A couple days ago I stumbled upon a television program which featured Black women discussing the latest styles and trends in fashion. Eventually the subject lead to the show’s host mentioning trends like pole dance training (which is basically stripper training in a ‘fun’, ‘clean’ environment) and experimental sex (as in, ‘I kissed a girl and I liked it.’) Everyone on the show- including the host- made it seem perfectly okay for young women to engage in these activities. It’s the new and hottest trend going around so why not join in the fun? I had to ask myself, Am I a prude? Am I becoming uptight? Or is the world moving in an increasingly “anything goes” kind of direction? (I am thinking the latter).
It seems to me that the world is in moral peril. People nowadays are acting solely and completely off of their nafs (their base desires.) It doesn’t seem to matter if their behavior will negatively impact others in the long run. In fact, it seems as if people don’t even care about themselves. Human life no longer has any value. People kill one another over a step on a sneaker or even a glance. Women are disrespected left and right; trafficked, molested, prostituted and discarded like trash. People cuss out their parents and physically assault them. Babies and pregnant women are killed without a thought. My husband called me the other day to tell me about a man in Cincinnati who was arrested for having sex with the CORPSE of his 19-year old victim!
Since I am a Black woman who is both Black American and West Indian, I have to say that I am all the more concerned about moral decline and how it is affecting both of my communities. I am also concerned about the way in which issues of morality impact Black Americans (BAs) and Black West Indians (BWIs) when they convert to Islam and enter the Muslim community. (And just so we’re clear, I am not suggesting that other groups in the Non-Muslim or Muslim community do not have issues when it comes to morality or that BAM or BWI converts are to blame for the moral decline in the Muslim community). I have to say that one of the areas I’m most concerned about when it comes to morality is marriage and relationships. We’re in trouble people and I hope I am not the only one who sees it! I am appalled by some the activities I see taking place in the BA and BWI community that have been completely normalized. Those activities include:
1. Having multiple sexual partners (in many cases not using protection.)
2. Rampant infidelity (again, not using protection.)
3. Men fathering children and walking away without a care in the world.
4. Women having baby after baby with different men (none of whom are responsible or interested in marriage or creating a family unit.)
5. The increasing amount of young women and girls engaging in prostitution (this includes the ‘you-got-to-pay-to-play’ mentality.)
6. The normalization of stripping/exotic dancing (which in many cases leads to prostitution.)
7. The complete lack of shyness when it comes to dress or behavior. (Yesterday I actually saw a young girl- no older than 12 or 13- walking down a very busy Twin Cities street in nothing but a pair of ‘Daisy Dukes’ and a bikini top. Sadly, grown men were leaning out their cars and honking at her).
8. The increasing amount of people electing to “shack” or live together. (I actually remember when it was considered a bad thing)!
I could go on but I will stop here.
I have to tell you my concern continues to grow when I see people who were once okay with the aforementioned becoming Muslims and doing nothing to alter their mentality. Instead they find ways to legitimize their behaviors using the Quran and Sunnah. If you think hard enough I am sure you know exactly what I am talking about. Think about all of the “halal cheating” that goes on under the guise of “looking for a second wife.” (If you’re sneaking to call another woman while your wife’s at work and carrying on relationship with another woman without your wife knowing about it then I dare say you are cheating! Don’t give me this crap about ‘I don’t have to tell her.’ Rubbish!) Some brothers are continuing to leave their babies behind as they righteously stand on the minbar or sit in lectures at the masjid looking pious in their brand new Thobe. Some sisters, though they wear niqab, have been married and divorced from so many brothers, so many times that the niqab really serves no purpose since so many brothers have seen them anyway. (I dare call out the Salafi community on this one. Hpmh.)
I am not sitting on a moral high horse here. We all have issues and we all have things to work on. (As much as I could rail against immorality I sure forget about it when it comes to Caribbean carnival or some of the dancehall I so love!) I’m just concerned about the direction my people (non-Muslim and Muslim alike) are moving in. I am concerned about HIV/AIDS, broken families, fatherless and motherless children, drugs, senseless murders and so on and how they are affecting the BA and BWI community. And I am even more concerned about the fact that people seem comfortable in their immorality.
Of course, I cannot leave this post without at least offering some kind of solution. I am very tempted to place blame and leave it at that. I want to blame the parents, blame society, and I certainly want to blame the Black Church and “the Black Masjid” for failing to reach out to the average, young BA or BWI when it comes to teaching morality and discipline. But that does not offer any kind of solution, does it? To tell you the truth, I don’t think there is just one. Or even a one-size-fits-all solution. There are many solutions.
I’m calling for a paradigm shift. A shift in mentality. A reinstitution of moral standards. I think that religion can be an effective tool in creating said standards. (In fact, I believe that part of the reason we are in this mess is because we have left the religious values in their respective texts and respective places of worship). However, the religious values have to be taught in a practical and digestible manner. How else will people implement them into their lives? People need to be able to see how the values and morality that religion teaches can change their lives for the better. We also need some education. As BAs and BWIs we have need to understand how racism, colonialism, inferiority complexes, and self-destructive behaviors go hand-in-hand with how many of us are living our lives and with how we see ourselves and the world around us.
When it comes to young people, I am inclined to speak about mentorship but I have to agree with Sister Seeking (who commented on Abdur Rahman’s Blog) when she said:
“Many BA’s who are educated professionals believe the solution lies in mentorship: it never will. The solution is “discipleship” or “stewardship”. I have seen up close and person how many of these “big brothers” and “big sisters” are not only insincere but hypocritical. Young people are people: they understand the conflicting, and competing messages. When I see BA’s who tell a young person to practice abstinence, and turn around and go swinging at a night club it makes me want to cry.”
EXACTLY! Be the change you wish to see in the world…or at least exert as much effort as possible towards that goal. That’s what I’m trying to do…Anyway, mi done talk.