I do not know what to say.
Poverty, lack of education, a class structure, a tendency to look down on others - all which is against Islam, has invaded our ummah.
Why should a poor bricklayer sell his daughter? Bricklayers are always under debt. The kiln owners give them loans to start their lives, for illness, for food, for marriage, etc. The family is illiterate. The loans are at exorbitant rates, and the debtor's thumb is impressed on a document that shows a loan many times higher than the actual.
The family is always in debt. This, in Pakistan, is called "indentured labor".
The men are beaten, women are at the mercy of the manager and the owner. Both men and women are held prisoners in private jails.
In the rural areas the wadera, or the feudal landlord, allows workers to live and work on his land. They get rations and clothing for this labor. No money. No education, although there is a real case where the servant boy was educated with his master. They were at the same Department as mine in the UK. But I will tell that story later.
Again, the mazaraa and his family are at the mercy of the feudal lord. Often the land is associated with a hereditary peership, which gives it a certain religious sanction among those who follow peers.
The wadera has private jails, much larger than the kiln-owner.
In Egypt, and perhaps the rest of the Arab world, these are called Fallaheen, I think. Nasser did a good thing by breaking up the feudal lands in Egypt.
But new feudal minds have come up with new schemes. The Banks, and the hire-purchase industry, has the common man by the throat.
As for Shyima, it is a pity, a real pity, but it is common, too. As for the family that used her labor, they were doing her a favor, in their opinion. If you think of it, they were, for life in a bricklayer's family is neither easy, nor with honor.
I jotted down some ideas on why some of us are turning away from Islam. This article shows one of the reasons.
But it isn't only Shyima who has a boyfriend. There are many more. Many from respectable Muslim families where they have received love and a good education including Islamic education. They know it is forbidden, and unless they repent, they will go to Hell.
Yet they go for it.
And some become apostate.
For the bricklayer, life may indeed have become difficult enough for him to sell his daughter. In the Bengal famine of the nineteen thirties/forties, parents sold their children for a handful of rice, not even a full bowl. Has life become so difficult for our Middle Class Muslims in the US that they cannot adopt a Muslim child?
Fact is, Muslims have lost sight of their obligations, and are spending their energies in more and more worldly pursuits.
Tell you Imam to emphasize in his khutba that all Muslim families that can afford it, should adopt at least one Muslim child. I understand there are many Muslim children up for adoption.
Tell him too to emphasize the responsibilities towards other human beings, particularly those who serve us.
But there is apostacy even in the well-to-do classes. And Muslims must address that question, too.