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Friday, July 15, 2011

7 Prom Tips For Teens by Sound Vision staff writer

You've resigned yourself to the fact that you aren't going to the prom. It took a lot of heated discussion with your parents and 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 upset and can't understand why you wouldn't want to be part of the 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 pressure you to come.

Below are some tips and suggestions about how you can deal with prom pressure

Tip #1: Be firm

"I had to be very firm and have a very forward opinion on it," says Amber Rehman, 21, about telling her friends she was not going to participate in the prom. "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.

But 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 shopping or hiking, but the prom is just one activity, which you'll have to skip.

Tip #2: Plan an alternative

"We need to see Islam as a cool alternative, not a loser alternative," says Shaema Imam, 22.

While the prom may seem hard to beat, there are alternatives out there. It requires creativity and intelligence.

After getting over the initial shock and disappointment of not going to the prom, go to Plan B. Get a couple of your friends who are not going to the prom together and plan some Halal fun. Contrary to popular belief, the possibilities are endless.

"For the brothers, if you have hockey [or any sport] they'll come," says Ali Shayan, 21, of Ottawa, 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 honing your athletic talent in comfortable clothes with your non-prom friends, looking cool and really dignified.

For sisters, you could throw an all-sisters party at your place. Have all the fun of a prom party minus the Islamically questionable elements. Get dressed up, made up and revved up for a night of Halal fun.

Tip #3: Plan 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.

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.

Tip #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 a Muslim youth awards ceremony, for instance.

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 gone through the prom pressure experience themselves.

Tip #5: 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 for college.

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 limousine, dress/tuxedo, or tickets to the prom and spend it on your family, just to spend time with them.

Tip #6: Don't become arrogant because you didn't go

While it does require strength for many Muslim youth to say no to the prom and similar activities, this is no excuse to look down on those who do not have that strength yet. The Prophet Muhammad, (peace and blessings be upon him) said: "No one who has an atom's weight of pride in his heart will enter the Garden (Paradise)." A man said, "And if the man likes his clothes to be good and his sandals to be good?" He said, "Allah is Beautiful and loves beauty. Pride means to renounce the truth and abase people" (Muslim).

It is by Allah's Will and Mercy that you were able to resist going. Pray that your brothers and sisters are able to do the same.

Tip #7: Encourage others not to go

By doing this, not only will you be helping others, but you will also have more people in on an alternative to the prom.

Do this even after someone has gone to the prom. Often times, people realize something is wrong after the fact. Discuss the issue with sincerity, wisdom and kindness.


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