Saturday, March 19, 2005

Fishawy, Hind and the Sheikhs

Sorry if I offended anyone in my last post, I just had to let it out of my system (isn't blogging just great:). If you're offended, just don't take it personally, and you can always think of yourself as the exception to the generalizations I make. Actually, just reading the comments now, people seem to have taken it much better than I thought they would. Maybe I'm wrong about Arabs after all! Probably not, I think bloggers are just very special people ;)

Anyway, here's a lighter post.

In today's Friday sermon, the Imam briefly mentioned how people are talking about "scandals" so frequently and so publicly, that it looks like its an attempt to make such scandals a norm in our society. He obviously was implying the famous story about Ahmed ElFishawy and Hind, which was the topic of this week's Hadeeth AlMadeena ("Talk of the Town") show and Elbeit Beitak on TV.

I kind of agree with him actually. Somethings are better left as taboos, or better, be talked about in abit of a more constructive manner, especially when in a public medium. We're not supposed to talk about our sins, and those guys are up on public television bragging about their daughter spending the nights out, and getting pregnant from Fishawy, and how she didn't sin because they were secretly married (how can it be a marriage if in secret?!). This is definetely not a unique case, quite a number of boys and girls sleep together and have premarital sex, and some girls get pregnant and get abortion, and some girls get that pre-wedding night operation. We all know it, and its good to discuss it in a constructive manner. But to get the girl, and her parents on TV and have them brag about her having pre-marital or semi-marital (whatever that would be called) productive sex, as if its of any benefit to us to hear that stuff, is just too much. I actually didn't watch the program, but I heard about some of its content, so I might not be very accurate here.

So why is this story becoming so public? I guess part of it is that the boy and the girl are famous. But also, that ElFishawy seems to have recently taken a more religious direction in his life, involved in a religious show, and being close to Amr Khaled. Ok, that would make it more interesting, the guy who is presenting an image of being religious is involved in a sex scandal. People just love that. People also love it when there are rumors (or true stories) about sheikhs involved in scandals as well. Some get really dissapointed, "I used to really like this guy", and some people find an attacking point, "Didn't I tell you all sheikhs are no good".

But I beg to differ with both. Why do we assume that a sheikh, or a religious scholar must be sinless?! Humans are by definition flawed. The sheikh knows more about our religion and is taking it as a career, but no one said that they should be role models. I'll go ask him for information and for fatwas, but I won't necessarily do like they do. They have more information, so they might have a better chance of doing better, and being closer to God, and maybe just by spending most of their time researching God's religion they are probably closer to God already. But that still doesn't make them role models. God created humans to sin, repent, and then ask Him for forgiveness. He already has angels. Those sheikhs are definetely not the prophet, neither are they the prophet's companions, or anything close to them (there are definetely exceptions however).

One of my all-time favorite Quran reciters is Mohammed Jebril. He was also involved in some scandalous story (rumor or not I don't know) involving a woman. I just don't care, he's still my favorite reciter, and I still love listening to his reading.

Now for the sheikhs that artificially make themselves role models, and keep judging people for their actions in their personal lives. I think these sheikhs are worth talking about what they do, and they should take a good look at themselves in the mirror before they judge other people.


The Cairene said...

There are many reasons why the story is getting that attention. Ahmed Fishawi's fame is part of it, although he's not really that famous. Its the way the girl decided to confront the situation and go public with it to protect herself in a way. I think they both share equal responsibility in what they did and I think what they did was wrong and stupid. (I agree with you, how can it be 'marriage' when its a secret? Ok that takes us to the controversial urfi marriage debate and whether or not its legal)
But what Hind did was she refused to shoulder the blame solely which is always the case when a couple decide to go urfi (unregistered marriage contract). The man usually gets away with it, no problem. But never the woman. She will always suffer from the stigma of urfi. Its her choice of course, but the only good thing Hind did was to make Ahmed Fishawi pay for it too. Its about time society understood that when it comes to chastity, wrong or right, haram or halal, both men and women have to share the responsibility. Even in Islam, both share the responsibility. Society however, continues to blame the woman for BOTH party's mistakes.
Having said that, I think Hind and her family took it a bit too far. As for Fishawi's new religiosity: well, obviously he knew nothing about religion and although I refuse to generalise and I dont think all committed Muslims are the same, I think Fishawi IS the male version of the pseudo-veil culture!

Mohamed said...

I definetely agree with you. They are equally to blame, and in all such cases, both the man and the woman are equally to blame. And you are very right, our society tends to throw all of the blame on the woman, as if its okay for a man to sleep around, and its the woman's fault not his!

I think its good that Hind is fighting this fight, and I find her very courageous to have actually kept the baby. And like you, I do think they've taken it abit too far. Or maybe we (the public) have taken it that far. She's pushing as hard as she can to get her case through, and we are dealing with it as if its a show and as if they're the only important couple to talk about.

The Cairene said...

Believe it or not, Hind's parents are happy with the publicity. A journalist riend of mine who used to know Hind's mother told me that the mother asked her why her paper didn't report on the case! Bit wacko really.

Twosret said...

I feel sorry for the baby. I'm waiting to hear the result of the DNA. It is a sad case when parents put their selfish selves first before their own flesh and blood.


Anonymous said...

I saw Farouk Al Feshawi last night on "Leman Yajrou Fakat" on LBC. I still believe that he was lying during the show as he defended his son whom he considers as an angel. Hind's father was very straightforward and outspoken as he gave proof that Farouk once threatened in an a statement to a magazine, or whatever that he would force the young woman to have an abortion even if he had to drug her! As a result, the older Fishawi had to leave the studio in a rage after arguing with Dr. Hamdi via satellite. Justice must be served for the sake of young Leena so she could have a normal life without being referred to as the "fruit of adultery" in this cruel male dominated society.

Mohamed said...

Yes, I hope justice will be served. But unfortunately, I think the little girl will still be referred to as the "fruit of adultery", thanks to her reckless parents, and to our unjust society.

A friend of mine was just telling me about that program you mention. His impression of the whole thing, "those parents are a bunch of pimps".

Sister in Islam said...

First of all I would like to thanks brother Mohammed for this courage and ability to tell the truth. I personally liked both this article and the Arab sucks one. I just wanted to add to what my fellow brothers and sisters said that not only the parents are reckless and their parents and just looking for fame, they actually harmed the image of Islam and Egypt. To add to your knowledge, American magazines like New York times are so interested in this issue and lately the published this article about Egypt going to Freedom and some other article said Egypt is changing the conservative, backward culture. Obviously, these people are taking advantage of this story to attack Islam and Egypt. Of course, these people they don’t care about that as long they are getting famous and rich. I really don’t care what Ahmed fishawy does in the night or how many guys did hind slept with. The only thing I want is that they keep their private life between them.

tic said...

I'm not sure that the NY Times correspondant in Cairo who published this story had that objective in mind (attackign Islam and Egypt). It was a very interestign observation on his part, and reflects interesting journalism. Its not really his fault that the Hind-Fishawi story did happen and that everyone was on about it! While Islam is not necessarily popular with the West, I don't think there is a policy to defame Islam as such. Some people are trying to do that indeed, but we shouldn't generalise not only because its not accurate, but because we should stop intensifying a feeling that we're victims for no reason. Islam is a fantastic religion, but not all Muslims present that image at all whether in words or action.
If Egyptian society looks bad because of Hind and Fishawi, then fine, it looks bad. I personally don't think so. I also don't care what the West thinks of us. We're not supposed to "look" better for "them", but IMO, we should better ourselves for "us", not "them."

Mohamed said...

I totally agree with you TIC. The way I read what our Sister says is that the Hind and Fishawy issue was portrayed in teh NYT in a way to show that we are becoming as 'good' as they are now. Not sure that we are good because Fishawy got Hind pregnant and abandoning the baby, or because we as a society are openly talking about this stuff!

My whole problem with this, is not the premarital sex-pregnancy-abandonance (happens all the time), nor talking about it in public. But the way we're talking about it and the way we're handling the issue.

tic said...

Yes, the NYT was suggesting that "conservative" Egyptian society is "openining" up etc.. which is, of course, a very superficial observation. But why are we making such a big deal out of it? We write crap about American society in our press all the time don't we? Sister in Islam expressed concern about Islam's "image" vis-a-vis the Hind-Fishawi story. I beg to disagree about the importance of OUR image to THEM. I would also like to add that the Arabic press is equally insensitive about our *image*. Read the Lebanese *pan-Arab* Assafir for example, which wont miss an opportunity without reiterating Egyptian poverty, backwardness, vulgarity, ugliness (people and places) as opposed to Lebanese beauty, progressivness and stability (never mind similar Lebanese ills). What I'm saying is, these are all sensitive issues and could be offending, but we shouldn't intensify the illusion that there is a world-wide conspiracy against Islam and/or Egypt. And even if such a conspiracy eixsts, we can't blame them if they lots of examples to prove that Islam is as bad as it seems..

~~SiSter In IsLam~~ said...

When I first read the article in NYT, it was so obvious that they were encouraging and showing hind as the brave single MOM and the society shouldn't look down to her. But anyway as u said TIC is not the NYT in Cairo. I don’t live there anyway. And believe me brother Mohammed, its is not my words that shows that the Fishawy issue was portrayed like that it is how its written in the magazine. At least I and many of my friends who read the article had the same conclusion. Also, I didn’t say we look bad because of this issue and I don’t care what they think about us. However, the way many articles illustrated this issue was that Egypt is evolving now ...from a backward culture to a modern open minded culture. You can go to and type Ahmed fishawy in the search area and you will know what I am talking about. Anyway, the interesting thing is what TIC said about "we shouldn't intensify the illusion that there is a world-wide conspiracy against Islam." I agree with u we shouldn't intensify it but, with my all respect brother, this is not a conspiracy or an ILLUSION. IF you just look at the Muslims situation around the world, you will see that they are mistreated not only in Europe or USA but also in the Islamic countries. Also, you said we shouldn’t blame them if there are many examples to prove the Islam is BAD. First of all, Islam is never bad. Probably, you meant Muslims and believe me there is a BIG difference between the two words. I agree with you there are many bad Muslims but that doesn’t give anyone the right to be against Islam at all. If you look to all religions, there are bad people and good people who practice it. But SubHan Allah only Islam should be judged. If anyone from other religions do anything wrong, they don’t say the religion itself is bad. They just blame that person. Then, why only Islam should be judge because there are some bad Muslims. You are right we can't blame them because we "Muslims" gave them the green light to do that but, of course, not because "Islam is as bad as it seems." Anyway, I am not here to argue. I saw this website be coincidence and I liked to share my ideas. However, If I offended anyone in anyway, please forgive me.

Mohamed said...

No offence whatsoever sister. Your points are well taken.

Bent El Neel said...

Hi All
A bit late to participate, but i only read this today.
First off, Hend IS a brave girl. As Egyptian women, we shouldn't beat her down. She made a mistake, but she is only human. Many men in our soceity get away with much worse. You must admire her courage in standing up and saying I was wrong, I made a mistake.
As a mother of a beautiful two year old little girl, I can understand that she wants the best for her child. Would it have made the society a better place if she killed that poor child (abortion)?? Would that have upheld our "morals" and "values"?? Would it have protected us (from looking bad)?
She did the most responsible and honest thing. That man Ahmed al Fishawi wanted to get rid of the child merely to protect his that honorable?
Secondly; i don't believe her parents were "bragging" about anything. They were being honest and upfornt.

Maybe that's what the Americans are implying when they say Egypt is moving forward. That people can be honest enough to admit mistakes and try to solve their problems. They weren't saying that Egypt is a better place if people are sleeping around. That's been happening in Egypt anyway (wake up). But to treat the issue, people resorted to abortions and hymen restoration and lived in lies...just so we don't look bad. Just so we maintain a pious moral appearance. That's dishonest...and not in the least honorable.

bernard said...

Don't care about it actually I didn't take that personally, I like your way of expression that's nice, because I'm a person who takes generic viagra and I'd like everybody showing respect of me.

Jessica said...

These two websites show everything about Muslims because We are not terrorists its the Jews and George W Bush that say "OH LOOK MUSLIMS DID 9/11" Because we actually didn't It was them (Jews an George W. Bush) So dont talk smack if you know nothing about us. We tell the truth. Not the Jews Not George W Bush. We tell the truth.