Free Flower- A Somali Atheist

What distinguishes us [scientists] from the pious and the believers is not the quality but the quantity of belief and piety; we are contented with less. But if the former should challenge us: then be contented and appear to be contented! - then we might easily reply: 'We are, indeed, not among the least contented.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


O Allah, as I lie here wounded, my spirit broken
I hear in my head the judge’s voice as he pronounces me guilty
The sentence I’ve to serve is in your words:
“The woman and the man guilty of adultery or fornication
flog each of them with a hundred stripes;
let no compassion move you in their case, in a matter prescribed by God,
if ye believe In God and the Last Day; and let a party of the believers witness their punishment”

Two years ago, on a sunny day, while on the souk my eyes were caught by those of Rahman, the most handsome man I have ever met.
After that day, I couldn’t help but notice his presence whenever I went to the marketplace.
I was thrilled when I learned that his appearance on the bazaar was not a coincidence.
One day he suggested we meet in secret, and I said, ‘Yes’.

For months Rahman and I met, shared drinks and delicacies.
We danced and dreamed… yeah, we built beautiful castles in the air.
And we made love, on every secret meeting.
As the months went by our relationship deepened.
What is more, out of our love a new life started to grow.
Our happiness did not go unnoticed and before long, envious eyes gave way to malicious tongues;
‘Let’s ignore these people and trust in Allah’s mercy, Rahman and I said to each other.
Naive, young and in love perhaps, but we thought that your holiness was on our side.
Rahman and I shared affection, trust and a deep respect for each other, how can God disapprove? Why would he?

And so we ignored the mean tongues, and together we continued to live our dream, albeit in more secrecy.
O, Allah, until we were summoned to court and charged with fornication!
Rahman called me a day before we were to appear before the judge.
He said that his father had smuggled him out of the country. What a pity that my father happens to be a pious man, I thought.
Rahman told me that he loved me and that he would pray for me. He also encouraged me to be strong and have faith in you.
O Allah, how can I have faith in you? You who reduced my love to fornication?
I lie here flogged – abused and shamed – in your name.
The verdict that killed my faith in love is in your holy book.
Faith in you…, submission to you... feels like… is self betrayal.

When I was sixteen my father broke the news to me in the kitchen.
“You are going to marry Azziz; he is from a virtuous family and he will take good care of you”.
When I saw pictures of Azziz instead of feeling excitement I thought of him as unattractive, and even though I did my best to see the perfect whole
I could’t help but notice de faulty details:
a scar on the lip, a bent nose, so much hair on the eyebrows.

My wedding day was more of a celebration of my families than of mine
Once in my marital home my husband approached me
Ever since then I recoil from his touch
I am repulsed by his smell, even if he has just had a bath
Yet, O Allah I obey his command
Sanctioned by your words
I let him take me
Each time I push him away he quotes you
“They ask thee
concerning women’s courses
Say: they are a hurt and a pollution
So keep away from women
In their courses, and do not
Approach them until
They are clean
But when they have
Purified themselves,
Ye may approach them in any manner, time or place
Ordained for you by God
For God loves those
Who turn to him constantly
And he loves those who keep themselves pure and clean”
So I stretch the days of my period
But of course there comes a time, when I must
Undress, he orders me and I submit
Not to him, but to you
Lately, enduring my husband is getting harder and harder
O, Allah, I pray, give me the strength to endure him or I fear
My faith shall weaken.

O Allah, most high
You say that ‘men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because, you have given the one more (strength) than the other’.
I feel, at least once a week the strength of my husband’s fist on my face
O Allah most high
Life with my husband is hard to bear
But I submit my will to you
My husband supports me from his means,
Therefore I am devoutly obedient, and I guard in my husband’s absence what you would have me guard; But my husband, maintainer and protector, fears disloyalty and ill conduct on my part; he accuses me of being ungrateful to him;
Like an army general on the battlefield he screams his every whim at me;
Threatens never to share my bed again
And goes away for nights on end
I suspect to another woman
I dare not ask him about her
Even though family and friends whisper about him and the other woman
When he comes back
He always finds a reason to doubt my loyalty to him
And after a series of warnings and threats he starts to beat me
First lightly on my arms and legs, just as you, most high describe – ahhhuh O shall I say prescribe – in your holy book;
But mostly on the face.
And why?
For not responding fast enough to his orders;
For ironing the wrong shirt
For not putting enough salt in the food
For chatting too long with my sister on the phone

O, God, most elevated, submission to your will assures me of a better life in the hereafter
But I feel that the price I pay for my husband’s protection and maintenance of is too high
I wonder how much longer I will submit

O Allah, most gracious, most merciful.
Just as you demand of the believing woman I lower my gaze, and guard my modesty.
I never display my beauty and ornaments; not even my face or hands.
I never strike with my feet in order to draw attention to my hidden ornaments, not even at parties.
I never go out of the house unless it is absolutely necessary; and then only with my father’s permission. When I do go out I draw my veil over my bosom as you wish.

Once in a while I sin. I fantasize about feeling the wind through my hair or the sun on my skin, perhaps on the beach. I day-dream about an extended journey through the world, imagining all the places and people’s out there. Of course I shall never see these places or meet many people because it is so important to guard my modesty in order to please you, O Allah. So I cheerfully do as you say and cover my body from head to toe except while I am in the house and with family members only. In general I am happy with my life.

However, since my father’s brother, Hakim is staying with us
Things have changed!
Hakim waits till I am alone at home and comes to my room.
Then he orders me to do things to him, touch him in places most intimate.
Since he is with us I took to the habit of wearing the veil inside the house in order to deter him. That doesn’t stop him though.
Twice now he unveiled me, ripped my inner garments and raped me.
When I told my mother she said she would take it up with my father.
My father ordered her - and me - not to question his brother’s honour.

I experience pain each time my uncle comes to see me.
I feel caged, like an animal waiting for slaughter.
I am Filled with guilt and shame;
and I feel abandoned, yet I am surrounded by family and friends.
O Allah, Hakim is gone, now that he knows I am pregnant.
For the moment I can hide my abdomen behind my veil, but sooner or later someone will notice. I shall be openly shamed and killed by my father, for not being a virgin.

When I consider this, I think of taking my life but know that in the hereafter the one who commits suicide shall never count on your mercy.
O Allah, giver and taker of life.
You admonish all who believe to turn towards you in order to attain bliss.”
I have done nothing my whole life but turn to you.
And now that I pray for salvation, under my veil, you remain silent as the grave I long for.
I wonder how much longer I am able to submit!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope someone will offer to rescue her out of this earthly hell. She needs Jesus. God, I pray you will save her.

10:18 am  

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