The reality of the disgusting Muslim Youtube celebrity scene, how much is hidden in terms of their behavior and we’ve got young teen sisters looking up to and admiring these guys, chasing them down the street when they visit London.
Parents please be careful. Adam Saleh, Deen Squad, IAmKhaled, FouseyTube and the rest of the Youtube Muslim celebrity circuit, just because these men (and some women) are apparently Muslim doesn’t mean they are good or allowed for your kids to follow on social media, check the Youtube feed of your family and if you are finding these people on there then you need to sit them down and talk to them.
These people are shaiateen, leading the masses astray, mini-dajjal types with girls and women literally chasing after them thinking they are something special but they are hiding their true selves, they are playing with and leading astray thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of youth.
They are destroying our youth, destroying your children and by not speaking out sooner we have been letting them do it.
Every man here will sympathise I am sure, unless he has an eidetic memory the frustrations of getting into an argument with his wife, and she can bring up past mistakes in detail whilst he is pretty sure there are some similar good points from his side, but right there and then the details just are not there.
Point and often argument lost in many cases and men in they are wise learn other coping mechanisms to deal with this side of relationships over the years.
My own personal one being not allowing the matters to escalate to that level in the first place because it’s not possible to ‘win’ in such a situation against a woman, even if you come up with the pertinent facts she just changes angle and brings up some related topic, or something totally unrelated until she ‘wins.’
But what if we could remember brothers, what then?
Being a somewhat typical INTJ personality type, I thought I’d come up with a cunning plan to get around my male memory and I did once make a spreadsheet of every thing done in our relationship, good or bad but this included every argument and misdemeanor for about two months in a row.
Not a good idea apparently and it was one of the worse times in our marriage at least from my point of view as I found myself becoming more agitated and not my usual calm self, as each day I would submit the latest entries, and dwell on past problems.
I became more liable to see flaws I would otherwise have not seen, or else let go long before, in the past. Every relatively minor little thing became another bitter addition to the previous few days list of what were really totally minor and petty disagreements.
I’d often become vexed, walking around doing a Mr angry impression with the Mrs not knowing why and often I was more annoyed with an unresolved issue from days or even weeks before I’d read about that morning than I was about the actual thing which was on my mind right then.
So maybe for good reason we are forgetful creatures, perhaps it’s really a good thing, or mostly so.
This old English saying (actually most languages probably have this one) has a lot of truth in it…
“MEN DO NOT FORGIVE, THEY FORGET. WOMEN FORGIVE EVERYTHING BUT NEVER FORGET!”
Whenever I have to listen to a brother or sister discuss the problems in their marriage, men tend to have a few ‘big’ items they just cannot let go off, where as the sisters… the sisters can write long lists sometimes even with dates of every infraction real or imagined most of which the man cannot even remember happening.
In our lives trying to follow Islam brothers need to learn to forgive, struggle and strive to forgive others especially our spouses and sisters need to learn to let things go, if a matter is resolved and in the past don’t keep bringing it up every time you are angry with him.
Psychologists have pondered over the reason why men are more forgetful, and this has been measured and proven to be so but for whatever reason Allah has designed and made us different in this way. I am not sure there is one reason why, but perhaps if men were less forgetful they would not be able to fully function in their overall tole as leaders of the household.
We are made to be forgetful of these little details in arguments and life and if this makes married life run along more smoothly so Alhamdulillah I am grateful to Allah he has made us this way.
And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa’ 4:3
Confession time: I am no Sheikh or imam, I have no formal qualifications to speak about the deen. I am just someone who is active in Da’wah and working in the Muslim community helping others. Those I help are usually new Muslims who come to learn about the basics of Islam but also then later on when they need help if / when they get into personal difficulties in their lives.
So given I only have the one wife and my own my lack of deeni educational paperwork, feel free to ignore any or all of what you are about the read.
However it is based upon my own experiences in over 10 years of community activism, counselling others, reverts and non-reverts with their many difficulties and from asking questions myself from the people of knowledge I know and learn from and I would hope it carries some weight to those who are considering polygamy (or Polygyny for those wanting to be more precise in their English usage).
MY ADVICE REGARDING POLYGAMY
Now those who know me personally can confirm that I am quite pro-Polygamy. It’s a beautiful part of the sunnah and I post about it on this blog often. Polygamy is a blessing to those families I know who are involved when it is done correctly and could solve many of the ills facing the Muslim community so why do I almost always find myself talking brothers out of the idea of adding another wife to their home life?
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “The rights of one Muslim over another are six.” It was said: What are they, O Messenger of Allah? He said: “If you meet him, greet him with salaam; if he invites you, accept the invitation; if he asks for advice, give him sincere advice; if he sneezes and praises Allah, say Yarhamuk Allah (may Allah have mercy on you); if he falls sick, visit him; and if he dies, attend his funeral.”
It’s because the men wanting to take up this are for the most part not ready for it. It’s not necessarily something which is their fault but there is reason polygamous marriages fail at such a disastrously high rate.
Most men are not ready for this responsibility, they cannot do justice or sometimes even provide for two or more wives. Some are outright malicious and just want what they want and don’t care if people get hurt in the process.
A BIRD IN THE HAND…
Some may think they are ready for polygamy, hope they are ready, but they are almost always not but carry on regardless and marry again anyway. Especially with all the other brothers are telling them, “JUST GO FOR IT BRO!”
This is not the sincere advice mentioned in the hadith above, and none of us would want our own sisters, daughters or mothers treated in such a flippant manner by their husbands.
Sisters and those with waliya over them need to be asking the potentially polygamous husband-to-be whether he has spoken to the people of knowledge and what they say regarding his suitability for handling polygamy. Usually they don’t bother speaking to the people of knowledge first, and if they haven’t then don’t even consider this man.
Though some ill-advised polygamous marriages somehow manage to succeed, almost always they don’t and they often end up damaging not just the new wife’s life and prospects but their first wife’s also along with all the children from these marriages into the bargain.
So this is the first type of brother who falls into mistakenly thinking polygamy is for him and the least harmful, though by far the most numerous.
It’s not like he has bad intentions. They wish to fulfill their desires in a halal manner and don’t realize what damage they will do just jumping in unprepared and sadly I’ve seen so many of them come crying (sometimes literally) and asking for help and advice from the masaajid, imams or activists like myself after ending up divorced from one or even both wives, or close enough to it there is little anyone can do to help them fix this mess they’ve got into.
This problem is becoming sadly too common and the olde-English saying ‘A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush’ definitely applies more often than not to most brothers because most lack the requisite traits to fulfill polygamy.
The second type of brother is like someone thinking the best way to learn to drive is by just buying a car, then crashing it, then buying another and crashing again, over and over until he gets it right. This is sadly how some take marriage, especially polygamous marriage which is a whole other difficulty level to marrying the first time and often a miskeen long suffering wife is somewhere in the background picking up the pieces each time things go badly wrong for this type of brother.
Rasoolullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa salam) said: “The best of you are those who are the best to their wives, and I am the best of you to my wives.” Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 3895; Ibn Maajah, 1977; and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi
They have a callous attitude to others to some degree and need to fear Allah regarding our sisters in Islam. But unlike the last group I’ll mention they not outright malicious and if they get the right wife for them, or somehow manage to learn along the way without breaking things totally then they’ll at least make a half decent effort at it even if they might fall short in some areas.
Usually these brothers can be found out as they don’t have much of a clue on how to handle polygamy, probably never even read a book on it never-mind sat with the people of knowledge, or else have a series of ex-wives in the background as a big sign post to avoid.
Brothers, these are our sisters in Islam, someone else’s daughter or sister, the fragile vessels and you don’t treat them in this way, Ever.
I think regular brothers have way too easy-come, easy-go an attitude to polygamy and you can see it in the way they speak about it among themselves and this is the fault for the rest of us who do not pull them up often enough when they start to discuss sisters in this way.
I genuinely think most of these brothers are giving advice not out of sincere intentions on whether polygamy is best for this particular brother, but because they selfishly wish to push polygamy so it becomes something more easily accepted in the community and so available for themselves.
The final group who go in for polygamy… marriage bandits or on their way to being such who actively don’t care about hurting their wives if it serves their needs and desires, or if they do care it’s not enough to actually stop them.
Such a ‘brother’ will sadly marry and divorce far too easily, his gaze constantly moving on to something new. As if this new wife, someone who is meant to be their sister in Islam, who intends herself to be his partner for life and the hereafter is nothing more than a latest girlfriend or baby-mama to be discarded after use for a time when he becomes tired or bored with her, or else she doesn’t fit an exact match to his criteria of what a perfect woman should be, an ideal which can never realistically be met.
The problem with the last group is that their personally flaws are often hidden well, as they know their own failings but don’t care about hurting others.
They’ll lie, cheat, hide all their ex-wives from you, and sometimes even other brothers especially if they are in the same hizb will lie for them also and cover their many past mistakes and sins. Others may often be impressed by their level of knowledge of the deen, even if there is not always more than a surface level implementation of that knowledge in their lives.
I’ve posted about marriage banditry before and it’s another reason (other than regular badly behaved brothers) why sisters should never speak to a man alone and why it’s important that a sister has a good wali doing the talking for them especially in the initial stages.
A man that is able to not just speak to a brother once or twice but check his references back to front. If a man has skeletons in his closet someone will know about them usually and these men are experts at manipulating sisters, but brothers can sniff them out more easily and anyway… if they meet resistance they will often move onto easier prey.
And herein in the character of our polygamous brothers in the community lays the Catch-22 in the title.
Though I like the idea of polygamy and would love to see it practiced more, those who usually do ‘just go for it’ or are callous or even downright malicious in their intent are most likely to fail or don’t care if they fail and continue to tarnish this aspect of the sunnah in the eyes of the majority of the people.
Those who fear Allah the most in regards to their womenfolk are likely to stick to one even though they are the most likely to be able to succeed in leading and supporting two or even more wives and attached families.
I was present when a brother was speaking to a Sheikh in my city regarding polygamy, and whether he should seek a second wife or not. He’s known as an upstanding and just brother but yet he feared hurting his first wife and the Sheikh advised him this is what made him best suited to polygamy and that given his character if he could not do justice then none of us could.
I doubt the same advice would be given to any brothers falling into the three groups I’ve listed above if they’d gone to this Sheikh themselves.
THE THREE TRAITS
Being close to the masaajid in my city, and getting the chance to speak to many brothers I’ve seen the good, the bad and ugly in the community when it comes to polygamy and I’d like to end on a more positive note or at least more productive one and show how polygamy can work and succeed.
From my observations and speaking to those are successful polygamy requires three traits in a man to make it work well. Those that have all three of these traits will Allah willing make good polygamous husbands.
Two will probably work out OK, especially the later two.
One you’re pushing it… really don’t risk it bro, bird in the hand remember.
Zero and you’ve got little to no chance and anyone who knows you well, or doesn’t know you at all and is telling you to ‘just go for it’ is an idiot and should be told he is an idiot. Actually tell him I told you to tell him he’s an idiot.
If you wish to pursue polygamous marriages in the future you will need to cultivate these traits, train your mind and mold your character to something new and better and what’s more into the bargain you’ll become a better all round better husband to wife number one, a better Muslim and human being as well.
OK not technically a character trait but yes money, dollars, pounds, dinars, whatever your local currency happens to be. This is part and parcel of being able to support and maintain more than one wife, actually to support even one wife.
And this attitude of working your butt off to earn a halal income is something I’ve seen in many successful polygamous husbands. However a lazy workshy brother is almost never going to provide properly for one wife, never-mind two plus so yes this does relate to character as well.
Men are in charge of women by [right of] what Allah has given one over the other and what they spend [for maintenance] from their wealth. So righteous women are devoutly obedient, guarding in [the husband’s] absence what Allah would have them guard. But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance – [first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them. But if they obey you [once more], seek no means against them. Indeed, Allah is ever Exalted and Grand.
Translation of the Quran. Surah An-Nisa 4:34
So if you’re not willing to spend on your wife or wives, you are giving up a large portion of your authority and in this I am not talking about brothers who make effort but still fall short, sisters need to be patient with such brothers, I am talking about those who don’t even put in the effort at all.
Yes I know the salaf used to marry again when in need of rizq and that Allah states in the Quran:
And marry the unmarried among you and the righteous among your male slaves and female slaves. If they should be poor, Allah will enrich them from His bounty, and Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.
Translation of the Quran. Surah An-Nur 24:31
But most brothers do not have those levels of tawakkul, reliance upon Allah, or have some other barrier from their sins or actions they’ve placed between themselves and the help of Allah coming to them. Some are frankly using this as an excuse to marry and not care about the consequences.
Yes the rizq comes from Allah, but brothers tie your camel also, do not expect wealth to fall into your lap with no effort or planning on your part.
I do know brothers with more than one wife who are poor, or at least less well off, but they strive and struggle in some form either in some deeni field and their wives are patient with that but is the exception, not the rule and sisters expect, and quite rightly so that we as husbands provide for them or at least try our hardest to do so.
There are reams and reams of words written upon how to be manly from a point of view of Islam or non-Muslim society and these days especially as a counter to the feminist movement written by Muslim and non-Muslim alike.
Manliness is not something most find easy to pin down, especially the meaning I am using here in relation to polygamy but it is something some people know when they see it in themselves or another brother.
So I want to be clear I am referring to being a man from the point of view of Islamic traditions here. This is nothing to do with the men’s rights movement and if you start quoting some badly written trashy articles by barely pubescent boys over on 4chan or reddit on how to be an alpha male trust me, if that’s your thing then right now polygamy is not for you and you’ve got major issues you need to resolve.
Nor is it forcing your wife to walk ten paces behind you pushing a buggy weighed down with bags whilst you breeze on ahead without a care in the world or bullying and pushing the women in your life around until their will is crushed and they obey automatically.
This ummah is meant to raise up strong women, as well as strong men. If you cannot handle a strong women, or feel you need to bully her or even beat her down, you need to dominate then no this is not manliness, or at least not any Islamic version of it.
For me the manliness I am talking about here for those who are successfully polygamous is being a leader or having leadership potential. Having that effortless confidence in their own abilities and inspiring good out of those around them, an air of command without needing to shout or bully others, an ability to quietly get things done without whinging or whining.
Though we might have difficulty pinning it down, women seem to be able to pick up on parts of it it straight away especially issues such as confidence, self-belief and this is one of the reasons why some brothers get easy marriage offers, even offers to take a second wife when some otherwise good brothers struggle for years even a decade or more to marry.
Though it requires more than just confidence to be a man, women feel attraction towards such men in ways they cannot always get their head around and when other men see not just confidence but other admirable traits in a brother they trust in him being able to look after their daughter in terms of marriage.
Let me ask you brothers, if a man came to you with a weak, anemic personality would you really feel he going to look after your daughter properly? Times that lack of confidence in his manliness by 10 when it comes to polygamy.
Women need to be certain the man in their life is going to get things done, to just deal with things. This is obviously an even greater requirement in polygamy where shaitan, and all his little helpers among the jinn and mankind will be keeping the gossip going, running to each wife whispering in their ears trying to cause a rupture in the man’s marriages.
3. ‘PERSISTENTLY STANDING FIRM IN JUSTICE’
The final and most important trait of the three is being just towards others. Especially the women in your life. So much so that the condition Allah places on polygamy in the Quran is whether a man can be just or not.
And if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly with the orphan girls then marry (other) women of your choice, two or three, or four; but if you fear that you shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one or (slaves) that your right hands possess. That is nearer to prevent you from doing injustice.
Quran translation, Surah an-Nisa 4:3
How many times does Allah mention being just in the Quran?
If you know yourself you are not a just man, then stay clear of polygamy as it will destroy you and destroy your deen, and possibly contribute towards doing the same of your wives and children when they see you behaving in an oppressive manner.
O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted.
Translation of the Quran, Surah An-Nisa 4:135
All believers have to strive to be just, towards each other and in this case especially towards their wives, Allah is saying if you cannot be just then one is better for you and dhulm, oppression is forbidden to us and can have grave consequences here in the dunya and in the hereafter.
It was narrated from Abu Dharr (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, narrating from Allah, may He be glorified and exalted: “ ‘O My slaves, I have forbidden dhulm to Myself and I have made it haraam among you, so do not wrong one another.”
Sahih Muslim (2577)
All successful polygamous marriages I know of the man is just, known to be just to those around him in the community, just to Muslim and non-Muslim, just to all.
This is the most important trait of a polygamous husband’s character and without it either one or more of the marriages will break or else it will cause misery in his spouses even if he himself is happy and content in his life.
Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas: The Prophet sent Mu’adh to Yemen and said, “Be afraid, from the curse of the oppressed as there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.”
Touching on justice, some men think they are automatically superior in the marriage / marriages, by default of being the man in the home. That the degree that Allah gives them over women in Surah Al-Baqarah is because of what hangs between their legs, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Ibn Abbas and others in their explanation of this ‘darajah’ degree of men over women, this superiority is in an man being lenient towards his wife or wives, and that when he is able to do this even when a woman is being unjust, as they are likely to be from time with even the best of wives then he gains this degree over women, and that this was part of ‘rujulah’ manliness in Islam.
This is a long article but that’s not the only reason it’s taken me a while to write and it’s been even longer coming in my mind, that something needed to be put down on this subject.
As I said at the beginning, I am not anti-polygamy, I am very much in favour of it, it is just I am in favour of the right people doing it and the rest of the males in the ummah not listening when other brothers tell you ‘Just go for it bro!’
Those brothers who give polygamy a bad press both to the Muslims and the non-Muslims around us. As someone active in Da’wah for many years there are few things as annoying as seeing someone who is close to the teachings of Islam but has been put off by seeing some bad character, some injustice or evil taking place in the community.
So I am not trying to attack those brothers who are taking part in polygamy or put off those who are seriously thinking of it, just giving some thoughts on how it can be done successfully, what traits you need to build up to make a success of this so we avoid so many painful clashes in the community when it goes pear shaped.
And by successful, I don’t mean still married after a year or two, or even cancer survival rate ‘success’ chances of 5 years. I am talking life-long happy unions with all the ups and downs such marriages bring but mostly bringing that beautiful sense of sakinah to the husband and all his wives, that marriage is meant to bring.
There are so many unmarried sisters in the community, divorcees, widows, even young and now not so young single sisters who have just not been able to find suitable husbands and one of my forthcoming pieces is going to cover why this and why this is a particular problem in the Muslim community.
Polygamy is Allah’s solution to this problem and all the follow on issues it causes, and when done correctly can help bind the community together. Some of the stories I have gathered from those who have grown up in polygamous households, or in communities where it is common are awe-inspiring to someone like myself striving to practice Islam as a whole way of life.
My final comment is to those brothers out there, who find themselves feeling they would like to take another wife, and reflecting on themselves after reading this article think they have most if not all of these traits is that you first sit with a Sheikh, discuss this and whether he thinks you are ready, whether you are suitable for this type of marriage.
After you’ve done that, speak to your family and yes of-course your wife and be just in letting her know what you are thinking. Yes, she will most likely cry and there will be difficulties, but she is helper, your garment, you should be consulting with her on this matter as on all things and letting her know her opinion is valued and listened to is what will make it easier for her to accept.
The after all of this, you are still convinced this is for you then not to let the horror stories stop you from going ahead and may Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala put baraqah in your all your marriages and grant you goodness from it, ameen.
And those who pray, “Our Lord! Grant unto us wives and offspring who will be the comfort of our eyes, and give us (the grace) to lead the righteous.”
Translation of the Quran. Surah Al-Furqan 25:74
I like how Hend Hegazi said in her recent interview with Umm Afraz Muhammed which is published here, that not everyone is going to like your work, your writing. She spoke a known, but not necessarily always remembered, fact. It is such an important fact to remember as a blogger. We need to let people “not like” our work, and consequently have peace with it in our minds.
Each one of us is unique, but not necessarily “good enough” in readers’ eyes. Some of us have huge word bank, while others use simpler vocabulary. Some share their thoughts in simpler form, while others find eloquence in a different path. Some hold degrees while others hold only experience. And so on….
Writing for many of us starts with the passion to share our thoughts in our own words. Pure love for writing motivates us to get started. But as human as we are, some times it is inevitable to fall in the trap of “likes.” This trap is oh so hard to avoid, and oh so depressing to be in. Like anything else in life, renewing our intentions is a must in this field too.
Keeping high goals as writers is understandable. For instance, wanting to write for sisters magazine some day (YES, that is a high achievement) or publishing one’s own book. Interestingly, to reach these goals in some undeniable manner we need to keep our readers happy. The more readers you have the better it is. Which is the very reason why it so hard to avoid the trap of “likes.” We need to balance it out for ourselves and remind ourselves from time to time. While we would like our content to be liked by readers, our writing should not be for the sake of “likes.” There is a huge difference. In first one, we share our thoughts as they are and then are content with how many ever people agree with our thoughts and like our work. Whereas in the latter one, we write in a way that readers may accept it – that is when we have lost the sole purpose of our writing.
Problem is in front of us and so is the solution.
We just need to remind ourselves and each other.
May Allah help us purify our intentions and help us write to spread good & knowledge for the benefit of Muslim Ummah and mankind in general. (Aameen)
“An advice to married students from me, a married student
1.)Understand that your wife has given up some integral rights that she is due, in order for you to seek knowledge. So be even more kind to her and show your appreciation more.
2.) If she is living away from you, do not be too quick to judge and undermine her decisions and actions. Remember a persons decisions and actions are cultivated by the environment around them. Compare your environment to hers and show mercy and try not to demand too much from her.
3.) She is constantly reminded that her husband isn’t there. Whether intentionally or unintentionally from her family and peers there is a constant reminder that her husband is MIA. While her friends return from the masjid to the loving arms of their husbands she returns home to a husbandless home. Be aware of this and try to do what you can to counteract this feeling. Msging, Calling, Email, SnailMail (“TheNoteBook” style) All these things can help lessen the burden from her.
Finally my brothers remember you said “قبلت” You accepted her and all burdens that she would come with. Be smart and wise when you say and do regarding her.
I ask Allah to unite all the students of knowledge who are currently away from their wives.”
Taken from Salafi Feminist Blog – http://thesalafifeminist.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/how-would-you-feel-if-it-was-your.html
“Brothers, how would you feel if someone abused your mother/ sister/ wife/ daughter?”
You don’t get it. Dearest shuyookh, your intentions are sweet, but you don’t get it.
Men DO abuse their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters. They watch their mothers, sisters, wives and daughters be abused.
And they let it happen.
Maybe they don’t always approve of it. Maybe they feel bad. Maybe they genuinely think it’s terrible.
But they let it happen.
“She’s married now, we can’t interfere.” “She needs to be more patient, all men get angry sometimes.” “She just needs to stop being stubborn and get used to it.” “Divorce is the most hated thing in the sight of Allah.” “Men will handle their own business, we can’t get involved.”
And so another generation of sons, brothers, husbands and fathers grow up watching their womenfolk being lashed at with both words and fists. It’s normal, after all.
Some will break the cycle, recalling the horror they witnessed; these men, the true qawwam, will block the blows rained down upon their mothers and protect their daughters and show their wives only the greatest respect.
But many will not, because gheerah is no longer about protecting one’s womenfolk from harm, but about protecting male ego and so-called honour built upon insecurity.
“Brothers, how would you feel if someone abused your mother/ sister/ wife/ daughter?”
“Know that when you deal and interact with your wife then it is mandatory that you think of a [scenario] where a man is the husband of your daughter. How does he treat her? Would you be pleased for him to treat her with harshness and sternness? The answer is no. Therefore, do not be content with treating the daughter of another person in a fashion that you would not be pleased for your daughter to be treated. This principle should be known by all people.”
Feminism is a topic that is tweeted about a lot on Twitter, I didn’t hear about it that much until I joined and people are majorly divided over it. Whether pro feminism or completely anti feminism it seems to be a subject that is raging between the sexes and also the religious and non-religious. I’m not too interested in the subject but I wanted to find out a little more on it because it’s brought up so often, from people believing it’s harming society, harming the relationship between men and women, affecting the family and people saying how bad it is for women.
It was a movement for equality, justice and fairness and I’m told now its anti men pro matriarch anti patriarchy, Obscuring gender roles, diminishing women’s femininity because women are trying to be more like men (this is what they say) work roles and getting more radical.
As I said I’m not too interested in this topic but I did come across a lecture and found it to be very concise on its history as to why and how feminism came about. I’ve written some key points from the lecture.
The speaker is an Islamic scholar and teacher named Ali Al Tamimi of Iraqi American heritage. He is a knowledgeable and intelligent man who is very much ahead of his time and I believe this lecture, even though it was contextual to its time conducted in the 90s (I believe I’m not 100% sure) still applies today. He’s an Islamic scholar and teacher as well as a geneticist, at one point he was one of the top 25 in the world. He was studying cancer research using mathematical chaos theory to explain the random multiplication of cells in the body. The sheikh (scholar) is currently incarcerated for life in an American prison, I pray Allah hastens his release Ameen. His take on the current wave of feminism would be fascinating.
He begins the lecture by stating that he feels it’s quite important discussing the topic of feminism pertaining to Islam because there is a concerted movement throughout the world to try to reinterpret basic Islamic beliefs and practises in a feminist interpretation of the Quran (Muslims holy book) and Sunnah (practises of the prophet Muhammad peace be upon him). From what I see this is still in full fledge today. A popular book regarding this has been written by a Moroccan woman named Fatima Mernissi – The Veil and the Male Elite: A Feminists Interpretation of Women’s Rights in Islam. A collation of poor scholarship according to the sheikh.
The notion of feminism is relatively new in terms of ideas, 3 to 4 centuries ago there was no such thing as feminism, you cannot find it in dictionaries, encyclopedias or in the historical books. It is a new school of thought that has appeared in the last 150 years, in particular since world war two in the west due to men being conscripted and the need for women in the workplace, when the men returned the women were effectively forced out.
How has this school of thought appeared in the west initially? How does the west look to women historically? This gives an idea to why feminism arises in the west.
The Wests culture is rooted in ideas of the ancient Greeks and Romans traced to the Greek philosophers Socrates, Aristotle, Plato etc. The ancient Greeks did not conceive of women being full human beings rather the notion was they did not possess full humanity like men do. Women were mere objects to be bought and sold in markets. Then the west adopted the teachings of Christianity, not what Allah sent down to the prophet Eesa (Jesus) but a mix of Rabbinical Jews, a mix of pagan practises and ethical early Christians with some preserved truth that was not lost that was sent down with some falsehood available.
Rabbinical Jews regarding women – essays were written by apostle Paul originally Jew according to the New Testament, you find general degradation of women and a notion was that they were the cause for the fall of humanity. When Adam the first man to be created ate the forbidden fruit in heaven according to the Old Testament, it was Eve that succumb to the wishes of satan and she convinced Adam to transgress. The Jewish and Christian theology both say the sin and the fall of humanity from paradise is put squarely on the shoulders of the woman alone.
Major Christian authors throughout the middle ages refer to women as satan’s tool and the cause of all the suffering faced by humanity. This led to degraded views of women in the middle ages, western civilisation and Europe. There are no examples of women having share of political, intellectual or social life in societies. Only from the 14th century in England was it permissible for a woman to read the Bible, prior to this is was forbidden according to church law let alone having a copy. Islamic history states that the original copy of the Quran made during the time of Abu Bakr was placed with Umar then after his death with his daughter Hafsa the prophet’s wife.
Women not being considered full human beings and being degraded continued in the west and was part of society for a number of centuries. In the 18th and 19th century the industrial revolution took place mainly in England and as a result a lot of labour in the mines and factories was needed. There was a shortage of sufficient men so women and children were forced to work 12-16 hour shifts for relatively no pay if any at all. As a result a number of aristocratic women saw the plight of their sisters and called for equality and justice and for their rights to be given. The first book written on this was in the 18th century – A vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft. The book argues if the women are working 14 plus hours they should get paid like men and have a right to education and be able to participate in the culture and so forth, to raise their status in the western society. Feminism was not just a call to be treated fairly but for their essential humanity.
The sheikh states that amongst the non muslims and those muslims that do not adhere to the Quran and Sunnah, you find they go from one extreme to the other. The west had essentially stripped women of the quality of humanity with no rights, they could not own property, they weren’t allowed an education to then arguing women and men are the same and even neutral terms such as gender instead of sex were introduced. They stated that rolls can be assumed by both sexes and there wasn’t any difference between men and women and that any difference that did appear were the teachings of that culture and society.
The sheikh states that feminism is a school of thought and within that there are different types such as liberal feminism, Marxist feminism, radical feminism, socialist feminism, post modern feminism etc.
The feminist approach to religion in the west is two types, firstly apologetic Christians and Jews that try to reconcile to achieve reinterpretation of the Hebrew texts and New Testament and that is a minority view.
Secondly the radical feminist thought – they consider in essence its nature is against religion, so no religion irrespective of which they reject and that religion is not positive at all for women and they have to be free from religion as a whole. He cites this is the majority view.
The Quranic texts and the teachings of the prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) say that men and women are fully sharing in humanity, it doesn’t teach that women are less of a human being then men. The major thrust of teachings to submit to Allah and worship are addressed to men and women alike. The basic pillars such as Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah), Zakat (giving a percentage of money from wealth to the poor), prayer, belief in the oneness of God, men and women are addressed equally and they will receive the benefits and rewards of their actions and good deeds equally.
The Quran does not suggest the sin was of Eve alone and that Adam was duped. In Surah (chapter) Al Ar’af the Dua (prayer/invocation) of Adam is plural ‘we’. In Surah Taha it states that ‘Adam disobeyed so he went astray’, the sin fell on him, Muslims didn’t believe the woman to be the cause of evil.
Islam recognises that men and women are different. It doesn’t necessarily mean that one is better but a sign of Allah is that he created duality, night and day, sky and earth, moon and sun male and female. Neither of the two can be considered better or the same. The major difference between contemporary thought and Islamic belief is that the west went from the extreme of denying women’s humanity and that they’re full humans to now arguing men and women are the same and the only reason they act a certain way as men and women is due to the society and culture that teaches them that.
They try to deny that physiology has any effect on the psychological mental disposition of the sexes. Scientific literature cites male physiology and male hormones leads to different ways of acting and reacting in part of the personality compared to females. In Allah’s wisdom he created this order. The distinction in the sexes means there has been given different obligations to the sexes, obligations which will fit each sex best according to the way we are created for the purpose that Allah wanted of it. When a sex has obligations put upon it then entails it has greater rights.
It’s important to understand at the same time that throughout the Muslim world one does not find the teachings of Islam in regards to women applied and it’s undeniable that you find women in a bad state. Why? In the Islamic world all the rights are not observed, whether it’s the rights of Allah, fellow Muslims one to another, plants and animals etc. If society does not check tyranny and injustice and uphold decency the strong end up devouring the weak whether it be, women, children, the elderly, the poor which are the weakest members. This is not unique to women but Muslims as a society.
Proof that Islam is Better to Women
The sheikh cites that the greatest evidence is history itself, what has Islam brought to women compared to what other civilizations brought. Historians will tell you that humanity has seen 15 to 20 civilizations, in all of them you do not see women having any role in the development of that civilization per se. Examples cited – the American revolution and the founding fathers. The French revolutions – Jean-Jacques Rousseau and others. The ancient Greeks had male philosophers, the ancient Chinese/ Japanese/ Hindus you don’t find women having any role in it. Books recorded in the last 5000 years of history you don’t see women being written about until the last 150 years playing a role in the society becoming doctors, office election roles etc.. It means nothing really was affected by women and they were passive in these civilizations.
In Islam it’s completely different, firstly it is not man-made but revelation sent down by Allah to his prophet Muhammad pbuh. In the beginning of his mission the most important person was his wife Khadijah pbuh. Had it not been for her support morally and materially his message could not have continued in Makkah. After Islam spread and after his death the knowledge transmitted by one of his wives Aisha pbuh. Out of the 7 major narrators of Hadith (books describing the prophet’s words, actions, habits)whereby 70% of Hadith is transmitted Aisha pbuh is amongst the major 2 or 3. The Fatwas (legal pronouncement interpreted from the Quran and Sunnah) Zarkashi wrote books on how she corrected Fatwa of the other male Sahabah (companions of the prophet pbuh) she participated in the society and was a major scholar.
Islamic history until the last 2 to 3 centuries, most major scholars had among their teachers a woman. 8th century Islamic history shows that 3 to 4 of Ibn Taymiyyah’s pbuh teachers were women from the number of people he learned from. The number of books show roles of women that transmitted Islamic knowledge.
In the West/Hindu/ Chinese civilizations they lack biographies of women personalities, you don’t know much about them, contemporary women we do have biographies. At the time of the prophet pbuh out of 9000 companions of the prophet there is a whole section on women, Ibn Hajar pbuh gathered biographies of the prophets pbuh companions.
The sheikh concludes the lecture by stating that we should not approach this topic in an apologetic manner to the reason to why feminism occurred and that they want to wipe out any difference between men and women in the west as a reaction to the extreme treatment they had before when they weren’t considered full humans.
What’s interesting is the number of books the sheikhs cites, as i stated the lecture was conducted a number of years ago so keep in mind the context to that point. I’ve included the link to the lecture, It’s in 6 parts with a short q&a at the end, the audio is poor due to it being old but as i stated earlier he was a ahead of his time on topics that are relevant today. Allah protect and preserve him.
Click here for the full lecture – Understand Feminism