Tag Archives: Women

Daniel Haqiqatjou – Down with the Patriarchy!

“Down with the patriarchy!” she posts on a social media platform invented by a man, using a computer developed by men, powered by electricity possible through a vast infrastructural system designed by men, built, and maintained on the back of men and through the blood and sweat of men. She sips her herbal tea, growing angrier by the minute.

“Men only care about themselves. Who needs them anyway?!” she muses, as she lounges in her college dorm room in a building built by men, in her final semester studying “Gender and Sexuality Studies,” her $55,000 per year tuition being paid for by her father — a man. She gets up to go to the corner store to buy some lip gloss at 1AM at night.

“Patriarchy is just about perpetuating rape culture!” she thinks, as she walks alone in the middle of the deserted street that is brightly lit due to street lamps installed by men, in a neighborhood that is completely safe because of a massive police presence ready to use deadly force at a moment’s notice, a police presence consisting of men. She buys the lip gloss and heads back to the dorm.

“Toxic masculinity is the worst,” she sighs, as she tosses the lip gloss packaging into the trash, trash that is collected and disposed of by men in landfills maintained by men as part of a massive network of utilities and services provided by men, in a country that is defended from the possibility of foreign invasion because of an army of men willing to die for the protection of the nation’s interests, including its women and children. She applies the lip gloss and picks up her $800 iPhone for a selfie.

“Things would be soo much better if women ruled the world,” she smiles contentedly, as she posts her selfie to Instagram, hoping that that rich, smart, good-looking guy in her network of friends will notice and show interest in her, maybe send her a flirty message, maybe one thing leads to another, maybe he sweeps her off her feet, but in a way that totally respects her independence and her lack of need for men in any way, shape, or form. Instead that “ugly” guy who drives an old Camry DMs her, asking if she is interested in going out.

“OH MY GOD, what is this creep doing, trying to get in my DMs, pushing himself on me?!” she sneers, as she hastily prepares a #metoo social media post about sexual harassment, male privilege, and perpetual female victimhood, once again typing angrily on a $3000 laptop developed and paid for by men. She decides to go to bed.

She closes her eyes, but she is seething with rage. She tosses and turns, hatred keeping her up later into the night. Finally, she dozes off as one last thought crosses her tortured mind: “Men are trash!”

~ Daniel Haqiqatjou

 

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Form vs Function – Unrealistic Body Images of Men in the Modern Media

basmillah

O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.
Quran translation, Surah al-A’raf, 7:31

Assalaamu Alaykum brothers and sisters,

We’re all used to hearing about an unrealistic body image being promoted for women in the modern world and yes this is a terrible problem, leading to depression, anxiety, eating disorders (over as well as under eating) and suicides among many, including our young (and sometimes not so young) sisters. We cannot deny how huge an issue this has become but are we not guilty as a society of the same when it comes to men?

bodytalk-male-bodybuilder-sTHE UNACHIEVABLE MALE BODY IMAGE

Given these same eating disorders are now affecting males, as well as physiological problems relating to health and fitness I think it’s fair to state now that modern media, social media, artwork and overall society is promoting just as an unhealthy body image of men as  they’ve done in the past with women. Body images which are just as unreachable as those female equivalents that are now so widely recognized as so damaging on the minds and bodies of women that we see some city authorities wanting to ban from the public space so should we not recognize the dangers to men also?

STRUGGLING WITH DEMOTIVATION

This unachievable male body image was something which disheartened me recently as I’ve looked into getting back to a more healthy state. I just knew I am never going to be thin nor will I ever be the right shaped human to get that V upper-body figure most men crave.

I’m a human being, and as I read article after article on health and fitness it affects me on some level seeing the accompanying images (most likely photo-shopped),  a body image I’ll never achieve no matter how long or how often I worked out or did sports.

This was something which can be a huge downer and as I read others blogs and online material I know it is something which can make many, men and women, want to give up almost before they start. I think if it was not for the fact I know I’m failing in my Islamic obligations by being so out of shape I’d have been far more tempted to give up myself by now after just a few weeks or eating more sensibly and a wee bit of regular exercise.

Narrated by A’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) who said: “The first calamity for this nation after the Prophet’s death is fullness of their stomachs; when their stomachs became full, they became obese and their hearts weakened and their desires became wild.”
Sahih al Bukhari

Thinking about all of this brought my wandering and desperate thoughts back to my favourite part of the Quran, a couple of verses I come back to again and again when faced with difficulty in life.

Do think the people that they will be left because they say, “We believe” and they will not be tested?
And indeed, We tested those who (were) before them. And Allah will surely make evident those who (are) truthful and He will surely make evident the liars.
Quran translation, Surah al-‘Ankabut, 29:2-3

So I knew I just had to keep going, even with the occasional slips, and disheartening as it is get to the best I can be and in every instance of being tested we have difficulties, and I find if you keep looking at a problem from different angles you’ll find a way through the problem.

AN EPIPHANY THROUGH FACEBOOK

So I kept walking as I do when I want to think, or just to relax and still this problem would trouble me, I couldn’t think of a way through until one day on opening facebook in the morning the following image came up.

form-vs-function

I looked, and looked again and it hit me that the 1st image on the left, that is something I can never achieve, but the 2nd image, the one of the right, yes I could see myself looking like that after plenty of work.

Guidance from Allaah comes sometimes in the strangest places, one conversation, one quote, one meme or picture can change our perception for us, Allah opens up our minds and allows us to view things from a different perspective.

As I continued to think about the problem I realized there is no one ideal body shape, or even just a few different body images, each difficult or almost impossible to achieve for myself and most others. Instead each of us has our own ideal size and strengths we can work towards.

As I read more about this  topic I realized more and more the ‘healthy’ body image given to us is actually unhealthy, and almost impossible to achieve hence why men are now increasingly resorting to plastic surgery to get that ‘perfect’ muscle structure implanted into their bodies.

You may be small, wiry, you’ll also never achieve that V upper body, but maybe you’ll run marathons one day which I’ll likely never do. You may be large like myself and aim to be strong and healthy in a different way. Each is good, none is wrong, none are ideal for everyone, each of us needs to tailor our health and fitness to best suit the hand we’ve been dealt.

Though the Sahabah all sought to be healthy, as taught in the Quran and by our beloved Nabi Muhammad ibn Abdullah (Sallallahu alayhi wa salam), they were a differing bunch of people as we all are today.

Some thin like Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (may Allah be pleased with him), some large like Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), some tall and some short, differing looks, differing physiques, they strove and struggled just as we do today and by living a moderate life according to the guidance given to them and us they achieved a balance in such matters of health and fitness as they sought balance and a moderate path in all areas of life.

So for myself I know I need to keep working hard, striving for the sake of Allah and know Allah doesn’t measure me against others but against myself, knowing what I am personally capable of doing.

My health didn’t get so bad in just a matter of weeks, it took years of neglect and it will take many more months and years to get back to something approaching acceptable and I have to accept that and keep going.

For those of you in the same boat as me, all need to remember it’s not just a physical battle we’ve got going on here, but a mental, emotional, even spiritual battle as well to get ourselves and keep ourselves in the best possible health and I think we need to put to one side and maybe ignore many of the things we see around us, instead aiming for a body image which is personal to us, the best each of us can be.

Assalaamu Alaykum,

Gingerbeardman

I STOPPED SHAPING MY EYEBROWS WHEN MY HUSBAND DIED

Originally posted by Ruyaya’s Bookshelf blog, http://www.ruqayasbookshelf.com/i-stopped-shaping-my-eyebrows-when-my-husband-died/#.V-eqNWJC-7Y.facebook

colourful-cloth

This piece isn’t really about eyebrows.

When my husband was killed, so many things in my life immediately changed. I had no time to get used to the idea of him being gone. I had no time to really adjust to a new reality. I was thrown, headfirst, into this chaotic and painful hurricane of emotions and events.

At some point a few weeks later, I looked in the mirror and saw that my eyebrows were growing in. Almost instinctively I searched for my tweezers. As I was fumbling around searching for them, I stopped. I don’t know what made me stop, but I did. I looked at myself in the mirror for a second and thought, why am I doing this?

In a hadith that most of us have heard, the Prophet (saw) says, “Allah has cursed the woman who does tattoos and the one who has them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows and the one who has it done, and the one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of Allah.”

I had heard this hadith so many times before, but I could never bring myself to stop shaping my eyebrows. I had thought I’d look too disheveled, too unruly and messy.What’s the big deal, I had always thought, it’s just a little hair.

But in the spur of that moment I decided to stop. That was three years ago. (For those wondering, I still have a moderately presentable face.)

This article isn’t really about eyebrows, though. It’s about submission. Submission to Allah and what He asks of us, and what He commands us to do.

For years I didn’t think it was a big deal to shape my eyebrows. Well, more accurately, I just didn’t think about it at all. Period.

Then this big thing happened to me. I lost someone I love very suddenly and very violently. I saw his face in the morgue, still cut and bloodied from when he fell to the ground. I saw how in the span of just mere moments, I went from being a wife to being a widow, from being happy to wanting to jump out of my own skin because of the pain, from being satisfied with my life to questioning everything, and from having my plans all laid out before me to feeling like I had nothing to look forward to.

And when he vanished from my life instantaneously, I came to understand just how fleeting this existence was. I came to understand how much of reality had gone over my head over the past few years when I cared about things. I came to understand that I could also die in one brief flick of time, before I was ever “ready,” before I had made the sacrifices necessary to be greeted with words of peace by good angels and ascend to a place where I would meet the Most High.

I came to understand that nothing, and I mean literally nothing in this world is worth risking my status in the sight of God.

All I wanted, all I prayed for, all I ever cared about in those months after my husband was taken from me was to attain paradise where no more tears would be shed, and no more heartache to cripple me. That’s all I wanted. Nothing else.

So when I looked at myself in the mirror and raised the tweezers to my face, I couldn’t do it. What possible reason could I have to risk gaining sins for something so trivial ashair? Was a little hair on my face really worth the prospect of Allah’s anger? Absolutely not.

You see, when you experience death, when you hold it in your hands and breathe its coppery blood scent, when you bury your loved ones in the ground, so many things worldly desires fall away.

I started to wonder how many other things I was doing while knowing full well that they were wrong. I started wondering how many other principles I was compromising because submission to God wasn’t my priority in life.

I said this article wasn’t about eyebrows, and it’s not. It’s about submission. It’s about obeying God when He commands us to do something or stay away from something – not because it’s easy, but because He is our Lord and Sustainer.

God knows I have many faults and bad habits and lapses in patience. He knows that I struggle to submit, as we all do, to certain obligations and commands. We’re human.

But are we even trying to submit? Do we even notice that He told us to do something, but we’re openly carrying on, doing the exact opposite? Or have we become so entrenched in our habits that we can’t even differentiate right from wrong anymore?

If we would only submit a true submission, we would fulfill the name that He named us: Muslimeen; those who submit. If we refuse to submit, on the big things and on the little things and on the medium things, are we really from those who submit? It’s an important question.

We could die this very instant. And if we did, would we care about whether our (probably too revealing) outfit was on point? Or would we worry whether or not our submission was on point?

I’m afraid for my daughter growing up in this era of social media where women are competing for likes and followers. They compromise their submission to God in order to maintain their numbers and grow their platform. They compromise everything that’s worth anything just to have a competitive edge.

It doesn’t have to be a popular thing to say, but I will say it anyway: we’ve lost sight of the fact that this world is a test, not a runway. We’ve lost sight of the fact that Allah does not look at our bodies, but He looks at our hearts. If we’d only sacrifice as much for Him as we do for our social media accounts, we’d be completely different.

It’s not just social media personalities, though. It’s all of us, every single one of us. We’ve all had moments where we’ve thought crossing a boundary would make us more successful in this world. Some of us have crossed that boundary over and over, some are standing on the precipice, admiring the grass that’s “greener” over there.

Just ask yourself: is this, whatever “this” is in your life, worth risking my spiritual well-being and status in the sight of God?

“Competition in [worldly] increase diverts you,

Until you visit the graveyards…”

(102: 1-2).

May Allah guide us to truly embody the word Muslim by entering a state of mind where we make the conscious choice to submit to Him in every way, no matter how difficult.

– Ruqaya’s Bookshelf 

BUT MEN HAVE A ‘DEGREE’ OVER THEM…

“…And women have rights corresponding to the obligations on them, according to what is equitable…”
Quran translation, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:228

In spite of the fact that both parties should be kind toward each other, the right of the husband over his wife is greater than his wife’s right over him according to the completion of the previous verse:

“…But men have a degree over them. Allah is exaclted in power.”
Quran translation, Surah al-Baqarah, 2:228

(women have an) Emotional make-up which is ideally suited for child rearing but generally unsuited for ultimate authority, she may wrongly disobey or contradict her husband. Under the Influence of her monthly cycles, she may be contrary or high-strung and thus make bad decisions or and among mankind.

He has made man the dominant member of the pair. There need be no contention on this point has Allah has the last word on the subject. However, if we look at the animal kingdom, we must confess that a like division also exists among its members.

Nor are we aware of any country whether primitive or modern which has more than one reigning head in a position to make ultimate decisions. Every kingdom has a chief and Allah in His All-Encompassing wisdom and absolute knowledge of human nature has chosen man for that role. This choice does not detract from the uniqueness of the woman’s role nor does it belittle her in the least.

We are well aware of the fact that some women are more intelligent, and more capable of ruling and have a greater degree of talent than some men. We are witnesses to female heads of state, but these cases represent exceptions and not the norm which Allah addresses. In fact, there is an authentic Hadith in which the Prophet (Sallallahu
alayhi wa salam) stated that,

“If mankind had been ordered to prostrate to anyone other than Allah, women would have been ordered to prostrate before their husbands.”
Narrated by Abu Hurayrah and collected by Tirmidhi, Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah, authenticated by Shaykh Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan at-Tirmidhi

This is a clear indication of the hierarchy which exists in respect to the roles of males and female and the importance of of that hierarchy to the basic unit of human society, the family. In order to reinforce these roles, Allah made the male inheritance portion greater than that of the female. There is no doubt that a man’s familial and communal obligations are greater than most woman’s obligations in these spheres. It is his duty to support his
immediate family and weak kinfolk. In addition to these familial responsibilties, men must be prepared to defend and enlarge the borders of Islam even to the point of bearing arms. Women, under normal circumstances, are excempted from these and other similar obligations. The existing situation in the West, where many women have been obliged to compete with men for work while raising families, is an exception when looked at on a global scale and an abberation when looked at historically. Hence todays situation can not be used to aruge that a woman’s obligations are equal and exceed those of a man’s. In fact recent scientific research has uncovered a wealth of physical differences between men and women all of which affect the performance of male and females in society.

Taken from pages 29 and 30, ‘Polygamy in Islam’ by Jameela Jones and Sheikh Bilal Philips

MOAZZAM BEGG – MUSLIMS IN THE UK NEED TO LEARN SELF DEFENCE

Moazzam Begg makes some excellent points here for Muslims, especially sisters living in the UK. May Allaah reward him for all the work he does defending the rights of the Muslims and non-Muslims in the UK, ameen

moazzam begg

“My sincere advice to all brothers but especially sisters who are facing the increasing threat of being targeted, attacked, abused and even abducted on the streets: make serous efforts in learning self-defence. Be it MMA, Aikido, Wing Chun, kickboxing, jujitsu, Muay Thai, Kali or simply basic evasion and defensive techniques, dedicate several hours a week in learning to avoid, escape from and, when necessary, defend against attacks against your person – or others. Good Samaritans and the police won’t always be there and you only have seconds to react if someone is attempting to harm you.

I ask all those who come from households where women and girls in particular would not be encouraged to study the martial arts to change that view and help our sisters, should they wish to, pursue the right to learn how to defend themselves.

In addition to the physical aspect there’s the obvious self-discipline element that all of the arts teach, such as courtesy, integrity, self control, perseverance and the indomitable spirit which, for example, is taught in Tae Kwon Do.

Fighting back is always a last resort, something all martial arts teach but, considering anti-Muslim attacks are on the rise, some media will keep fuelling them, some politicians will keep stoking them and some thugs will feel justified in doing the rest, there is little choice but to be prepared.

To those of you already skilled in the fighting arts, teach those around you so that they too can one day teach others. “The one who guides to good is like the one who performed the [good] action.” (Hadeeth)

Many of these attacks are carried out against women because the perpetrators are cowards and, cowards often attack in packs against solitary and vulnerable appearing targets. Facing these people off with confidence of knowledge of both evasion and defence can often be enough to deter them and, in doing so, impart an important lesson to cowards in question: victims can hit back hard.

May Allah protect everyone from the evils of violent thugs and grant them the strength and ability to save themselves and others from their fear-mongering and violence.”