by Sabrina Mahmood
It’s safe to say that there are times when we all feel like we need to say something but for whatever reason, we hold back and let the moment pass. When you add being a Muslim and woman into the equation it sometimes seems like an impossible feat to be heard. That is in no way because Islam treats women as lesser people in society, but largely due to patriarchy of the cultures we have been brought up in. It is the dichotomy between Islam and culture.
Freedom of expression for women is essential to our faith and always has been. Let’s forget some of the awful examples of our times, where we hear of oppression towards Muslim women in certain societies. If we look at the best example we have, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and the example that we should all strive to be like, we are shown that women were able to ask questions, express their views and they were an integral part of society. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was greatly loved and respected by his wives who were treated with great respect and love. This clearly shows us the validity and importance of Muslim women in Islam.
I have often felt that as a Muslim woman, it is sometimes harder to speak with other Muslim women about certain issues as they do not want to hear about anything negative or any questions about their beliefs. But talking, debating and discussing are so vital in affirming what is right and wrong, and actually understanding the Islamic basis of our beliefs, rather than what society and many cultures have imposed. Isn’t it about time that we stand in solidarity and support each other?
I believe regardless of whether a person is Muslim or not, we should allow ourselves to listen to their opinions, even when we do not agree, and to be understanding and thoughtful. The basis for good character of a Muslim is truthfulness and patience, so if we inject this into our own lives with sincerity, we are able to listen to and understand the opinions of other people.
Islam teaches us not to categorise ourselves into groups:
‘Surely they who divided their religion into parts and became sects, you have no concern with them…’ [Quran 6:159]
Essentially, we should not divide ourselves religiously and on a deeper level, in any way whatsoever. We are all equal, we are all human and therefore should all be able to express ourselves freely, whether we are Muslim women, or not.
And in the times when we do feel that people are intolerant, we return their negativity and criticism with the positivity and love that the Prophet (pbuh) showed us. I would never have called myself a spiritual person before or even thought about what it can do to a person, but since I sought God, I have had an immense wave of peace and humanity in my life. Because the true crux of Islamic faith, is that connection with the Creator, and anyone who feels that, will never be harsh or rude or arrogant in their expression. Because that deep, binding love for Allah, it completes their opinions and expressions with morality and humility.
Sabrina Mahmood blogs at www.theinternaldebate.wordpress.com and you can follow her at @sabrina01m
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the original author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the website.
Image credits: Roszeen Afsar http://instagram.com/inkyartbyroszeen
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