Answer: The Prophet (sws) of Allah is reported to have said
that on the scorching Day of Judgment seven people shall be under a shade. One
of these will be a young man who had been tempted by a woman of beauty and
position and had said to her: I fear Allah. (Muslim: Kitāb al-Zakāt)
I congratulate you from the depth of my heart on having
achieved this position. The question now is how to maintain it. Contrary to the
conception of Christians about morality, Islam wants us not only to ‘rejoice in
being persecuted for righteousness sake’ when the occasion so demands but also
to try not to be persecuted. Your immense trial at the moment is not only to
refrain from succumbing to temptation but also to avoid situations in which one
may be tempted. This is a great trial indeed. My heart goes out to you and my
prayers are with you. Trees and plants also serve our Lord. But He wants us to
serve Him not only with sincerity but also with wisdom. Careful planning is
needed to tackle your problem. The possible solutions can be divided into two
categories: short-term and long-term.
i. Try to avoid being in the room when something
inappropriate is going on. Try to get yourself busy in your work or in
ii. Try to find good company and have regular meetings with
your good and pious friends. Also, you might like to get in touch with your
local Islamic Centre and with the American Muslim
Council. You can write to them and explain your need for good friends. I am sure
iii. Also, you can promise yourself that when the
temptation becomes intense you will always get in touch with your close friends
before doing any thing to make your individual problem your collective problem.
If you have good and pious friends, I am sure they’ll be able to put their heads
together to work out some solution.
iv. Keep praying to God and offering your salāh. Also keep
reading the Qur’ān regularly, especially the verses
which remind us that fornication is a great sin. Also, you might want to fast
two or three times a month on weekends or whenever you have the time. During
fasting, remind yourself that you are abstaining from food for His sake, and
after this manner pray to Him: ‘Lord for you I have abstained from this desire
(for food). I could not have abstained without the strength you gave me. My Lord
I am your humble and frail servant. Give me the strength to abstain from that
desire as well, for I fear your wrath and seek your mercy.’
v. One way of sublimating the urge to have sex with a woman
is masturbation. Although undesirable for many health reasons (both physical and
psychological), there is no Divine directive which categorizes it as a sin.
vi. I know in that society people sometimes take
offence on refusal. At times, they can become quite
vindictive. First of all, try not to be alone with a girl, and try avoiding eye
contact as much as possible. If someone makes fun of this behaviour, explain
gently and solemnly that lowering your eyes is your way of showing respect to a
lady as recommended by your religion. If you find yourself alone with a girl who
invites you to sin, don’t try to offend her by saying anything bad. Instead,
gently and firmly explain your reason and walk away to a safer environment where
there are other people.
i. First of all, without making a great
fuss, you should try to have your room changed. Ideally, a room with a
like-minded fellow or, perhaps, an independent room. Furthermore, you should try
to get in touch with your local Muslim organisation – you’ll probably have one
in your college – and try to spend as much time as possible in the company of
pious and like-minded people.
Also, when darkness prevails, `the heart
that has light sings of the morn’. With wisdom and sagacity, and with courtesy
and consideration, keep calling others to your faith. In the fervour of that
call, you’ll gain strength, for that fervour will not let the light in your own
heart fade away and shall make it brighter.
I know you realise that fornication is a
grave sin. (See the Qur’ān 3:24 and 17:32). Therefore, you must do everything
possible to avoid it. If nothing else works, then, in the longer-run, the most
effective thing in this regard would be marriage. Now, I know we are talking
about something very serious. But so is the Hereafter – a very, very serious
matter. The most appropriate way, obviously, would be that you talk to your
parents frankly. You might even tell them that you have taken such and such
measures, but that you would not be able to hold on for very long. You can tell
them that you are grateful for whatever they have done for you in life and for
the excellent education they are giving you, but you need their help most in
securing your success in the life Hereafter. You can tell them that your success
in this regard will be their success and your failure (God forbid) will be their
failure, and that there is nothing more important in life than that success.
If all this fails, that is if your
parents do not listen, then I would very frankly suggest you to defy them. In
that case, you should get in touch with one of these Muslim organisations in the
U.S. (you’ll definitely have some organisation in your college as well) and
marry a girl with similar ideas and conviction.
Perhaps the organisation will help you
in meeting a family that is appreciative of your commitment to your religion and
willing to support you in your efforts and in your married life.
I know either step would be a big one
for you. But, please remember that life is a trial, and in the course of our
life there comes a time when it tests our commitment to our claim: ‘I bear
witness that there is no god but God, and that Muhammad is His servant and His
God has ordained that we be of service
to our parents to the best of our ability and treat them well. But when this
service leads to disobedience to God in matters as grave as fornication, we
should disobey them instead. We
should remain sincere to them, keep on serving them and should continue to treat
them well, but should remain – first and foremost – servants of our Lord Allah.
God be with you.