Monday, April 27, 2009

Ibn 'Abidin al-Shami

Imām Ibn Aābidīn ash-Shāmī (ra)

[Note: This is a biographical note about Ibn `Abidin, the author of the canonical collection of fatwas of the Hanafi madhhab. His name, when attached to a Hanafi fatwa is basically an endorsement of the veracity of that fatwa according to the Hanafis. Obviously, his position within the madhhab for all those who came after him is great. I would like to call attention to the relatively late period in which he came, and the fact that we have 'ulama in later times who are of a high caliber and that there is always much in the way of service to the sciences of the deen to be taken by Allah from the people of knowledge, should He give them the tawfiq. May Allah keep us attached to them and not deprive us of their barakat in this world or the hereafter... humza

Taken from]

Imām Ibn Aābidīn ash-Shāmī (ra)

1198-1252 AH / 1783-1836 AD

Sayyid Muhammad Amin ibn Sayyid Úmar ibn Sayyid Ábd al-Áziz ibn Sayyid Ahmed ibn Sayyid Ábd ar-Rahim ibn Sayyid Najmuddin ibn Sayyid Muhammad Salahuddin widely known as ‘Ibn Áabidin’ is praised in these words: the prominent, praiseworthy and noble scholar; an ocean of knowledge; the master scholar [jahbadh]; the great jurist [faqih]; the genius; the finest among the later scholars and the last of the research scholars; one with an exalted ancestry [hasib, nasib]; the erudite Imam; the litterateur.


The Imam was born - Rahimahullah - in Damascus (Syria), in a family of scholars and high ancestry in the year 1198 AH. His lineage reaches Sayyid Sharif Zayn al-Áabidin (ra) and from him to Sayyidah Fatimah (R), the daughter of the Master of all creation, Sall Allahu ‘alaihi wa Aalihi wa sallim. Ibn Áabidin’s father Sayyid Úmar and his mother were both famed for their righteousness and taqwa [being fearful of Allah]. May Allah have mercy on them.

Growing up

He grew up in his father’s care in the Qanawat area. He memorized the Qur’an at a very young age. He was a frequent visitor at his father’s shop where he learnt the skills of the trade [to enable him earn an honest livelihood]. Sometimes, he would recite the Qur’an in the shop.

On one such occasion, a passerby objected to his recitation in a public place, since people neither listen to the Qur’an nor pay heed to what is being recited. He also pointed out a few minor mistakes in his recitation. Immediately, he set out seeking good reciters to correct his mistakes.

Seeking Knowledge

He was referred to the master reciter of his time, [Shaykh al-Qurra’a, `Allamah] Muhammad Saýid ibn Ibrahim al-Hamawi (d.1236 AH). He perfected his tajwid under him and memorized Sha_ibiyyah, Maydaniyyah and Jazariyyah. He also learnt Shafi' fiqh from him and memorized Az-Zabd. He learnt Arabic grammar and morphology [nahw, sarf] before finally completing his studies and obtaining a general degree of authorization from him [ijazatun áammah].

Allah (SWT) had destined him to meet the greatest scholar of his age, Shaykh Shakir al-Áqqad, famously known as Ibn al-Miqdam Saád. Under him, he read books of Qur’anic exegesis, juristic principles, inheritance, tasawwuf, mathematics [tafsir, hadith, usul, farayiI, tasawwuf, hisab] and the rational sciences.

Áqqad was instrumental in changing his madh’hab to that of Imam al-Aážam [Ibn Áabidin was a Shafi' earlier]. He read major books of Hanafi fiqh under him like Multaqa al-Abhur, Kanz ad-Daqayiq and its exegesis Bahr ar-Rayiq, Dirayah and Hidayah.

He began reading Durr al-Mukhtar under well-known scholars, the most famous among whom was Shaykh Saýid al-Halabi. Ibn Áabidin’s meeting with Shaykh Shakir was a giant stride in his career as a scholar and a pilgrim upon the spiritual path. No wonder then, he remained in his company for seven years, after which Shaykh Shakir would present him to his own teachers and recommend them to grant him authorizations. His chain of transmissions [sanad] became more elevated and shorter than earlier ones. He also became a member [murid] of the Qadiri order to which he kept forever. [Tariqah of Ghawth al-Aážam Shaykh Ábd al-Qadir Jilani (ra) ]

After the death of Shaykh Shakir (ra), he continued studying under his deputy, Shaykh Saýid al-Halabi. Al-Halabi was the most learned man in Shaykh Shakir’s circle and was also the foremost Hanafi scholar of his time. He loved Ibn Áabidin so much that he did not start his lessons until Ibn Áabidin was present. The lessons of Durr al-Mukhtar were held next to the Umawi mosque after morning prayers.

Heir of the Prophet (S)

Ibn Áabidin was very handsome and charismatic; he was tall and had a good physique. He was mild mannered, kind and always cheerful; yet, he was dignified and poised. He had a certain awe about him that commanded respect. His speech was full of wisdom and foresight.

An Indian shaykh once said to his teacher Al Áqqad, when he left Ibn Áabidin behind waiting at the door: "Bring along the young man, for I see the light of Prophethood shine between his eyes."

Degrees of Authorization

He received degrees of authorization from major scholars of his time, from his shaykhs, and their shaykhs. This was on account of his shaykh Áqqad, who introduced him to his own shaykhs and grand-shaykhs when he noticed the extraordinary intelligence, sincerity and talent of the young man. Given below are the degrees of the authorization he obtained:

* A general degree of authorization from the famous shaykh, Muhammad al-Kazburi al- Kabir, the muhaddith of his time who passed away in 1221 AH. He signed the certificate of authorization in the year, 1210 AH when Ibn Áabidin was only a little over twelve years old.

* Another general degree from the great scholar and famous muhaddith shaykh, Ahmed al-Áttar who passed away in 1218 AH. He granted him this ijazah in 1216 when he was about eighteen years old.

* Another general degree of authorization from the great scholar, Al-Amir al-Kabir (d.1232 AH), which he had it sent to him in 1228 AH.

* An ijazah to narrate from the reciters of Damascus, through his first teacher Muhammad Saýid al-Hamawi (d.1236 AH) which includes many prominent scholars of that time.

* And the degree from his own shaykh, Muhammad Shakir al-Áqqad, famously known as Ibn Miqdam Saád.

The Scholar

Ibn Áabidin began writing when he was barely seventeen. Among his earliest writings were annotations on books that he read from his shaykh, Áqqad, especially on Bahr ar-Rayiq and Durr al-Mukhtar.

He worked very hard and kept a steady progress until eventually, he become the foremost authority on Hanafi fiqh in his time. In the times of Shaykh Husayn al-Muradi, he was made the chief mufti of Damascus. He received questions through mail from all over the world on various matters to which he replied, sometimes in a very detailed manner.

The Hashiyah or the Marginalia on Durr al-Mukhtar is his magnum opus in which he compiled the preferred rulings [of Hanafi fiqh], thereby making it an authority in the Hanafi madhhab. Durr al-Mukhtar is a concise work; thus, many matters have been omitted to keep it concise. Sometimes, descriptions are cryptic for anyone but a trained eye and an experienced master. Ibn Áabidin saw the need for its exegesis, and inclusion of many matters omitted therein.

Incidentally, earlier authors who attempted such a comprehensive work, passed away before they could complete their work. Usually these books did not progress beyond the section on ijarah [hiring, renting] like Fat’h al-Qadir [of Kamal ibn Humam] for example. Therefore, Ibn Áabidin started his marginalia from the part on ijarah saying, "If death takes me sooner, this should serve as the completion of the unfinished earlier ones. But if I live long enough, I shall return to make it a whole, complete work."

He began writing the Marginalia under the auspices of his shaykh, Saýid al-Halabi after he finished reading Durr al-Mukhtar the first time and from the notes he had made for the same. Thereafter, he read it once more with the annotations of Ibrahim al-Halabi. In the meantime he would show his drafts to the shaykh who would be pleased and say: "The time has come for this huge collection to be finally ordered and the giant task to be completed." As mentioned earlier, he started from the part on ijarah and went on till the end. He then started it from the beginning and finished at ijarah. Once it was completed, he began ordering the manuscript, but death didn’t spare him time to complete the fair copy of his manuscript. His son Álauddin later completed the fair copy and appended his own notes spanning two separate volumes, and named it Qurrat al-Úyun al-Akhyar bi Takmalati Radd al-Muhtar.

Setting of a Star…

A pious life spent in earning the pleasure of his parents, and duteous to Allah; a life spent in amassing knowledge and good deeds extinguished on Wednesday, the 21st of Rabi' ath-Thani, 1252 AH. He was only 54 when he died. His funeral prayer was led by his own teacher Saýid al-Halabi who broke down, weeping and clutching his own beard said: "I was treasuring you, for what comes after my old age." Prayers were held in the Sinaniyyah mosque and he was buried – in accordance with his will – near the grave of Shaykh Álauddin al-Haskafi, the author of Durr al-Mukhtar and next to the great muhaddith Salih al-Jaynini in Damascus. May Allah be pleased with him and grant him the most extensive of paradises.

A Note on Radd al-Mukĥtār

Abbreviations used in this work: when he marks it as ta, he means the Hashiyah of Államah at-Tahtawi on Durr al-Mukhtar; ha means the Hashiyah of Államah al-Halabi, who wrote the marginalia of Durr al-Mukhtar in two volumes.

In all his works, including his Marginalia he shows utmost respect to earlier scholars and refers to them with due deference. However, sometimes when he quotes Tahtawi or Halabi he adds: ‘Ponder’ or, ‘Needs ascertaining’ or ‘Pending further examination’ - he means that though he quotes them, he may not accept their opinion. He thus hints at his disagreement respectfully instead of an explicit statement.

by Abu Hasan
Based on the biographical note in Arabic by Shaykh Ábd al-Jalil Áta of Damascus printed as the preface of Radd al-Mukhtar, the Dar Ihya at-Turath edition. [Square parenthesis indicate translator’s comments]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Our Master Fudhayl bin `Iyyadh

[Taken from Mawlana Zakariyya's History of the Shaykhs of Chisht, translated by the Majlis al-Ulama of South Africa, may Allah reward them all for benefitting us with such a beautiful book... the selection has been edited by me slightly. The original can be found at]

Shaykh Fudhayl bin `Iyadh

His nicknames are Abu Ali and Abul Fadhl. Some have also mentioned Abul Faydh. His original homeland was Kufa. He was born in Samarqand or Bukhaara.

Besides being the Khalifah of Shaykh Abdul Wahid, he also acquired khilafate from Abu Iydh bin Mansur bin Ma’mar Salami who was the khalifah of Muhammad bin Habib who was the khalifah of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq (radhiyallahu anhu). In this way this Silsilah reached Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) through the medium of Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Siddiq (radhiyallahu anhu).

He fasted continuously, not eating for five days at a time (besides merely breaking the fast at the time of iftaar). He would perform 500 raka’ts Salaat every day. The author of Anwarul Arifin narrates that once Shaykh Fudhayl washed a limb twice by error in wudhu instead of thrice. At night he saw Rasulullah (صلى الله عايه وسالم) telling him in a dream:

“Fudhayl, it is not expected of you to omit my Sunnat in wudhu.”

His eyes opened with shock and fear. To compensate for the omission and as a penance he imposed 500 raka’ts Salat on himself daily for a full year.

In the beginning (before he entered Suluk), Fudhayl bin Iyadh was the leader of a band of highway robbers. All members of his band always were in his company. Inspite of his profession of brigandry, he was strict in performing Salat with Jama'ah, Nafl Prayers and Sawm (fasting).

Once on a mission of robbery, he heard someone reciting this aayat:

“What! Has the time not dawned on the Believers for their hearts to melt for the dhikr of Allah?”

The effect of this aayat on his heart reduced him to tears and sobbing. He repeatedly said:

“Yes, the time has arrived and I have turned to Allah.”

* When Allah Ta’ala wishes something to happen, He creates the appropriate conditions for it. From the very inception of his profession, he would keep a proper account of the details of whomever he and his band robbed. The amount, name, etc. were recorded. This record proved highly beneficial when he repented and abandoned his evil profession. He made amends and compensated everyone whom he had robbed.

However, one Jew refused to forgive him, claiming that the bag which was taken from him was filled with gold. No matter how many oaths Shaykh Fudhayl took, the Jew was adamant in his refusal. Finally the Jew said:

“I have already taken an oath not to forgive you as long as you do not give me the bag full of gold. Therefore, enter my house and you will see a box in which there is a bag of gold. Bring it to me so that my oath can be discharged. I shall then forgive you.”

Shaykh Fudhayl brought the bag to the Jew. When the Jew opened the bag, it was full of gold. He then said:

“I was convinced of your sincere repentance. This bag had contained pebbles. I have read in the Taurah that even sand will turn into gold in the hands of a person who repents sincerely.”

The Jew then accepted Islam.

* One day Shaykh Fudhayl passed by a caravan. The people of the caravan were speaking among themselves and were saying that in this area there is a notorious robber named Fudhayl. The people were full of fear as the caravan had to journey through the territory where Fudhayl’s band of robbers formerly operated. Hadhrat Fudhayl hearing this conversation said:

“Good news for you. Fudhayl has repented. He now fears you and flees from you just as you fear him.”

* Khwajah Fudhayl migrated to Kufa after his repentance and stayed for some time in the company of Imam Abu Hanifah (rahmatullahi alayh). With the intention of becoming bay’ah to Imam Hasan Basri (rahmatullahi alayh), he went to Basrah. When he reached Basrah, to his dismay he discovered that Imam Hasan (rahmatullah alayh) had passed away. He, therefore, became the murid of Shaykh Abdul Wahid bin Zayd (rahmatullahi alayh).

* He earned a livelihood for himself and his family by working as a water-carrier, filling water for people in their homes.

* Khwajah Abu Ali said:
“I stayed thirty years in Shaykh Fudhayl’s company, but saw him laugh only once.”

* Imam Ahmad Bin Hanbal (rahmatullahi alayh) said that he heard Shaykh Fudhayl (rahmatullahi alayh) say:
“He who pursues leadership will be disgraced.”

When Imam Ahmad requested for nasihah (sincere advice), Shaykh Fudhayl said:
“Remain insignificant. Do not live as a great man.”

* Hadhrat Fudhayl said:
“He who acquires the Ma’rifah (gnosis) of Allah Ta’ala without love will be destroyed by pride. He who acquires Khawf (fear) without love, will find himself off from Allah by terror and despondency.”

Cultivation of divine fear tempered with love for Allah results in qurb (nearness to Allah). Allah Ta’ala will honour a man of such fear and love.

 “Iman (faith) becomes perfect only when one fulfils all commands, abstains from all prohibitions, is contented with the decrees of taqdeer and fears the possibility of divine rejection.”

 “To abstain from doing an act to show others is riya (showing off) and doing an act to show others is shirk (polytheism).”

 “If you live in a place where you see no people nor does anyone see you, then you are most fortunate.”

 “I am grateful to a man who does not greet me nor visits me when I am sick.”

 “Of greater surprise than seeing someone crying in Jannah (paradise) is to see someone laughing on earth.”

 “Never hope to find three persons: An Alim who practises according to the degree of his knowledge; a person who has ikhlas (sincierity) according to the degree of the his virtuous deeds; a brother who is without fault. You will never find these three.”

In other words, if you search for perfection in human beings, you will be deprived of the acquisition of goodness and benefit.

 “Two acts corrupt the heart: Sleeping much and eating much.”

 Once people asked for his opinion regarding the people of Arafat (Hajj). He responded:
“If Fudhayl is not among them, they will be forgiven.”

 People asked: “When will friendship with Allah Ta’ala be perfect?” Fudhayl replied:
“When Allah’s bestowing and withholding (of bounties) are equal in one’s estimate.”

 “Allah Ta’ala afflicts worldly worry on the slave He loves and He grants worldly comfort to the one He dislikes.”

 “La’nah (curse) descends on a man who professes friendship for a brother while his heart hates him. Such a person may become blind and deaf.”

 Once while he was sitting in the Masjid, a man came and sat close to him. When Shaykh Fudhayl asked his reason for sitting by him, the man replied: “To derive spiritual love from your heart.” Fudhayl said:
“This is terror, not love. Either you leave or I shall leave.”

The man reluctantly departed.

 Once in Arafat, crying and sobbing, Hadhrat Fudhayl looked towards the sky as the sun was about to set. Holding his beard, he exclaimed:
“Even if you (i.e. himself) are forgiven, you will be a great embarrassment for me.”

 “People! Always be grateful for the bounties of Allah. Seldom has Allah Ta’ala re-instated the favours which he had snatched from people.”

 “Even if the entire world is bestowed to me with the assurance that no reckoning will be taken, then too, I shall abhor it just as you abhor a dead animal carcass.”

 “Entry into the world is simple. Emergence from it is difficult.”

 “A man who desires that people listen attentively to his discourses is not a Zahid (one who has renounced the world).”

 “When someone slanders you, know that he is more beneficial to you than a friend because he transfers his virtuous deeds to you (by slandering you).”

 “Once when Sufyan Bin Uyaynah (rahmatullahi alayh) visited Shaykh Fudhayl, he (Fudhal) said:
“At one time you, the Ulama, were the lanterns (of guidance) for the cities. But now, you are darkness for the cities. You (at one time) were for people stars of guidance like the stars in the heaven by means of which people acquire their direction. Now, you have become for the world a source of confusion. You (the Ulama) have no shame for Allah. You visit the wealthy and accept their gifts without investigating whether halaal or haraam. Then you stand in the mihrab narrating Ahadith.”

While Shaykh Fudhayl was admonishing, Sufyan with lowered head was reciting Istighfar (seeking forgiveness from Allah Ta’ala).

 He said:
“Sayyiduna Luqman (alayhis salaam) who was an Abyssinian slave, was the Judge of Bani Isra'il. He acquired this rank by abstaining from futile speech and acts, and by the truth of his tongue.”

 “If the Ulama adopt Zuhd, the necks of great oppressors will bend in submission infront of them. But, Alas! They spend their knowledge on the affluent people of the world in exchange for worldly gain. They (Ulama) have, therefore fallen in the estimate of people.”

 “One who indulges in association with people will most certainly be trapped in riya (show).”

 “I lament the Alim with whom the world plays. If the hearts of the people of the Qur’aan and Hadith (i.e. the Ulama) become disenchanted with the world, people will not be able to manipulate them.”

 “My heart is agitated greatly when I hear that an Alim or an Abid went for Hajj with the money of a trader.”

 “If the intention for the acquisition of Ilm is correct, then there is no superior act (than the acquisition of knowledge). But, generally, the intention for pursuing of knowledge is not amal (righteous deeds).”

His Demise
Shaikh Fudhayl Bin Iyadh (rahmatullahi alayh) died in the Haram Sharif of Makkah on the 3rd of Rabiul Awwal in 187 Hijri and is buried in Jannatul Mu’alla (the graveyard in Makkah Mukarramah). His grave is near to the grave of Our Mother Khadijah (radhiyallahu anha). Some people claim that he had died in the month of Muharram.

When he heard a Qari reciting القارعة (Al-Qariah), he let out a heart-piercing scream and died. Hadhrat Abdullah Bin Mubarak says that when Hadhrat Fudhail passed away, the heavens cried and an ominous silence settled over the world.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Women and the US Military

A horrific story in the BBC on how female soldiers in the US Military have been faring in Iraq...

We should reflect on how our often times hypocritical and even nonsensical attitudes toward women in the West as well as the Muslim world can bear some revisiting and reflection...

Women at war face sexual violence

Female US soldier (file picture)
Over 206,000 US women have served in the Middle East since March 2003

In her new book, The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, Helen Benedict examines the experience of female soldiers serving in the US military in Iraq and elsewhere.

Here, in an article adapted from her book, she outlines the threat of sexual violence that women face from their fellow soldiers while on the frontline, and provides testimony from three of the women she interviewed for her book.

More American women have fought and died in Iraq than in any war since World War II.

Over 206,000 have served in the Middle East since March 2003, most of them in Iraq. Some 600 have been wounded, and 104 have died.

Yet, even as their numbers increase, women soldiers are painfully alone.

In Iraq, women still only make up one in 10 troops, and because they are not evenly distributed, they often serve in a platoon with few other women or none at all.

This isolation, along with the military's traditional and deep-seated hostility towards women, can cause problems that many female soldiers find as hard to cope with as war itself - degradation and sexual persecution by their comrades, and loneliness instead of the camaraderie that every soldier depends on for comfort and survival.

Between 2006 and 2008, some 40 women who served in the Iraq War spoke to me of their experiences at war. Twenty-eight of them had been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped while serving.

They were not exceptions. According to several studies of the US military funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 30% of military women are raped while serving, 71% are sexually assaulted, and 90% are sexually harassed.

The Department of Defense acknowledges the problem, estimating in its 2009 annual report on sexual assault (issued last month) that some 90% of military sexual assaults are never reported.

The department claims that since 2005, its updated rape reporting options have created a "climate of confidentiality" that allows women to report without fear of being disbelieved, blamed, or punished, but the fact remains that most of the cases I describe in my book happened after the reforms of 2005.


Army specialist Chantelle Henneberry served in Iraq from 2005-6, with the 172nd Stryker Brigade out of Alaska.

I was the only female in my platoon of 50 to 60 men. I was also the youngest, 17.

Because I was the only female, men would forget in front of me and say these terrible derogatory things about women all the time.

I had to hear these things every day. I'd have to say 'Hey!' Then they'd look at me, all surprised, and say, 'Oh we don't mean you.'

I was less scared of the mortar rounds that came in every day than I was of the men who shared my food
Chantelle Henneberry

One of the guys I thought was my friend tried to rape me. Two of my sergeants wouldn't stop making passes at me.

Everybody's supposed to have a battle buddy in the army, and females are supposed to have one to go to the latrines with, or to the showers - that's so you don't get raped by one of the men on your own side.

But because I was the only female there, I didn't have a battle buddy. My battle buddy was my gun and my knife.

During my first few months in Iraq, my sergeant assaulted and harassed me so much I couldn't take it any more. So I decided to report him.

But when I turned him in, they said, 'The one common factor in all these problems is you. Don't see this as a punishment, but we're going to have you transferred.'

Then that same sergeant was promoted right away. I didn't get my promotion for six months.

They transferred me from Mosul to Rawah. There were over 1,500 men in the camp and less than 18 women, so it wasn't any better there than the first platoon I was in. I was fresh meat to the hungry men there.

I was less scared of the mortar rounds that came in every day than I was of the men who shared my food.

I never would drink late in the day, even though it was so hot, because the Port-a-Johns were so far away it was dangerous.

So I'd go for 16 hours in 140-degree heat and not drink. I just ate Skittles to keep my mouth from being too dry.

I collapsed from dehydration so often I have IV track lines from all the times they had to re-hydrate me.


Army specialist Mickiela Montoya served in Iraq for 11 months from 2005-6, with the California National Guard. She was 19 years old.

The whole time I was in Iraq I was in a daze the whole time I was there 'cause I worked nights and I was shot at every night.

Mortars were coming in - and mortars is death! When they say only men are allowed on the front lines, that's the biggest crock of shit! I was a gunner! But when I say I was in the war, nobody listens. Nobody believes I was a soldier. And you know why? Because I'm a female.

There are only three things the guys let you be if you're a girl in the military - a bitch, a ho, or a dyke. You're a bitch if you won't sleep with them. A ho if you've even got one boyfriend. A dyke if they don't like you. So you can't win.

Mickiela Montoya (Picture Credit: Emma O'Connor)
I wasn't carrying the knife for the enemy, I was carrying it for the guys on my own side
Mickiela Montoya

A lot of the men didn't want us there. One guy told me the military sends women soldiers over to give the guys eye-candy to keep them sane.

He told me in Vietnam they had prostitutes, but they don't have those in Iraq, so they have women soldiers instead.

At the end of my shift one night, I was walking back to my trailer with this guy who was supposed to be my battle buddy when he said: 'You know, if I was to rape you right now nobody could hear you scream, nobody would see you. What would you do?'

'I'd stab you.'

'You don't have a knife,' he said to me.

'Oh yes I do.'

Actually I didn't have one, but after that, I always carried one.

I practiced how to take it out of my pocket and swing it out fast. But I wasn't carrying the knife for the enemy, I was carrying it for the guys on my own side.


Air Force Sergeant Marti Ribeiro was assaulted by a fellow serviceman while she was on duty in Afghanistan in 2006.

It's taken me more than a year to realise that it wasn't my fault, so I didn't tell anyone about it.

The military has a way of making females believe they brought this upon themselves. That's wrong.

There's an unwritten code of silence when it comes to sexual assault in the military.

But if this happened to me and nobody knew about it, I know it's happening to other females as well.

Adapted from The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq by Helen Benedict, just released from Beacon Press.