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Dealing with Muslim Men (II)

Thursday, 28 January 2010

In the name of God, Compassionate, Merciful بسم الله الرحمن الرحيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم

In the name of God, compassionate & merciful بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ | Peace be with you السلام عليكم


Part 1 | Part 2

I had half-angrily written in an earlier post about recent discussions with Muslim men - I refuse to call them my brothers - who were uncomfortable with my particular self. I'm not entirely sure what I have done which is displeasing them but generally I get plummeted into disapproving arguments and disproving head-shakes about my presence, my ideas, my discussion over current affairs (c'mon, what isn't there in the news that is depressing?) and my ambitions. I will interject here to explain a little something. You don't know me (I said this to them too). Not personally, not up close like say my Mother does, or even a distant friend. I have certain principles founded on trust, loyalty and honesty. I wear the headscarf, I am not a member of any religious group nor do I preach or mock any of them insha'Allaah. I also love colour, I deliberately infect other people with colour and laughter and seriousness because that is what we lack when it comes to learning effectively. I also move. All of me does. To hell with materialism, depression, consumerism and genderism.


Back on track - I still face quiet arguments that women are (quote) "a potential cause of trouble", that they should be "controlled to prevent their potential deceit". Louder arguments are easy to dissolve, you throw a couple vases around the room, cuss, apologise and move on. It's the quiet muttering ones that are dangerous. They say women are adept at 'isharey' in Urdu - secretly signaling and being coy, but show me one man who doesn't shout a thousand rejections with his hulk-like frowns. I dislike getting trapped into a man's 'listen to ME' lecture because there's no way out. With respect however, you sit, listen, and take it. Maybe Allaah will reward you for your sabr, insha'Allaah. But then maybe you were wrong in thinking independently and challenging their culture. One guilt trip after another and you begin to think.. Yes... I should-wrap-myself-in-a-strait-jacket-and-sit-in-a-bin-bag-so-the-men-can-do-the-work-for-the-ummah-better-than-I... Yes...

How many women do you know who are raising their hands jumping with 'yes! I'll help! I'll give you my money, my house, my family, my skills! I'm not very smart, I don't have good grasp of many languages, but the talents Allaah gave me, I'll give them to you! What shall I do for us?!' I've been stood here like a light house for a decade. They're not responding fully to my light-signals.

More conversations with older Muslim men followed the pattern of:
Muslim Man: "Oh, guess what I learned today?! The imam mentioned it, Alhamdulillah"
Me: "What? What?"
MM: "That more women than men will enter hell!"
Me: ... (why, thank you)

Really, what I am supposed to take from that? It is not the prophetic saying that hurts, it's the approach and questionable happiness surrounding it. Do I air-high-five this MM that my gender has outdone his in racing to a fiery end? Subhan'Allah. Maybe he lacked the dawah techniques, whatever. I stupidly expected a little more compassion from the older MM generation.

A second inspiring naseeha (advisory) lesson follows like:
MM: "We should encourage our women to work, yes, we should support our sisters to educate others, in schools, masjids, with other women. But if WE think you will be exposed (?) and do something wrong, we WILL PREVENT YOU" (<--this is where he outstretched his arms out to demonstrate-->)
Me: "I've done that and it didn't bring the best results. Others were better than me, alhamdulillah. I already found my skills and happily work with people and run a business and - "
MM: "Astaghfirullah... Nobody ever saw Fatima (ra). Khadija (ra) was more successful by getting people to work for her. You should stay behind, go to the end of the queue, hush, don't speak, I am right. Islam is right."
Me: ...

Fine, Fatima was 'hidden', Allahu Akbar, that is why she's one of the greatest women; not just for her hayaa (modesty) but also her dedication to her father, who was Prophet Muhammad! - and her husband, who was 'Ali! and her friends, sisters, children and the Ummah which was still a crawling baby.

I know also that Khadija did step back allowing handymen to do the running around for her. Whom do I get to run my business for me? My thousands of brothers? Muslim oompa loompas? Moolahs...?

Then they tell me to be patient to WAIT for that support. "It's ok, we all have plans, if we can't do them today, they will happen tomorrow, you must show patience for the right time." Muslim man, if I can't rely on you today, am I supposed to wait for your sons, to rely on them tomorrow?

My plans are not for world domination. They cover removing social injustices.
"There are obstacles sister, people are complicated, they will abuse your intentions".
No, the only obstacles existing are the Divine ones. We can mitigate misery together, I can't alone.

I work with money a lot, I budget like an 18 year old university student living their last year; I do not love money and I can survive without money. Poverty is not the fear, the fear is what powerful people with money are doing with it. "We don't have the finances sister, you are being too ambitious in fundraising, asking for this book to be published, for that food to be shipped. Calm down." That's the lamest excuse and does not hold water. There are no financial difficulties for us, if we wanted to fundraise, we could. If my friend and sister can raise $1million dollars in Indiana, USA, we can raise money in the UK. Financial deficit is not the obstacle.


Yes I hear the speeches that Islam has a greater status for women: women have more rights (they do), women have this, women are protected, Muslim mothers have THREE TIMES more (!) respect, in Jannah women will be gorgeous and succulent like ripe fruit, we are blessed, we are glorified, preach it brother hmm-hmm. Cultural sopranos.

Don't dig a hole in the ground and bury me alive, telling me it's for my own protection.

My work with the opposite gender covers and stops at this: Writing to detained brothers; I send copies of the Quran, Islamic books, productions from {whyislam.org} and {soundvision} to converted Muslims; I give out annual Eidy cards, send crappy cookies that I've home baked, I invite people to events that are around THEM not me and I promote other brothers' work to an international audience.

But according to the 21st century Muslim Mufti.com, as a Muslim woman if my work isn't directly related to the masjid or Qur'an (which it is), it's not Islamic and therefore potentially punishable. Contrastingly, if his work is in a raving environment, on television, with new people, with both sexes, on the streets, in an off-license, it's never questioned or put to test. By default, the Muslim woman (Me) is always in the wrong. An easy, vulnerable target. *Huya! Take that! Kara-te chop!*

For once, just once, I wish those men would let these women free for a day. A 12hr daytime slot is all I'm asking for, and you'd all SEE the proof that millions of women are not trouble causing-gossiping-tramps with slander, popularity, and ignorance in their hearts. We would make the biggest change you men make in a year! I despise this global culture the more it reveals itself. We are women, we are YOUR sisters, you lean on US, we are women, we are YOUR mothers, you came to be because of US, we are women, we are YOUR wives, you throw all your burdens and pains onto US. And damn it, you refuse to listen to my one whisper. How dare you.

Tariq Ramadan tells me we need to be more revolutionary. So I'm planning to infiltrate the Male Headquarters and revolutionise their system. I don't know, delete their computer software or superglue pictures of Iconic Muslim women in replacement of their football idols. Hamza Yusuf says Muslims by nature are not 'revolutionists', they are 'transformers'; the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) didn't revolutionise his society, he helped transform them. Both Yusuf & Ramadan are right.
It's still not working, talking to them gets me nowhere. In fact it's regressive. Trying to put forward a business plan, wrapped in black, hiding behind doors, curtains, through keyholes and whispering through middle people doesn't get responses. Standing at the front, dressed in positivity, raising our voices with megaphones, does. They stand in front of me as a barrier to almost everything. Right now my aim is to at least shake them up a little. Whether they convert or not is not my responsibility.

I want the khilafah (caliphate) back. I liked it better when women supported men, who supported women. Or perhaps Prophet Isaa (as) is the only light to wait for. What would he say?

The words of Rasool'Allah are still in my head from The Message movie:
"Remember you will be held accountable for your actions...
You are all Adam's children, the most pious of you is best in character...
Let your feuds be abolished...
Remember that all the Muslims are brothers and sisters, friends...
There are no races and tribes...
You must not take anything except what is taken freely...
Do not oppress, and do not BE oppressed."

Right now I'm emotionally imbalanced and following rage over objectivity. But why shouldn't I? They broke me. They said I was the problem, I was doing wrong. There was no guidance, besides the ending bland flattery 'keep spreading light, keep it up, you're a star, don't be like so-n-so, do what I say'. You know how Shaytaan can take many forms? ...Yeah...

What should I do?
What would you do?
What would Muhammad ﷺ do?

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aneebaba said...

*blown away*

*speechless*


Ma'sha'allah Zaufishan, this was a great piece, but on the other hand, I'm truly truly saddened that you have to deal with such individuals. I want to apologize on behalf of those 'memebers' of my 'team' that have treated you wrongly and thus caused you to have such feelings as you've shown here. I really mean that.
I don't know if I'm even worthy to be in the category of a true Muslim man (I'll leave that up for others to decide; as you know, in our culture its not polite to brag about yourself, though quite the opposite in the Western society, so will have to find a balance between the two), but for these people to treat you and other women in such a manner, again, is just horrible, wrong, disrespectful and not at all what our Rasul taught us, as you already know.
You keep carrying that flag of womanhood & being a Muslimah, passion for your Faith, overall drive, quest for knowledge, . . . of Muslimness - it will, along with Allah's (swt) Assistance, carry you to Victory - not just out on the perspective "battlefield" but within your own journey of Islam and a just Reward with Him and most importantly, close to Him, for eternity. In the end, that's all that matters, let these men lead themselves to their own destruction, as they will have to taste the 'reward' of their actions; you keep doing what you are doing til your last breath and insha'allah, many, both your fellow Sisters and the Brothers out there that appreciate it, will benefit both now and in the future. Ameen.

Fzohra1088 said...

Asalamualikum sister...don't know why this post doesn't have any replies but I just wanted to say that the men who have a deeper knowledge of Islam and the sunnah wouldn't try to put women down. I think you should stop depressing yourself by talking to such men incase it might cause you to question the will of Allah and Rasulullah(SAW). If Rasulullah(SAW) really wanted to put women inside the house never to come out then he wouldn't be so vague about it and would have been more clear. Allahu Alim but why aren't we ever prioritizing that the first thing anyone should tackle when giving dawa is love for Allah and knowledge of the hereafter...because we a ummah caught up in the technicalities we are so divided and weak. May Allah unite us again with love for each other and mercy for His sake alone.

Zaufishan said...

The post was relevant over a year ago. I don't know where the brothers are and it does not affect me, may Allah bless'em, although the elder generation are still present in our community. It's all good, all praise be to Allah, may He forgive us for our mistakes. Salamalaikum sister (:

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