Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Tending the Hearth


Husbands gone to work or to war; long hours stretching into days, weeks, and months during which wives and mothers spend their days single-handedly raising their children and going to sleep in beds unwarmed by their men. Grueling journeys from one country to another; packing up not just clothing and utensils, but memories and dreams, it is women who find themselves binding their families together and fighting to create a new life and a stronger bond wherever Qadr takes them across the globe.
These are the women of the frontlines – not necessarily the women wielding swords and bandages, but those whose battles are fought on a different front, where their wounds are often invisible but no less painful than physical scars. These are the women who are left to tend the hearth but who tend to others’ hearts as well; the hearts of their husbands and children, while their own hearts struggle to remain strong.


Asmaa’ bint ‘Umays (radhiAllahu ‘anha) was one such a woman. She accepted Islam in its earliest days in Makkah, as a young bride to one of RasulAllah’s cousins, Ja’far ibn Abi Talib (radhiAllahu ‘anhu). Instead of a romantic honeymoon, Asmaa’ and her husband experienced something much more memorable – the first hijrah to Abyssinia for the sake of Allah alone. They were amongst the first Muslim expats, as it were, establishing both their marriage and their home in a country foreign to them in every way, from language and food to faith and culture.
As anyone who has traveled and lived abroad knows, the adjustment is never easy, and it was infinitely more difficult for Asmaa’, her husband, and the other Muslim emigrants who not only had to contend with culture shock, but also with the fear of the Quraysh coming after them, and longing for the company of RasulAllah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) and the Divine Revelation that came to him.

Asmaa’ bint ‘Umays spent fifteen years in Abyssinia with her husband Ja’far, raising not only her three sons, but an entire community of Muslims who clung together and held firm to the Deen of Islam. They received communication from RasulAllah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi sallam), messages which shared with them the latest verses that had been revealed, as well as words of comfort, support, and advice.

Finally, the long-awaited command came: RasulAllah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was calling his beloved Companions to their new home, Madinah al-Munawwarah. After over a decade in Abyssinia, leaving must have been yet another bittersweet parting for Asmaa’ and her band of emigrants. Even so, they understood the transient nature of this world, and in obedience to the Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), once again uprooted themselves and took the arduous journey back to yet another foreign land.

Returning to the land of the Arabs didn’t mean an end to the difficulty, however. As one of RasulAllah’s most beloved and trusted Companions, Ja’far ibn Abi Talib was often on the frontlines of the many military expeditions that the Muslims were engaged in. At the Battle of Mu’tah, RasulAllah established a chain of command: Zayd ibn Haarith, Ja’far ibn Abi Talib, and Abdullah ibn Rawaahah. If Zayd were to fall, Ja’far was to take his place – and that is exactly what happened. At the end of the battle, the Muslims were victorious… but all three commanders were martyred, and Asmaa’ bint ‘Umays was left a widow, the mother of orphaned sons.

Wracked with grief, Asmaa’ soon realized that although the battle was over, the war in her heart had only just begun. Her fight now was to raise her sons with the same unwavering faith that her husband had died with, and the same resilience and strength she herself had displayed when they had made the choice to move to and live in Abyssinia. Asmaa’s struggle as a newly single mother was recognized by RasulAllah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), who comforted her.

Abdullah ibn Ja’far (one of the sons of Asmaa' and Ja'far) narrates:

“The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)  gave Ja'far's family some time to mourn over his death and then visited them saying, ‘Do not cry over my brother after this day.’ He then said, ‘Bring the children of my brother to me,’ and we were brought to him like young birds. He then said, ‘Call the barber for me!’ And the barber came and shaved our heads.

The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) then said, “As for Muhammed (one of Ja’far’s brothers), he looks like our uncle Abu Talib, as for ‘Abdullah he resembles me. O Allah! Be the supporter of Ja’far’s family and bless ‘Abdullah (his son) in the transactions undertaken by his hands.” The Prophet (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) repeated this three times.
Then our mother came and mentioned how her children were now orphans and began crying. The Messenger of Allah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam)) said to her, “Asmaa’, are you afraid of poverty for them while I am their guardian in this world and in the hereafter?”

(Source: “Women Around the Messenger,” Muhammad Ali Qutb)

Asmaa’ remained a single mother for some time, dedicated to both her sons and her community, determined to be an active participant of the rapidly growing Muslim Ummah.
Allah didn’t leave her alone for long, however – roughly a year later, after the Battle of Hunayn, Abu Bakr (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) proposed to Asmaa’ bint ‘Umays. She accepted his offer of marriage, and they soon developed a relationship of respect, trust and love, such that when Abu Bakr was on his deathbed, he made it clear that he wished Asmaa’ alone to bathe his body and prepare it for his janaazah.

After Abu Bakr’s death, Asmaa’ once again had to contend with being a widow and a single mother for the second time. Yet again, though, a worthy man stepped up to take his place at her side as a righteous husband – this time, it was Ali ibn Abi Talib (radhiAllahu anhu), who was to be the last of her husbands.

The stories of Asmaa’ bint ‘Umays’ life are not unique ones: immigration, financial struggles, the unspoken but still raw difficulty of raising a family, crisis, loss, grief… these are situations experienced by hundreds of thousands of women every day, across the world. These are the battles that women fight on a daily basis, the frontlines that they live on, and they are struggles to be recognized and honoured for being every bit as glorious and worthy of Allah’s Pleasure as other, more glamorous life challenges.


Women like Asmaa’ bint ‘Umays are not alone, but they are unique when it comes to how they tend their hearths and homes while war rages within themselves and outside in the wide world – with the remembrance of Allah no matter how weary the heart may grow, and seeking His guidance in this world and the Hereafter. It is these women – women who truly follow the footsteps of Asmaa’ bint ‘Umays, with blood, sweat and tears as well as laughter and love, emaan and taqwa – who are truly forgotten heroines in our midst. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Choosing Polygny (Part 1)

The first of my new monthly column for Love, Inshallah.

“If I had another wife, she’d have the house clean and a fancy dinner ready every time I came home,” he said, only half-joking and not for the first time. “Maybe I should just marry another woman. A proper Arab wife.”
I looked up at him. “Maybe you should.”

That night, I sent a message to several women I knew, asking them to find a second wife for my husband. And then I lay in bed and imagined what this woman would be like, the woman who would make my husband happy, who would be everything I was not, who would be my daughter’s stepmother. I felt a bizarre mixture of jealousy, sorrow, and giddy relief.

I threw myself into reading about polygyny – the usual cut-and-dried fiqh rulings about husbands being obligated to be scrupulously equal in terms of time and finances; the generous staple of Muslim poly horror stories; and the rare glimpses of a happier kind of polygyny, in which co-wives went shopping together and the husband took all his wives and children to the park for a family day out, where the emotional struggles of first wives were balanced with discovering time for themselves, able to re-discover old hobbies or explore new activities.

My daydreams became more detailed: my future co-wife would be Arab enough for my husband, but would strike up an instant friendship with me; she would teach my daughter Arabic and provide her with everything necessary to navigate Arab culture and the khaleeji society we were living in, while I would breastfeed her (surely inevitable) son and slyly raise him to be a man with feminist values…

Best of all, I would be relieved of all the expectations that had been weighing down my shoulders for the last three years. I would be released from being held responsible for my many shortcomings, and I would finally have the time to accomplish all the dreams that I’d been forced to put on hold. I felt immensely pleased with myself for constructing the perfect Salafi feminist model of polygyny.

At night, though, I struggled with the slightly darker side of those daydreams. Was it fair to the other woman to pin all my hopes –and burdens – on her? Was I ready, no matter how difficult my marriage was, to send my husband to another woman? Was it right to harbor the tiny voice inside me that whispered that, should all else fail, this second wife would be my ticket to getting out of an increasingly unhappy marriage without feeling guilty for abandoning him? Why did I still feel a twist of jealousy in my gut thinking about my husband being in love with another woman – even though, to be honest, I’d never really fallen in love withhim anyway? In the end, I decided it didn’t matter. This was the best solution, and I wasn’t going to give up on it.

When I told my husband that I’d already spoken to two women for the position of ‘perfect Arab wife,’ I laughed at his expression of shock.
“I don’t really want another wife,” he protested. “I just want you.”
“No, no, you’ll see,” I reassured him. “It’s going to work out really well. I’m going to find you the perfect wife.”
I had already fallen in love with the idea of the other woman…and, I realized, even more out of love with my husband.

In truth, our marriage was already beyond saving, and deep down, I knew it. I also knew that my poly fantasies were unrealistic, if not ridiculous… and yet, I still felt inclined to polygyny as a model for marriage. I found monogamy to be suffocating, and though I knew some would say it was because of my own troubled marriage that I felt that way, I had reached the point where I no longer wanted a man – any man – all to myself. I’ve always been somewhat eccentric, to say the least, and now that I had immersed myself so deeply in the idea and possible reality of polygyny, there was no going back.

I was in a strange place, emotionally. On one hand, I cared deeply for my husband and was anxious to find someone for him who would be compatible for him in all the ways I was not; on the other, our relationship was becoming even more toxic, and I was swiftly reaching the point of considering divorce. Having felt overly controlled and smothered by various restrictions, I decided that it was time to go back to my life goals and make a firm choice to achieve them.

Not only was my current marriage not conducive to accomplishing the long list I’d compiled, I also realized that monogamy wasn’t going to help me get anywhere. No matter how supportive or loving a husband I could have, the simple reality of monogamy meant that many, many compromises would have to be made – compromises that I no longer wanted to make or had the mental stamina to be patient with. Polygyny was the only type of marriage I wanted… go big or go home, right?

Go big or go home, indeed. Little did I know that a year later, I would be divorced and that less than a year after that, I would become a second wife.

Zainab bint Younus (aka The Salafi Feminist) is a goth, (steam)punk, wannabe biker niqaabi feminist who may or may not be Salafi according to your definition thereof. She is a closet romantic and overly melodramatic, with a terrible fear of mediocrity. She can be found posting regularly on her Facebook page (The Salafi Feminist) and her blog (TheSalafiFeminist.blogspot.com).

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Book Review: Dowry Divas

As an avid reader with a special interest in Muslim fiction, I jump at the chance to read and review the newest books on the market, especially if they’re written by Muslim women authors. In the course of my Muslim-fiction-hunting, I came across a new name: Zara J, the author of Dowry Divas.

Described on Amazon as ‘The Muslim Sex and the City,’ Dowry Divas follows the complicated love lives of three Muslim women – Layla, Talia, Nadia – and the men they have either married, seek to marry, or are trying to marry them.

A hot-shot African-American lawyer who has just married the hottest Muslim attorney on the block, Layla finds herself completely unprepared to deal with an unwelcome guest at her glamorous wedding. Talia, a successful Latina entrepreneur, struggles with feelings of jealousy and loneliness, and decides to take the risk of seeking a soulmate on the Internet. Nadia tries to escape her father’s preferred candidate for marriage – and finds herself falling for Lateef, a man who already has one wife.
While the book is told from the perspectives of these three female characters, the men they’re involved with are equally fleshed out and dominate a great deal of attention.

Dowry Divas was very different from my usual reading material, which tend to revolve around women in difficult situations who face down their challenges with inspiring strength and courage. To be honest, I found it difficult to relate to the three women – if anything, I empathized with the male characters most, although I had issues with some of them as well. Despite being described as ‘smart and sassy,’ I found the women to come off as both slightly flat and unrelatable – one domineering characteristic they all shared was a rather concerning (to me) obsession with material things, with a particular emphasis on money, designer clothing, purses, and so on. They appeared to be unashamedly jealous and obsessed over marriage, desiring men who had 'swag', money, and who were religious but not 'extremely' religious.

I also found that many Islamic references (ayaat, ahadith, and fiqh rulings) were tossed around in a rather awkward manner in an attempt to explain aspects of ‘Muslim-ness’, such as polygamy. Perhaps the author’s intent was to include these things for the sake of da’wah to non-Muslim readers, but from a literary perspective, I found it a clumsy and unskillful way of getting the point across. I strongly felt that the quality of the writing overall was slightly weak – both the characters and the plot could have been improved with some editing and more development.

While my review appears to be quite negative, the truth is that this was my own personal reaction to a specific genre, which others may find enjoyable. While the characters in this book did not reflect the Muslim women or situations that I am acquainted with, it did make me aware of the fact that there are Muslim women out there for whom these circumstances are a reality, and therefore would be better able to relate the story.

At the very least, it is good to see more Muslim writers, especially women of colour, coming forth and contributing to the genre of Muslim fiction with their own unique perspectives. My only suggestion would be that instead of rushing to produce more books, whether self-published or otherwise, such authors should take the time to develop their skills and polish their work. It is important that the burgeoning genre of Muslim literature should reflect skill as well as talent, quality as well as quantity.

Dowry Divas is a book with a great deal of potential, and has an intriguing premise, though it will undoubtedly resonate with certain readers more than others.

Rating: 2/5 stars

AnonyMouse (Zainab bint Younus) is a young Muslimah who has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She is a writer (for SISTERS Magazine, SaudiLife.net, OnIslam.net and elsewhere), as well as a freelance editor who has worked for international Islamic publishing companies such as Darussalam and IIPH. She also blogs at http://www.thesalafifeminist.blogspot.com

Friday, January 23, 2015

Outspoken: The Power of a Woman's Voice


“Muslim women should be seen, not heard” is a belief that – if not spoken outright – is implicitly understood and reinforced constantly. “A woman’s voice is ‘awrah” is another catchphrase that is floated around commonly, and used to shame Muslim women who take a stand for themselves in any way. “Women who speak are fitnah!”

If anything, one common trait amongst all the wives of RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) - besides being of those who were guaranteed Jannah - was that, in their own way, they were incredibly strong women who were never afraid to stand up for themselves or to speak out.

Juwayriyyah bint al-Haarith was the daughter of an Arab chieftain - making her, in essence, a princess of sorts. When her father's tribe waged war against the Muslims and were defeated, they captured prisoners and spoils of war as was customary at the time. Amongst the prisoners was Juwayriyyah, who was the prisoner of Thaabit ibn Qays.
Despite the fact that Juwayriyyah's husband had just been killed in battle, rendering her a widow, and her own captivity, she was nonetheless both courageous and intelligent. She immediately began to arrange her own ransom, reaching an agreement with Thaabit that she would ransom herself for nine measures of silver.

She also arranged it so that she was given a meeting with RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam). With her head held high, her dignity undiminished by her circumstances, she addressed him with an eloquent and powerful speech.

"O Messenger of Allah! I am Juwayriyyah, the daughter of al-Haarith, the leader of his people. You are not unaware of what has befallen me. I am a captive of Thaabit ibn Qays, and I have bargained with him to ransom myself for nine measures of silver - so help me to free myself!"

In these brief words, Juwayriyyah established herself as a woman of intelligence, dignity, and of faith. Her very first words made it clear that she had accepted Islam - why else would she refer to him (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) as the Messenger of Allah? - and called attention to her situation by emphasizing her former position as the daughter of a leader, and her current position as a prisoner.
She made it known that she was not going to remain helpless and idle and allow herself to remain a prisoner, ensuring that everyone present was aware of the fact that she had taken pro-active measures, but also called upon RasulAllah's sense of honour, compassion, and generosity to assist her.

And indeed, this small speech was all it took to guarantee freedom not only for herself, but for her entire tribe.
RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) was so impressed by her that he immediately told her, "Would you like something better than that?"
Quick witted as ever, Juwayriyyah didn't simply accept, but rather asked, "What is it?"
RasulAllah (sallAllahu 'alayhi wa sallam) said, "I will pay your ransom and marry you as well."
Her answer was swift. "Yes, O Messenger of Allah!"

And with that, she was included amongst the ranks of the Mothers of the Believers. Not only that, but due to her acceptance of Islam and her position as the wife of RasulAllah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), she secured the freedom of her entire tribe… as well as their Islam. The power of her words, of her voice, was clear.

Unfortunately, it’s common today in many Muslim cultures and communities to find that women who speak up, whether in defense of themselves or for a specific cause, are penalized for voicing themselves. Their modesty, their piety, and even their personal lives are often targeted, sometimes with crude insinuations made. It is appalling that these accusations are thrown around at women who are doing little more than following in the footsteps of the heroines of Islam – the wives and daughters of RasulAllah (sallAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallam), his female Companions, and the great women scholars of the Tabi’een.

In a time when the Muslim Ummah is besieged on numerous fronts – militarily, economically, socially – the example of Juwayriyyah (radhiAllahu 'anha) is one to be told to every Muslim man and woman, reminding us that no matter what situations we find ourselves in, Allah helps those who helps themselves. In Juwayriyyah's case, it was her pro-activeness, her quick mind, and her courage that changed her from not only prisoner to princess, but into a woman of Jannah. By modeling ourselves on Juwayriyyah, we will discover that one of the greatest tools for changing our less-than-ideal circumstances is complete trust in Allah, and never backing down from the numerous obstacles that will inevitably be in our paths.

{Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.}
(Qur’an 13:11)

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

On Handsome Men, Women's Desire, & Umar ibn al-Khattab

There is a famous story set during the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab’s khalifate regarding the man who was ‘too handsome for Medinah.’ The story is as follows:

As was his wont, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab patrolled the streets of Medinah at night, observing the state of his community at its most relaxed and vulnerable. Passing by a house, he heard the voice of a young woman raised in longing as she recited a couplet.

هل من سبيل إلى الخمر فأشربها؟
أو هل من سبيل إلى نصر بن الحجاج

“Is there no way for me to receive wine that I may drink it? Or is there no way for me to be with Nasr ibn Hajjaj?”

Alarmed by the desperation and longing in her voice, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab knew that he had to do something. The next day, he summoned the man known as Nasr ibn Hajjaj – and discovered that he was one of the most handsome men of Medinah.

Hoping to diminish the effect that this young man obviously had on the women of Medinah, Umar commanded that Nasr’s hair should be cut from the front - only to realize with dismay that the man’s beauty only increased.

Next, Umar told Nasr to wear a turban and cover his hair completely – with the same result. Exasperated, Umar finally demanded that Nasr’s hair be shaved off entirely. Unfortunately, Nasr’s handsomeness simply became even more obvious.

In response to Umar’s actions, Nasr composed the following poetry:

لظـن ابـن خطـاب ٍعلـي ّ بجُمـة ٍالى رُجّلت تهتـز هـز السلاسـل ِ
فصـلّـع رأســا ً لــم يصلّـعـه ربّــهيـرف رفيفـا ً بـعـد أســود جـائـل ِ
لقد حسد القرعان اصلع ُ لم يكناذا مـا مـشـى بالـفـرع مُتخـايـل ُ

"Umar could not see my curls,
My hair which when combed waved like a chain;
He made that head bald where once there was profuse hair;
He who was bald headed felt jealous of him who had hair,
As he could not be proud of his hair, he deprived me of his hair."

News of ‘Umar’s actions spread, and the young woman who had first recited the fateful couplet that had begun this entire saga shared her own feelings on the subject.

حلـقوا رأســه ليـــكـسـب قــبـحاً
غيرة مـــنـهــــم عـليـه وشـحـــا
كـان صـبـحـا عـلـيـه لـيـل بـهـيـم
فمحــوا لـيـلـه وأبـقــوه صـبـحـــا

"They shaved his head so that he may become ugly, jealousy from them of him and a stinginess,
The morning on him was like a dark night, then they erased his night and left him as morning. "

‘Umar was further vexed by how dramatic the situation had become. “Ya Ibn Hajjaj!” he exclaimed. “You’ve charmed the women of Medinah! By the One in Whose Hands is my soul, I do not want you as a neighbor in any town I live in.”

So saying, ‘Umar ordered Nasr to be exiled to the city of Basra (in Iraq), which was a military town. A few days later, Nasr sent ‘Umar a letter, pleading his innocence and asking to be allowed back to Madinah. Nasr’s mother went to ‘Umar, begging him to allow her son to return.
“Your sons are with you,” she told him. “But you have exiled mine! This is truly unfair.”
“Your son is a danger to the morals of the women of Medinah!” ‘Umar retorted. “As long as I live, I will not allow him to return and create temptation with his looks.”

While this story is usually mentioned with an air of jest, or as part of a discussion on the wisdom of ‘Umar’s policies, I want to take a moment to look at this incident through a slightly different lens.
When it comes to female desire, many Muslims react in one of two ways: either they deny it entirely, or they demonize it as a source of evil and ‘fitnah’ for men. A woman’s expression of desire, whether it be verbal or otherwise, is condemned as being something filthy and in need of being immediately silenced.

Yet when we look at this story and the way that ‘Umar (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) reacted to the unnamed woman’s poetry, we see a completely different attitude. ‘Umar did not storm into the woman’s house and command her to be quiet, or to be ashamed of herself, or to rebuke her for daring to give voice to her emotions.

Instead, he recognized her desires as being completely natural, and rather than targeting her for being out of line, went to the source of the fitnah itself: the object of her longing affection.
‘Umar’s concern for the women of Medinah was not tied to labeling them the fitnah or uncontrollable, but to acknowledge their difficult circumstances (it is said that this was a time during which many of the men in Medinah were participating in Jihad elsewhere) and to do what he could to make it easier for them to bear.

Consider this in comparison to the way that Muslim women today are treated when they dare to mention the struggles they experience, whether it be with regards to the temptations of developing emotional relationships with men they interact with regularly at school or at work, or the very real issues of masturbation and porn addictions.

We today need to change the way we look at women and female desire, and instead of viewing them as something strange, impure, or impious, remember the attitude of Ameer al-Mu’mineen ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab (radhiAllahu ‘anhu): to understand, to empathize, and to help in a productive manner.

(Sources:
Ibn Sa'd
Ibn Asaakir; Taareekh Dimashq
Ibn Hajr; Al-Isaabah
Umar ibn al-Khattab, Volume 1, by Dr. as-Sallabi)

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Orthodox Muslims and Feminism

After watching an old video clip of a BBC program panel discussion on faith and feminism (featuring a Muslim woman in niqab as well as women from other faith groups), my primary reaction was one of disappointment.

Not only did the Muslimah representative remain largely silent throughout the discussion, but when she did speak, it was to offer weak platitudes and analogies about 'equality' - frankly, it made me cringe.

The video, however, highlighted to me many trends that I see when it comes to discussions about feminism amongst or involving conservative/orthodox Muslims.

For one thing, those who don't identify as feminists usually have skewed perception of feminism; those who do identify as feminists always fall back on the topics of hijab/niqab, polygamy, and 'equal but different'. There is very little mention of the active and important role of women from the very beginning of Islamic history.

Furthermore, orthodox Muslims discussing feminism often seem oblivious to the very existence of intersectional feminism, let alone the larger discussions and trends taking place within it. In general, conservative Muslims focus heavily on secular feminism rather than intersectional feminism, which is much more relevant to both women of faith as well as colour. The former is largely recognized to be exclusionist and limiting, with its focus being primarily on White, middle-class women of privilege.

Sadly, many conservative Muslims use the excuse of 'evil feminism' to deliberately ignore serious issues within our communities, especially with regards to the abuse and (mis)treatment of women. Discussing male privilege within masaajid, the abuse of authority, and how women are blocked from accessing their Shar'i rights are all written off as 'deviant feminism,' regardless of whether or not the individual identifies as a feminist to begin with!

It becomes ironic when even the most ideal, model Muslimah is condemned as a feminist the moment she starts speaking up for women's rights - or speaking up about anything at all, for that matter.

In short, rather than freaking out about feminism (and arguing about how it's 'kufr'), orthodox Muslims need to fix the major problems in our communities that lead to people seeking out feminism as a solution to begin with.
If we are so concerned with people 'abandoning the Shari'ah' allegedly because of feminism, we should be more concerned with *why* people are doing so - and the answer is very obvious. It is because we, the Muslim Ummah as a whole, are hell bent on avoiding dealing with our dirty laundry; in fact, in many cases we seem to want to *preserve* the injustice and oppression we inflict upon each other.

Bottom line: Stop whining about feminism, and start focusing on the very real problems (including and especially misogyny) that have left our Ummah weak and diseased.

May Allah make us amongst those who strive to fight oppression and stand up for the justice found within His Shari'ah (regardless of whether one calls themselves feminist or not ), ameen.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Honour of Women

There are two women whom the Qur'an states received direct Wahy (Revelation) from Allah:
The mother of Musa, and Maryam ('alayhas-salaam).

There are two women who saw the Archangel Jibreel ('alayhis-salaam):
Haajar ('alayhas-salaam) and Maryam ('alayhas-salaam).

Saarah, the wife of Ibraheem, also saw angels with her own eyes - those who came to warn Ibraheem about the fate of the people of Lut, and to give her glad tidings of her future son, Is'haaq.

Aasiyah, the wife of Pharoah, had her prayer forever immortalized in the Qur'an:
{My Lord, build for me near You a house in Paradise and save me from Pharaoh and his deeds and save me from the wrongdoing people!} (Qur'an 66:11)

Maryam ('alayhas-salaam) was declared a Siddeeqah in the Qur'an - a position immediately beneath that of Prophethood.

Women have never been ignored by Allah, or kept excluded from the greatest of honours that could ever be given to humankind. They experienced Revelation; they witnessed the angels; they were at the center of miracles - in Maryam's case, she *was* a miracle!

These women have been remembered, venerated, and held as an example for the men and women of this Ummah alike; they have attained a position with Allah that is guaranteed, which none of us can claim for ourselves.