The pick-me attitude is both dangerous and deserving of compassion; dangerous because it is damaging to our collective existence as women and deserving of compassion because this game is unempowering even to the women who signal their virtues as distinct from the rest.
We want to (rightfully) debate and critique Islamophobic establishments that bar our sisters from their rights to wear hijab. However, we will ignore the epidemic of the rising “spiritual leaders”, “scholars” and “holy men” in our communities who have been demonstrated to commit various forms of abuse against vulnerable women.
As a brown woman in a traditional South Asian Muslim home, there was much I bristled against almost constantly. The unacknowledged labour was not just expected but demanded from me. The requirement to keep my mouth shut in deference even if an older person, especially a man, was disrespectful, discriminatory, or just plain wrong in their frequent pontification.
Does men’s worship supersede that of women? And Is cooking a feast a substitute for prayers? How does a person who has spent a large part of their day doing chores have reserved energy for the actual purpose of Ramadhan?
I was a different person in college. I was me. I found my voice. I found the education I needed to open my mind; the strength I needed to voice out ‘inequality’. It was some sort of training my parents didn’t anticipate. We were taught to be independent, to never depend on men, or their opinions. It’s also where I learnt that “We”, as women are so much capable, individually and collectively. Thanks to this education, I gathered the courage to be financially independent. I called off a wedding, decided to stay single and adopted a kitten when my hormones started acting up.
What we’ve done with the Qur’an is unforgivable. It has taken the backseat in our daily lives while controversial issues have taken over. We don’t study the Qur’an enough. We don’t study the message conveyed in beautiful poetic synergy, the history of past nations, the scientific miracles, all of it. We take it all for granted. We don’t reflect upon the sunnah of the prophet, which is the lived practice of the spirit of the Qur’an.
Each time a non-Muslim says Islam is oppressive to women, I choose to channel my energy inwards, to observe the referenced situation, to see the unbiased truth/untruth of the matter. I refuse to counter with the clichés that are usually employed to patronize Muslim women. I choose to call for the much-needed change within the community.
“The history of men’s opposition to women’s emancipation is more …