Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In Dedication to Our Great Mother- Khadija (May Allah Be Please with her)

The first person to embrace Islam, When the message came she was level-headed and calm,
She was a comfort and a guide,
As she stood firmly by the Prophet’s (PBUH) side.

A businesswoman of the highest calibre,
Her example shows us women can be clever,
She handled affairs with wisdom and ease,
This amazing mother of the believers was a model of strength, a perfect breeze.

Her strength was known to all,
In times of hardship she stood tall,
Her wisdom was so clear,
To the prophet (PBUH) she was very dear.

She recognized his good character,
And soon sent representatives to sort out the matter,
Their marriage was a perfect example for us all,
Their love and support made them stronger than a brick wall.

Oh Khadija! Our blessed and beloved mother,
You surely had a different kind of power,
It was not used to dominate,
Only love and warmth did it generate.

There’s so much that we need to learn from you,
Our model of beauty and all that is true,
You had no need to change the roles,
A power struggle there was none of, even though you were so bold.

Your life will always be an example for us,
A true depiction, with no worry or fuss,
The perfect Muslim woman,
Striving and pleasing for the sake of Allah!

In these times when females fight to get ahead,
When the battle of power is so evident,
Your story shines through and teaches so much,
And we understand what true female strength is all about.

Your example is our shining light,
There’s no need for us to emulate,
All the fake role models they want us to follow,
Who we know will only bring us sorrow!

With the help of our Creator,
We will use your life as our shelter,
The lessons we learn from you will protect us,
Our beloved, our mother, we remember you fondly!
May Allah unite us in Paradise!
Image from: ericyang.wordpress.com/.../22/finding-the-light/

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Aren’t you feeling hot in those clothes?

It’s a hot summers day and I’m dressed in my long cloak and headscarf, happily minding my own business, walking in the shopping mall, and then suddenly someone comes up to me and says; “Aren’t you feeling hot in those clothes!” Okay then! So I’m actually wondering what I have to do with them at all and why they’re coming up to me asking ridiculous and irrelevant questions, and would they like it if I went up to them and asked them something stupid about the way they’re dressed, I mean really, what if I went up to someone dressed skimpily and asked them; “Aren’t you feeling naked in those clothes?” They would wonder what’s wrong with me right, and they would probably give me some story about how they’re free to dress how they want to and how their clothes have nothing to do with me. So, how come they think they have a right to come to me and ask me about how I’m dressed? Nevertheless, I look at them, and smile, because deep down I know the truth about how good my dressing makes me feel, and I say, “no, I am not getting hot”, as politely as I can, because I actually have no need to be defensive and I know that if I respond in a negative way then this will just give them fuel to go on about how Muslim women are sad and oppressed, forced to wear long, hot clothes, even in the boiling heat.

Now, if they had actually really bothered to hear my side of the story before rushing off, then I would be able to tell them that actually I am the one better off, because when someone is covered, they are less exposed to the UV- rays from the sun, which we know could be very harmful. Also, I would be able to explain to them that because my clothing is lose fitting and not tight, my body actually does not keep the heat in and create more heat, and thus I am much cooler. Then finally I would be able to urge them to try dressing the way I do, just for a short while, so that they can experience what it feels like themselves and then next time they won’t have to ask questions that will be regarded as stupid. My sister likes to say that she would really like to say to the next person who asks that question that; “the hellfire is far hotter than I will ever feel in these clothes”. The opportunity has not yet arisen for her to do this yet, or for me to really explain things the way they really are.

Of course, we hardly ever get a chance to explain all this to people, because they look at us, make their comment, or ask their question without really truly wanting an answer and then they’re off again, without even bothering to take the time to understand. Why do they do this? I’m not completely sure, but I do know that if they had actually understood things better, they would not be making such statements or asking such questions.

Then there’s the point that’s far more important than even all the above ‘explanations’. All this seems futile and weak in relation to what it really means to dress in the manner Muslim women do.

You see, they’ve lost the true meaning of things, because dressing in a certain manner is not just about the physical. And since this is all that it has been reduced to, it’s no wonder people end up asking questions like this. Would anyone go up to a nun for instance and ask her if she is getting hot in her clothes which by the way very closely resembles that of a Muslim woman’s dress. People will most probably not do this, because it’s taken for granted that her dress is for spiritual and religious reasons. So why can’t they understand the same thing about Muslim women?

Our dress is not about whether we’re getting too hot, or whether it’s stifling or even whether it’s covering our beauty (many people make the comment that God made you beautiful, so why should you hide it). The way we dress is about submission to the will of our Creator, it is about our faith! When people realize that it has nothing to do with the physical and everything to do with the spiritual then they will understand that even if we are getting hot, or even if we did find our clothes uncomfortable, it makes us happy to think that our discomfort is a sacrifice that will please our Lord.

So whether we get hot or cold, whether we feel comfortable or uncomfortable, whether we love the clothes we wear or hate it, all this really should not matter at all, because IT IS NOT ABOUT THE CLOTHES AT ALL!

Once people realize this, then they will begin to open up their minds and understand, and perhaps then Muslim women won’t have to deal with people’s ridiculous questions and even more ridiculous comments. I don’t know what you think, but I have to admit that hearing people make such silly comments actually makes for good laughs, and of course it gives people like me something to write about!

Image from: www.clipartof.com/details/clipart/20876.html

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Women and Friendship

A cluster of women stood outside the school excitedly discussing their little children. They seemed to be enjoying their discussion as they laughed at all the cute and adorable things their kids do. The others listened attentively as one of the ladies relayed her stories. Their voices were animated and full of joy. I could not help observing this scene as I waited outside the school for my niece to come out. It was clear that these women received support and encouragement from each other. As regular mothers coming to pick their children up every day, they had bonded and formed friendships that seemed genuine and warm. Judging from what I saw it seemed as if these women looked forward to these few minutes each day where they could share their common experiences with other women who knew exactly what they were going through.

I went inside the school and observed something very similar going on with the young girls. Groups of girls walked together, holding hands, laughing and chatting. “And this is exactly the way it is with women”, I smiled as this thought passed through my mind.

It made me realize that women need to have friendships with other women. We need to share our experiences, vent to each other, express our happiness and of course our frustrations. That’s the way women were made it seems, at least most women. While men might look on and wonder why women need to have bonds with people outside of their families, or how they can share their personal experiences with others, women understand that this need is innate. As emotional creatures women get comforted by the idea of having others to share things with. The need to talk about things is something that men may never understand, for them it seems unnecessary and futile, but for women, talking and sharing is the thing that bonds them, it’s what builds friendships and strengthens their relationships.

Now, I’m quite aware of the flipside, and I cannot deny that many times this talking and sharing is exactly what causes trouble for many women, but like many things in life, friendship is something that can either be constructive or destructive, depending on your situation and the type of friends that you have. Some women will argue that men have easier relationships; that they can make friends as easily as they can lose friends and that they do not get caught up in dramatic displays of emotion. This is undeniable, but, the friendships that women have with each other is sometimes the only thing that helps them make sense out of their lives. Understanding that there are other women out there, who share your feelings and who can relate to whatever situation you are presently in may well be the sunshine on the cloudy day.
In the end, even though there may be arguing and bickering, little irritations, or even jealousy and animosity, despite all this though, one thing is for sure, women will never deny that they need to have their friends!
Image from:blog.thoughtpick.com/.../2009/10/friendship.jpg

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beauties and The Beast

Last year some time an esteemed international speaker was giving a talk at one of the local Masjid’s in Johannesburg. A friend of mine was given the task of welcoming the ladies who were attending and directing them to where they were supposed to go to listen to the talk. She asked me and another friend to join her as she stood at the entrance of the Masjid, waiting to greet the ladies.

This was a very interesting experience, never before had I seen so many Muslim women wearing niqab (the full face covering) coming together in one place. As the ladies approached, they all greeted and embraced us and then moved on to find a place to sit. It was not the fact that so many Muslim women in Johannesburg actually wear the niqab that struck me, but the fact that all these women were beautifully dressed, and even more beautifully made up with stunning colours of eye-make up to lipstick and sweet smelling perfumes.
 Now, there’s a misunderstanding that Muslim women are not allowed to make themselves look beautiful, but in actual fact this is allowed, just within limits. If a Muslim woman is only associating with and meeting other women then this is allowed, and obviously, this beauty is encouraged within a marital relationship where a woman should beautify herself for her husband.
 As we took our shoes off to enter the Masjid, I looked at my plain black, flat shoes- in relation to all the Cinderella like slippers I saw around me, my shoes looked sad and ugly. There were pencil heels and pointed shoes, sandals with glitter, shoes with flowers and even some with crystals.
 The ladies wore stunning abayas in many different styles and shapes, with fancy sleeves and shiny fabric. Their headscarves were immaculate and tied beautifully as it elevated their natural beauty. Now, I am not going to go on about the description of my sisters because this is not a very good thing either and it might provoke more curiosity about what a woman looks like underneath her veil.

I will tell you this though, I thought about myself; a regular old plain Jane, and I could not help feeling very much like the beast amongst all these beauties!

I guess you never can judge a book by its cover, and just because a Muslim woman covers herself completely, it does not mean that she has given up her femininity or her ability to look beautiful, because one thing is for sure, these women who were completely covered, took more care of themselves and beautified themselves more than many of us ever do, and all of this was within the confines of Islamic law!

So, the next time you look at a woman who is fully covered, perhaps you will remember that she probably knows more about beauty and fashion than you do and I sure do hope that you won’t be inclined to feel sorry for her, and hopefully you won’t remain stuck on the idea that she is not allowed to be beautiful, or that her face covering means an end to her femininity, and finally I think that it would be great if you could look beyond her veil and realize that she is a human being, a woman who has feelings and needs like all women do, and maybe, just maybe you will begin to understand that there is more to her than what she wears on the outside. I don’t know about you, but I can safely say, that day at the Masjid will remain a clear reminder to me, if ever I was to forget this!

Image from: www.calla-salon.co.uk/stock_makeup.jpg

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Profile- A South African Muslim Woman -Political Activist

'She fought a good fight'
March 13 2010 at 09:16AM Get IOL on your
mobile at m.iol.co.za

By Fiona Gounden and Carvin Goldstone

Political activist Fatima Meer has died, aged 81.

Family and friends were distraught last night at the news of the death of the freedom-struggle stalwart at Durban's St Augustine's Hospital after suffering another stroke yesterday.

Meer, who lived in Burnwood Road, Sydenham, is survived by her daughters, Shamim and Shenaaz, and five grandchildren.

Her son, Rashid, died in a car accident in 1995 and her husband Ismail died in 2000.

Her funeral will be held at her home between 9am and 12 noon today and thereafter there will be a memorial service at the Durban Exhibition Centre between 1pm and 3pm.

Shamim Meer yesterday said that they were conducting prayers at the mosque and the family really missed her.

Meer was the founder member of the Institute for Black Research and her close friend of 25 years, Ramesh Bharuthram, who is the vice-chairman, said she was a woman of substance.

"I knew her for a long time and she was an amazing woman with lots of energy."

eThekwini deputy mayor Logie Naidoo said: "She will be recorded in South African history as a stalwart who championed the cause."

The chairman of the 1860 Legacy Foundation and president of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha, Ashwin Trikamjee, added: "Even after the struggle, Meer continued with her fight for liberation and the rights of the oppressed. Her fearlessness is a quality that I will never forget."

Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele said: "It is a terrible loss but she can rest knowing she fought a good fight.

"Because of her intellect she was a formidable opponent of apartheid. A personal friend of Nelson Mandela, she kept the fires burning in the dark days."

Movie mogul Anant Singh said from New York last night: "Fatima Meer was one of the most exceptional women that I have ever met.

"We have been blessed to have had her in our lives.

"She was a shining light in the liberation movement, a defender of women's rights and a champion of the less advantaged people of our country. She was a woman of integrity and dignity.

TAKEN FROM: http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=6&art_id=vn20100313075416200C663665#more

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Friday, March 12, 2010


                                      I am standing and looking at this Muslim woman,
Shrouds of material draping her face,
She’s all covered up, and I think, “What a sin”,
She doesn’t even have her own space!
She’s told what to do,
And who she should talk to,
She can’t leave her home,
And she seems so alone.

Her clothes look so plain,
She must be boiling in this summer heat,
I think she’s insane,
How can she walk like this on the street?

Poor Muslim woman, I think,
As I look at her, she doesn’t even blink,
She’s so oppressed, in need of care,
This Muslim woman, at which I now stare!

I look deeper in her eyes,
And transfix my gaze,
As these thoughts of before,
Float through my mind,

My newfound courage, getting stronger, I find,
And as I look in the mirror,
I now see ME,
A Muslim woman I am, and still I am ME.

I don’t feel oppressed or alone,
I choose how I dress,
I am respected and cared for, only kindness am I shown,
And my life is no longer a mess.

Things are now clear,
Only Allah do I fear,
And as I see people staring at me as they go by,
I just wish that they could understand why!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Laughing our way through life

The laughter echoed through the room, the ladies happily making jokes about their lives as we discussed the various issues that women have to deal with in marriage. This was already the 7th session in our ‘Marriage in Islam’ workshop and the women who were initially strangers to each other had now bonded and become sisters. We were laughing so much that if a stranger had walked past the Madressah classroom we use for this purpose, he or she would wonder exactly what goes on in these sessions. This time around we have a particularly humorous lady, who “entertains” us weekly with her wacky comments. It definitely makes the sessions very much more interesting!

Reflecting on the day’s happenings, I can’t help but ponder over how wrong they all have it. I wonder how much trouble it takes them to find the sad and despondent Muslim women that they keep showing us in the media. Admittedly, each time I’m involved with any workshop, we find women who have to undergo challenges and difficulties, whether it’s in marriage, parenting or even just struggling with self conflict. But this is not something reserved for Muslim women; this is common and evident in every situation and amongst all types of people. I’ve heard Christian and even Jewish people telling me about the exact same challenges that these Muslim women talk about; so clearly as human beings, and more specifically as women we have so much in common, so many experiences that are similar, so many ways in which we can relate to one another!

Despite life’s challenges though, here is this group of women, Muslim women, sitting in a classroom in a mainstream Mosque, dressed in long cloaks and wearing the hijaab, laughing, way too loudly at times, about their lives and how they deal with it and openly sharing their thoughts, opinions and feelings. It makes me think; clearly things can’t be that bad for Muslim women if they are able to do this?

Nevertheless, I guess my main point here is that Muslim women, like women from other Faiths and walks of life, have learnt to deal with life’s challenges in the best way they know how, some of them are able to laugh their way through it, others passively reflect on their lives as they consider their futures, and yet others argue and question as they attempt to make sense out of things. Islam does not at any point discourage women from any of this! And the dull, sad, silent Muslim woman who’s face seems like it has never ever smiled or laughed, is not as easily found as we are made to believe. As I laughed myself silly this morning, this was clearer to me than ever before.
Image from:leezuhhl.blogspot.com

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How I Came to Love the Veil-(by Yvonne Ridley- Editor and Writer)


Politicians and journalists just love to write about the oppression of women in Islam ... without even talking to the females beneath the veil. They simply have no idea how Muslim women are protected and respected within the Islamic framework which was built more than 1400 years ago.

Yet, by writing about cultural issues like child brides, female circumcision, honor killings, and forced marriages, they wrongly believe they are coming from a point of knowledge.

And I am sick of Saudi Arabia being cited as an example of how women are subjugated in a country where they are banned from driving.

The issues above have simply nothing to do with Islam yet they still write and talk about them with an arrogant air of authority while wrongly blaming Islam. Please do not confuse cultural behavior with Islam.

I was asked to write about how Islam allows men to beat their wives. Sorry, not true. Yes, I'm sure critics of Islam will quote random Qur'anic verses or hadiths but all are usually taken out of context. If a man does raise a finger to his wife, he is not allowed to leave a mark on her body ... this is another way of the Qur'an saying "Don't beat your wife, stupid."

Now let's take a glance at some really interesting statistics, hmm. I can almost hear the words pot, kettle, black. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, four million American women experience a serious assault by a partner during an average 12-month period.

I was asked to write about how Islam allows men to beat their wives. Sorry, not true.

On the average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands and boyfriends every day ... that is nearly 5,500 women battered to death since 9/11.

Some might say that is a shocking indictment on such a civilized society, but before I sound too smug, I would say that violence against women is a global issue. Violent men do not come in any particular religious or cultural category. The reality is that one out of three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused during her lifetime. Violence against women transcends religion, wealth, class, skin color, and culture.

Equality Illusion
However, until Islam came on the scene women were treated as inferior beings. In fact we women still have a problem in the West where men think they are superior. This is reflected in our promotion and wages structure right across the spectrum from cleaners to career women who make it into the boardroom.

Western women are still treated as commodities, where sexual slavery is on the rise, disguised under marketing euphemisms, where women's bodies are traded throughout the advertising world. As mentioned before, this is a society where rape, sexual assault, and violence on women are commonplace, a society where the equality between men and women is an illusion, a society where a woman's power or influence is usually only related to the size of her breasts.

I used to look at veiled women as quiet, oppressed creatures and now I look at them as multi-skilled, multi-talented, resilient women whose brand of sisterhood makes Western feminism pale into insignificance. My views changed after the truly terrifying experience of being arrested by the Taliban for sneaking into Afghanistan in September 2001 wearing the bhurka.

During my 10-day captivity I struck a deal that if they let me go I would read the Qur'an and study Islam. Against all the odds, it worked and I was released. In return I kept my word, but as a journalist covering the Middle East I realized I needed to expand my knowledge of a religion which was clearly a way of life.

And no. I'm not a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. To be a victim you have to bond with your captors. During my imprisonment I spat, swore, cursed and abused my jailers as well as refused their food and went on hunger strike. I don't know who was happier when I was released — them or me!

Women in Islam
Reading the Qur'an was, I thought, going to be a very simple academic exercise. I was stunned to discover that it clearly stated women are equal in spirituality, education, and worth. A woman's gift for child birth and child-rearing is very much recognized as a quality and attribute. Muslim women say with pride they are homemakers and housewives.

Furthermore the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that the most important person in the home was The Mother, The Mother, The Mother. In fact he also said that heaven lies at the feet of the mother. How many women make it into the top 100 power lists for simply being a "great mother"?

With Islam, choosing to remain at home and raise children takes on a new dignity and respect in my eyes, similar to those sisters among us who choose to go out to work and have careers and professions.

I then began looking at inheritance, tax, property, and divorce laws. This is where Hollywood divorce lawyers probably get their inspiration from. For instance the woman gets to keep what she earns and owns while the man has to stump up half his worth.

Isn't it funny the way the tabloid media gets very excited over the prospect of some pop or film star's prenuptial wedding agreement? Muslim women have had wedding contracts from day one. They can choose if they want to work or not, and anything they earn is theirs to spend while the husband has to pay for all the household bills and the upkeep of his family.

Just about everything that feminists strived for in the '70s was already available to Muslim women 1400 years ago. As I said, Islam dignifies and brings respect to motherhood and being a wife. If you want to stay at home, stay at home. It is a great honor to be a homemaker and the first educator of your children.

But equally, the Qur'an states if you want to work, then work. Be a career woman, learn a profession, become a politician. Be what you want to be and excel in what you do as a Muslim because everything you do is in praise of Allah (swt).

Business Suit
There is an excessive, almost irritating concentration or focus on the issue of Muslim women's dress particularly by men (both Muslim and non-Muslim).

Yes, it is an obligation for Muslim women to dress modestly but, in addition, there are many other important issues which concern Muslim women today.

And yet everyone obsesses over the hijab. Look, it is part of my business suit. This tells you I am a Muslim and therefore I expect to be treated with respect. Can you imagine if someone told a Wall Street executive or Washington banker to put on a t-shirt and jeans? He would tell you his business suit defines him during work hours, marks him out to be treated seriously.

And yet in Britain we have had the former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw describing the nikab — the face veil revealing only the eyes — as an unwelcome barrier. When, oh when, will men learn to keep their mouths shut over a woman's wardrobe?

We also had Government Ministers Gordon Brown and John Reid express disparaging remarks about the nikab — both these men come from over the Scottish Borders where men wear skirts!!

Then we had a series of other parliamentarians enter the fray describing the nikab as a barrier for communication. What a load of nonsense. If this was the case can anyone explain to me why cell phones, landlines, e-mails, text messaging, and fax machines are in daily use? Who listens to the radio? No one switches off the wireless because they cannot see the face of the presenter.

The majority of sisters I know who choose to wear the nikab are actually white, Western reverts who no longer want the unwelcome attention of those few leering men who will try and confront females and launch into inappropriate behavior. Mind you, there are a couple of London sisters I know who say they wear the nikab at anti-war marches because they can't stand the smell of spliffs.

Last Refuge
I am afraid Islamophobia has become the last refuge of the racist scoundrel. But the cowardly, chauvinistic attacks launched — largely by men — are unacceptable to Muslimahs as well as their secular, female sisters from the left.

I was a feminist for many years and now, as an Islamic feminist, I still promote women's rights. The only difference is Muslim feminists are more radical than their secular counterparts. We all hate those ghastly beauty pageants, and tried to stop laughing when the emergence of Miss Afghanistan in bikini was hailed as a giant leap for women's liberation in Afghanistan.

I've been back to Afghanistan many times and I can tell you there are no career women emerging from the rubble in Kabul. My Afghan sisters say they wish the West would drop its obsession with the bhurka. "Don't try turning me into a career woman, get my husband a job first. Show me how I can send my children to school without fear of them being kidnapped. Give me security and bread on the table," one sister told me.

Young feminist Muslimahs see the hijab and the nikab as political symbols as well as a religious requirement. Some say it is their way of showing the world they reject the excesses of Western lifestyles such as binge drinking, casual sex, drug-taking, etc.

Superiority in Islam is accomplished through piety, not beauty, wealth, power, position or sex.

Liberation of Islam
Now you tell me what is more liberating. Being judged on the length of your skirt and the size of your cosmetically enhanced breasts, or being judged on your character, mind, and intelligence?

Glossy magazines tell us as women that unless we are tall, slim, and beautiful we will be unloved and unwanted. The pressure on teenage magazine readers to have a boyfriend is almost obscene.

Islam tells me that I have a right to an education and it is my duty to go out and seek knowledge whether I am single or married.

Nowhere in the framework of Islam are we told as women that we must do washing, cleaning, or cooking for men — but it is not just Muslim men who need to re-evaluate women in their home. Check out this 1992 exerpt from a Pat Robertson speech revealing his views on empowered women. And then you tell me who is civilized and who is not.


Here is an American man living in a pre-Islamic age who needs to modernize and civilize. People like him are wearing a veil and we need to tear that veil of bigotry away so people can see Islam for what it is.

Posted by E ISLAM at 10:28 PM
Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Jazakallah Khair to E-Islam for posting this!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Dedicated Mothers

My sister clutched the article tightly in her hand as she read it; “look at this!” she exclaimed. “Here is this non-Muslim man writing about the benefits of mothers staying at home to care for their children”.

Naturally we all clamoured to see what she was talking about. The article was quite interesting. The man, by the name of Clive Percival, was discussing how important it is for mothers to stay at home with their children. He cited research studies to back up his claim and if I recall correctly he even mentioned how more and more women were beginning to realize that it was better for their children and for themselves if they stayed at home to look after the children. If I had not known better and if the man’s photo was not boldly displayed in his column, I would’ve insisted that this article had been written by a Muslim, his argument sounded so on par with Islamic principles.

My sister was smiling as she finished reading the article. I could see the happiness in her eyes. “Alhamdulila that I made the choice to leave work and stay at home to look after my children”, she was saying. “I’m going to stick this article up on my wall”, she added. And, indeed, the article can be seen on her kitchen wall, nicely framed and everything!

I was thinking back to the days when I was younger. When I’d look forward to going home after school because I knew that I would be welcomed by a warm plate of delicious food, a clean house and of course a smiling mother. Those moments were precious, just knowing that my mother would be at home waiting for me gave me reassurance that I was cared for and loved. Not to mention the fact that it kept me out of trouble as I was always caught out whenever I even tried to do something I wasn’t supposed to be doing! My mother was aware of what was going on in my life because she was always present and played an active role as a parent. That would have been very difficult for her if she could not be around all the time. Who knows what mischief I would have gotten up to!

There was something that made me really sad about this though and it was the fact that these mothers, these amazing women who sacrifice their own wants and needs to be there for their children are given so little regard. I think that it’s even more difficult to be at home with your children all of the time than to go out and work. Now, I’m not saying that women shouldn’t go out and work, there are many women; Muslim and non-Muslim who can’t afford to stay at home. This is understandable and I cannot condemn it. My problem is with people who believe that stay-at-home mothers are less important. There are those people who regard these women as inferior or even oppressed because they do not leave their homes to go and work.

What’s worse is that the fact that these women choose to stay with their children because they believe that it is better for the children, is conveniently ignored. These are the women that should be honoured, the ones that should receive gold medals and certificates of recognition, and with all the fights they have to resolve, these are the women who really deserve to get the Nobel Peace Prize!

These women have the most important job of all; they are responsible for shaping and moulding the future generation. They have to teach their children values and morals, they have to discipline them even when their hearts break to do this, and they have to teach them about loving God, respecting others and to always do what’s right. If anyone thinks this task is an easy one, then they have no idea what they’re talking about, none whatsoever!

And of course once again we see a completely absurd double standard. When a Muslim woman is a stay- at- home mum, then she automatically becomes regarded as oppressed, un-liberated and un-informed. Yet, when a non-Muslim woman makes the exact same choice, she is admired for her sacrifice and dedication to her children and family. Do these double standards make sense to anyone?

So yes, you will come across many Muslim women who have chosen to stay at home and look after their children. Some of them are educated and even have College Diploma’s or University Degree’s, some of them still work from home, others can afford not to. Sometimes they become overwhelmed and feel stressed out, at other times they understand that their sacrifice is important for the well-being of their kids, but it cannot be denied that throughout all this, these women are extremely dedicated and for this they should be rewarded immensely and honoured above anyone else! But the nature of these women is that they would not accept the rewards and honour of people on this earth, because most of them understand that they will be rewarded by their Creator, and as for honour, well this has been granted to them by the One true Creator, Allah Almighty honoured mothers and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us about this when he said three times that mothers should be honoured, “Your mother, your mother, your mother, and then your father”.

It’s quite simple, isn’t it, it makes so much sense when you begin to understand, and I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised at all that people don’t get it. After all, everything real and true in this world is certain to be misunderstood.

So to all you mothers out there- let them call you un-liberated, un-educated and oppressed, let them feel pity for you and even insist that you should be out there, in the workplace. Let them talk about how you have to spend your days looking after many children, let them scorn and ridicule you, and let them regard you as inferior! Remember though, that you are the ones who have the most important and most difficult of all jobs, you are the ones who have been elevated, perhaps not in the eyes of people, but in the eyes of the Almighty! You are the ones who will be rewarded when it really matters! And, when you feel like it’s just too much, when your tasks seem overwhelming and your children demand your attention to the point where you feel that you can’t take it any longer, remember that Allah is watching you, and for everything that you continue to do, you will be rewarded! Insha’Allah Ameen.

May Allah (SWT) be with all our dedicated mothers and grant them ease in their tasks, and may they be rewarded in this world and the hereafter!

Image 1 from: istockphoto.com
Image 2 from: lovingmylifeinislam.wordpress.com

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Strength of a Woman

The strength of a woman is unlike anything you’ll find,
She makes sacrifices time after time,
And through it all she still tries to be good and kind,
And even with hardships she continues to smile.

She surprises people with her courage,
As she bears burdens in her silent worry,
Her children always come first,
All her pleasures does she give up for theirs.

Her giving and caring never comes to an end,
And for others does she continuously spend,
In so many ways she stands out from the rest,
As for others she always wants the best.

She forgets all her anger,
To ensure that there is peace,
And she even keeps in her feelings,
So that loved ones have ease.

The strength of a woman cannot always be seen,
She has no big muscles to make her look mean,
Her strength is within her,
And it continues to foster.

The strength of a woman cannot be compared,
There’s a reason that she was chosen for things so unique,
This strength of a woman must be shared,
Therefore today, of this strength do we speak!

Image from: fitstore.com