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From The Mother of The Child Who Broke Your Concentration During Tarawih Tonight

Muslim women beginning prayer

Muslim women beginning prayer

Thank you! To all those people in the mosque who bore with us tonight as my son tried – and failed miserably – to learn the art of serenity in prayer; as he lost his balance multiple times and bumped into you trying to stand on one foot while you were trying so hard to focus on the recitation; as he loudly whispered ‘Shhh!’ to his friend – who until then was perfectly quiet; as he half-whispered, half-sang out loud the chorus of Harris J’s Salam Alaikum; as he pretended he was a dinosaur and roared at his friend before both of them broke out in muffled laughter, thank you!

Thank you, for understanding that your kindness and consideration for his young age will be a building block that will lay the foundation of the relationship he will have with this place that is, unfortunately, being increasingly perceived as alien and unwelcoming by young people. Thank you, for your empathy towards me as a mother who is struggling to balance between teaching her child to respect this as a place of worship and helping him form a positive bond with this space. Thank you for smiling kindly at us after you offer your Salaam at the end of every pair of Rak’ahs instead of facing us with a frown on your face. Thank you.

Because of you, my son will likely not resist the idea of joining me to the ‘long prayers that go on for-EVER!!!’ – as he tends to call the Tarawih. I will not second-guess my decision to bring him along to the mosque every step of the way as he scurries along ahead of me singing about how ‘The bare necessities of life will come to you.’ Because of you, every mistake he makes will feel less like a failure on my part as a mother, but as an opportunity for me to teach him about the etiquette of being in the mosque.

We promise we will try our best to behave better tomorrow night. We will bring along some more interesting quiet things we can do to keep us busy when the prayers get too long for us to stay put. But we will still probably make some noise. By the end of Ramadan, we would have likely stretched you to your limits and forced you to move your spot in the prayer room a couple of times. We apologise of that in advance.

And thank you, once again, so very much!

By Aisha Hussain Rasheed
www.facebook.com/i.sha.hr

Aisha Hussain Rasheed is a Maldivian Muslim woman, who believes our Islamic heritage is the key to the future, if only we know how to use it. She is a student of Islamic jurisprudence and a political and social activist.
Image credit: Muslim women in prayer by Glenn Halog
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.


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Intersections (a Poem from the Maldives)

Image of rally organised by the opposition to ruling Maldive Government

Image of rally organised by the opposition to ruling Maldive Government

by Aisha Hussain Rasheed

@ishahr

Maldives is a small island nation in the Indian ocean known for its scenic beauty. What most people don’t know about the country is that it is young democracy where the first democratic elections were held in 2008. The first democratically elected government was forced to resign due to police and military mutiny in 2012. We are currently under an increasingly autocratic regime that has recently declared a nation-wide state of emergency. The declaration of state of emergency impeded a mass rally organised by the opposition to call for the immediate release of political prisoners. As such, the opposition organised an evening tea party (a favourite Maldivian pastime) instead, which was also crashed by the Police. When the Police barricaded the street, the attendees got separated in two groups, one inside the venue of the party the other across the street. When a friend attempted to cross the street so she could join those of us who were inside the venue, a policeman told her to go between her mother’s legs. The following poem in response to the incident. 

To the policeman who told a girl to go between her mother’s legs when she asked to cross the road:
Tell every girl and woman who is groped on the street that, as per the principles you protect and uphold, her body deserves as much protection as the public property she walks on.
That you will stand guard so no stranger’s hand can freely cross the barricades you set up and grab her.
Tell every third woman in this country that she would not have been violated had she been a cold, inanimate pavement,
Silent even when you stamp your boot upon her
Lying down, so you can grant or deny others to access her
Let your ignorance air-dry on her body, like red tinted saliva mixed with areca nuts and betel leaves
Chewed and spit out like bloody morsels of flesh
Leaving behind its mark on your crooked smile between your tainted teeth and staining her.
Tell her that if the nape of her neck was a causeway to the small of her back
And the nook of her arm and the bend of her knee were street corners,
You’d light up her eyes like street lights and set them up at every intersection so no man will flash at her.
Tell her you’d regulate the unwanted traffic round about the curves of her body
And the ridge of her breasts is set up far enough away from the end of the road for men to slow down and listen to her say,
“NO”!
Dear policeman who told a girl to go between her mother’s legs when she asked to cross the road,
Tell the woman who opened a way between her legs to let you cross out into the world
And the woman who harvested the seeds you planted inside of her
That the world you hope to leave for your daughters will protect their autonomy the way you protect the streets.
Image of mass rally against ruling party in the Maldives

Image of mass rally against ruling party in the Maldives

Aisha Hussain Rasheed is a Maldivian Muslim woman, who believes her Islamic heritage is the key to the  future of the people of Maldives. She is a student of Islamic jurisprudence and a political and social activist. You can follow her on Twitter @ishahr
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.

Images Courtesy of Aisha Hussain Rasheed.