By Dr Asma Zehra,
The Muslim community is facing challenges both internally and externally. The challenges are multiple and of different degree. These days social media is playing an important role in projecting community issues. Most of social media influencers including few clergy go with trend and enrich the narratives built. Sometimes these narratives are built by anti Muslim forces and knowingly or unknowingly the entire community falls for it. Sometimes these trends on Social media reflect the pulse of society and help reformers to plan their programs and activities.
As Muslim community is almost orphan these days with top leadership in a totally different mode altogether, the lack of leaders puts the community in a vulnerable state. Anything to everything can be possible and there is no check and control mechanism on social media trends.
Those who are active on social media lack knowledge of ground realities, and same vice versa. Therefore it becomes really important to highlight need of proportionate professional approach to the issue.
The issue of bhagwa love trap trending since Ramadan in whatsapp groups and now all media platforms is one such issue which needs sensitive and serious handling. But majority of those writing or speaking on the issue are lacking in imparting proper guidance to community.There is no fact finding committee to give data of exact number of cases. The numbers from register office may be tip of Iceberg. May ALLAH save our daughters.
There is possibility of this issue meeting same fate as of the suicide case of Ayesha from Gujarat. (In one of my interview at that time I had stated that dowry issue is endemic and our approach to curtail it shouldn’t be only when there is hype in social media) Similarly the İssue of Irtedad is a deep rooted issue with multiple reasons and factors supporting it.
We live in a country with non Muslims as neighbors and classmates or colleagues. Present era is of education and economic growth and development. The slogans of women’s rights and gender justice have created huge impact on present generation.
The issue can’t be handled just by emotions, yes emotions play a role in creating awareness but community should be guided for action. Awareness without solutions will create a very difficult situation. These days such is the case.
The issue of transgression is a broad issue and includes Muslim girls falling into ‘love’ trap of Bhagwa goons, and also Muslim girls and boys becoming atheists and Muslim men marrying non Muslim women.
The same efforts are needed to stop boys and men from going astray. The open society supporting mixed parties have created moral social imbalances destroying families and making marriage difficult.
In one newspaper it was reported that one girl stated that Muslim society is the reason for her going to other religion. This is highly objectionable, as those leaving religion are free to do so but putting blame on religion and society shouldn’t be allowed or accepted. Such narratives do more harm.
We must understand that the Bhagwa love trap is a conspiracy against community, yes it’s duty of parents to save and protect their daughters but it’s also a duty of leadership not to just lecture parents but condemn the trap and killings of Muslim girls after six months to year. Have you ever seen any Muslim organization issuing press statement against killing of young Muslim girls lured by these anti Muslim forces.?
In most of the cases parents are unaware and these girls are first generation learners, they are well skilled with social media tools whereas their parents aren’t.
Secondly the Muslim organizations and Masjid committees are still reluctant on bringing women close to Masajids and juma khutbas.
Thirdly the issue cannot be tackled without including women and girls and developing leadership in them. There is urgent need of women leadership, vocal women who stand for ummah. They are the ones who need to urgently swing into the girls and women in Muslim community are the best and strongest women. Inspite of being targets since triple talaq issue by political parties and media, they have stood strong for their religion, they have protested for their constitutional rights in Shaheen Bagh, they are fighting a legal battle now for Hijab. It’s challenging for them as Ulemas Jammats support their cause sometimes, the same leaders have sheerkhorma with oppressors.
These leaders and organizations who are into cosy closed doors meetings with right wing forces have no legitimacy in community now, their statements have lost credibility, they can never be community representative till they tender an apology.
Right from Hadiya case in 2017-18 to ‘The Kerala Story’, there are huge propagating machines to target girls. The atmosphere is full of hate and poison against Islam.
The Muslim women are fighting their own battle at multiple levels. Their commitment to religion is unmatched. A small percentage of girls falling into trap, needs to be saved and protected. But in saving these girls, all hijab wearing girls shouldn’t be looked upon with suspicion. Also we must know that many non Muslims are using hijab to shield their illegitimate acts.
This issue shouldn’t create roadblock to education of girls. Protection should be priority but education shouldn’t be denied. There should be strong family bonds along with tilely marriage. Education, career and family should go together as education is intellectual process and marriage, family is biological process. There are innumerable examples of Muslim intellectual women who have balanced family and career very wisely.
Also at community level five point program needs to be implemented:
1.The Ulemas and organization, masajid committee have to take up this issue.
Data, documentation, counseling, guidance, legal help , protection of daughters at mohalla / district levels is effective in saving girls.
The girls and women must have access to Friday sermons. Arrangements have to be made for the Deeni Tarbiyat utilising services of Muallimaat from near by madrasa.
2. Special orientation programs, girls and women going for co- education must attend pre college, pre university workshops. They must be adequately sanitized in advance. This requires Intellectual ladies teachers lecturers doctors to give their valuable time.
3.Marriage as per sunnah to be promoted. Social evils to be eradicated. Rights of women as per Sharia implementation.
4.Counseling centers and helpline to help affected girls.
5.Legal desk for professional advise and rescue operation.
Women organization and women leaders are most important. And tarbiyat of daughters will definitely make her an asset to community. It’s time to take up the challenge before it’s too late. Or maybe we are already late.