Welcome to the thoughts, rants and passions of a young Muslim woman seeking soulful enlightenment in cyberspace.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Where Did I Go Wrong?

Since I first set up this blog a few months ago, I've received emails from men asking me to be their "friend", offering unsolicited autobiographies and resumes, and attaching grinning pictures of themselves. At first, I laughed them off and continued undeterred. Then I noticed visitors to my blog requesting to meet with me. And strange men calling me "Saf", a nickname reserved for my closest female friends. And I began to ask myself, "Where did I go wrong?"

A while back, a reader mentioned that I don't say enough about myself on my blog. I sought to remedy that omission by revealing my personality, interests and goals. But doing so has its own inherent dangers, as evidenced by some of the inappropriate email I've received. I regret not maintaining that distance online. I'm really rather religious – or at least I strive to be so. In real life, only those who know me well would be privy to all that is Safiyyah. But this blog has revealed those aspects of myself that I generally keep hidden – including ideas and opinions that I don't usually share.

A few days ago, a reader made a very hurtful assumption about me. The allegation was so preposterous - so unlike what I knew to be me - that I almost could not stomach it and I most definitely cannot share it here. But I ask myself whether I've done something to justify those assumptions. Have my writings been less decent than I thought them to be? Have I given the wrong impression to my readers? Because if I have, I don't want to continue along that path. I don't want to open myself up to unnecessary attack or criticism. I don't want to be misjudged because of a few hastily written words strewn here and there for all to see.

And it bothers me. It bothers me so much that it has kept me awake at night. I don't know what to do or how to proceed. I feel cheapened, my sense of worth somehow reduced. I feel as if I've unwittingly tarnished my reputation. This latest incident has forced me to reconsider the very purpose of this blog and to reflect upon the way in which I present myself. I ask you to bear with me. There will be a great deal of introspection in the days to come.


  • At 5/26/2005 07:20:00 a.m., Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said…


    I must say that I haven't noticed anything inappropriate in what you write, other than your openness, intellectual honesty and tolerance. As a Jew, I haven't always received that from Muslim people as well as non-Muslim people. Whatever you choose to do I thank you for that, thank you for helping me knock away at my pre-conceived notions and misconceptions.

    I for one have called you SAF, merely because I call EVERYONE a nickname. Nothing affectionate.

    Good luck in whatever you choose to do.


  • At 5/26/2005 07:51:00 a.m., Blogger cncz said…'s pure and simple jealousy. you have a great blog, and insecure people have to make stuff up to feel better about themselves.
    trust me, i know about the appropriety police after learning the hard way (converts have to learn all kinds of crazy stuff) and i would tell you if you were doing something crazy, and so would the other people who LIKE your blog, but we would do it in email, because that's what being Muslim and having adab is all about. Anything else is just random blog hate, one of the side effects of Fame in Blogistan. Go forth and conquer.

  • At 5/26/2005 09:03:00 a.m., Blogger Shoshana said…

    In the time I have been blogging, I have had only one really inappropriate pest that I still have not managed to get ride of. I don't think you are doing anything wrong; there are some people out there who are just inappropriate, and probably because they are not usually exposed to a person from your faith, it is intriguing to them and is causing the reactions you have been getting. I think you should continue sharing yourself for those who really appreciate it!

  • At 5/26/2005 09:31:00 a.m., Blogger Hasan the Not-So-Great said…

    im going to give you the same advice i gave you last time:
    "You are only offended if you choose to be"
    Keep blogging. This is your blog. Your place to voice whatever you feel. All those who oppose you should mean nothing, because this is your place to say whatever.

  • At 5/26/2005 01:15:00 p.m., Anonymous Jameelah said…

    Salaam Aleikum

    Sis nothing wrong with your blog. I think maybe you should take your picture down though, maybe that is what is attracting the crazy men. Also people can't help but to call you SAF its part of the name of your blog, so why would you expect people to know it something between you and your friends? Other then that you have a nice blog and you are very smart and intellectual.

  • At 5/26/2005 01:15:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Asslamu Alakum, to be honest with you Saffyiah.....that idea might have came because you often joke with male commenters, your intentions might not be bad ones but some poeple won't take it that way and will take it as flirting, and to be honest, islamicly the conversation between men and women should be conservative, thats what made some muslim bloggers request only people from the same gender comment on thier blogs, and also men should not e-mail women for no good reasons, and same thing the other direction.

  • At 5/26/2005 01:25:00 p.m., Anonymous Jameelah said…

    There is nothing wrong with her commenting to male posters. If her intent is not flirting, Allah knows her heart. What about Muslims making 70 excuses for their fellow Muslims and stop making excuses. I swear Muslims act like there is no thing as self control, as talking to a man or talking to woman will automatically lead to doing something haraam. Sheesh get a grip. Its a blog its not like she is alone naked in a room with them.

  • At 5/26/2005 01:27:00 p.m., Anonymous Jameelah said…

    My post should say stop making assumptions. You should be making excuses for your Sister. Talking to the opposite sex is not the same thing as flirting. Leave your culture out of Islam.

  • At 5/26/2005 01:39:00 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well, you should tell that to those men who are bugging her with e-mails asking her to be thier friend,I was talking about them if you read my post more carefuly.

  • At 5/26/2005 01:44:00 p.m., Anonymous L.A. said…

    Ignore those silly people. Your blog is beautiful, and you're very talented. I don't think it's related to being indecent, because it's clear you're not. I suspect you're attracting people who appreciate you and don't know how to show it. Be flattered, but don't let them sidetrack you.
    I started reading your blog only a few days ago, and I've found it interesting. I'm sad to hear about the recent developments.
    If you want to talk, call me, o.k?

  • At 5/26/2005 09:00:00 p.m., Anonymous Concerned Fan said…

    Salam Aleikum,

    Isn't this what always happens to women in politics or in positions that are "different"? They get labeled and picked apart as they move up the social ladder, and people can't stop waiting for them to fall.

    Saffiyah, you can compete with the best of them and that's what gets to jealous people. Keep on climbing!

  • At 5/26/2005 10:53:00 p.m., Blogger Safiyyah said…

    Dear Anonymous:

    You’ve been irritating me for way too long. I can ignore all of the other nonsense coming through my inbox, but I find your public but anonymous accusations ludicrous and cowardly. It troubles me to think that there’s someone out to get me like this. Ask yourself why you have a fixation on me, and why you visit this blog every day. Ask yourself why you post unsolicited comments laced with hurtful assumptions and insinuations. Perhaps it would make a bit more sense for you to approach me with your suspicions before endlessly jumping to conclusions?

    I won’t bother defending myself - it’s not worth the trouble. But please don’t couch your jealousy in religious terms. I know what (or rather ‘who’) this is about. I advise you to seek counselling before proceeding. And I wish you the best of luck in your single-minded hunt/quest for You-Know-Who. You have my blessing; I never stood in your way. In the meantime, may I request that you kindly refrain from visiting this blog? There are many other Islamically oriented blogs that should prove more favourable to your delicate tastes.

    And I’m sorry that it’s come to this. I would have liked for this to be a private conversation, but your escalated public attacks must be dealt with publicly. May God forgive us both for our mistakes, and I wish you the very best in this life and the Hereafter.



  • At 5/26/2005 11:36:00 p.m., Anonymous concened fan #2 said…

    saffiyah, although i agree that having a good reputation is very important specially for the ladies, i wouldn't like to see you end your site. do you think this matters more to you because of your relation to sh. shabbir ali, or not?

  • At 5/26/2005 11:51:00 p.m., Blogger Nauman said…

    Salaam Walaikum.

    I came across your blog through your sister's blog (you commented on it and your name had a hyperlink so I followed it to your blog). I just wanted to say that this blog is among the best blogs that I have ever read. I've only gotten to read a couple of your most recent posts during these last 5 minutes that I've explored this site but it's clearly evident that this blog is of high quality. Subhanallah, this blog is very well written and the topics of your posts are deep and thought-provoking.

    May Allah (SWT) help you in all your endeavours...

    Salaam Walaikum.

  • At 5/27/2005 12:28:00 a.m., Anonymous Concerned Fan said…

    Salam Aleikum Saffiyah,

    Someone made a comment and I'm not sure if s/he was joking or not, but it caught my eye anyway. Are you truly related to Shaikh Shabbir Ally?! Mashallah, he's an excellent speaker, but you don't look related at all! I'm blown away with the thought that I've been visiting your blog for so long and I had no idea. Why didn't you ever mention it?

    No pressure, but you really can't leave now. I demand you stay! :)

  • At 5/27/2005 01:20:00 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Salaam 'Alaikum

    I don't think you've written anything out of line. There is a group of men out there who will do these things (sending pictures, e-mails, resumes, etc) to every woman they can get their hands on. Sometimes all you have to do is log onto Yahoo Messenger before you start getting this stuff. Subhan'Allah.

    People might be calling you "Saf" b/c it's the name of your blog -- the way I often think of Leila as "Scorpion."

    Let your sixth sense be your guide as to how much of your personality and life you want to reveal. There *are* sicko whacko wingnuts out there in Blogoland, unfortunately. One thing you might want to consider, to help cut down on this, is removing your photo and your profile. It might help. It might also be that you just have one or two of those "special" fans who are going to do and say whatever obnoxious thing they can to get you upset. -- Umm Zaid

  • At 5/27/2005 06:00:00 a.m., Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Asslamu Alakum, to be honset your reply was very moving and thank you for making things clear and to make myself clear I never said you are a bad person or that your blog is bad one, if I have hurt you in any way I am sorry, I would have approuched you privately if I knew your e-mail address which I don't, we all have a negative side that we should work on fixing, and like you said may allah forgive us all.

  • At 5/27/2005 11:56:00 a.m., Blogger Asmaa said…

    Uhhh Safiyyah, you're awesome!

    Yeah, that Nauman dude was right...your blog is the best I've ever come across. (But you don't have a sister)

    It's meaningful and interesting at the same time, which is quite an accomplishment. Don't stop it because of some maniac.

    WHO WAS IT? I'll unleash some of my reserved angry sarcasm onto them and they'll be sorry they ever called you saf!! grrr...

    See you at the meeting, nerd. You still didn't send me your contact info btw. Should I assume it's the same as Shuaib's? >:D

  • At 5/27/2005 05:38:00 p.m., Blogger dawud al-gharib said…

    asSalaam 'aleykum

    sister Saffiyyah;

    it's likely that you get harassed
    i) because of the photo, you're a woman, you're a muslimah, you're (pardons) attractive, well-known, and people 'hate on' that...

    ii) Hasad is a tremendous evil... i don't know if you ever had the (dubious) blessing of reading the article 'the great white shaykh' on Hamza Yusuf, but there's quite evidently some people who hate any muslims who are sucessful, attractive (charismatic, if you will), and articulate... although as my teacher said, the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa Salaam) had abu Lahab, Hussein (rahimuLlah) had Yazid ... every scholar has to deal with detractors.

    iii) the flansteins of this world need to hate, they share this characteristic with approximately 5% of humanity (i'm guessing, really - i pray it's .5%) - that hate sustains them, and usually it's a bitterness driven by psychological dysfunction - why? lack of love, hearts empty of Allah's compassion, whatever.

    the eminent jurist, scholar, and Sufi: Mawlana Jalaluddin al-Rumi
    (al-Balkhi, 1207-1273 milaadi) :
    'what is justice?
    to water trees.
    what is injustice?
    to water thorns.'

  • At 5/28/2005 02:22:00 a.m., Blogger Nzingha said…

    As Salaam Alaikum

    Can I request you post the pics of every guy sending you them, unsolicited on your part??

    Maybe they will stop bothering you :)

    Personally I like your blog, I don't see anything wrong with it. As for being too personal, I think thats a matter of opinion. Some think women shouldn't be seen or heard or interacted with by the male gender on any level. Some even say blogs are haram.. I guess women authors are committing haram as well. But maybe that is another rant??

    anyway its a question of what your comfortable with. If you know your doing nothing wrong but pervert men (who I have no tolerance for) want to send pics to you and resumes (are you hiring for something?? maybe I missed it) want to bother you use the delete key. The wrong is on them, not you. women shouldn't be locked up in homes because of creepy men. (maybe I shouldn't get started on perverts)

    And for those who insinuate any bad intentions on your part because you hold a conversation with a man. Isn't that their problem?

    All this being my personal opinion as well :)

  • At 5/29/2005 02:20:00 a.m., Blogger ephphatha said…

    If it's any consolation to you, you strike me as being a very decent person with a good head on her shoulders. I have yet to read anything that would give anybody a contrary impression of you.


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