Attracted to Her

>> Sunday, January 6, 2013

Assalam Alaikum
 I thought I would ask you for your advice and opinion because this is eating me up inside but I’m not sure where to start since it is all jumbled up in my head. It’s confusing even for me to explain.
When I was growing up, I was quite a tomboy; had short hair, played with boys and played those guy-sports. And because I looked and acted boyish, there were two girls who liked me in high school and it turned out that I was in a relationship with one of them during my senior years. But even when I was with her, I didn’t like the physical affection and always felt that it was ‘not right’. Even at that point of time, I would constantly have this internal conflict of whether I was gay or not. On one hand, I was attracted to her but then, I didn’t like being touched so intimately by another girl. We broke off later because the relationship didn’t work out.
A few years after, I decided to become a more practicing Muslim and I have started wearing hijab and abandoned a lot of things from my ‘old’ life. At least I am trying my best but it seems to haunt me even till today. I am close friends with sisters only now (previously I had close male friends) and some of them can be quite affectionate. There is one particular sister whom I am close to and she would always go all the way to help me out even when I didn’t ask her to. She would always become concerned whenever I fall ill and would take good care of me. We hang out quite often and I am comfortable around her. Sometimes I feel as though she’s flirting with the way she acts around me and the things she says but she had said before that she treats me like her younger sibling since she is much older. I’m not sure if that’s true because sometimes she can get quite close to me and I wonder if she is doing it on purpose. (Also, she does not know anything about my past)
It’s been years since I felt this way about another girl and I really really really don’t want to go back to my old ways. But I can’t stop thinking about her and I admit that I want to be around her often. I’ve stopped myself from frequently messaging her and tried to lessen any physical contact with her. But I cannot avoid her because we work together for projects and we take the same courses too. I’m considering finding a husband but that should not be the solution if I cannot even sort myself out. Is it wrong that I feel this way towards her? I just don’t know what to do with myself anymore.

Dear Troubled,
wa'alaykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo,
Ma'shaAllah for deciding to become more practicing and trying to let go of your past and become a better Muslimah :D I'm also really glad that you took the step to talk to someone about your situation and that you you felt comfortable enough with us to talk to us about it. I can definitely understand that you are in an agonizing situation. Unfortunately, that's the way it always is when it comes to attraction (outside of marriage).

You see, attraction is a test of sacrifice and submission. What you have to realize is that whether you choose to purse the object of your attraction or give it up, you are ultimately making a sacrifice. The difference lies in who you're willing to sacrifice for.  (Are you willing to sacrifice the object of your attraction for Allah or willing to sacrifice your faith for your object of your attraction.)

So yeah...that leaves us in a very painful and agonizing situation.

That said, let's take a look at your specific situation where you are dealing with same-sex attraction.

First of all, the fact that you said that you were never comfortable with the physical acts from the previous relationships tells me that you were looking for something else from the relationship. It wasn't about "lust or girlfriend/boyfriend relationship", then. It was about your emotional and (maybe) social needs being met. Maybe you had some problems in your childhood/ maybe you were neglected by a parent or both/ maybe you couldn't find anyone to talk too.. whatever it is, something was lacking and these people seemed to complete it for you. What you found in those previous relationships was the feeling of belonging. Suddenly you mattered to someone. Suddenly you were desired/ thought of as attractive. You found someone who treated you special.

Recognize that what you liked was actually how you felt around them. Just like when someone is addicted to drugs. It isn't about the drug, but about the feeling the drug gives them. It wasn't necessarily these girls. It was feeling like someone worthy of love. It was always about you  and not about these girls.

Does this sound right to you or am I totally off, here? 

If that is true, then it's the same thing, here. Again, you're finding someone who makes you feel special. You like their treatment and it makes you feel giddy/ desired/ loved...

But the problem is this is not an appropriate way to be getting your needs met. And it is not acceptable Islamically, at all. 

You know it and I know it. What you need to do now is come up with alternative ways to getting your needs met. How can you feel worthy of love/ special/ important without jeopardizing your faith?
To figure this out, think of activities that make you feel happy, proud, and content. Things like, for example, volunteering somewhere else, exercising, accomplishing a goal like memorizing a Surah, etc.I don't know what you personally like, so I can't tell you exactly what to do ...but you sit down and really think about it. 

As for this girl..

Sister, imagine I used to be a smoker and you and I were friends. You didn't know that I was a smoker and you just happen to keep a lighter in your purse for emergencies (black-outs or something). One day, you take out the lighter and show it to me. I might mistakenly think you are encouraging me to take a cigarette ..but the reality is that I came up with that, because I feel like it/ am thinking of one/ etc. Your history is painting her actions to mean something they possible have no meaning to, at all...

However, what if you're absolutely sure that she's fully aware of what she's doing and is doing it purposefully?

Sister. Whether she's doing it purposefully or not, you're not responsible for her actions. You are responsible for your own. 

You find yourself thinking about her in ways that are not appropriate. Whether she's contributing to that or not, you need to get that to stop:

* Keep your relationship professional. Get a different study/ project partner. Just say something like "It was fun working with you, but this time I am going to work with some other people..."
* Lower your gaze.  
* Put boundaries. If she says something that can be taken as flirting, don't laugh or go with it. Stop and give a look that says, 'I don't find this appropriate."
* Read more Qur'an
*Keep doing more istighfar (asking Allah for His forgiveness)
* Occupy yourself with seeking ilm/ other projects outside
* Make some new friends/ broaden your circle so that you're not spending time messaging her alone or anything like that.

These are the small suggestions I came up with. I hope inshaAllah the other sisters can help, too :)

May Allah make things easier for you.

With love, 

12 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Muslimah who tries,  January 6, 2013 at 9:02 PM  

This question really touched me, and it made me think how affected our muslimah are in this society. I don't think you are or were at any point 'attracted to girls lustfully' I don't think you are the 'gay' that you made yourself out to be. I myself am a tomboy, sometimes I struggle a lot with being 'feminine' and what that means. Because there is this prevalent idea of what it mean to be a 'women' to be 'female' 'feminine' etc, that if we do not strictly fit those characteristics that go with them, we put ourselves outside the lines, alienating ourselves from our gender. I have gone through so many phases where I just hated the concept of being a women. I thought that being weak, superfical, and not wanting 'womanly' things or not liking 'being one of the girls' made me tomboy-ish. I realized a lot of the things that I associated with girls, was just pushed on me by media and society from a young age. I know, it all sounds cheesy but you have no idea how true it was. I really hurt for you, and I don't mean to sound condescending or rude, but I wouldn't wish your sexual confusion on anyone, which I've seen romanticized in tv shows, movies, and books. I've recently become exasperated with how every other new movie which comes out has a gay scene. IT is just shoved down our throats. They depict unreal sexual longing that isn't real between sexes. You have to realize that these are all from the mind of people who don't have reins on love or any aspect of life, they just indulge. I feel like this is the pit of the problem which we have all fallen to. You see hetersexuals everywhere finding it 'amusing' when if you think about it, is the last thing one would/should laugh about. But addressing the fact that if you feel intense love and longing for a girl, does that mean you're gay? Absolutely not. You see the human mind and heart are capable of a LOT of affection, but we have pushed it all to the side and divided love into two simply catagories, sexual love and parental love. The love for a spouse or the love for a parent, but people have friendships, and admirations that are deep feeling for any gender. American media rarely recognizes deep connections between women without going beyond the lines. If you look at asian media, they have a lot of affection and I mean A LOT without any sexual intention. You look at korean language and behavior, women call other women 'nooni' or 'unni' which means sister, almost immediatly after meeting a girl of their gender that they are fond of. And men call each other 'hyung' which is brother. We don't have that identity here, our affection is either just friendship or lovers, there is no sister-this, friends don't become family-like at once, like in other cultures. That makes me sad, the limiting of our wide spectrum of emotions. But to address your problem, once you have crossed that line and acted on those 'brainwashed' emotions of lust with another girl, you've really lied to yourself or should I say been lied to. I mean, you've completely submerged yourself head-first into that delusion. I have to wipe tears away of happiness when I consider that you escaped that hell and become practicing. Any more of these 'feelings' are just your old habit shaking up inside you. Please don't think on that. There is 'love' and then there's 'love'. they are both intense and feeling, but they mean completely different things. As you can tell I have a lot to say on this subject, and I don't think I could exhaust it if I went on all day. I'm sorry if my rambling confused anyone who read this, I hope that my geniune heart shines through the words I've written and all can see I'm just trying to help, and the girl who asked this question can sees that I'm not trying to mock her or make light of the situation. I truly feel for her. I will earnestly pray for her to. Her hurt and pain have become mine.

Little Auntie January 7, 2013 at 6:07 AM  

^What an amazing commeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeent. ma'shaAllah ta'barakAllah. It is so true!
Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing that with us.

Please do visit us again, the Muslimah who tries :D

Anonymous,  January 8, 2013 at 10:38 PM  

Salaams sisters,
How do you ask questions on here?

Anonymous,  January 9, 2013 at 4:01 AM  

Wa alaikum assalam, if/when you don't see a contact page here, you can send your question to
But they say they take longer to answer the questions sent by mail, because the reason they remove the contact page in the first place is their having received too many questions for a particular month.

Little Auntie January 10, 2013 at 6:42 AM  

^ Yup, anonymous 2 is right on :)

Karima January 11, 2013 at 2:07 AM  

I agree media is a big issue for Muslims - they portray so many things that go against Islam and makes young people so confused as to what is right or wrong!

fatimah January 14, 2013 at 11:59 PM  

@Little Auntie: Jazakillahu khairan, as usual. I commented just to let you know I still regularly read this blog;)

@Muslimah who tries:
Barakallahu fik, sister. I just kept nodding while reading your comment... by a korean girl!

Anonymous,  January 15, 2013 at 11:28 AM  

salams all, I just read the comments and I'm really touched by all the replies especially by little aunty and the first sister.:D Everything both of you said made so much sense to me now and also right to the point. I need to do some reflecting on my part and perhaps try to understand why I'm feeling or behaving this way.

I can blame the media for constantly showing gays and lesbians on tv but part of me feels like I was born this way. Have you heard of animals who mate with their own gender? I can't remember which animal but they do 'do it' with the same sex. I think it is part of our nature and so I believe some could be born with this inclination. I'm not saying that I accept homosexual acts but the inclination to the same gender is not something unusual because even the Quran mentioned of tribe which engaged in it.If after much reflection and yet I still feel stuck in this 'dark hole', I heard of imam who advised that either you live a celibate life or get married. It sounds like a challenge to me being limited of these two options.

Pls pray that Allah guides me on the right path as I feel like I have strayed far from it at the moment. This whole dilemma has taken a toll on my spirituality and I don't wish to slip away and return back to where I was before. srry for rambling :(

Unknown January 17, 2013 at 11:25 AM  

salam sweeties.

would like to ramble randomly...

Its sad to know that the lesbian culture from the west is creeping in to the east.Fashion is on rampant even among the hijabis.dreams are being churned out to desires and thoughts and acts.divorce rates are getting higher and huger every year for petty and stupid reasons among our societies.studies are given preference over marriage and wealth over knowledge and character and strange of all is to know that many among those who are married are still unhappy,unsatisfied...consequently paving path for relationships out of wedlock.
scandals are being published, secrets are being exposed and honor being sold for cheap prices.

where all this will lead to one day is a question which will be answered by the coming times....

Little Auntie January 18, 2013 at 5:29 PM  

^Sister, I'm glad you read the comment and the post :)
The thing is, the Qur'an did mention that group, but it did so to say that it is wrong to do so (and not to point out that it is natural). Just like how the Qur'an mentioned certain groups that disobeyed their prophets and strayed from the path of Islam, the Qur'an mentioned the group that strayed sexually away from what is appropriate and the consequence they were given for doing so. (It's like think of the fact that Qur'an discusses the punishment for stealing, for killing, for lying, for backbiting, for any such thing: it does so to remind us NOT to do it).
In fact, the wording in the Qur'an points to the fact that it is not really something natural, at all:

And [We had sent] Lot when he said to his people, "Do you commit such immorality as no one has preceded you with from among the worlds? (80) Indeed, you approach men with desire, instead of women. Rather, you are a transgressing people." (81)[Surat Al Araf]

Do you approach males among the worlds (165) And leave what your Lord has created for you as mates? But you are a people transgressing." (166)[Surat Al Shua'ara]

However, the point is that whether or not you were born with this inclination, you just have to keep fighting it off. Your actions are not the same as your thoughts. You have to choose the right actions to do/ the things you need to stay away from, inshaAllah.

May Allah make things easier for you.

OzarksUSA January 19, 2013 at 10:55 PM  

I can't believe that some people still think that us gay and lesbians only "indulge." We are as normal as anyone else, and just as many of us are in monogamous relationships and have no desire to cheat. I hate that those incorrect stereotypes keep getting applied.

I understand your religion keeps you from opening your love to more. Please understand also, that being gay is a lot more than sexual interest. It deals with who you are as a person, how you relate to others, and how you relate to yourself. It is so much of you, and it doesn't all revolve around sex. I certainly don't think of sex all the time!

Anyway, like I said, I know your religion makes being LGBT out to be a big "no, no" but I hope that you are happy and able to be yourself someday, who ever that is. :-) Blessings.

Little Auntie January 20, 2013 at 12:25 PM  

We weren't saying at all that lesbians or gays are not monogamous or that they think about sex all the time. I'm sorry if it seemed like we were saying that. All that we were saying is that the relationship- monogamous or not- is not acceptable as it goes against what God has prescribed.

When I said that the fact she was not comfortable with the physical intimacy shows to me that it wasn't about lust, I meant it seemed to me that she was searching for simply an emotional bond/ and not a "love girlfriend/boyfriend bond".

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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