Posted on / by themango / in Social Issues, Uncategorized / 2 comments

Why I’m No Longer Talking to Muslim Men About Equality – Human Parts


Photo: Delmaine Donson/Getty Image

I was distracted by the beep from my phone as I settled down to nap. I stretched forward to turn off the ringer but ended up sneaking a peek: two direct messages and four mentions. A sister on Twitter called my attention to an article written in response to one of my essays on the mutual inclusivity of feminism and Islam. I read it and wasn’t surprised.

The writer tactfully excommunicated me from my faith, arguing that Muslim women need to be extricated from the religion entirely before anything close to equality can be achieved. He alluded to a “promised land” that Muslim feminists rely on “secular counterparts” to reach, a land that either does not exist or exists outside the faith.

Such laughable ignorance and religious blackmail always seem to come from men — the ones who can only feel big when they make women feel small. They tell me who I am, and what I should or shouldn’t say or do. I am an unrighteous woman who should know her place, an ingrate trying to sneak liberalism into Islam.

Nothing injures the pride of a man with exaggerated self-importance like the joy of a free-spirited woman who knows her worth.

For years now, I have been vocal about issues relating to Islam, Muslims, and gender on various media platforms. In one sense, I choose to do this work, but in another, this work chose me. It’s framed by the way others attempt to represent and control me, more or less obliging me to respond. Sometimes I do feel uneasy. But I grow stronger every time, wielding a weapon of humour rather than anger. Nothing injures the pride of a man with exaggerated self-importance like the joy of a free-spirited woman who knows her worth.

I forwarded the article to a friend, who suggested I engage the writer in conversation. That’s the last thing I would do: waste my time talking to men ignorant to the oppression of women. It’s stunting, exhausting, and counterproductive. Agency is not men’s to give. It’s women’s to have. And all my activism from now on will be tailored toward helping Muslim women take their agency.

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2 thoughts

  • In my humble opinion, I think feminism is quite misunderstood by its advocates, or rather contextualized wrongly. A feminist is “…a person who supports feminism. The advocacy of women rights on the ground of equality of the sexes.” (Oxford dictionary, https://www.islamiqate.com/2379/what-is-a-feminist)

    Now, how you contextualize this depends on your perspective. The Muslim perspective is that Allah (swt) created both men and women equally and any difference found therein is down to nature – like the Ahkaam (rules) related to Menstruation and Period are exclusively for women, and not men because of nature. Men can’t blabber about inequality about being excused from praying for any reason and start shouting about ‘equality’ etc. So Islam differentiates only on the grounds of nature between men and women. Anywhere that differentiation isn’t found both genders must be treated equally. But the theory that women are mentally weaker than men is just not factual.

    “Men and women have equal value as ordained by God. In life their roles are different, as are their rights and duties. When it comes to legal testimonies, evidence from either sex is weighed by a judge based on its strength and credibility. As women are not usually involved in commercial affairs in Islamic polities, their witness evidence is less credible. This is what is meant by being deficient in understanding in the ahadith on this topic, a phrase often incorrectly translated as “deficiency in intelligence” causing unnecessary confusion.” (Source https://www.islamiqate.com/2971/are-muslim-women-deficient-in-intelligence)

    If Allah (swt)has decided, for example, that women cannot hold a ruling position (excluding administrative leadership), then we can’t count that is inequality because it is a confirmed command from Allah (swt) himself. We should not make the horrible mistake of applying man-made demanding principles on the commands and prohibitions of Allah.
    Granted, some men, if not most, abuse their positions and even exalt it higher than the rights and power Allah (swt) gives them over their women. This is due to lack of knowledge and general awareness about Islam. THis is as a result of separating Islam from life.

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