The Islamic Garden
Growing Up an Orphan - Part
Three: Street Life
After little more than a week, I was released from the hospital, and I went back to my friends in the city. I was 15 at that time. They told me they had missed me, and I had the feeling they would take care of me. They made me feel comfortable, and I felt that I belonged even though I knew they could never be my family. I started to take drugs, and I used to get into fights and the police often got involved. I did not like the way I was living, and I felt that things were getting out of control — I was on a downward spiral.
I used to think about my mother, and I was happy that she was safe at home. I knew she was worried about me, but part of me thought she was worried because I was not cooking and cleaning; I did not think at that time that she was worried about my safety.
I left this group some time later when I got pregnant. Even if I wanted to stay longer with my gang, I could not stay because I felt great responsibility for my new baby. I did not want my baby to live this life. I became inclined toward my mother, my home. It was time for me to leave the gang. I wanted to regain my self-respect.
When my gang knew I was pregnant, they were shocked, and they all thought the best solution was for me to have an abortion. Even the father of my baby wanted me to "get rid of it." The only one who said I should keep the baby was my mother. She was disappointed at what I had done, but she took me back and helped me rebuild my life.
From the day I knew I was pregnant, I stopped drinking alcohol and taking drugs. I started to care about what is halal and haram.I had always known that what I had been doing was wrong, but the devil was my best friend at that time.
Knowing that I would have my own baby — another human being from my blood — made me feel for the first time that I am not alone. The point that made me change from bad to good was Almighty Allah giving me a light in my heart and a clear direction to take. Having my baby was the catalyst for me.
I went home to live with my mother. As each day passed, my behavior got better and better. Everyone thought that I would not be able to cope, but with the mercy of Almighty Allah I was able to.
During the pregnancy, I started to pray again as I used to when I was young. I started to open my eyes and think before acting, and I started to look at my mother differently. I cannot say I hate my old gang — they are still a part of my life and even though their behavior was bad, they used to tell me some good things. They always told me to go home to my mother and not to be there with them. They said they wanted me to live a clean life; they recognized that their life was not that clean. They used to give me money to buy food, and things I needed to keep me away from prostitution. They used to tell me that I do not belong there with them and that I should go home to my mother. When I left them, they were half sad and half happy.
A Sense of Purpose
I had my baby and named her Bilquis because I like the story in the Qur'an of the Queen of Sheba, and my baby is my little queen! Now I feel good 95 percent of the time. The other five percent is still trying to catch up. It is made up of fear, anxiety, and yearning for someone who will love me and accept me for what I am and what I hope and pray I will be.
I aim to finish my education and get my driving license, and I want to continue to have a very good relation with my mother and to be a good mother myself and a true Muslim woman one day.
Who I Am
If you were to see me walking down the street today, you would see a teenager who is not wearing hijab. I do not look any different than any other teenager. Sometimes, I might look a bit sad and sometimes I might look happy, and I know that people will make up their minds about me when they know about my life. They might think I am not a good Muslim and they might judge me harshly.
But what I know is that Allah has been so kind and merciful to me, much kinder than many people. It is not possible for people to see what is in my heart and what I dream to be and what I am working toward.
Just wait! With time, if you see me in the street, I will — God willing — be wearing long clothes and a scarf, and I will walk with confidence with my head held high. I might have had a rough start in my life, but I know that with Allah's help I can overcome anything. I will make up for the evil of my life; I will forgive those who have hurt me, and I will never judge anyone harshly because I know that people can change.