In this counseling answer:
• It is not your fault, and nor you have called it upon yourself, unlike the common misbelief.
• Stand up for yourself. Verbalizing it will not only make you more aware, but it will empower you to stop the abuse when you see it or experience it.
• Allah SWT is indeed watching – and there will be a reward and punishment for those who exceed the limits prescribed by Allah Subhanahu Ta’ala.
• Remember, this world is a place of the test.
• Just because Allah SWT has promised that He will punish people who do evil in the world does not mean that you let yourself be abused.
As-Salamu Alaikum Sister,
I am sorry to hear that you have been experiencing such incidents. In your post, you have mentioned that you wear an abaya, but you still get touched inappropriately by people, and you have been experiencing it since you were as little as 13 years old, when you were even too young to understand the meaning of it. Your question is, that why doesn’t Allah SWT protect you.
First of all, Allah is definitely always watching and Ever Present. In the Quran, Allah SWT says,
“That Day, the people will depart separated [into categories] to be shown [the result of] their deeds. So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” [99:6-8]
While it does seem to you right now that Allah is not watching you, or protecting you – He is indeed there and He is protecting you.
While you have not elaborated the context and situation where people brush against you or touch you inappropriately, I assume, it has normally happened on the streets or in crowded market places.
It is a general belief and/or misconception among men (especially in the subcontinent) that girls and women who wear a hijab/abaya are meek and do not speak up. Therefore, they perceive them as easy to manipulate and use for their benefit. From your post, I also believe that you have not spoken up about it, or accused the perpetrator.
Talk about It
When it comes to sexual harassment, inappropriate touching etc., women have a tendency to hush it down. We are generally scared to talk about it for fear and shame, and also about judgment from others. What others would think if we said that someone touched me inappropriately?
Sister, it is important to understand that if someone touches you intentionally or unintentionally, it is not your fault, and nor you have called it upon yourself, unlike the common misbelief. The more you talk about it, the more aware you will become.
Moreover, you will be able to stand up for yourself and other women/girls who experience similar situations. Men like to take advantage of girls who are likely to stay quiet. When you stand up tall and verbalize it, be it on the spot, to other women/family members, or on the social media, you will learn that you are not alone in this. Verbalizing it will not only make you more aware, but it will empower you to stop the abuse when you see it or experience it.
Check out this counseling video:
Allah is Always Watching Over Us
Sister, it would be wrong to say that Allah is not watching you or protecting you. The world is a place where some people have been given more power than the rest, some have been given more freedom, some more knowledge or education, some more health etc. This does not mean that those who have less of something are not liked, valued, appreciated or protected by Allah SWT. Allah SWT sees and protects each and every one of us.
In the Quran, Allah SWT says,
“Allah! There is no deity but Him, the Alive, the Eternal. Neither slumber nor sleep overtaketh Him.
Unto Him belongeth whatsoever is in the heavens and whatsoever is in the earth. Who could intercede in His presence without His permission? He knoweth that which is in front of them and that which is behind them, while they encompass nothing of His knowledge except what He wills. His throne includeth the heavens and the earth, and He is never weary of preserving them. He is the Sublime, the Tremendous.” [2:255]
There are millions of innocent Muslims who are being slaughtered at the hands of merciless people. Allah SWT is indeed watching – and there will be a reward and punishment for those who exceed the limits prescribed by Allah Subhanahu Ta’ala.
The Day Of Judgment
Sister, this world is a place of test. We have all been sent here to do our part in the world, which is to oblige to the rules prescribed to us by Allah SWT. If either of us exceeds the limits, we will be held accountable for our actions. This world is just a temporary place where each and every action we take is being seen by Allah SWT.
Allah has made the Day of Judgment, to hold each of us accountable for the deeds we have done in Duniya, and we will be rewarded and punished for the deeds for Eternity!
In the Quran, Allah Subhanahu Ta’ala says,
“Then, whoever did (even) an atom´s worth of good, shall see it, And whoever commits an atom´s worth of evil, shall see it.” [99:7-8]
Therefore, if anyone is unjust to you intentionally or unintentionally, nothing is hidden from the eyes of Allah. Allah will hold the abuser accountable, in this world and/ or in the Hereafter.
Owning Your Responsibility
Sister, it is true that Allah SWT will hold people accountable and punish those who usurp other people’s rights etc. It is important that you do not relinquish your own responsibility in the process.
Just because Allah SWT has promised that He will punish people who do evil in the world does not mean that you let yourself be abused. If you are aware that you are being abused, or being taken advantage of, it is your responsibility toward yourself (and as a creation of Allah SWT) that you stand up for yourself and not let yourself be abused.
You will meet people in different walks of life who will try to manipulate you or try to take advantage of you. However, you will have to make the choice that you are there for yourself. Find the strength in yourself that you can and will confront people who try to take advantage of you; as it is your right.
Ask Help and Guidance from Allah SWT
Last but not least, ask Allah SWT for Help and Guidance. He is the All-Seer (Al-Baseer) and the All-Hearer (As-Sami). He hears the whisperings in our hearts and He knows everything that we want and desire. However, Allah SWT still wants us to bow down in front of Him and ask from Him. Whenever you feel lonely and unprotected, know that Allah SWT is there, and ask him from guidance.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.