Friday, June 25, 2010

Why I think Allah has favoured women

The other day I woke up to perform my fajr salaah and it was really cold. I don’t know how but I somehow managed to pull myself out from underneath the warm blankets, and I have no idea how I managed to make my wudhu in that cold. Alhamdulillah soon I was performing my salaah in the warmth of my bedroom. A while before that I heard the front door opening as my father left home to go to the Masjid. I really did not want to be him right then, having to leave home and go out in the icy cold! Then I thought about how merciful Allah Almighty is. Here I get to stay indoors, comfortably performing my prayers while enjoying the warmth of my home, and I get the same blessings that my father gets and he has to leave the warmth of his home, and go out in the cold. Subhanallah, I was really convinced that morning that Allah (SWT) has favoured women.

Now I know that there are advantages and disadvantages of being a woman and the same goes for a man, but since people are always going on about how they think Islam favours men, I thought I’d bring up some more reasons why I think that women are actually the favoured ones. When I seriously consider the responsibility put on men’s shoulders, I’m glad to be a woman.

So, let’s consider some things here: Men have to go out and earn a living, and it’s their Islamic duty to provide for their families, they have no choice in the matter, and if they do choose not to fulfil this duty, then they have to account for this by Allah. Now for us women, when we earn money, we have no duty or obligation at all to provide for anyone, we can take all our money and spend it in whatever way we like, or we can save it, the point is; WE HAVE A CHOICE AS TO WHAT WE’D LIKE TO DO WITH OUR MONEY. Of course if we decide to use it in our homes, to assist and make things easier, then we are rewarded by Allah, but if we don’t do this, well, let’s just say, we will not be held accountable because this is allowed in Islam. Sounds very much like women are the favoured one’s doesn’t it? And while we’re on the topic of work and money, if a woman does not want to work she can stay at home and even though she does this, all her needs have to be seen to by the men in her family. I can see men thinking, ‘gosh that’s unfair, I wish I could stay at home and still have my needs seen to!”

It’s true that there is childbirth, period pains and PMS, which sometimes make us wonder why men got it so easy, but when we actually look at it, there are so many blessings in being a woman. Just for being pregnant there are so many blessings in its own, and then there are the rewards of breastfeeding and all in all, mothers were favoured three times before fathers were mentioned. In the jumuah lecture last week Friday the Imam spoke about parents and quoted a hadith, which I’m sure you’ve heard before. He said something to the effect that there was a sahaaba (R.A) who carried his mother on his back and took her for hajj and he came to the Prophet (S.A.W) and asked the prophet if he had fulfilled his mother’s rights, at which the prophet (S.A.W) replied something to the effect that his actions could not even repay his mother for one drop of breast milk that she had given him, Subhanallah!

All the talk about men being favoured really allows you to start thinking about these things, personally as a woman I have never felt that Islam favours men; in fact I’ve always believed that being a woman is something special, and sometimes I still can't believe that people say the things they do about Islam and women, it honestly makes me want to scream at times to think that they have gotten things so wrong. I think the problems begin to come in when people divert from the true Islamic teachings, but that’s another story altogether. It’s going to seem like I always go on about this, but really, the truth is that discrimination between men and women, and deciding that one gender is superior to the next comes from different cultural beliefs, beliefs and customs are adopted by some Muslims even though they have no basis in Islam, and this just ends up confusing many people.

The truth of the matter is that Allah created us all, men and women, and Allah has given us both certain roles, and rights and duties that come with these roles, and Allah (SWT) can never be prejudiced against anyone, most definitely not when it comes to gender. 

So even though I know that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah Almighty, the next time I get to appreciate the warmth and comfort of my home, while the men in my family have to go out in the cold, I know I’m not going to be able to help myself and I’ll probably end up thinking that Allah has favoured me, and Allah knows best about every single thing!

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

In dedication to a woman of true piety- Mariam (alaihis salaam)

A woman who epitomised purity,
She redefined all ideas of piety,
Beloved by the One Above,
Shining, soaring, like a white dove.

The Holy Book (Quraan) details her life,
Such a high status she was given,
Through all her struggles and her strife,
Her ultimate goal was always Heaven.
Blessed with the fruits from Jannah,
Her prayers were answered instantly,
Dedicated only to her Lord, definitely not a sinner,
To Allah did she turn, ever constantly.

The mother of a great Prophet,
Giving birth, alone, in complete isolation,
Her sacrifices were for all of our benefit,
Her life, from beginning to end, given to Allah in dedication.

She endured the mocking and gossip of her kinfolk,
With accusations against her so harsh, still her Lord did she invoke,
She carried out divine orders consistently,
And in her worship she continued persistently.

Oh what an amazing woman, words cannot express it properly!
Such endurance and courage she displayed,
Even when she was betrayed,
Her life remains a lesson, a true and perfect legacy.

This is our history, there for us all,
Her example we should try and emulate,
Even in ways so small,
There are no excuses and no reason to wait.

May Almighty Allah continue to shower peace on our beloved Mariam (alaihis salaam) and may Allah guide us all towards the true path. Insha'Allah Ameen!

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The ever constant power struggle

As I watched two women discussing finance and business on news it dawned on me that the times have definitely changed and with this has the roles of men and women. Now there’s nothing wrong with women knowing about business issues, indeed we have the role model of Khadija (may Allah be pleased with her), as a great business woman in the time of the Prophet (saw). But I remember days when the only thing women were called upon for were the more trivial issues; or at least things that were regarded as trivial by men (cooking, beauty, etc).

This got me thinking about how things have changed over the years and how the entire system has moved from “the powerful male”, to “the powerful female”. Of course there are many societies where men still believe they need to have ultimate power, but if we look around in mainstream society, we will see this shift very easily.

Popular television shows are one example of this. In the past male dominated shows, with male lead characters were the most popular; you’ll recall McGyver, Knight Rider, The A-Team (well at least those of us who were growing up in the 80s will). Now we have shows like Desperate Housewives, Gilmore Girls, Sex and the City... I’m sure you can find many more, and the common element is dominant female lead characters, with males in the background, mostly feeling emasculated and needing to find ways to assert their power... and this is the way of the world today.

In their bid to display their masculinity men revert to strange things, and in their bid to keep their power, women do even stranger things, and I’m thinking, “Is it that hard to live together in unity, with mutual power sharing”?

Once again this gets me thinking about the Islamic system, and I’m not talking about people’s own system of Islam which has been tainted with cultural practices and beliefs, I mean true Islam, the way we were taught to practice it by our beloved leader and teacher, Muhammad (May Allah shower His peace and blessings upon him).

Despite what people may argue, the Prophet (saw) lived the example of a true man, one who did not need to assert his masculinity or power in overt and sometimes harsh ways, this was a man who naturally had power, and because of this he was not afraid to seek advice from women, or regard women as equals.

Now, I’m not going to get into a gender debate here, my personal opinion is that gender debates become unnecessary within the true Islamic system. Men and women are given equal stake within a true Islamic system so there should be no need to debate this issue. Yes, there are different roles, especially so within a family context, but these roles are complimentary and are meant to maintain tranquillity.

What happens in this ever constant power struggle is that men and women become opponents of each other. They are constantly trying to find ways to outsmart each other, assert their power and integrity, demand respect and show who is really in charge, and thus the power struggle continues.

Allah (swt) tells us in the Holy Quraan that He created men and women as a comfort for one another, “garments”, to live “together in tranquillity”. So, basically, we’re supposed to be on the same team, are we not?

An important factor here is intention. When we do things for the love of Allah Almighty and submit to Allah’s will completely, then the power struggle becomes a joke, because we realize that in reality we are all powerless, when the One who has all the power is in control of everything, how can any of us still waste our time, fighting for power.

Again, let me just make it clear that I am not talking about oppressed people fighting for their rights. This is another story altogether. The everyday power struggle that we see occurring between genders, when oppression is absent, that’s what I’m talking about.

So yes, instead of investing our time in this strange power struggle, why don’t we try to invest it in attaining the peace and tranquillity that our Creator, Allah Almighty, intended us to have. I think that the more we look at it, the more we’ll realize how futile this power struggle really is.

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