gigantic hype, Prom night turns out
      to be a bust for many.
      Although Sakr says the day of the prom, he just stayed home, was
      bored, and "sort of regretted the fun that I could have had," he
      later found out almost everyone at his Prom was drunk, there was too
      much craziness in the hotels, and some people got kicked out.

      The Prom is a major test for Muslim youth. It represents the
      struggle against some of the very basic elements of what is defined
      as a "good time" in North American teenage culture.

      Muslim parents and communities need to work together to recognize
      and help the youth fight against these pressures
      .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
      نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
      دولة الإسلامية باقية


      • #4
        instead of going out and making haram collect all brothers and have a big big 5 hour long dinner.


        • #5
          its not difficult to come up with HALAL alternative ways to celebrate the end of the school year/graduation. there are many non muslim students as well who dont go to Prom and find other ways to have fun with friends.
          Please Re-update your Signature


          • #6
            thts wt we done...went out for dinner and then home.
            much btr option

            You are not aware of the consequences that would result (if you were granted what you desire) because what you seek might be to your detriment. (O soul) be conscious that your Master is more aware about your well-being than you are.

            ~Ibn Al-Jawzee


            • #7
              Originally posted by Huja Mehmet
              instead of going out and making haram collect all brothers and have a big big 5 hour long dinner.
              yeah... I think it would make it alot easy for people not to go to that kinda event, if there are a lot of them together, and they can make some kind of alternative, that way it doesnt make them feel so much like theyre missing out on something, and they can realise there are halal ways that u can have a good time aswell.
              In places with not many muslims it can b really hard for people, and they end up just going cos all their mates are, its a shame.
              Still, even if you end up going.. you're never gonna fit in with everyone else anyway, unless you totally lose it and decide to join in with the drinking and dancing and all that... The best plan of action is just to stay away from it, like they said in the article, you can't really comprimise by like going and not drinking, or whatever... it's not gonna work like that.
              Same with going to pubs just to hang out with people, but drinking sumthing non alcoholic, its a bad idea... its just taking you one step closer to joining in with that kind of activity, and its like the more u see your friends doing it the more acceptable it's gonna become to you.
              So really muslim children & teenagers, and actually any age... need to really stick together more and get our own places of entertainment and stuff, to make it easier not 2 bother with all this kinda rubbish
              <button id="tw_schedule_btn" class="tw-schedule-btn" style="padding: 4px 6px;position: absolute;left: 141px;top: 840px;background-color: #F7F7F7; background: linear-gradient(#FFF, #F0F0F0); border: 1px solid #CCC; color: #5F5F5F; cursor: pointer; font-weight: bold; text-shadow: 0 1px #FFF; white-space: nowrap;border-radius: 3px;font-size: 11px; display: none; z-index: 8675309">Schedule</button>


              • #8
                .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
                نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
                دولة الإسلامية باقية


                • #9
                  AbuM thats a good article, but you posted it twice.
                  Please Re-update your Signature


                  • #10
                    its like a bump but in stereo
                    .لا نريد زعيما يخاف البيت الإبيض
                    نريد زعيما يخاف الواحد الأحد
                    دولة الإسلامية باقية



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