Dear Islamic Feminist,
It is my hope that you are in a good mood today, for I do not hope to be on your bad side. This is my second article on feminism, so let me get straight to the point. Since you have chosen to give Feminism an Islamic side, I have few questions and comments:
I have noticed how the moment someone asks questions or casts doubts on Feminism you throw shades and resort to insults and name-calling, so I ask, is that a part of Islam, did Rasulullah react that way even to known hypocrites like Ibn Ubayy?
I would love to know why it is compulsory for me to support your cause, and, if I do not support your cause, does that make me a lesser human being?
You say you seek after equality between both genders, and the rights of women, So I ask, in what Sense? For, the Islam I know is a complete religion that granted women the rights of inheritance, right to own properties and more, over 1,400 years ago, before the white man/westerners even thought of granting women basic rights.
In Islam, men & women are equal before Allah, it is only their deeds that separates them. Nonetheless, men and women play separate roles in the society. Allah (SWT) said “And the male is not like the female” Al Imran (36).
Allah (SWT) also said “but the father of the child shall bear the cost of the mother’s food and clothing on a reasonable basis” Al Baqarah (233). This clearly shows a difference in roles/duties played. We are unique creations of the Lord. HE created us differently, internally and externally.
Women have always been the support system, the back-bone, the strongest pillars in Islamic societies, for the progress of the society depends on them. Women have always been given a high status in Islam, Rasulullah (SAW) said: “The most complete believer is the best in character, and the best of you is the best to his womenfolk” [Tirmidhi 1162]. There is no need for any competition because Allah (SWT) described Muslim men and women as “clothing or garments for each other” Al Baqarah (187). If truly your feminism seeks to fight for the rights granted to you by Islam, then all practicing muslims are indeed feminists.
As you demand for equality and respect, I hope you demand for it in all ramifications, not a lop-sided one. Using your ‘need for Islamic Feminism’ logic; I am certain you hear stories of men being maltreated by their wives too (which we mostly love to shove aside) I hope It is okay for me to start a campaign for men to be treated better by their wives and society, without you deriding me? Hope I can also start an ‘Islamic Meninism’ campaign using Hadith & Seerah that mostly speak about being good to men, as justification?
Using your logic of equality, I would also love more women to participate in not only corporate but menial jobs as well. Let’s drop the principle of being ‘gentlemen’ and ‘courteous’ as it might lead to misogyny. Let me just stay on my seat in a bus, for, If I stand for the pregnant or old lady, it is tantamount to me disrespecting women! Also, in the interest of equality, I ask, why should more women be given the upper hand in government agencies and parastatals, when at the same time they cry for equality?
My dear Islamic feminist, It is my hope that beyond the internet, in your home, you do not have an underaged girl that serves as your babysitter or maid, following you with your baby to school?
Are you sure you do not have a little 13, 14 or 15 year old that boils water for your kids to shower and go to school while she remains at home? I also hope you do not have an ‘almajiri’ that washes your plates and clothes, instead of going to school? Charity, they say, begins at home! If we don’t see you, God sees you…..
I also hope that you would one day stop deriding mature women in their life choices, choices voluntarily made; like a woman voluntarily choosing to wear a niqab or choosing to get married and having children without you looking down at her choices. I still do not understand why it is okay for an Adult to have sex with whomever, whenever she pleases but it’s not okay to get married when she pleases. Simply does not add up. At least, for me!
I would also love to know when and how you became the legitimate representative of all Muslim women and who gave you the sole right to determine what is oppressive or not!
My dear Islamic Feminist, In the words of feminist scholars Leila Rupp and Verta Taylor: Feminism ”is a contested term even in the present, and historical literature is full of kinds of feminists who would surely have had a hard time finding common ground: Nazi feminists and Jewish feminists, Catholic feminists and Islamic feminists, socialist feminists and utopian feminists, social feminists and national feminists” As Feminism in itself is contradictory, in an identity crisis. Who do you really represent? Are you really content with Islamic laws or you seek to cherry-pick and panel beat injunctions to fit your narrative? For, the Islam I know is about (social) justice for everybody, Muslims and Non-Muslims alike, and if feminism will lead us all to ‘Just’ societies then let us do it properly! Is your Islam greater than your feminism or your feminism greater than your Islam? That, by the way, is between you and your Rabb. I would just like you to search your conscience!
I know it is not compulsory for you (even if you’re a stay at home wife) to cook for your husband But should we discard various hadiths/narrations that discuss being kind to your husband/family? There’s this Hadith From Asma’ bint Yazid (in her capacity as a representative of the women) she complained to the Prophet (SAW) about women “being confined to the houses and bearing children while the men attend congregational prayers, funerals and other Islamic duties” AND “when men go for Hajj, they look after their properties, weave clothes and raise children” She asked, “will we not share with you (men) the reward?” The Prophet (SAW) turned (responded) saying “Understand O woman, and tell the other women behind you, that a wife looking after her husband, seeking his consent, and going along with his assent is equal to all that (i.e all that has been commanded to the men by the religion). She went back, her face, shining with happiness. This has been narrated by Baihaqee and also by Ibn Atheer in Usd al Ghaabah.
I pray that your face shines like that of Asma’ bint Yazid as you read this. This is not about either of us winning, rather, it is about seeking to understand each other. But let me categorically say this as a response to the insults and self-entitlement you mostly portray as you go about justifying feminism; I do not have to like you or your ideas, neither do you have to like me or my ideas, what I must rather do is, to respect the fact that you have a right to your belief!
Let me also say this; It takes an educated man to know his rights upon his wife and her rights upon him, BUT it takes the fear of Allah for him or her not to overstep.
At the risk of making this article too bulky, I shall stop here…for now.
Your Sincere Friend,