The prom: Not just one night of Haram

”On the dance floor, this Muslim brother came up to me and said ‘Whoa, [my name] I didn't know you danced!' And then he danced off.”

-an anonymous Muslim sister's Prom Night experience, from the Salam newsletter, Montreal, Canada, Summer 1995

“It's a night when you don't remember Allah,” says Amber Rehman, 20, about Prom night. “As a Muslim, that's very hurting and corrosive for the soul.”

The Prom is a yearly social event commemorating students' completion of high school.

While this in itself may seem like a good reason to celebrate, other activities at the Prom indicate it's not just about academic achievement.

Sex, drugs, rockn' roll and lots of alcohol are four crucial elements of Prom night. But it doesn't stop there. Ask Shaema Imam, 21, who attended her 1994 Prom.

“It's not just the drinking, it's not just the hotel room and sex part, it ‘s the whole atmosphere that's created where alcohol, dancing and varying degrees of nudity are correlated with a good time,” says the McGill University student.

It is also big business.

“[The] Prom isn't about North American society wanting its youth to turn into well-adjusted people via grad night,” says Imam. “In fact, this is a multimillion dollar business of selling clothes, accessories, make up, limousine services, food, alcohol, condoms. You need to realize what this is all about.”

Prom night often starts off with dinner at a hotel organized by the high school. But that's tame compared to what happens afterwards.

Many of the students head off to clubs, where mixed dancing and plenty of alcohol and drugs are part of the scene.

“Once this clubbing starts, the true face of the Kaffir party is exposed,” says Imam “This part is the part not officially sanctioned by the high school.”

Imam says students in her graduating class rented a club called The Underground for the post-dinner part of the Prom. She says she was disgusted by the club scene and compared it to Hell, describing it as smoky, dark and unsafe.

ALCOHOL: NO PROM WITHOUT IT

“Everybody becomes so drunk,” says Shadi Sakr about the Prom.

The 22-year-old recounted how a fellow student became so drunken that when he saw Sakr the year after high school graduation, he kept insisting Sakr was in the limousine with him during Prom night.

Sakr did not even go to his Prom.

He discovered the details of the evening from his friends who went.

“Once they're drunk your non-Muslims friends are no longer nice-people-who-happen-to-not-be-Muslims,” says Imam.

“This is the point at which you realize that there is a fundamental difference between you and them. You are a Muslim and they are willing participants in this aspect of North American culture. This is where your Fitrah really kicks in,” she says.

Alcohol was also one reason Ali Shayan, 20, did not go to his Prom.

“I didn't go to the graduation or the prom because I had just started practicing [Islam],” he says. “The fact that there was alcohol and you had to go with a date, because of those reasons I didn't want to go.”

But alcohol can lead to more than making a fool of yourself on the dance floor: it could lead to death.
According to the group Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.), in 1995, 48.7 percent of traffic fatalities that occurred during the first week of the prom were alcohol related.

SEX: PROM NIGHT IS THE NIGHT FOR IT

While dealing with the opposite sex in school should be related to learning, “Prom night is a night to kick back and relax,” says Rehman. “Islamically, you're not supposed to kick back and relax with the opposite gender.”

“I was worried there would be fornication,” says Sakr, explaining why he did not attend his Prom.

He added youth losing their virginity on Prom night is one of the foci of the evening.

”It's the night where you become an adult, supposedly,” he says.

Hotel rooms are rented, in most cases for this very purpose.

In particular, clubs are where students “practice all [those] ‘girl-guy' moves,” according to Imam and the situation is even more dangerous because they are most often under the influence of alcohol.

THE BUILD UP AND LET DOWN OF PROM NIGHT

“It's supposed to be the gala event of your life,” says Sakr of the Prom. “Many literally worship this evening. They hype the gala event.”

“There's a whole building of an anticipatory culture around ‘the night',” explains Imam.

Indeed, youth are bombarded through magazines, websites, television sitcoms, advertisements, and general peer pressure to participate in this most “essential” of teenage rituals.

Even parents who are strict with their children tend to loosen up for Prom night.

“This is the pinnacle of the night for you to go out and do what you want and non-Muslim parents let their children do whatever they want [that night],” says Sakr.

“The whole year, people were getting their licenses, deciding on what clothes they wanted to wear. Reserving their appointments six months in advance for the hair salon,” he adds.

But the experience of and letdown from the Prom are much greater.

“It's almost impossible for any experience to live up to that build-up,” says Imam.

“This whole night there's [an] aura of high class escapism, but the day before the Prom and the day after you're still the same, unsure teen,” she says, adding it makes it seem almost like you have nothing to look forward to anymore.

”The next morning I went home on the city bus,” she says. “It's almost like turning back into Cinderella's pumpkin.”

INTENSE PEER PRESSURE TO GO TO THE PROM

“When in Rome do as the Romans do and that's very true of the high school experience,” says Imam

The peer pressure to go to the Prom is intense.

“I had to be very firm and have a very forward opinion on it,” says Rehman about telling her friends she was not going to participate. “If I let myself, I could have been persuaded.”

Peer pressure is often the deciding factor for a Muslim youth about whether to go to the Prom or not.

“It depends on how dear you hold your non-Muslim friends,” says Sakr. “I would say most guys would follow the group. “

HALFWAY MEASURES TO THE PROM

Some Muslim youth want to go to the Prom not for the sex, drugs, alcohol or rockn'roll, but simply to have a good time with their friends. They have no intention of approaching these aspects of the evening.

While on the surface, this may seem acceptable, the reality is very different.

“You're seeing people you've spent the last five years [in some parts of Canada, high school is for five years] of your life with in their worst behavior, and you're rationalizing it,” says Sakr of this kind of reasoning.

“It's really hard to have a halfway thing,” says Imam.
“There's no way your Muslim child can just go there and be a wallflower and not be affected,” she warns parents.

”Once you're there, you can't say ‘I refuse to participate in your evil kind of entertainment',” says Imam, adding that most youth would probably feel it's rude to leave.

“If you think that you can protect yourself, then you're entrusting yourself to your own weakness,” says Rehman. She adds that Allah warns against even going near Zina. With the Prom, you're not only going near that, but also near alcohol and drugs.

“You're bearing witness to the Haram and ask yourself, if you were to die there, how would you face Allah, that this is the last time you would be with your friends?” asks Sakr.

ONE NIGHT OF JAHILIYYAH, AND NEVER AGAIN!

”Perhaps, just for one night I could pretend to be a regular Western teenage girl, dress up beautifully, make my hair and make up, dance, have fun, and then, WAllah, I promise, I swear to God, I'll act like a Muslim forever after,?” wrote an anonymous Muslim youth in the Summer 1995 issue of the Montreal, Canada newsletter Salam, rationalizing her choice to go to her Prom.

“Many Muslim youth may be tempted to think that this night is their last foray into the Jahiliyyah culture,” says Imam.

But the result of this approach could be deadly: it could mean never coming back to Islam.

Or, judging from the statistics on traffic fatalities, not coming back alive.

“When I weigh the pros and cons of what happened, my Deen is still here and if I had had fun that night I would have forgotten easily,” says Rehman.

THE PROM NIGHT BUBBLE BURSTS

Apart from the letdown from the gigantic hype, Prom night turns out to be a bust for many.

Although Sakr says the day of the prom, he just stayed home, was bored, and “sort of regretted the fun that I could have had,” he later found out almost everyone at his Prom was drunk, there was too much craziness in the hotels, and some people got kicked out.

The Prom is a major test for Muslim youth. It represents the struggle against some of the very basic elements of what is defined as a “good time” in North American teenage culture.

Muslim parents and communities need to work together to recognize and help the youth fight against these pressures.

Comments

haha! funny you guys! 'prom is haram' yeah totally NOT prom is not haram its just one day you spend with your friends just like you spend at school, and it its wrong for boys and girls to mix...well dont send your kids to school then, coz guess what?..boys and girls mix :-o and yeah we do remember allah on that day, for instance when we think in our minds 'i cant drink its against my religion' - we are remembering allah, and when we say 'im not allowed to expose parts of my body its not right for my religion' we remember allah! seriously you guys put some weird stuff in peoples minds! EVERYONE OUT THERE BELIEVE ME PROM ISNT BAD, I WENT LAST YEAR, ITS AWESOME! I DIDN'T HAVE SEX, I DIDNT DRINK ALCOHOL AND THERE WERE TEACHERS THERE TOO, AND IT WAS GREAT FUN AND IT WAS A FORMAL EVENT AND WE DIDNT DANCE TO ROCKNROLL WE DANCED TO HIP HOP :) TRUST ME GUYS ITS NOT HARAM, OR IM SURE IT WOULD HAVE BEEN MENTIONED SOMEHWERE IN THE QURAN AND ISNT IT WEIRD HOW IN MUSLIM COUNTRIES THERE IS NOOOO SUCH THING AS PROM AND THEY DONT KNOW WHAT IT IS BUT, STILL ITS HARAM JUST FOR THE KIDS THAT DO KNOW IT EXISTS HMMMM SOUNDS A BIT FISHYFIED TO ME, so all those guys out there who wanna go prom, go, but those who wanna listen to this article that might just be a fake, go on listen to it, its your own loss, all the people that are going, have fun :) and yes tanjina i agree with you, your absolutely right :) take care everyone :) xx

Location

manchester

I think the article explains alot of things but left me with a few questions if your on a committee that decorates the prom and you have to go and help out is that still a sin eventhough during the prom you'll probably be running around and doing work

Location

kernersville

Jazakallah this was really interesting and deterred me even further to not wanting to go to a prom. I wouldn't personally want to go to one as I'm an introvert and alhamdulliah, are practising my faith a lot more :)

Location

Leicester

prom iz totaly haram wether u go nd sit der doin nofin or u dance da nyt off a avnt finished ma secondry skl yet bt a wld go kuz ma religion kumz 1st may allah guide uzz al 2 da strayt path AMIIN YA ALLAH!!!!!!!!!!!!

Location

birmingham uk

I think what u gues have written is alright....But i do think that u could have written how it is Haram..and persuade the young people not to go to the prom..Anyway there r soo many Islamic students who wants to go to the prom, and see it as the last day of having fun, and think that if they miss this oppertunity of a Gall night they will never have it again....Personally I dont see how this would help me! I am being honest and i dont see the examples of why we should not go to the prom, if u can promise urself that u will stay away from all the baad things that happens there...My prom is in 1 month time...and i decided not to go, because after the prom I would have asked myself why i went there..and I will start to think about the consequences there would be for me when I am dead...BUT still Whoever wrote this about the prom...I DONT SEE WERE U R HELPING THE TEENAGERS!...Stop giving examples of peoples who went to their prom and regrets it...and give some facts about why why AND why!!!!

Location

London

Prom is one big haram. It allows the free mixing of men and women, and especially in a haram way (dancing and music). Whether you participate in the dancing or not, you shouldn't even be there. The people there are doing haram. And just the music itself is haram (it is kufr music that drives you away from the remembrance of Allah swt). Would you go to a bar to hang out and then say "well, I'm not drinking, so it is okay"? It is not okay. You cannot say that such an establishment in itself is okay. It is a haram business, and going there shows means that you are okay with its existence.One night is no excuse. It should be "never". And this article, while it describes mostly what goes on after the prom, still has the right message "Don't go to prom". This goes for brothers too.

Location

US

UMM...isn't it haram just to GO to the prom?? Seriously...to go and watch ppl dancing and doing haram things??

Location

Asalmunaleykum,It doesn't surprised me when I read some of the comments. I know many Muslim teens love to go prom. I am 18 and I graduated last two months ago and I never attend prom. I also never attend many resembly or activities because many of these things is against my Sweet religion "ISLAM" I love to make Allah happy and I can't wait to meet him. Just remember whenever you do think before you do because there might be some things that Allah don't like you to do. Asalmunaleykum,May Allah increase our faith.May Allah bless all Muslims all over the world.

Location

Seattle,Washington

i think it's very true about prom. i went to my friends party, which i was invited to since i didn't go to her school. they actually rented an island off perth, where i live, called Rottnest Island. it was utter chaos. the police were called in because all the boys had gone WAY too rough. there was motels where you could here them in action and there was guys and girls sharing joints and XTC. it was so horrible that my group went to the farthest corner of the islandm, avoiding the others. when i have children, i would absolutely forbid them to go to proms.

Location

Australia

I find this article very sad. The fact that you people debate wether prom is halal or haram. First of all i am a muslim and i did go to my prom resently. Nothing happened at the actual prom, yes some people get carried away with there dancing thinking this is their last day to do all these things, and there are after parties that you choose to attend. The point is anything can be halal or haram depending on the way you choose to do it. example, going to prom is and isnt haram. If you drink, smoke, and have sex after, thats the haram, but if your there to have fun with your friends and teachers thats not. If a girl or guy has high beliefs than they for themselves will know whats right or wrong without anyone telling them. And you dont have to go home right after... me and my friends had an after party together... that was the most memorable night and nothing haram happened, thats the point of your last day of highschool. salamo 3alaykum

Location

Windor, Can.

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