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My Neighborhood is Unsafe: What to Do?

12 July, 2022
Q Salam, my neighborhood is very dirty and ugly. All our lives we have grown up listening to disbelievers chanting so loud. It would make me very sad as a child.

I always thought that I was depressed but now I realize the environment was horrible. A small slum beside where families got drunk and yelled all day and night. Same kind of people all around us.

When I grew up, I could not go out of home. We only went to school. Now that we have changed our home, things are better here. Though people here yell too and make huge hangover sounds while vomiting. I wear headphones whenever they begin or close my ears tightly. Even describing this is hurtful. Never in my life did I walk outside, the only time we went out was to see a doctor or something very emergency like that. Hence I have no friends.

Now I am a 26 years old working but I still cannot afford a vehicle for myself and so I am suffocating at home all day. Even when I go out, I do not feel comfortable. People here gawk like crazy. I am so scared now, I don't go out at all! I am a very good looking person and I don't like that. And wherever I go, a gym for example, guys try to flirt with me and everyone looks at me. The staring part is common in my country, I see people looking at other girls too but when I am out even if someone is looking down they will turn around to look at me. I wear black abaya just to look ordinary and not get stared at.

Everything scares me now. So I thought moving out of the country may help. I have always worked very hard to apply and secure scholarships in developed nations but my family is miserable, my two unemployed brothers always get in the way of my success. Staying at home all day is horrible enough, to add unemployed men at home all day is unbearable.

My attempts to immigrate continue though & I pray to Allah for company of wise people and a clean environment. I am scared now that I am an adult. I only want to immigrate with my partner and not alone. My parents are trying their best to find me a partner. But I am not as strong as I used to be when I was 21 or 22, when I patiently endured all this by reading, learning new things at home only but now I am unable to endure this anymore. I want to go out, although I am scared and not having a partner makes me insecure now for the very first time. All my life, even the worst times, I felt sad and scared but never insecure.

Sometimes, I feel I would feel a bit safer if I had my own car. That would mean putting up all my savings, even then I could afford a used car. I may lose all of my savings that I have been saving for immigration purposes. What is more important in Islam? Saving for the future? Or having my own vehicle that protects me from other men seeing me. My family does not have financial means to move out of this neighborhood.

My second question is staring at women, intoxication, yelling, backbiting is all forbidden in Islam, the more I read about Islam the more I realize how bad these things are and when I find myself in such a neighborhood it makes me feel low about myself, I tend to think either I am one of them or fear that I will become one of them. I feel that is the reason I am failing to get out of here. Kindly advice

Answer

It is understandable that your surroundings have a negative impact on your life. If you feel unsafe in your neighborhood, it is OK to prioritize your own protection first. 

Try to find companions to avoid the risk of walking alone in potentially dangerous areas. Buying a car in this case is a valid option. 

If you want to move to another country, consider scholarships, volunteering and job options as well, before starting the long and expensive immigration process. Why?

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Because if your expectations are realistic, you can avoid disappointments or end up in a similar neighborhood abroad.

What else can you do to feel better about yourself?

Check out the audio answer for more details! 

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DISCLAIMER
Views expressed by hosts/guests on this program (live dialogue, Facebook sessions, etc.) are their own and their appearance on the program does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent.  

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha has a PhD in psychology, an MS in public health and a PsyD. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years at Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. She has worked with clients with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, trauma, and OCD. She also facilitated support groups and provided specialized services for victims of domestic violence, HIV positive individuals, as well youth/teen issues. Aisha is certified in Mindfulness, Trauma Informed Care, Behavioral Management, Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Confidentiality & Security. Aisha is also a Certified Life Coach, and Relationship Workshop facilitator. Aisha has a part-time Life Coaching practice in which she integrates the educational concepts of stress reduction, mindfulness, introspection, empowerment, self love and acceptance and spirituality to create a holistic healing journey for clients. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocates for prisoner rights/reentry, social & food justice, as well as advocating for an end to oppression & racism. In her spare time, Aisha enjoys her family, photography, nature, martial arts classes, Islamic studies, volunteering/charity work, as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.