Okay, okay, you know it's Haram to go to the Prom. You've resigned yourself to the fact. It took a lot of heated discussion with your parents and practicing Muslim friends, self-searching and emotional wrestling, but you've finally made that decision: you're not going.
If only it were that easy.
Now, your non-Muslim school friends are having a fit, and can't understand why in the world you wouldn't want to be part of the biggest, best, and wildest bash of the century (at least that's what your friend on the Prom committee said it's going to be).
Even though they know you don't date, drink, do drugs, etc. they are still trying to push you to come.
Below are some tips and suggestions about how to deal with the Prom:
1. BE FIRM
“I had to be very firm and have a very forward opinion on it,” says Amber Rehman, 20, about telling her friends she was not going to participate. “If I let myself, I could have been persuaded.”
“You have to keep in perspective that you're a servant of Allah and Allah has placed great nobility, if you protect yourself from these things,” she adds.
Your strength and clarity about not going will take some time to sink in, but it will eventually give your friends a clear message: nothing they say or do will change your mind, period.
It should also be made clear that this is not a personal insult aimed at them. You are simply trying to maintain your Islamic principles, and you would not be able to do that in a Prom environment, that's all.
You and they can still play baseball, go fishing, or hiking, but the Prom is just one activity which you'll have to skip.
2. PLAN AN ALTERNATIVE
“We need to see Islam as a cool alternative, not a loser alternative,” says Shaema Imam, 21.
After getting over the initial shock and disappointment of not going to the Prom, go to Plan B.
Plan B? How can you have a Plan B?
Get a couple of your Muslim friends together (hopefully they aren't going either, reluctantly or not) and plan to do something wild, crazy, fun.
And of course, Halal.
The possibilities are endless.
“For the brothers if you have hockey they'll come,” says Ali Shayan, 20, of the Muslim brothers in his community in Montreal, Canada.
Sports are almost always a favorite for brothers. Think about it: while the guys at the Prom are sweating it out in uncomfortable, expensive tuxedos, and making almost complete fools of themselves on the dance floor, you could be skillfully ice skating in comfortable, cotton, hockey clothes with your non-Prom friends, scoring goals and looking really dignified.
For sisters, you could throw a totally wild and crazy all-sisters party at your place. Kick out the men of your house (nicely, of course, maybe request they visit their friends for the night) and have a party where you can wear all the make-up you want and be as crazy and insane as you want without having to “impress” the opposite sex in a too-expensive, revealing dress, uncomfortable heels and putting on a fake act .
It's important to note that these alternatives are not meant to be “celebrations” technically. They are primarily a way to have Halal fun and to keep away from the Haram.
3. PLAN FOR ALTERNATIVES EARLY
The sooner you decide not to go to the Prom, the better. This will give you more time to plan your alternative.
If a small party in your basement is way too simple to satisfy the Prom urge, plan a really fancy one
with the works: fancy hotel, lush carpets, nice dresses, etc. Except this will be only a mother-daughter affair. Or a father-son affair.
It could be a family affair, but the sisters who wear Hijab won't get to really have fun then, like wear make-up, style their hair, etc.
You can get those older rich brothers and sisters in the community to help you out with the funding. After all, you would be doing their kids (if they have any in their teens) a favor too.
If you're living in a small community with few Muslims, planning in advance will give you the time to get in touch with a nearby Muslim community a few miles away. This way you can still spend Prom night with fellow Muslims, even if you're community is small or apathetic.
4. HOOK UP WITH THE MSAs
Muslim Students' Associations (MSAs) play a very important role.
They should be one of key institutions in the community organizing activities. And since they are made up of young people, they should be involved with organizing something for the Prom.
The advantage of hooking up with the MSAs is that you have better access to funds and spaces to hold activities.
As well, you would have the guidance of brothers and sisters who may have, in most cases if they grew up in North America, gone through the Prom experience themselves. They should be sympathetic to the idea of youth carving out a Halal alternative to Prom night.
5. HANG OUT WITH YOUR FAMILY
Yes. Hang out with your family.
It may sound strange to do this when the Prom is about being with your friends. But think about it.
For many, this could be one of the last happy occasions you have with your family before moving away to another city or state or province for college or university.
Prom night isn't just about you finishing high school.
It should also be a tribute to your parents for helping you through the experience, whether it was by taking care of your basic necessities, helping you with homework, or paying for expenses.
Use the money you were going to spend on a limo, dress/tuxedo, or tickets to the Prom and spend it on your family, just to spend time with them.
While the Prom may seem hard to beat, there are alternatives out there. It requires creativity and intelligence.
If we start to see Islam's rules about Halal and Haram as challenges instead of obstacles in our lives, we can surely find ways of having “good, clean, fun” without feeling left out or having to sacrifice our Islamic principles.