I want to tell you about a problem in the hope that you can help me. I am a young woman, twenty years of age, religiously-committed and educated, from a religiously-committed and very conservative family. I live with my mother and sister, as my father died four years ago, and my only brother died three years before that. I fell victim to a friend who betrayed me and managed to take a picture of me without my knowledge, then she took me by surprise when she tinkered with my picture by using a computer programme and put my head on the body of a woman who was in a very immoral situation, and she demanded that I give her 5000 or she would send the picture to my mother. That evil woman knew that my mother suffers from spasms in her chest because of grief, and she said to me literally: “If you do not give me the money, I will send the picture to your mother and she will have a heart attack and die like your father and brother.”
I admit that I was naïve and I did not handle it well because I was so afraid for my mother and her feelings. She threatened me on the day when we were going to visit my maternal aunt, and I went into my female cousin’s room to pray, and I saw her bracelets, necklaces and jewellery, and I thought of stealing as something that came under the heading of necessity that makes forbidden things permissible. I said to myself: I will only take the chain because its value is sufficient for me, even though the jewels were in front of me, and I thought that if I took something from my own house and stole, my mother would find out, so I resorted to stealing from my aunt’s house. We have a very good relationship with this aunt and she is the dearest and closest of people to us. The only reason why I stole from my aunt’s house was that I could return what I had stolen to my aunt in the form of a gift in the future or some other way. I gave the money to that evil woman and I felt very bad after I had done this, because I had never stretched my hand towards any haraam things before. I am very religiously committed and I am memorizing the Qur’aan. After some time, this evil woman asked me for some more money. In the midst of my pain and suffering, my theft from my aunt’s house was discovered and my mother was shocked. As soon as she asked me I burst into tears and told her about the whole problem. Praise be to Allaah, my mother is a wise woman and trusts me completely, and she understood the situation, and she regards what happened to me and to her as a test from Allaah, but she criticized me sharply for not turning to her and for committing the sin of stealing. She asked me to pray to Allaah for forgiveness and I calmed down, and she thought that this was the end of the matter. My mother explained to my aunt what had happened, and returned to her what I had taken from her, but unfortunately my aunt did not believe it. Now the matter has had other consequences that affect my honour and reputation, and when I am with my family and relatives I am one person and when I am away from them I am someone else. When I swore on the Holy Qur’aan in my aunt’s presence that I was innocent, chaste and righteous, my aunt insisted that what had happened to me was no justification for stealing from her house and that she has lost trust in all young women after what I had done. What made matters worse is that I have a cousin (daughter of my maternal aunt) who always used to say to me: “Have you ever loved someone?” or whatever, and I would respond by saying that I would never go against sharee’ah or religion. When my cousin saw my situation she started to incite her mother against me even more, and there was an argument between my mother who was defending my honour, and my aunt who was accusing me of taking drugs, or that the picture was genuine and was not a fake, and love and affection turned to hatred and resentment.
Our shaykh: I am turning to you to judge between us, for I am a victim who has been accused falsely. I admit that I made a mistake because I committed a sin to get out of this crisis. I admit that I made a mistake because I was not frank with my mother from the beginning, because I was so afraid for her and I thought that I could finish with this matter without her knowing.
I hope that you can judge between us and my aunt so that the love between us may be restored, if only partially, and the relationship may be restored between my mother and my aunt, whom our relatives thought would only ever be parted by death, especially since I am going to give my aunt your answer to read.
Praise be to Allaah.
There follow three messages, addressed to you, your friend and your aunt.
The first message is addressed to you:
1. We ask Allaah to increase your reward, and to relieve your distress, and to reconcile your family.
2. We hope that what happened will be a lesson for you and for others, that women should not be careless about their pictures or allowing themselves to have their pictures taken, even with their friends, and they should not trust anyone with regard to such matters, even the closest of people to them such as their sisters, for example, because she cannot be sure that her sister’s husband will not see them or publish them, let alone trusting a stranger on the grounds of friendship or being related.
3. You made a mistake before stealing by not consulting people of knowledge and wisdom. When we read your letter, we thought that it would end with your consulting them about what to do with this treacherous friend, and we were shocked by the way things developed and reached such an extent. Perhaps this is a lesson for everyone who finds themselves in such a dilemma to look for a solution with others before it gets even worse, because the more problems develop, the more complicated they get, specially problems that befall women with regard to evil and corrupt people.
4. What you did with regard to your aunt was absolutely necessary. You told her the truth, restored her rights and swore to her what the truth of the matter really was. She has to believe you and overlook this matter. Remember that being truthful will save a person, and Allaah will cause the truth to be known sooner or later. So be patient and seek the help of Allaah, and persist in making du’aa’, asking Allaah to grant you relief and cause justice and truth to prevail.
5. We offer you this advice, which you need to discuss with your family and with a lawyer – if possible – because we do not know anything about the laws in your country: why don’t you tell the police about your friend who betrayed you with this picture, because we think that if she is arrested and her computer is inspected, Allaah will suffice you against her evil and the truth will come out in sha Allaah. Continue reading