Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Case of A New Convert to Islam

This case study generated an unexpected (and perhaps unprecedented) amount of discussion and debate in the session on Iqbal Sciences this Saturday. See if you would also like to join the debate:

Rukhsana comes from the lower middle class and having joined a decent corporation after completing her education, she feels embarrassed to share her whereabouts with her colleagues. Leaving the 80 sq. yard house which was their own, she compels her mother to move to a rented portion of a 200 sq. yard house in a new middle class locality.

The owner of the house had demanded a year’s rent in advance but then suddenly dropped the condition. Rukhsana’s mother learns about this only after they have moved to the new house, and a hundred suspicions arise in her head. Just then, Rukhsana’s boss Tahir shows up along with a white foreigner woman and says that he had paid the advance to the owner without informing Rukhsana.

Sensing the resentment of Rukhsana’s mother at this, he apologizes and says, “You are like my mother and Rukhsana is like my sister.” Then he explains that in helping them rent the house, he was doing a favor to himself rather than them: the woman is his wife who has converted to Islam. His family doesn’t know about these developments and he wants his wife Rebecca, whose Muslim name is Ruqayya, to be properly initiated in the Islamic ways of life before she is presented to his family.

He tells Rukhsana’s mother that he has been deeply impressed by her upbringing of Rukhsana and would very much like her to train his wife in the mores and values of Islam as well. For this reason, he would like them to keep her secretly until she is ready.

What do you think Rukhsana’s mother should do, and why?


  1. I think Rukhsana's mother should respond positively. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to teach somebody into the ways of Islam. As for the possibility of any hitch in the situation (for instance, the real intention of the boss being the chance to take some undue advantage), Allah will surely protect Rukhsana's family if their own motives in taking up the case of the neo-Muslim were sincere.

  2. I think Rukhsana's mother should give the boss her few conditions for her teaching his white wife the ways of Islam

    1)She should explain to the boss that Islam is a living religion, you cannot begin your life as a Muslim on a lie. He should tell his family, then if they dont accept his wife, she would be more than welcome to live with Rukhsanas mother. Plus then he himself becomes a good example of a Muslim by fulfilling the obligations required from marriage.

    2)She would charge him a small monthly fee to teach the wife the practical aspects of Islam like reading namaz etc. which they would use to pay back the boss

  3. Well, aparently it should be ok for Rukhsana and her mother to help Tahir out and teach Rebecca about Islam. But on the other hand the mother and daughter should be questioning if there could be other alternative ways to acheive what he wanted to do. Why he had to go out of the way and oblige them first? Under that obligation even if they smell foul play, it would be hard for them to bail out of the situation.

  4. Well if we think like an ideal citizen then Rukhsana's mother should agree to help out on this cuz afterall if someone wants to become a better person then what more a better chance to get in the good books of Allah! And so as for the good or bad intentions of the boss.. then i guess thats why Allah gave us all an intellect (aqal) to use at a the proper time and at the proper place. Once we use that at the time of need then the rest should be left up to Allah!

  5. This is an unusually interesting story-situation and so are all the complex and thoughtful Comments.

    Surely beautiful experiences and growth can sometimes come out of manipulations and yet often with deep agony down the road.

    Perhaps there could also be a discussion about how we may each have the grace, faith and goodwill to speak for choice for each party rather than for expectations - regardless of how well-meaning?

    In the freedom of best choices which surely Allah wants for each -
    would not Rukhsana's mother have a choice if at all possible - in where she is to change residence? Would not Rukhsana and her mother both have a choice as to whether or not the boss' wife is to live with them and be taught by them? And finally, would not a new spiritual journey for the wife get off to a better start if the wife, the mother and the daughter met and could discuss the possible new arrangement for each themselves?

    I am concerned that in each our personal, spiritual, single, married and public lives there is loving liberty. This way perhaps so many assumptions will not be so easily made and accepted.

    Discussions here may well prepare the participant embrace each new situation with a full and joyful heart.

  6. Tahir uses his money to put his employee in debt.
    - why could he not ask before he paid?
    The payment seems tied to the wife staying at their place>
    - uses money to gain favor
    His wife is a secret from his family
    - has put his wife in his web of secrecy and now is using R and her mother to further the deception

    He is not someone that can be trusted as his intent is to get exactly what he wants, when he wants, without care for the other.

    If they are ok with this, they should go ahead and keep her. But there will be consequences to dealing with a man who is self-interested beyond all else.

  7. The "mores and values of Islam" are pretty universal in nature and my feeling is that Rebecca probably doesn't need any help in that area. On the other hand, she may be able to give Tahir and company a few lessons about morality and values, especially about the weasely way in which Tahir has morally obligated Rukhsana's mother to help him out.

    I think Rukhsana's mother should tell Rebecca to stay away from this dude and get on the next flight to whereever she came from. In the mean time, she should tell Rukhsana to pack up so that they can move back to their own house.

    And finally Rukhsana should start looking for a new job as after all this Tahir bhai may give her the axe.