Sink, don’t swim


The only time Muslim men seem supportive and accepting of Muslim women is when we get lauded and celebrated in the West for our achievements. E.g. Ibtihaaj Mohamed, Malala Yousufzai, all other Muslim women with impressive track record. L  I don’t know, but it seems like many men like to bask in the shadow of our hijaab which is the only distinguishable indicator of a Muslim. 

So reppin Islaam lies on our shoulders, as does the responsibility to hold Muslim men’s hands – figuratively of course lol- in walking a straight path by hiding ourselves, so as to eliminate ‘temptations’. 
Let me give you an example: When a man is told of his Islaamic obligations and duties, the motivation and reason given are tied to obeying Allaah. 
But when a woman is told of her Islaamic obligations and duties, the motivation and reason are usually tied to a man. 

Case in point: Wear hijaab to protect yourself from men. Don’t go out as much to keep yourself chaste from men. 

And this is especially pronounced when married women are addressed; reminders to obey the husband and bend over backwards pleasing him is spoken of void of a spiritual context and agency. She’s not told : ‘do this because Allaah told you and He’s testing your obedience to Him by making you yield to your husband.’ 
No no. Patriarchy is presented as an intermediary between the woman and her Lord. The man and Allaah are put on equal footing, and this is done so subtly it’s scary. 
Just listen to any Somali lecture geared towards women and you’ll see that the only topics broached are to do with marriage, hijaab, child rearing and backbiting. As if that’s all women are about; why not encourage their autonomy by mentioning the illustrious female Islaamic scholars throughout Islaamic history? Why not empower them instead of telling them what NOT to do, what NOT to be?
Women have contributed a hefty amount to the Islaamic sciences, and in fact they were more upright in it. Out of the thousands of female muxaddithaat ( hadeeth scholars/transmitters) not ONE was a fabricator. 
Many commanded large audiences of male students. They would teach and correct their husbands on narrations and fataawa, and the men wouldn’t get defensive or insecure. Why? Because they were humble and keen on purifying their own Islaamic knowledge from errors and misunderstandings. 
When ego overshadowed the Muslims, when appearances and lipservice to knowledge became a thing, Muslim men went down and took women with them by marginalizing and tone-policing them. 

The last major female scholar lived in the 1800s. That’s during the era of my grandmother’s grandmother. 
Most women keep quiet out of fear. Muslim women, Somali women. That’s why we don’t have too many Somali thinkers and writers and critics who are women. Not because they don’t exist, but because the level of harassment and vitriol they receive from men makes it a steep price to pay.
Men have fallen victims to their egos and they are too arrogant to ask for a hand. So they cut off our hands, in case we try to help them up. And then when confronted about this they say ‘it’s xaraam for man to touch the hand of a woman, so it’s xaraam for me to try to get up. I’m trying to be patient with the fitnah of this ground that made me fall. The ground is so uneven, the sun is so blinding, the women are so seductive – no wonder why I fell. ‘

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