Expanding Horizons: Critical Discussions to uplift the Muslim Ummah, A Series.

*This post is part of a collaboration with Muslim bloggers from different parts of the world. We are part of a huge ummah and yet we feel there are certain aspects within the community that hurt us as Muslim women but still we do not find it necessary or important to address them. To find more about my fellow bloggers in this series please read the introductory post*

Double standards within the Muslim community:

“People are quick to judge but slow to correct themselves”

In September we in India got to see a new low of our patriarchal culture. The beginning of the month started with the whole country witch-hunting an actress for the death of a superstar. I won’t be going into complete details of the case but would try to draw a picture of the mindset towards women in society and view the double standards that are on display. With me sharing their thoughts are some amazing Muslim bloggers from across the world.

The witch-hunt is real

Haven’t we heard this repeatedly about how a woman is described as a breaker of homes? Every soap opera and tea party discussion ends with making the women a villain. How a happy, loving family was broken down as soon as the son got married. It’s so common the bickering, backbiting. 

A girl is born in the family, the woman is to blame. The son fails, gosh what was the mother doing. The husband loses his job. The woman was negligent. In short, anything bad that happens it’s all because of women. We may cry out for equal rights and opportunity at work but something as basic as dignity in the place they live is missing. Time again and again she needs to prove her loyalties to her husband and his family. This happens everywhere irrespective of religion or region.

What was pathetic was that in September this witch-hunt had reached the prime time news. What would be bickering of people who had nothing else to do had now reached a national level.

A gold digger, witch, and what not, how all these names are used for so many women day in and day out, and now how we had made it into a national debate?

Just like in every household instead of focusing on the most important aspects of the house, degrading the women and shaming them was happening even at the national level.

The problem here lies in the level of hypocrisy we as a society display. On one side we act to provide women an equal status at the workplace with men and on the other, we accuse women as the root cause of all the problems.

Double standards within the Muslim community

My fellow blogger Yasmin has this observation of the double standards within the community

“Within the Muslim community, they often excuse men for their actions and the things they say. People place so much more pressure and focus on Muslim women and what they do while excusing every action a Muslim man does. For example, with a hijab, something that is prescribed for both men and women, men are often excused from it completely. Even when it comes to lowering their gaze, men are completely pardoned. Yet, when it comes to Muslim women who wear the hijab, there is no mercy. The ummah is made up of so much more than just women who wear the hijab”

It’s not women who are the problem, but the double standard we display in bringing up our children. We ask our daughters to compromise on each and everything but we never asked our sons to be understanding. We never teach them the value of their sister, in early life, nor have we taught them to be kinder to them. We celebrate the birth of a son as a privilege and people believe this privilege to be bestowed down to them by Allah(S.W.T) himself.

And they use this privilege throughout their life. He can get angry because he is a boy. He can beat up a woman if he gets angry. He is supposed to be tough, rough and no matter how he treats the surrounding women, its all ok.

As Husna points out

“The unequal expectations between men and women in various settings, such as at home, in relationships, and parenting may pave a dangerous path for Muslims and their families. The unequal expectations may lead to an imbalance of power. Two extreme outcomes of this imbalance may include domestic violence and a broken marriage.

In the home setting, we expect the stereotypical view of what a man has to do, does not vary much from being just a breadwinner. This leaves his wife to shoulder the gigantic responsibilities of managing household chores, child-rearing, and parenting, besides work responsibilities, if she is working. Such limited expectations will limit the man, as he is unable to care for himself and his environment. He will be largely incapable and unskilled in many areas of his life. The double standards will ultimately become a disservice to many Muslim males.

His sense of responsibility may become so diminished that he may mistake financial responsibilities as the sole needs of his wife and family. Even then, he will feel unable to fulfill his family’s needs if he becomes limited physically. He would not know that he can still (significantly) contribute to his family’s emotional, social, and spiritual needs.

The other types of ramifications include wives who are so dissatisfied with their husband’s behavior that their marriage is on the rocks. Children may become accustomed to never truly knowing their father, or suffering from the marital conflicts that may occur at home. The absence of which may spell trouble for generations afterward as well”.

 
Islam & Equality

We have a solution to this in Islam, despite that, we love to stick to tradition and prefer to look the other way around.

Amna points out:

“There is a deep historical and cultural divide between the treatment of men and women in the Muslim world. It is widely known that women in pre-Islamic Arabia had little to no rights. Islam introduced many rights to women that a lot of women previously did not have such as rights to marry, divorce, inheritance rights, etc. One of the greatest things about Islam is the great step forward it meant for women’s rights. Common practices like female infanticide were hi forbidden and women were given legal status.

Despite the advances brought by Islam and the protection of their rights within the religion, many people misuse Islam and mistreat women in its name. Muslim women face oppression and misogyny both inside and outside the community purely for the way they look.

Let us break down the life of our exemplary Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) he was sent down as a role model. So we need not see further than him.

Al-Aswad reported: I asked Aisha,

“What did the Prophet, peace, and blessings be upon him, do when he was with his family?” Aisha said, “The Prophet would do chores for his family and he would go out when it was time for prayer.”(Source: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 644)

 Yes! you read it right!! He did his chores!!! He preferred doing things himself.

So here we are talking about a man, who is an army general, a leader, a spiritual guide, an instructor, and the Prophet of the Lord and yet he finds time for his family to entertain his wives and play with his grandchildren.

He ate what was in front of him and never complained. Mind you, that day in Arabia, he didn’t march into his home screaming what a tough day he had, and demanded the most delicious dish served.    

He was the patient one. Patient with his enemies and also with his family. He did not put the burden of patience on his wives and asked them to be patient in every trial. He displayed amazing patience himself while the others followed a pursuit.

He loved sharing chores of the house and did not sit and order his wives. And the words he used for them were exemplary.

What if we suggest this to the men of today? This is what Azra thinks might happen.

Astaghfirullah! If I dare to suggest the same to the men of our Ummah and their families today! Yes, dear…I  know ‘not all men’. Just…quite low. Or if the man is that breed who does it without flexing his contribution, the surrounding people (friends, family, and in-laws included), would raise him to a limitless pedestal. There’s nothing wrong in praising where praise is due. But raising a man to the skies for washing dishes one day in front of his wife who has spent the whole day doing everything under the sun to keep the house functional…hypocritical much…?

Brother and brother’s families and friends…here are a few pointers.

It’s not called ‘helping around the house.’ It’s called taking part in building a home.

It’s not called ‘babysitting’. It’s called parenting.

It’s not called ‘doing so much for his wife, mother, sister or daughter’. It’s called being a normal husband, son, brother, and father. Normal? 

Yes, normal. When we stop classifying what should be normal into ‘exceptional’, will then the abnormal pushed back to where it should have belonged, within the ridiculous category. 

Apart from that, a recent phenomenon where this mindset is shamelessly displayed is on social media. Where women are mindlessly trolled, yet men are given a free pass. People, wrong remains wrong, no matter who does it. So if you feel responsible enough to tell a woman that she might be incorrect, do the same for the man too. Why would you want different things for different people of the same Ummah? 

No one can indeed be him, but he is our example to be lead by. What was his last sermon, and his last message to humanity? 

O people, it is true that you have certain rights about your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers.

He emphasized the need to protect and honor women. Why would he emphasize it so much?

Because repeatedly women’s rights were played with their lives considered secondary. He by the divine law had made sure it wouldn’t go back to those dark times again.  Yet today we stand in this age where we talk about equality but still can’t let go of bigotry and sexism. Considering women as intelligent beings is still alien in many lands.

There are countless examples of women in Islam who were more than mothers and wives. Aisha(R.A) took over the role of a teacher after the passing of the beloved Prophet Muhammed (P.B.U.H) passing on the most essential hadiths to his companions.

Khawlah, Nusaibah the brave women warriors tending the injured in the war and picking up the sword when it mattered.

My question now is this, would any of these women be who they are if they were pulled down constantly.

The values we instill in our children be it our sons and daughters should be equal should be those of empathy, concern, and respect for others. Making sure they carry it out even in their adulthood. As mothers when we see our sons demeaning their wives. Don’t Push It aside as he is a man and he can get angry, take him into account. Being a qawwam ( The Arabic word qawwam or Qayyum stands. for a person who is responsible for the right conduct, safeguard, and maintenance. of the affairs of an individual, an institution, or an organization) doesn’t mean he has only authority to impose, but a responsibility to be the foundation of the family.

It’s about time we start focussing on educating our sons on how to take care of women in their house and reminding them of additional duties apart from earning the bread for the family.

As Andale rightly mentions:

“As Muslims, we are meant to recite, read, ponder over, and act upon the teachings of the Noble Quran and follow the Sunnah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). However, when we focus on some teachings of the Quran while skipping over the rest, when we put our effort only in doing the acts of worship that are easy such as offering Salat and fasting as compared to controlling our anger and abstaining from backbiting and jealousy, we create double standards in the Muslim society. A man may have four wives because it is Sunnah but the Sunnah he forgot is to love them, provide for them and treat them equally.”

Degrading women never presents a man in a better position nor does it boost his alpha nature but puts him in a poor light not only in this world but also in the hereafter. Because as the hadith goes “Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “The best of you is he who is the best towards his wife.”            (Sahih Ibn Hibban; Al Ihsan, Hadith: 4786, 4977)

CONTRIBUTORS TO THE POST

Andale Seaworne


My name is Andale Seaworne. I’m a regular 21-year-old, Muslim, Pakistani girl navigating through life, sharing knowledge and opinion related to different topics in life from basic moral values with relevance to Islamic teachings to traveling, books, food, personal experiences, observations, interpretations, and anything that comes to my mind. If you want someone to talk to about cheese, chocolate, McFlurry, movies, books, ideas, or basically life in its entirety without any backlash or judgment, I’m your girl!
 Website: https://andaleseaworne.wordpress.comAmna

I’m a 30-year-old Middle Eastern woman ready to help you with your problems! I like to answer people’s questions about life, love, and everything in between using my diverse experience to bring a new perspective to those problems. I’m on a mission to advocate for and raise mental health awareness, especially within the Muslim community. I’ve faced the stigma and have heard it all before so I want to change things one question at a time! Find out more and connect with me on my website (askamna.com) or Instagram and Twitter.

Yasmin Abdelsalam

I’m Yasmin, an Egyptian-American Muslim born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. I am currently taking a gap year but plan to attend college in the fall of 2021. I recently started my blog Master Peace. Through my blog, I want to help people master both inner peace and world peace by tackling different mental health and social justice issues. I also share different lifestyle pieces centered around travel, decor, and fashion.Website: https://masterpeaceblog.com/ 

Azra Rahman

I am a 30-year-old blogger and aspiring writer. I immigrated from India in February of 2013 and have been here since. I have been writing for most of my life and started to take it seriously in the past couple of years. Since then, I have written, and written some more, started a blog, collaborated on various projects, freelanced, and sent a lot of literary submissions.

My blogs are a way for me to connect with people and enhance my writings. I keep two blogs. One, Musings of a spectacled mind, is a literary blog. It showcases short stories, poems, articles, mini-comic strips, from me and other guest bloggers.

The other blog rose out of frustration of not getting into the literary field as fast as I wanted to. It’s called Home,hijab, and humor and portrays snippets of our life with heaping tablespoons of humor. A technique I have been learning since childhood.

Husna Ahmad Sany

Husna is trained in social work, mother of 3 kids, lover of all things art & design and avid listener of independent music. Current earworm would be music by courtship. She also can’t stop the trillion incoming ideas in her head, especially about business, design, and about helping people in poverty, homeless folks, the elderly, and more. She blogs about her views, parenting, relationship building, and essentially the journey of motherhood at Husna Ahmad Sany and tries her best for students from disadvantaged backgrounds to get the help they need to excel in their studies and their future, by setting up Walk With Me Initiative
She decided to join the series as a writer and contributor, due to her strong desire to see Muslim women stand tall and empowered in Islam and not just accept the status quo and to also see Muslim men become champions of their mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters. We can always do better, always.

Leave a Reply