One question I hear fairly regularly is “How can you be both Muslim and a stripper? Is that even possible?” In short, yes. You might not be a very good Muslim of course, but that is up for debate. For many, their idea of a Muslim girl is at most covered by a burqa, at least in a hijab. In other words, very covered! For the most part that is me also. When I’m not “Henna” in my local gentleman’s club, I dress and (for the most part) act like most other Muslim girls. I doubt anyone at uni apart from Anushka would even believe me if I came clean about my night job. Not that I have any such plans to do so.
I think we can all agree that the act of getting your bangers out in exchange for cash is indisputably haraam or forbidden where Islam is concerned. However, I highly doubt it would be enough to send someone to hell on its own. There are many, many different ways in which we can all sin. My guess would be that rape and murder would be somewhere at the top of that list and other acts that cause grievous harm to others. There is a reason why being a stripper is legal in many countries (not many Islamic ones I will admit) and being a rapist or a murderer is not. While exotic dancing is considered amoral by many for various reasons, it does not inflict harm on anyone. It is simply a guilty pleasure, on my part and for my customers. It is something that makes me feel alive in the most bizarre way.
Nowhere in the holy Quran (or Bible for that matter) does is explicitly state that stripping itself is bad. It does however state that women should cover their all but their face and hands, so in that context stripping is indeed bad considering most remove all but their shoes. As far as I can see, this is the only so called crime being committed when someone takes part in public nudity. I’m sure that must be fairly low on the list of Things that may get one sent to hell. Premarital sex is clearly a no-no and yet many Muslims of the younger generation (especially boys) are guilty of that on numerous occasions. Assuming that there are no “extras” going on in the club, stripping does not actually include sexual acts of any kind. Sex is certainly implied, that is the nature of the business, but the point is that there is no actual sexual activity going on. Or at least of course there shouldn’t be. I myself haven’t shagged anyone yet and so am in the clear on that one issue. And yes, being a virgin and a stripper is a very odd combination. The other girls often ask what the hell I’m doing here. And no wonder.
Engaging in sexual acts for money, at a strip club or elsewhere, makes that person a prostitute. Not that I have any issue with prostitutes, so long as they do what they do willingly. It’s just not my cup of tea. You find people in that profession all over the world, including all over the Islamic world. While what they do in considered sinful, I certainly do not believe they should suffer for all eternity for it. After all, a fair exchange is no one’s loss.
There is one particular thing I find confusing.Despite being incredibly modestly dressed nuns are often widely sexualised in pop culture (for the record, I’m a fan of the sexy nun outfit). Not only is their dress is much the same as modestly dressed Muslim women, but their reasons (i.e. religion) are more or less the same too. Now, I realise that nuns are made sexy simply because it was considered ironic. They are meant to be celibate after all. Yet Muslim women are for the most part are seen as being completely sexless beings, despite the fact that it is certainly easier to find sexy Muslim girls than you would nuns. I find it funny how such a similar dress code has such polar results.
In any case, I do wish that there was less stigma associated with the stripping industry no matter what one’s religious beliefs. Ultimately, strippers (not so much the boys mind) and others in similar positions get a disproportionate amount of crap for what they do. There are some places where a woman who likes being nude in public (causes no harm) would cause far more outrage than someone who beats their partner (does cause harm) or mutates babies’ genitals for a living (causes a lot of harm) for no logical reasons whatsoever. Women have been fired from their respectable professional positions after being found out that they used to be exotic dancers, despite it having no effect on that position (see Diary of an Angry Stripper by Sarah Tressler). It’s not as if she had been partaking in illegal activities such as drug dealing her way through college.
Regardless of any morality issues, it’s certainly a job that will be staying off my C.V.