Why we have to talk about what hurts

Eds. Note: This is a response to last week’s guest post, How I met my son’s mother. Have a perspective to share on love and relationships? Read our guidelines, here.

aisha

Earlier last week, a long-time blogging friend, Mezba, wrote about his quest for marriage.

His post provoked a huge response because his words jammed a finger into a large gaping wound in our community, and the community – stung by these words – responded. So did I.

But some were furious for a different reason. They were upset his post was given a platform. And while their reasons for this frustration may have been varied and complex, this touched a nerve in me. Because it’s a criticism I’ve heard time and again in the nearly ten years I’ve written on my site. Writing about cultural issues is not the main focus of my blog but anytime I do write about desi or faith-based concerns or issues, I inevitably get harsh e-mails, comments, and, sometimes, face-to-face lectures. So the world hates us and you want them to hate us more? is the common refrain.

I can understand this to a certain extent. Isn’t it enough that we make little old ladies [and some not so little. or old. or ladies] flinch when a brown man with a beard walks by them on a plane, that we have to now add this to the list of things wrong with us and worthy of condescension, derision and suspicion? Posts like these, I’ve been told, are best not aired so publicly. We have enough problems with how we are perceived and we don’t need to make things worse by broadcasting our own issues ourselves.

I understand the frustration. But staying silent about our stories isn’t the solution.

Talking about things that are wrong does not invalidate all that is right and beautiful about our culture or faith. It does not negate our rich history, our architecture, our music, literature, cuisine, spirituality, or the inherent goodness in the overwhelmingly vast majority of desis. Our culture is is a vibrant one. It is a beautiful one. I also believe that our culture is a complex one, and a culture, like all cultures that can benefit from introspection and conversations about how to make it a better one than it currently is.

I am tired of people telling me not to write about or talk about the things that are broken and in need of fixing. As my friend Ayesha has said to me during our numerous conversations about this topic: we must own our truths. We must take ownership of our stories: the bold, beautiful, inspiring ones and yes, the uncomfortable, ugly, and tragic ones too. We have to talk about what hurts. We have to talk about how it hurts. And we have to talk about why it hurts. And then, we have to talk about how to fix it. We may not always agree with each other, but with respect as the baseline in how we interact, we must strive to find solutions. And we have to do this publicly so we can shape the dialogue and so we can create solutions.

And how do we fix these issues? At the micro-level, I’m raising my sons to see women as equals. I will teach them differently and insh’Allah they will do differently. I know on a macro-level more must be done. Do I have the solution? Absolutely not. But we do need to talk about how we approach marriage, side entrances to mosques for women, and all our issues and challenges and struggles as a culture and a faith so we can come up with what the solutions are. We can’t shut each other down for daring to address real issues hurting real people.

We have a beautiful culture but we do have a bit of dirty laundry to attend to. It’s time we talk about it. It’s time we get to work on washing it clean.

This piece was originally published on Aisha’s blog.

Aisha Saeed was born and raised in South Florida. She writes YA and is represented by Taylor Martindale of Full Circle Literary. You can read more of her writing here or follow along on Facebook or Twitter.  She lives in Atlanta with her husband and two sons.


26 Comments on “Why we have to talk about what hurts”

  1. Abu Yaqoob says:

    Today is the 2nd time I’ve visited this website and it seems to be teeming with secularists and feminists. The word ‘inshallah’ in the URL and some authors’ references to Islam were misleading. It is quite clear that the website is a forum for flowery words, emotional outbursts, and intolerance for traditional views that have enjoyed dominance for eons. Mezba’s article struck a chord because women are generally more emotional than men and thus more sensitive. I guarantee you that if a woman had written the same article about men she had rejected because he wasn’t wealthy enough, or hadn’t completed grad school, or wasn’t tall enough, there would hardly be any whimper or protest from men. The very fact that women were so outspoken tells us that the system is not broken but women’s ability to deal with realities is questionable. Men on the other hand take such issues in stride. On the side of men are millions of traditional women who are now busy cooking in the kitchen, feeding the babies, then pretty-ing themselves up for their husbands by wearing a nice flowing gown and jasmine flowers on her hair. Yes those women are on our side and they are the majority. It is time for secularist and feminist women to wake up and smell the coffee.

    PS: Men and women are not ‘equal’. Men have been given a God-given status above women in every religion on Earth.

    • Anisa says:

      Brother, you have just proved your cowardice through this comment and the irony is that you don’t even realize how emotional your response is to the article because it has completely missed the point. This article talks about the benefits of providing a forum for free expression where even if we don’t like each other’s views, we can talk about them and fix things where necessary. The fact that you had such a knee-jerk reaction to this article and went on harping about “boys are better than girls” like a grade 2 child shows that you have a serious lack of ability to read, reflect and think critically and when you wrote this comment, you had some sort of chemical imbalance in your brain that impeded your ability to take the time to at least read the article. So much for your superior manhood! The fact that you oppose this article means that you believe that people like you and Mezba should not be allowed to post and share your objectionable views. I hope you realize that now, because clearly you didn’t when you wrote this comment. Believe me, comments like yours don’t make me angry, they make me pity people like you. You don’t actually believe that women who cook for you and pretty themselves up for you are on your side, but you try to convince yourself nonetheless because women who have intellect, have a career and don’t depend on your money or permission to do things are a threat to you, because they refuse to be your decorated vending machine that you keep in your room so they can pop out goodies for you whenever you wish without protesting. You are afraid of them and your false male ego won’t admit it. I hope you agree that cowardice is not a trait of a real man. I pray that Allah (SWT) guides you and hope you reflect on the first word that was revealed to our Prophet (SAW) “Iqra.” Please go and read up on the lives of the Prophet’s wives. It’s worth your time rather than posting comments on a “feminist blog” where you are only ridiculing yourself.

      • m says:

        You know, it’s funny how I wanted to engage in a conversation with you based on your response to my comment but, lo-and-behold, no reply function. So I’ll just reply to your original comment.

        You tell me that I don’t know my religion, which actually amuses me, and you tell me to go study the lives of the figures I mentioned. I have had several years of religious instruction, to the point where I actually taught at a local mosque. I’m not talking about going for a sheikh’s lecture every once in a while. I’m talking about detailed levels of study of the Qur’an, of Fiqh, of Tarikh. I have held my own in conversations with sheikhs, who have encouraged me to pursue study, of worldly knowledge and of the deen.

        But that is besides the point. You are assuming the people who are responding to your arguments are bored women who are sitting at home or in offices, bitter and jaded because they cannot find someone to marry, not women who are advanced in many areas – and yet there are women who have responded to you who I know personally, who are married and quite happily so, with children, who choose to stay at home, and who find your comments insulting and degrading. I suggest that you might benefit from reading up on the lives of the Prophet’s (pbuh) wives and finding out for yourself who they were. And from there, extend it to his daughter, his granddaughters, to other women who are prominent in Islamic history. Or is it that you are uncomfortable with what you will find because it will contradict your close-minded view of what a woman should be?

    • m says:

      I could have kept quiet reading your comment, even though your ideas of what women should be doing are quite offensive, but then you added your PS.

      ‘Men have been given a God-given status above women in every religion on Earth.’

      Really? REALLY?

      Did our Prophet (PBUH) not bring a Message that uplifted the status of women in society? Did he not lead by example in his own life and his dealings with his wives? In the previous posts many people have pointed out the role of Sayyeda Khadija (as), not just as the wife of the Prophet but also as someone who stood by him at all times, who was the first person to accept Islam, who owned a business, who was not just an ornament for her husband? Do you forget the role of the Prophet’s daughter, Sayyeda Fatima (as), who was even considered her father’s mother in the way she held things together after the death of her own mother? Why do these examples exist if not for us to follow? Why does paradise lie beneath the feet of a mother and not of a father? Did you know that housework – your cooking and cleaning and baby-rearing activities – is not wajib on a woman?

      On equality: Do you forget that Islam exists today because of both strong men and strong women throughout the ages? Do I have to list the rights that women have been given because of Islam bringing them to that equal status? maybe I’ll mention some: the right to inherit, own property, keep her own wealth, to have a say in political and social matters… Why is it incumbent on every Muslim (not specified male or female) to seek knowledge? To perform good deeds? How many times has Allah (swt) referred to ‘the believing men AND the believing women…’

      You talk about it being ‘time for secularist and feminist women to wake up and smell the coffee.’ I think it’s time for the patriarchal societies to wake up and smell the coffee, that Islam was brought not to oppress but to raise the status of women. You are insulting thousands of Muslims, including yourself, when you present such views because you reduce Islam to something that is manipulated, not for everyone – you reduce Allah (swt)’s commands to something more palatable to yourself.

      Oh hang on, isn’t that what you are accusing us of doing?

      • Abu Yaqoob says:

        Bringing up examples of Khadijah (RA) and Fatima (RA) without an iota of knowledge of how they really lived their lives. Without any inkling of how both were exemplary housewives. Without an inkling of our Prophet (S) stating in numerous ahadeeth the expansive roles of men and absolute must of women to be in obedience of their husbands. You, dear sister, are another casualty of the feminist movement. It is clear that none of the women here have studied the lives of the greatest women in history (Maryam (AS), Khadijah (AS), Fatima (AS), etc). Every single one of them were home-bound ladies. To those ignorant women who use the label of “businesswomen” on Khadijah (RA) clearly do not know that she was a housewife and that there were men who traded on her behalf while she remained in the house. Study your history (oh, and your religion) before making pronouncements. If you want to be a secularist or a feminist then use secular and feminist-based arguments. Keep Islam out of it because it makes you seem highly ignorant when you do.

        Finally don’t take all this personally. Study your religion carefully and if you are not arrogant then you will realize that the best women are the women who stay at home.

    • Orbala says:

      Assalamu ‘alaikum, Brother Abu Yaqoob!
      An Islamic feminist here. *grin*

      I’m sure that you, Abu Yaqoob, won’t care about what I’ve to say, but I’ll comment anyway.

      “The very fact that women were so outspoken tells us that the system is not broken but women’s ability to deal with realities is questionable.”

      But that’s the point – the reality is what we have a problem with. The reality *is* the system, and the system *is* broken. Or damaged, as others prefer to say. The main reason there are more than plenty of single/divorced Muslim women looking to marry Muslim men they feel compatible with but having an impossible time is that we have men who have views like Mezba. And now you. These views are what needs to be changed so that we can view fellow Muslim women as humans. And with the marriageable generation of women currently having a hard time finding husbands, I doubt those views are going to change any time soon. Which is highly unfortunate.

      Terribly sorry you didn’t get the point of the criticism that Mezba or his views were receiving. You’ve missed out on so much, man.

      Also, just because something is the majority doesn’t mean it’s right🙂 It’s often the majority that’s wrong, if you ask me. I mean, the majority of people in America once upon a time believed women don’t need to vote. Or that African American people should remain slave. Or that slavery was okay. Plus, today, many people, including you, believe that men and women are not equal in the eyes of God. See? The majority is almost always wrong, except when it’s about peace and love and tolerance and respect for all. Which is usually not the case, though. But inshaAllah, with platforms like Love, InshaAllah, things are in the process of changing. Alhamdulillah.

      Wassalaam,

      • Abu Yaqoob says:

        Well this one was at least one of the measured responses I’ve read here. Most of the ladies’ responses have been replete with frothing oxymorons and non sequiturs. It is highly unfortunate that sisters are having a difficult time finding suitable mates. It is also highly unfortunate that introspective accounts are rare. Women have delayed marriage for education knowing full well before hand there would be a price to pay. Women’s families have also rejected many proposals from many brothers because they were not millionaires or doctors. If you ask me, and I know I’m biased, men aren’t the problem. Women are. Men are simple creatures (food, sex, and sports, + healthy dose of respect and love and you’ve got us under your fingers). However women’s vagaries are legend. Their complexity even more so. Given the fact that men have been given a status as Qawwaam over women then it must be the women who must suit the needs of men. And we don’t ask for much. Nor are men interested in marrying objects of desire as many asserted. That is but a small part of the equation. The problem with higher education in women is that it makes them froth at the mouth, it makes them stubborn, unyielding, unwilling to submit to the husband (while they are very agreeable to not questioning the CEO of the company in which they work, while they very well take orders from their bosses at work…oh irony of ironies…the man most deserving of a woman’s submission is the husband and the hadeeth books are filled with countless pieces of very explicit evidence.) Every religion demands that the wife submit to the leader of the household unit because men are stronger emotionally, better at growing wealth, generally more intelligent, better at sciences and math and engineering, and only one CEO runs a company not two, only one captain flies an Airplane not two, similarly only the man is the leader of the household and its shepherd. Women who recognize this and submit to this are extremely happy and treated well and honored. Women who don’t are considered abrasive and stricken off the marriage prospect list. One sister from MIT wondered why she couldn’t get married. She didn’t realize that there was a picture of her on the web with a white boy’s arm around her shoulders. These little things are plagueing women and they should arise to the reality no matter how bitter. If they truly wish to go to College let them major in Home Economics so they can rear the next generation of brilliant sons.

        We traditionalists and our views are still strong in the world. It is important for secularists and feminists to at least be aware of us and how kind and loving we are to the women who support us as homemakers. I invite all of you to take the plunge in domestic bliss with an open mind.

    • khansword says:

      Mezba’s article reminded me of ‘An Open Letter to Young Tamil Men’ (http://tamilculture.ca/an-open-letter-to-young-tamil-men/) where the author (A Woman) made sweeping generalizations about young Tamil MEN and unlike what you said, men did NOT ‘take such issues in stride’ they also attacked the author and started defending themselves. You can go through the 425 replies in the comments section.

      Now please don’t start differentiating between Tamil Men and other men, … men are just men!

  2. TN says:

    The above comment is both amusing and depressing.

    “Men on the other hand take such issues in stride.” And yet here you are lamenting about the articles posted on this website because they don’t meet your criteria for gender roles. Stride, indeed.

    As a Muslim woman, I assure you that if the roles had been reversed and a woman had written the article in question, I would be equally critical and upset. Muslim men and women must both respect each other and refrain from reducing people, particularly those they seek to share their lives with in matrimony, simply to their degrees, looks, social status, etc. It is the cause behind much of the social unrest within the community today. As for men and women ‘not being equal,’ refer to chapter 3, vs 195 (and others) in the Qur’an to see what our Creator says about that.

  3. krahman4 says:

    It requires a lot of wisdom and courage to spot the main problem and suggest a solution. Couldn’t have agreed with you more Aisha🙂.

  4. […] Aisha Saeed: Why we have to talk about what hurts […]

  5. Anisa says:

    To Abu Yaqoob:
    “The problem with higher education in women is that it makes them froth at the mouth, it makes them stubborn, unyielding, unwilling to submit to the husband (while they are very agreeable to not questioning the CEO of the company in which they work, while they very well take orders from their bosses at work”

    Wow. just wow. You seem to know all about women with higher education. You must have interacted with them quite a lot to know all of this, dear “pious” brother. The fact that you think that just by virtue of higher education, a woman becomes a stubborn, obnoxious, unkind person who cannot at the same time run a family, who is not sruggling daily to fight patriarchy in the workplace and at home makes me realize how narrow your vision of reality and the world is. This is what happens when you live in a bubble, when you are so used to categorizing and judging people, things that Allah has strictly forbidden us to do. We live in North America. We live in a political climate where we are hated and looked down upon as a community, and yet you continue to live in a bubble whereas we Muslims should be interacting with our fellow human beings regardless of race, culture, religion. We should be living by example by spreading peace, building bridges, engaging in interfaith dialogue to represent our religion. It saddens me that you are so oblivious of reality, of society and the complexities and struggles of people because you are so pre-occupied with your pre-conceived notions and your reductionist act of categorizing women as “good housewives” and “horrible women with higher education.” Open your eyes, wake up and relax a little, and try to be a bit more kind and non-judgmental. Surely, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that those were the traits of our Prophet (SAW) or are you going to lecture me to go and read on the Prophet’s life to convince me otherwise? The way you behave is a sign of a lack of inner peace. Try and cultivate it and you will find it much easier to love and accept others. Until then, I will pray for you and you can continue to spread your hate against educated women.

  6. Woman engineer says:

    To Abu Yaqub: “men are stronger emotionally, better at growing wealth, generally more intelligent, better at sciences and math and engineering”
    Wow. In one sentence you have torn down all the hard work of my life. Why indeed did I bother with an engineering degree and career, when you men are so much better than me at it naturally. I wish you had enlightened me before that my brains would not be able to handle the complexity of math and science. That would have saved me a lot of time, money and effort. You have finally enlightened me, and for that I will be eternally grateful. When I have a daughter, I will make sure she knows this truth so she doesn’t make the same mistakes as me.

    • Anisa says:

      Woman engineer, thanks for your response. I feel pity for this individual, because this is really insecurity at its best. That is the only reason why people feel the need to judge others and bring others down. It’s like when a kindergarten kid yells out, “Ew, girls have cooties!” That’s what it reminds me of.

  7. Yazmin says:

    The problem that I, and I think others, have with Mezba’s post is not that his views exist and that we are talking about them. Instead, it was that he was given a platform on this site specifically. His views are not ground breaking or special- they are the stereotypical ideas that make being Muslim and Desi so hard for girls and women. The people who are the problem, who reflect and embody the very system that makes life so difficult for Muslim women to find partners and to be accepted within the community, already take up all the air in the room, so to speak. They dominate our culture and community. They are the system and culture that many women and men are speaking out against, reacting to, negotiating with, and resisting, with this wonderful blog. It is like a racist being given a platform to speak his views on a site dedicated to interracial relationships. Mezba’s views are not surprising or new, but they are rife with privilege, a complete and utter lack of empathy, compassion, self awareness, dedication to social justice, equality, or building a better, more inclusive Islamic community where we can all live without being judged for wanting a peer as a partner.

    • Abu Yaqoob says:

      This is all empty rhetoric. Your happiness lies in joining the system not trying to beat it. What you women call for is against Islam. The lady who wrote saying she studied Islam for years surely wasn’t paying attention in class for her brash manners do not typify the exemplary Muslimah. Furthermore she insinuated that the wives of the Prophet (pbuh) were career women although every single one of them including Khadijah (RA) were home-bound (she leveraged her wealth to have men work the markets on her behalf while she remained in the house). So the women on here who think the career progression is the way to go, ask yourself two things 1) is this how the exemplary women of the Ummah lived? Answer: absolutely not and not a single female on this site can deny that 2) are you happy being a career woman who forsook or delayed marriage for academics/job? It seems the answer is obvious. Let me paint the picture of the system as it exists. Yes there are some flaws but women are equally callous in mate selection in the Muslim community as men are alleged to be. There’s not a peep from anyone on here about the callous attitudes of the females. Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Mezba didn’t do anything un-Islamic. He is to be lauded as someone who kept chaste and when it was time for marriage he looked at a few candidates and chose the best one for him. That is the best system period. As far as men discriminating on women by age, well what do you expect? Gene propagation is ingrained in every culture. Given women’s limited biological time clock while men can go on procreating into their 90s (yes, factual) then it is incumbent on women to stop seeking higher education in lieu of seeking marriage. They make career their prerogative and when it comes back to bite them then they blame the system. Please! They system also frees women of the headaches of earning. It is a system of complementarity where the man earns the bread and the woman keeps house because therein lies the strengths of each. Career women try to read too much into that dynamic by accusing the woman of being a doormat and the man of being an oppressor when the reality is that such dynamics flourish with mutual love, respect, and adoration. Embrace the system ladies. Abandon those kufr like ideas and don’t even try to bring Islam into it because as we can see even a veteran woman who claimed to “hold her own with Sheikhs” really couldn’t keep it together in ways of akhlaaq or proof. Embrace the system that our Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and his society embraced with men and women playing their natural roles and playing to their strengths. Good day to you all.

      (For the Woman Engineer lady – yeah why don’t you tell us how many women there were in your engineering classes? 95% of those classes are men because men generally are far more intelligent. Focus on the word ‘generally’)

      • Anisa says:

        Oh yes, and the exclusive benchmark for determining intelligence is engineering school, isn’t it? Says a lot about your intelligence level. As for telling women to abandon kufr like ideas, how about you abandon the country in which you live, which is full of kufr like ideas so you don’t have to deal with them. I am you are more welcome elsewhere. Stop taking advantage of the facilities in the country full of kufr, stop being a hypocrite. Go live in a place where you don’t have to deal with educated people (not just women).The world and real, intelligent human beings could care less about your utterly ridiculous and stupid opinions.

      • Yazmin says:

        Dude- you are such a troll. You sound like the caricature of what right wing Islamophobes think Muslim men are like. Congratulations on being a stereotype! Feel free to sit down, shut up and never again claim to speak for Muslims. Kthanks.

      • shari says:

        Wow. Well here is something to think about. If you pass away suddenly and your wife is not educated nor works, how do you expect her to take care of the children or herself? Let’s be honest. Shall she stay at home and somehow beg? Do you think your relatives will be so selfless and understanding to take her in?

  8. Zeenat says:

    “We have a beautiful culture but we do have a bit of dirty laundry to attend to. It’s time we talk about it. It’s time we get to work on washing it clean.”

    YES!!! I’m tired of people getting mad when people highlight what is wrong in our world, thinking that it negates the good. But the truth is, no culture or society is perfect. It is important for us to point out what is wrong with society–even if it means SHOWING and EXPOSING what is wrong. If we allow for dirty exposition to expose themselves, then they are less likely to be happening behind closed doors.

  9. Woman engineer says:

    To Abu Yaqoob: in fact: 50% if not more were women! And they aced them. Women stay away from engineering because of culture: our culture is willing to promote medicine and law as suitable careers, but not yet engineering. That is changing though. Nothing to do with innate ability.
    But yes, please hold on to your misogynistic views.
    In the US, less than a 100 years ago, there were barely any women in medical and law school. Now they number close to 50%. I don’t think it is because suddenly their genetics has changed. I am sure we will see the same numbers when it comes to engineering within the next half century or so. I hope you are able to convey your views to them too. I am sure they will drop out of engineering school when you tell them how it is beyond them. Please continue the good work.

  10. Anisa says:

    @Yazmin.Thank you so much! This is exactly what this guy is, a troll. He makes me laugh, and I feel sorry for him. He seems super bored. Perhaps he doesn’t have enough to do around the house?

  11. Fellow Muslimah says:

    Brother Abu Yaqoob,
    I respect the idea of freedom of speech, and for that reason, I am okay with you expressing your thoughts on this forum. I doubt anyone can say anything that will change your mind, because unfortunately, it seems like you are stuck, unfortunately, in a non-progressive mentality that is not aligned with the reality of today’s society. It seems to me that the only exposure you have had with women is traditional women who are okay with living a lifestyle of rearing children and serving their husbands. There is nothing wrong with this “traditional woman,” and if this is the lifestyle that works for them, then Alhamdulillah, may Allah grant them happiness. But it is very, very wrong of you to judge the spirituality levels of other people based on their career-driven decisions.

    I consider myself a God-fearing woman, but I also consider myself career-and-family-oriented, and I was raised to value everything that Islam has taught us. I want to be a great housewife, but I also want to be great at my job and most of all, I want to be a leader in the Muslim community. And here’s a reality check- to be a leader in the Muslim community, I need to get out of the house and present myself to society. I need to feel and show that Muslim women have the right to a great life (great in my opinion, and if you differ in your definition of great, then Alhamdulilllah for you, and please don’t counter that specific opinion).

    Brother, I have come across a lot of people with different opinions. I have been asked to take off my hijab, I have been forced to explain why I am not an oppressed person, and I usually use it as an opportunity to explain truth. But I will say- I am very offended by your statement, “The lady who wrote saying she studied Islam for years surely wasn’t paying attention in class for her brash manners do not typify the exemplary Muslimah.” That kind of statement is said in an extremely brash manner that does not typify the exemplary Muslim male.

    At the end of the day, everyone has the right to their own passions and goals, and you do not have the right to tell someone they are not religious enough or that you are better than them because of genetics. Whether we are male or female is not something we had control over when we were born, and the best women I know today are those who have been able to create amazing Islam-focused lives *WITH* jobs & children.

    May Allah bless us all and help our Muslim community grow stronger and wiser. Ameen.

  12. Nadia says:

    Brother Abu Yaqoob,
    I respect the idea of freedom of speech, and for that reason, I am okay with you expressing your thoughts on this forum. I doubt anyone can say anything that will change your mind, because unfortunately, it seems like you are stuck, unfortunately, in a non-progressive mentality that is not aligned with the reality of today’s society. It seems to me that the only exposure you have had with women is traditional women who are okay with living a lifestyle of rearing children and serving their husbands. There is nothing wrong with this “traditional woman,” and if this is the lifestyle that works for them, then Alhamdulillah, may Allah grant them happiness. But it is very, very wrong of you to judge the spirituality levels of other people based on their career-driven decisions.

    I consider myself a God-fearing woman, but I also consider myself career-and-family-oriented, and I was raised to value everything that Islam has taught us. I want to be a great housewife, but I also want to be great at my job and most of all, I want to be a leader in the Muslim community. And here’s a reality check- to be a leader in the Muslim community, I need to get out of the house and present myself to society. I need to feel and show that Muslim women have the right to a great life (great in my opinion, and if you differ in your definition of great, then Alhamdulilllah for you, and please don’t counter that specific opinion).

    Brother, I have come across a lot of people with different opinions. I have been asked to take off my hijab, I have been forced to explain why I am not an oppressed person, and I usually use it as an opportunity to explain truth. But I will say- I am very offended by your statement, “The lady who wrote saying she studied Islam for years surely wasn’t paying attention in class for her brash manners do not typify the exemplary Muslimah.” That kind of statement is said in an extremely brash manner that does not typify the exemplary Muslim male.

    At the end of the day, everyone has the right to their own passions and goals, and you do not have the right to tell someone they are not religious enough or that you are better than them because of genetics. Whether we are male or female is not something we had control over when we were born, and the best women I know today are those who have been able to create amazing Islam-focused lives *WITH* jobs & children.

    May Allah bless us all and help our Muslim community grow stronger and wiser. Ameen.

  13. zaed says:

    This was the first truly meaningful exchange I have come across on the site. Thank you Brother Abu Yaqoob and the different sisters/brothers who replied. Aside from a couple instances of snide remarks and unnecessary sarcasm, it highlights the clash that is characteristic of the encounter between the tradition/modernity typologies which inhere irrespective of the interpretive elasticity around the words ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’. I sense a deep resemblance between the stance of Brother Abu Yaqoob, and that of sister Anisa, Yazmin, and a couple others. not in content but certainly in form. Both appear to hearken to a similar system of belief insofar as it appears reactionary and defined in opposition to a perceived ‘other’. It certainly makes for a good case study. Once again thank you for your sincere viewpoints. God bless.