MacKenzie Riley

‘Get Robin to the wedding’

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St. Thomas student is raising funds to travel to Pakistan to marry her fiance

Robin Wood with her scrapbook (MacKenzie Riley/AQ)

Robin Wood with her scrapbook (MacKenzie Riley/AQ)

Robin Wood was sitting in her musical theatre class at Saint John High school when a man walked in who would change the course of her life. The man began throwing cards around the room and performing magic tricks. The fifteen-year old student was intrigued and walked up to him after class.

“It was literally love at first sight. Something just sparked and we both knew it.”

Tabraze Sheikh was visiting his old high school teacher while on a break from medical school in Pakistan. For the next month and a half before he went back to Pakistan, he began his relationship with Wood.

Three years later, Wood is studying psychology at St. Thomas and she is engaged to Sheikh who is still studying in Pakistan. They are raising funds for Wood to travel to Pakistan to be married in April.

The couple are raising money through a website called gofundme.com, Sheikh is collecting bottles and Wood is selling clothes on Kijiji and working at McDonalds. They have raised $200 with a goal of $2,000.

“We’ve been engaged for three years now and it’s un-Islamic for us even to talk so we’re sick on gaining sin by talking on Skype.”

Wood converted from Christianity to Muslim almost two years ago. Although her friends and family thought she was doing it for him, she is adamant it was something she did for herself.

“I didn’t really believe in Christianity as a child. It was always pushed upon me. We went to church every Sunday and I really tried to get closer to God. And then I asked him about Islam and he explained it to me,” she said. “And it’s really everything I had been looking for. I really wanted to work going towards heaven. So, that’s what I really liked about it.”

Wood wears modest clothing and a hijab and doesn’t eat pork.

A lot of people were against the relationship because they live so far away from each other and in the beginning their cultures were so different.

“After Robin had converted to Islam she had to hide it from her parents who feared for their daughter because they thought I was going to harm her because of Islam’s portrayal in the media,” said Sheikh. “But we both knew we loved each other and we knew the truth about each other and our religion.”

Wood said converting to Muslim has been just what she was looking for.

“It’s not just like believing in Jesus and getting to go to Heaven. You have to work to go to Heaven. You do good and you go to Heaven and you do bad and you go to Hell.”

Wood prays five times a day.

Even with 6,548 miles between them and a nine-hour difference, the couple knows how to keep the love alive.

“I used to go to lunch everyday at a restaurant in Saint John and every morning at 3 a.m. he would wake up and order my food for me and leave a note.”

Wood has kept all the notes in a scrapbook along with pictures of them from his visits to Saint John. The scrapbook also contains poems and songs he wrote for her, their first calling cards and old flowers.

Wood has also created a great relationship with her fiancé’s mother.

“We call each other mom and daughter. She’s very caring,” she said. “But, unfortunately, my family is not supportive of him at all. My mother doesn’t support anything.”

Wood hasn’t even told her mother she’s going to Pakistan yet because she’s scared. She won’t tell her until they get more money.

“But I’m still going to do it. We just want to be together and not live with the sin anymore.”

2 Responses to ‘Get Robin to the wedding’

  1. Dr. Alexandra Bain December 4, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    Dear MacKenzie Riley,
    Young Robin Wood did not convert to “Muslim,” she converted to Islam. Islam is the name of the religion, the people who practice it are called Muslims. Also, someone best tell Robin that Muslim men and women are perfectly free to chat with each other over the phone or Skype, and even meet in person and go on a date. They just aren’t supposed to engage in pre or extra marital sex. Kind of like Catholics, Baptists, Jews and a whole lot of other people! Anyone interested in learning more about Islam and the Muslim world: journalism students, converts, or just people with interesting questions should consider taking a Religious Studies course on Islam offered next term at STU on Tues/Thurs from 2: 30 to 3:50.

    regards
    Dr. Alexandra Bain
    Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies

    Reply
    • Tabraze Sheikh December 25, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Dear MacKenzie Riley,
      Thank you so much for writing this article, its 99% accurate except 1 or 2 things but nothing major.

      This reply is actually directed to Dr. Bain. Dr. Bain, I have personally taught Robin Islam, I am a born muslim from a conservative muslim family. With all due respect your views and claims on islam seem to be very liberal and have no foundation, the only thing I can say that was correct in your statement was that yes muslims cannot participate in pre or extra marital sex, apart from that saying that muslims men and woman can freely talk on the phone, Skype and even go on dates is incorrect. Let me first start out by saying islam is a religion of prevention, to prevent temptation the Quran has told to uphold our modesty in our dress and behavior, for men and woman to lower their gazes toward the opposite gender. “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them.” and says: “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty.” (Surah al-Noor: 30-31).

      as far as dating is concerned how can a muslim man and woman go on a date when they are not allowed to be together? I can provide many hadith (sayings of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)) stating otherwise. for example: “Never is a man alone with a woman except that Satan is the third party with them.” And:

      The Prophet (PBUH) also said: “It is better for one of you to be pierced by a steel pin in his head than to touch the hand of a strange woman.” .

      As you can clearly see it is not permitted to be alone with a woman or to date. Robin and I know what we are doing is Haram (Forbidden) but often we talk with a mehram (a relative she cannot marry) present. We ask Allah for forgiveness and pray we get married soon so our union be halal (acceptable). Ameen.

      Reply

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