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W.I.M. wimmin

Haji 2003


W.I.M stands for 'woe is me".

We get new threads on Shiachat started by new posters who typically relate some domestic issue where a woman has been badly treated by either the father or the husband and occasionally some other male.

The story, since these posts are typically reasonably long, has a fair amount of detail and explanation and has clearly been written by someone with a reasonably good command of the English language. We are not talking about someone who has secretly grabbed access to the village computer in some remote part of a developing country.

Not unreasonably the post elicits uncritical sympathy from most Shiachatters. After all, if you saw Bambi's mother wounded in the forest would you not do all you could to support her and criticise the hunter in the process? 

Given the patriarchal nature of Muslim societies, the collateral damage is, of course, the implicit criticism of such societies, their institutions, cultural norms and so on. So for example, if someone has been taken advantage of through the use of mutah, then invariably there will be concerns directed at the practice and the people who engage in it.

And to my mind, that is the objective of these threads. 

The following are the reasons why I usually have grave reservations about their authenticity:

  1. The person writing them is articulate and educated. They know how to construct a narrative that works. This is not an easy skill to acquire. Their spelling and sentence construction are always good. This matters because such education does not exist in a vacuum. Anyone who is educated to this level has a knowledge of their environment and you'd expect the support systems where they could get help (if that is what they wanted).
  2. The poster typically writes about a situation where they were taken advantage of, sometimes as a result of their lack of knowledge e.g. the terms of mutah. Now that situation would be entirely reasonable if the person was writing about a situation pre-internet. However, if they are writing about any event within the last 5-10 years the question which arises is that any google search of various Islamic issues throws up results that include Shiachat discussions. We are therefore being led to believe that the first time this person heard of Shiachat is when the situation imploded and not beforehand.
  3. Allied to this point the question why someone would turn to anonymous, generally unqualified strangers for help when it would make more sense to approach organisations and institutions they were familiar with and which would both offer an independent and trustworthy point of view. If someone can find shiachat on google they can find such resources.
  4. There are often references to the poster's fragile state of mind, which in my opinion is simply there to head off any uncritical assessment. In developed countries the first person anyone would go to in a fragile state of mind would be there local G.P. (doctor) and they would refer the person to appropriate sources of help.
  5. Such stories are always about 'relationships'. The topic is sexy and everyone has an unqualified opinion. We don't get similar posts about any other aspect of human activity. We don't get anonymous new posters writing in detail about the challenges they face in terms of choosing between medicine or engineering, for example. 

The question then is what motivates such posters?

In my opinion, it is to attack Islamic and Shia institutions and practices, it is to sow discord amongst board members and certainly it is to provide ammunition for those board members who have an anti-Islamic agenda and who can use these stories as the basis for attacking people with a more orthodox mindset.

You may well ask what would qualify such threads as being genuine. 

I'd expect a genuine poster to leave out the 'gory' details. After all, that is for the benefit of feeding the bun fight that is supposed to follow. I would expect a genuine person to explain in very general terms the situation that they are facing and then to ask posters if they are familiar with any sources of support in a particular country or region (this assume that they can't find such resources themselves). At a push, I would say that a new poster could say that they wanted to speak to someone qualified and whether board members or moderators could point them in the right direction.


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1 minute ago, Maryaam said:

You cannot continually find external reasons for disharmony - at some point, you need to acknowledge that you need to look from within.

Yes, that used to be the white/western criticism of Muslim societies and then Mr. Putin's activities around Trump have shown that indeed you can take any society and exacerbate disharmony.

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9 minutes ago, Haji 2003 said:

Yes, that used to be the white/western criticism of Muslim societies and then Mr. Putin's activities around Trump have shown that indeed you can take any society and exacerbate disharmony.

Any society, or community or family can survive many onslaughts if there is harmony from within - the speed with which it can be pulled apart gives an indicator of the internal health/strength of that grouping - and the disharmony in the US was there long before Trump or Putin entered the fray - they just acted as a means to expose and define it more clearly.  

Don't know how white and western got into this (externalizing maybe...) - a society is a society regardless of where it is located or its ethnic makeup - but even an individual at some point has to acknowledge the part they play in their discomfort/sadness/failures/etc.  Blaming does not solve problems - it might make you feel validated for a few minutes, but the problem is still there, it is still dysfunctional, and most of all, it still needs to be addressed.

Edited by Maryaam

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46 minutes ago, Maryaam said:

Don't know how white and western got into this (externalizing maybe...)

Very much a colonial narrative that provided a justification for their expansionism.

"See those Hindus and Muslims in India and how they are at each others' throats? We're there to impose the peace while taking over the country. "See the Sunni/Shia conflict in the middle east it's been going on for centuries, but we can sort it out and steal the oil in the process. See those Hutus and Tutsis? That fight started long before our time, but we can loot their country in the name of peace".

etc. etc.

Smart societies understand the pressure points and knowing that a resolution is likely intractable manage the situation. It's the reason why the supposed shrine to Abu Lulu in Kashan is off limits. It's the reason why India banned Rushdie's Satanic Verses and it's the reason why my non-Muslim business associates in Singapore send me Eid cards.

They could follow your approach, but they've worked out that the dead bodies are not worth it.


Edited by Haji 2003

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What does this have to do with Shia attacking each other on a Shia site, presumably over a post that they don't like, don't agree with or think is fake…. or they don't like the poster, feel the poster is irreligious or a sinner or a troll?  

You seemed to be saying that you don't want posts that you see as causing conflict on the site.  My position is that the posts don’t cause the conflict, the conflict is already there (within the community) - the post just produces a platform and opportunity to expose it.
Don't know about your further ramble. This is not just externalizing - it is a total disconnect…..
Edited by Maryaam

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Either the OP’s assertion is correct OR -

One of the explanations could be that posts like these are initiated by good natured ShiaChat Mods & Admins who loose their sleep at night seeing no sizeable traffic coming to ShiaChat. :p

Damsel in distress posts that Hajji2003 mentioned help bring 95% of interested ShiaChat members back to life. 

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15 hours ago, starlight said:

@Haji 2003 Brother, while some of the points you made are valid I would still give the benefit of doubt to such posters.

As you must already know 4/5 years back I posted here as a 'W.I.M' so I think I am in a position to address some of your reservations.

Having a good command over English does not automatically mean someone has direct access to help. In some places such resources do not exist and in others, hard to believe but true, reaching out for help just doesn't cross the person's mind. How your mind works when you are in a situation is very different to how you think when you are looking at that situation from an outside perspective.

Lots of people come here and post in hope of finding an easy solution. Easy, as in discrete, minimum fuss and without involving the families. Understandably in cases like underage and virgin mutah the girl doesn't want her family to know and in marital problems people fear the amount of gossip and hence resort to places where they can be anonymous. 

Marital issues affect lives like no other. They leave long lasting, sometimes life long changes on almost every aspect of the person's life - physical , emotional, financial, social which is far more than a choice of degree or car would affect someone. 

So while lots of times topics are started to attack Shia practices there are times when a genuine person comes here in need of help. 

Yours were unlike these, you posted them over a longer period of time with back and forth conversations.

Most of these WIM types are one off eloquent “teen aurtein, teen kahanian” (a seemingly similar articles written by three random women in an old days Women’s Urdu journal) which I used to steal away from my grandma. 

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I think the problem is in desi culture, women are presented as knight in shining armor, emotionally strong, wise women who have the solutions to all problems. That's the character of asghari in Mirat ul uroos, in which asghari's husband was a demsel in distress and when he got married to asghari, she solved not only his problems but all the problems in his family and even neighborhood. That's why it's hard for desi men to see any woman acting like demsel in distress. I have noticed my cousin becomes very upset when I show any weekness like "I cannot drive in snow". And I am thinking: I am not your wife, you don't have to deal with my weaknesses or learning disabilities, what are you getting so upset about? It's okay for you to rant about all the girls you want but cannot have, but I am not allowed to talk about REAL problems? 

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On 1/13/2019 at 11:27 AM, Laayla said:

Bismehe Ta3ala 

Assalam Alikum @Haji 2003

I don't know if you heard the news recently about a Saudi 18 year old girl seeking asylum in Canada.  She arrived in Toronto in a short skirt...

Freeland said Qunun commented about the cold and she responded that it gets warmer in Canada.


Of course the issue at hand is not her type of clothing, but her impression of living a free life.  There is many points I want to address about this topic, but the “atmosphere" at ShiaChat feels like some voices are being restricted and prevented from sharing their viewpoints.  

She only wants freedom from physical abuse and I think it's her religous duty to try to save her life since physical abuse can lead to death. As far as her clothing is concerned, I believe when western people help Muslim women, they expect them to assimilate in western culture. People say that in domestic disputes, police always support the Muslim women. When my ex-husband called police on me, I was terrified, upset and shaking but police officer became mad at me just because I was not making eye contact with him. That day I knew that if I ever have to get help from police to escape my family, they won't help me unless I give up my hijab and other practices they dislike. 

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On 1/14/2019 at 4:03 AM, Haji 2003 said:

Yes, that used to be the white/western criticism of Muslim societies and then Mr...... Putin's activities around Trump have shown that indeed you can take any society and exacerbate disharmony.

That is a good analogy. However, I'd say that external sources of disharmony succeed in large measure due to the preexisting discord from within. In the society where I live, I notice that there is very little criticism, if at all, of the prevailing attitudes that provide the grounds for the misuse of some Islamic and even cultural practices. What happens is that the blame is shifted to the individual whilst social patterns are conveniently ignored. Putin did not sow seeds of discord in the US overnight. He merely used the internal conflict and the rise of neo-Confederate nationalism in the US to Russia's advantage.

There's another thing that might explain what you describe in the opening post. There are a lot of people from within the Muslim community who have doubts about the truth and suitability of certain Islamic laws and practices. This comes up so often that it's hard to miss and always causes a big bun fight. I think Muslim communities have still not figured out a way to deal with sceptics and agnostics from within because there hasn't really been a need for that up until now.

That being said, is there a larger Western neo-imperial narrative and its agents pressing on the so-called traditionalist and/or religious societies to come up to speed? Absolutely. There is no doubt about that. Cultural imperialism has never stopped. That's why the whole of the Western world celebrated when the Indian supreme court decriminalised homosexual activity. India is now officially Gay Hind. 


Edited by Marbles

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