Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem 3rd Rabi’ al-Awwal, 1436
Assalaamu alaykum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barkaatuhu brothers and sisters. Allaahumma sualli ‘alaa sayyidinaa Muhammad, wa ‘alaa aalihi wa ashaabihi wa sallama tasleema. Alhamdulillaah indeed fills the space. We should be grateful to Allah azza wa jal for everything, absolutely everything because indeed, just as He jalla jalaaluhu says;
‘We can never count our blessings even if we tried to.’
I have a request. Do remember a number of sisters who are going through difficulties in their lives in your du’a. They are trying so very hard to keep their hearts and thoughts inclined to Allah azza wa jal and we can only remember them in our du’a. The beautiful thing is that as you make du’a for them, the noble Angels of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’alaa also make du’a for you. Smile to Jannah!
So, today, I am not sharing my article but that of a friend and I have been waiting for this write-up for a number of weeks now. Interestingly, I am also working on this a number of weeks after receiving it. Smiles!
She is telling the story of an encounter with her youngest brother, some annoyingly acting-shy boy. I pray and hope he reads this. Smiles!
‘I would kill myself if I were a girl.’
‘These are disturbing words from a fourteen (14) year old boy. I remember the night I heard these words from my youngest brother, I took a step back and I knew that there was no way I could gloss over these words. I could not take this statement as one of those things a rebellious or troublesome teenager would say. This was definitely something that was a big deal to me.’
It is interesting how a little boy like that could even coin such words in his head and bring them out. He probably blurted out this after a series of thoughts about something about girls that he thinks is absolutely absurd; something he could never succeed in living with. Is it something he has been seeing his mum, sister and the women in his house or school go through? Well, she continues;
’So let me take you back to the genesis or what triggered these words from him. It was a normal evening and two of my brothers and I were in the living room. We were doing our individual things. My brothers were having their own conversation and I wasn’t paying so much attention to it. It was then that my youngest brother dropped these words;
‘’I would kill myself if I were a girl’’
This definitely caught my full attention. My first instinct was to rebuke him for what he said but my curiosity got the better hold of me. I asked him why he said those words. He replied by;
‘Lamenting all the house chores women do. He talked about women being pregnant and having to carry children for a long time. He then talked about all the sufferings women go through which he sees around him and all the restrictions they believe a woman has to endure.’
‘Interestingly, he got more points from my other brother to argue his case out.
I knew that if I argued with them, the whole thing will turn into a gender debate. After listening to them, a part of me couldn’t help but agree with some of the points they raised. It was like their concerns were in line with some of the struggles of women that I think about almost on a daily basis. I don’t really blame my brothers for having these kinds of thoughts especially since what they pointed out were things they see around them.
Another part of me also knew that I had to do something about the kind of twisted mindset they had about women. I felt the responsibility to let them know what being a woman was really all about.
Being their elder sister and having lived with them since they were born, I knew them better and I also knew what their problem about all these women thing was. The problem they both had was that they have had women clean up their mess for them for a very long time so much so that now that they have to clean up for themselves, they are having challenges.
Since childhood, these younger brothers of mine, have had our mom, my cousin and myself clean up just about every mess around for them; from the bowls they eat in, their dirty clothing and disorganised rooms.
For some time now, I have had a campaign at home where I have advocated that they do things for themselves. I have advocated that they start taking responsibility at home and also start keeping the house in shape especially in the cases where they create those mess.
Well, enough about my family. I am quite sure you are wondering why I am talking about all these family drama. I believe what my younger brother voiced out is the thought or similar thinking of so many other young men.
The question we should be asking ourselves especially as females is that;
Are these young men to be blamed for that kind of thinking considering the fact that we share part of the blame due to the role we play in how these young men are brought up?
The society we live in has a different blueprint of how a girl and a boy are brought up in terms of the responsibility they have or are supposed have at home.
As Muslims, we have in the Prophet Muhammad, suallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, the best of examples as Allah azza wa jal informs us in the Qur’an, Surah al-Ahzab, the Confederates, Chapter 33 ayah 21 saying;
‘Indeed in the messenger of Allah you have an excellent example’
What was his contribution in terms of partaking in household responsibilities? We learn from a number of ahaadith that the Prophet Muhammad, suallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, helped a lot with household chores.
The Prophet Muhammad, suallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, occupied himself at his home like a common man. As it is related by his wife ‘Aisha, radiyallaahu anhaa, he used to clean his clothes, milk the sheep and himself do his odd jobs. She also says that he would mend his clothes, repair his shoes and do similar other tasks.
When asked how the Prophet occupied himself at home, she replied,
“He used to keep himself busy in household chores and went out when the time for prayer came.”
As Muslimahs, we should realise the kind of power we have in deciding how the next generation of boys would be brought up. We can decide to make them into highly responsible sons, brothers and fathers. We should start training them from childhood and instil into them a sense of responsibility so that they would not depend on women solely to clean up their mess.
I was also very sad to realise that my brothers thought Islam restricted women in different ways. Really, as a Muslimah, I sometimes feel suffocated with all the haraam things associated with what a Muslimah is permitted to do or not. It got to a point when I could not help but feel more suffocated and I wondered whether it was wrong being a woman in Islam due to the numerous Islamic messages on whatsapp and facebook especially.
I asked myself various questions. Among them were;
1. What does Islam has to offer women?
2. Does Islam only offer so much restrictions and limitations to a woman and nothing else?
And this was due to the picture that was being painted on our social media by some of our own Muslim brothers about Islam and the woman. After reflecting and reading however, I came to this realisation;
1. Islam indeed has a lot to offer a woman.
2. It offers her total submission to her Creator, Allah azza wa jal.
3. It teaches her not to enslave herself to man and her ill desires.
4. Islam offers such serenity of a focused life and mind.
5. Islam offers a woman the best role model in the person of the Prophet Muhammad, suallallaahu alayhi wa sallam.
6. Islam teaches her to strive to learn from his character and excellent manners.
And after reading an article entitled; ‘Thank God I am woman’ by Umm Zakiyyah (this is a must read article) in Sisters Magazine, I got a lot more relieved. She gave such a different perspective to how women should view issues that are presented by some of the Muslim scholars to them.
She first highlighted on how women issues are presented to them by their male counterparts especially with issues regarding what is halal or haram for the woman. Even in cases where it is halal for a woman to do something, some scholars always put a BUT there for whatever reason.
She then talked about how as Muslimahs, we shouldn’t let our spirits be dampened when we hear all these rulings and perceived restrictions, rather we should view them as blessings which serve as a reminder for where our ultimate focus should be which is the worship of Allah azza wa jal.
Anytime we, as Muslimahs, hear or read a fatwa on issues concerning women, we should see that as another reminder of the blessings Allah azza wa jal has given us so that by obeying His laws, we gain His pleasure and love. We should never for once think that we are less of human beings.
This should serve as our motivation and the driving force in our daily lives.’
She raised two critical issues;
1. Women bring up their male children wrong so much so that they begin to think that a girl does the entire chores in the house.
2. Women are constantly reminded of how insignificant they are with some fataawa by some particular ‘not-favourites-of-women’ scholars.
Now, it is up to you to think through it and ask yourself;
1. Do you agree with her? Why or why not?
2. What could you do in your small way to help solve these two issues if you agree?
You must note however that she has the right to her opinion just like everyone else. Our individual struggles are most at times very different due to our socialization so one person’s struggle might seem as a joke to the other yet every struggle is a struggle.
To the women who feel down with all the rulings that seem to be sending them straight to Hell for the least wrong, well, the hope is as it was stated…our main focus should be worship of Allah azza wa jal solely and so we should not distract ourselves with feeling left out or not because the real truth is…Allah azza wa jal is Al-Adl, the Just, and we believe in that Justice…we are not left out at all…keep smiling and get seriously worshipping Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa.
He, jalla jalaaluhu says in Surat Al-Ahzaab, the Confederates, Chapter 33 ayah 35 that;
“Surely the men who submit and the women who submit, and the believing men and the believing women, and the obedient men and the obedient women, and the truthful men and the truthful women, and the patient men and the patient women, and the humble men and the humble women… Allah has prepared for them forgiveness and a great reward”
Now, this is sufficient for us. Alhamdulillaah for Islam. Alhamdulillaah for making us a part of His creations. Alhamdulillaah for making us women. Alhamdulillaah for absolutely everything; those we deem as good and those we deem as bad. The most important thing is that we should make sure we are trying our utmost best to serve the purpose of our creation which is ‘to worship Him, subhaanahu wa ta’aalaa.’ Remember always that I love you for the sake of Allah azza wa jal and I pray that Allah azza wa jal will grant us His Light and Shade on the D-Day. Aameen. Nastagfirullaahu wa natuubu ilayhi. Aameen.
Jazaakumullaahu khair always!
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