Got me thinking about my last blog piece, “right to opinions”, how one person’s comment, shaped anothers perception of my faith.
Certain people will make the loudest noise about following religion, yet probably hasn't done anything to further his religion; they would rather spread hatred, rather than encourage peace. We encounter many people like this in our daily lives, irrespective what they believe in, like a poison arrow.
My answer : I am trying to change the way people view Islam and its treatment of women. I might be a drop in the ocean, but at least I am trying to change this misogynist view.
I read an article by, Arab-American journalist Mona Eltahawy, she wrote a scathing critique of the state of Arab women in the context of last year’s Arab Spring. In an article entitled, “Why do they hate us? The real war on women is in the Middle East,” she asserts that Arab and Middle Eastern culture and religion - primarily Islam - causes Arab men to ‘hate’ women. She uses that premise to explain the cycle of misogynistic behaviour in the region.
I understood her anger when I read her piece and do not blame her. She has experienced this first hand.
Prior to the introduction of Islam in Arabia, women’s rights were virtually non-existent – to the point where it was not uncommon for unwanted female babies to be buried alive. Islam changed these attitudes and recognized women’s intrinsic worth and personhood. The hijab and niqab went from mere pieces of cloth to a tool which enabled women to access venues to assert their inalienable rights.
The veil and modest attire never inhibited our Prophets wife, Khadijah (RA) from conducting her business; in fact she was praised for her business acumen. Which means she worked, and earned a living. She was an independent and well-respected businesswoman. She was well educated and in her business dealings spoke freely to men and women alike in advancing her business. She was well mannered, yet she observed modesty in her dress code and interactions. She is a role model for muslim women. So where then does this mentality of muslim women not being allowed to be independent and an economy contributor?
The person who commented on my blog:
"Hmmmm...I’ve always wondered about these new breed of "independent, working" women from my religion.
For me they are like wine or alcohol in general. They may have some benefits.
Nevertheless, some of their traits are as harmful as an open bottle of Jack Daniel's."
He went on to say that I should not be working; my father and brothers should be taking care of me. He is entitled to his opinion of course, but needs to understand the different dynamics in the world before making certain statements. For those who have read his comments and other comments, please do not judge my faith based on certain peoples comments and responses. Seek to find out, before one label’s everyone. That is my message.
We need to change this mentality that women are hated in ISLAM. This is far from the truth. It takes one person’s negative remark to cause many to view it in this manner.In my quest for change, I will encounter people who would rather pull down beliefs; than educate people why certain beliefs are the way they are. We have lost our voices and fail to stand up for one another, we rather mudsling each other, judge and ridicule, instead of creating dialogue, and understanding.
I have been raised never to denounce any ones beliefs, to respect all religions, if only people would afford me the same. I encourage interfaith discussions. I want people to see the beauty of Islam. The majority of Muslims are peaceful, trying every day to better themselves, contributors to communities, societies, and countries. Some treat faith as a private club, and they are the owners. They decide if you are religious enough or not; to be allowed in.
My Faith, the one I follow, is not a private club; it’s a way of life. I refuse to be led into a deep ditch by the pied pipers who themselves are not adhering to the fundamentals of faith, yet want to question how religious or less religious, I am. Islam has pulled us out of ignorance; I dont think anyone would want to fall into that hole again. As human beings we should start cleaning our hearts from prejudice and judgment against others that’s where true change begins.
The point I wish people would take from this article today, it’s not Islam, or a woman dressing in a certain manner, or being “modern and independent” that needs changing – its societies attitudes towards women, which are independent of religion; clothes or monetary, that needs to be fixed.
Islam has given women power and freedom, I am reclaiming mine.
If I can stand up for someone or something on a principled basis, then my voice will carry the moral weight necessary to bring a positive change to those around me, and so starts the ripple. We are individual strands, however together we can strengthen and serve humanity. This model for positive change emulated from the Prophet Muhammad. This is the change I am trying to make daily.
In the words of @Al_Husayni: “the greatest war is to battle your own soul, to fight the evil within yourself”
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