An Islamic scholar once said, “…let’s not ask Barbara Walters about how Muslim women feel. Let’s not ask CNN, ABC or FOX. If you want to be fair, ask a Muslim woman. But the problem is no one really wants to ask Muslim women.”
I came across the above quote the other day and the veracity of said statement had me enthralled (Don’t worry- I’ll stop with the big words). We’re often thought of as oppressed, largely because we choose to wear Hijab or a Niqaab. And I say largely because Cinderella isn’t looked at as being as oppressed as us, all because she showed her ankles in a pair of glass slippers. Oh my.
I find myself defining a lot of words when I try to contextualise media reports. According to the Encarta Dictionary, oppression is the transpiring of harsh or cruel domination over an individual. Great, so how does that apply to me? Cinderella was forced to scrub floors. I get forced to bake. Cinderella was forced to sew ball-gowns. I get forced to go shopping. Cinderella was forced to sleep on the floor. I don’t get forced to sleep on the floor. And I like sleeping on the floor. Somebody call the police, we have a case on our hands.
[Adapted from The Status Of Women- Hazrat Moulana Abdul Hamid Ishaq [DB]]
Mufti Taqi Usmani, analysing the modern woman, says that when a woman works in her own house she is backwards but when she works for someone else she is progressive. When she feeds her family, she is backwards but when she feeds people in a restaurant or an aircraft, she is progressive. When she beautifies herself for her husband, she is backward but when she beautifies herself for other men she is progressive.
The Quraan, like any other law book, addresses men when giving instructions. The Quraan has done this to protect the honour of women. This teaches us that women- who are delicate and precious- are to be concealed. Initially, this caused the Sahabiyaat to psychologically think that they may be inferior to man and that their Ibaadat is also not worthy of acceptance. As such, Asma binte Umais (R.A) asked Nabi (S.A.W) about this.
Allah then revealed the Ayat, “The Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing and believing women, the men who remember Allah in abundance and women… “, showing us that they are, in all aspects, equal. Allah also tells us in the Quraan that women have rights (over men) as men have rights (over women). In fact the rights of women are mentioned first. The authority that man has is to be exercised as taught in the Quraan. Allah further says that their matters must be decided by mutual consensus. Man is not a dictator but rules by consultation, although he remains Amir. The further part of this Ayat under discussion also shows that although socially men and women are equal, their duties have been divided and defined.
There is only one man in this Ummah who has been given the glad tidings that he will be called by all eight doors of Jannah to enter through them. Abu Bakr (R.A). Every woman has been afforded the opportunity to enter from any of the eight doors of Jannah by obeying her husband, performing the five daily Salaah, fasting in Ramadhan and guarding her modesty.
Remember, you take one step step towards Allah, Allah takes ten steps towards you.
May Allah protect us all and grant us the ability to overcome our Nafs.
Love and Duas,