We as Muslims in this country have an attitude that we are immune to certain calamities or illnesses and so we don’t need to learn about these issues because it will never affect us. This amongst other things is the ignorant attitude that is allowing these problems to infiltrate our communities.
This is my sisters story…
We are from an affluent background and have a good life. My sister got married young and has two kids. At 28, her husband started cheating on her. Not with one lady but various women. She lived on and off between our parents’ home and her husband’s during this time. Our parents advice to her was that she was welcome to come back home but should also try and make her marriage work for her kids. That’s it. It didn’t cross their minds or even mine or hers about STD’s that she might have been exposed to. She went back various times to him when eventually she threw in the towel and got a divorce at 32. A year later she was required to take an HIV test for an application for some reason and the test came positive. These days They are able to tell you how long you have the illness and she found out that she had recently acquired it. She got it simply because she kept going back to him with the intention of trying to make her marriage work.
My sister who is an Indian Muslim from a wealthy family in South Africa is HIV positive.
It’s not something that only affects the poor, or the uneducated. My father made her take 3 more tests because he simply could not believe her status. The amount of regret that we have for encouraging her to make a marriage work with a cheater without giving a thought about STD’s will forever be a regret for us.
Alhamdulillah, she has access to the best health care, ARVs that afford you a longer life span these days and we try to be her best support as a family. We haven’t told anyone and won’t even let her be seen by Muslim health professionals. We aware of the stigma attached. We were once of those same ignorant people.
The majority of woman her ex-husband cheated on her with were Muslim girls. Who knows if he told them. Muslims have an attitude that they don’t need to test because it doesn’t happen to us. My intention is not too alarm but inform. This disease is out there in our community and wrapping your kids in bubble wrap will not solve any issues. May Allah protect us and our children.
Comment: Islam is a Religion which advocates the preservation of relationships. Divorce in the sight of Allah Ta’ala is the most disliked of the permissible actions due to the fragmenting and negative impact on a family. When spouses experience any difficulty in their marriage, then the first steps should be to ensure how they may resolve their problems. If one spouse learns of infidelity from the other and wishes to forgive that spouse and attempt to find a solution to move forward, then undoubtedly this is better and tremendously rewarding. However, the society we live in today demands that certain precautions be taken. In this day and age where Zina is so rife and various diseases are so common, it is well within that spouse’s right to demand an HIV or STD test as these diseases can sometimes affect the health of a person for the rest of their lives.