Break The Mold: Muslim Women Rise and Reclaim Your Status!

04 February, 2020
Q I am a born Muslim woman, but I have struggled severely with praying regularly and feeling a connection with Allah SWT. In the 12 years that prayer has been mandatory for me, I have been on and off and probably never prayed for an entire month at a time. I never fasted a full Ramadan either, only bits and pieces. Even though this brings me great shame, I can't ever muster up the motivation to change. Mostly because my heart is so conflicted.In my community/culture, there has always been a heavy dose of misogyny and male chauvinism present, mixed in with the Islam preached. My whole childhood and teenage years, I have heard women being maligned for any and all societal ills. Hadiths that were frequently referenced in my youth to showcase just how evil and prone to deviance women were included the hadith about women being the majority in hell fire and women being deficient in intelligence and religion. Not to mention ayahs in the quran that referenced men being "superior" to women in station or status. If I tried to crack open any Islamic book, I usually found plenty of misogynistic, insulting ideas that include: *women should only ever aspire to bear children and be submissive wives *women should get married ASAP because they "expire" and then have no purpose * women are less intelligent than men, women must be okay with everything their husbands do otherwise they are disobedient witches destined for hell *they should cover themselves up 100% and not even leave their homes unless absolutely necessary *women shouldn't be allowed to study anything because they will just become corrupt, only the bear minimum to keep them alive and do their domestic dutiesand so on and so fourth. Basically, women only exist as tools for men to use, she has no will of her own, nor any dignity. I cannot tell you how many times I have cried myself to sleep over this. How many times I have asked God in tears why he damned me by making me a woman. I am not suicidal, but I often just wish I could die in my sleep or wish I was never born a woman. What's to really live for? By virtue of my gender, I am already an affront to society, something vulgar that only causes "fitna" for the poor innocent men around me. Online spaces with younger Muslims weren't any better, in all honesty. Some ideas I came across from so called "students of Islamic sciences": *Rampant name-calling, people being called kafir/kuffar for having different (but valid) opinions *constant gender wars * men using polygamy and concubinage as reasons why women are inferior to men (as well as making crass jokes about these topics) * being told that because God views Men as superior, God has given them "Hoor-ul-ain" and women get nothing (except for generic clothes and jewelry, because, in his own words, "women are stupid vain creatures" and will always be below men in status in heaven (if they ever do make it).This last one in particular hit a nerve for me in a way that I couldn't imagine. It was enough that my life on this earth had to be terrible and filled with pain (have to suffer periods, childbirth, living in fear of rape or assault, constant and unending societal pressure to be something I am not, etc.), but now I find that I will also be snubbed in heaven too? When I tried to research if this was true, I only came across websites saying "women should focus on getting to Jannah first" (interestingly, plenty of passages about what men will get, but nothing about women) and "even if God gives you something far less then men, you should be grateful".After seeing all of this my overall feeling was that God didn't care for me, God didn't want to forgive me, I was worth less than a man, and that even if I did follow the intended route for a woman ( being a doormat with no personality), I was probably going to screw it up and be punished (the hadith about the hoor'ul'ain cursing a woman who disobeys her husband). At this point, my feeling is, why bother praying or doing anything? I am already seemingly predestined for hell, God doesn't value me as a human being in my own right, and heaven is just a man-centered place, even if I ever did make it. So there is no winning this kind of situation. I lost when I was born a woman, it seems.Don't get me wrong, I want so badly to believe in Allah SWT, and I want to be a good Muslim woman. I agree with all the core tenets of Islam. It doesn't make sense to me that a God who calls Himself the most merciful, the most loving, the most forgiving could allow and sanction this treatment of women. I just dont know what to feel or do. Is the stuff these people say true? I am just a terrible/ungrateful woman? I really dont know. I have no problem being modest (I wear a hijab and loose abaya), I want to be more regular with my prayers, I want to taste the peace others feel when they worship God. But how can I when I feel that God views me this way?

Answer

Short Answer: Break The Mold: Muslim Women Rise and Reclaim Your Status! Islam came to honor women and raise their status. Islam gave women a position in society. Islam made men respect and uphold women’s rights. The belief that women are behind a man’s sin comes from Christianity. It has no basis in Islam whatsoever. Allah orders the believing women to cover just as He orders the believing men to lower their gaze. Islam enjoined upon women the acts of worship and duties that befit them, the same duties as men, namely purification, zakaah, fasting, prayer, Hajj, and other acts of worship. Muslim women are by all means equal with men in terms of reward

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Walaikumassalam warahmatullah wabarakatahu. Jazakallahu khair sister for approaching us with your serious concern.

The first step

The system of Allah is beautiful. He has created the planets which work in harmony with each other. Each planet rotates and revolves on its own axis. The end result of harmony is a safe haven for His most beloved creatures- humans.

Have you ever asked yourself, who is Allah? If not then this is the time to sit down and ponder upon this crucial question. Allah has described Himself to us through his majestic names and attributes.

If you want to know Allah, then study them. The hidden meanings behind each name are so beautiful; it will leave you in awe. Among these are ninety-nine names if anyone learns them it will be of great benefit.

The hadeeth narrated by Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him), in which the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said:

“Allah has ninety-nine names, one hundred less one; whoever learns them will enter Paradise.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, al-Fath, no. 2736)

Allah Has Our Best Interest

When you believe that Allah is your Creator and submit to Him willfully, then you will realize and taste the sweetness of faith. The emptiness inside of you will vanish and you will feel content.

When you study the lives of the righteous people, you realize that they had a strong faith. They would hear and obey. Their belief was unshakeable! No, not just women, but men as well. Both genders as believers surrendered their desires and wishes to Allah.

It is a promise that one makes when he accepts faith,  a conviction to change. To live your life the way Allah has spelled out for you. Allah is perfect and the religion that He has chosen for His servants has no flaws within.

Allah, may He be exalted, says in the hadith Qudsi:

“I have created all My slaves with the inclination to worship Me alone, but the devils come to them and turn them away from their religion. They forbid to them that which I have permitted to them, and they tell them to associate others with Me for which I have not sent down any authority.” Narrated by Muslim (2865).

Follow The Religion

Many times it is difficult for people to distinguish between right and wrong. One mistake that you must avoid is judging the religion based on its’ followers. Allah has created us human beings weak. Due to this weakness, we fall into sin.

Learn your religion from the authentic sources i.e Quran and Sunnah. That is the route that will lead you to your correct destination. Don’t worry it won’t reroute you.

Allah has guaranteed to preserve the Quran. Allah says:

“Verily, We, it is We Who have sent down the Dhikr (i.e. the Quran) and surely, We will guard it (from corruption)” [al-Hijr 15:9]

As I mentioned before Allah has many attributes. One of His attributes is the Just. This means that without a doubt, Allah bestows complete justice to His creation. In the eyes of Allah, all human beings are equal whether they be male or female. Allah judges us not based on our gender but, upon our intention.

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Islam came to honor women and raise their status. Islam gave women a position in society. Islam made men respect and uphold women’s rights.

There are no authentic hadiths that mention women’s age of marriage. However, there is a period in which they are more fertile and it is easier for the couple to start a family.

The belief that women are behind a man’s sin comes from Christianity. It has no basis in Islam whatsoever. Allah orders the believing women to cover just as He orders the believing men to lower their gaze. Islam enjoined upon women the acts of worship and duties that befit them, the same duties as men, namely purification, zakaah, fasting, prayer, Hajj, and other acts of worship.

Also, many Muslim women were great leaders and educators. During Prophet Muhammad’s time, women used to take part in business dealings. They also had a voice in decision making. The Prophet used to keep a separate day of the week only to teach women. The first martyr of Islam was a woman. After the demise of Prophet Muhammad, the men would go to Aisha, his wife, to learn from her.

Women have many rights in Islam

Women have many rights in Islam and especially when it comes to marriage. Even to the extent that they can claim for divorce whereas in some other religions women can’t even think of that. Also, Muslim women can remarry while in other religions they are burned alive along with their dead husbands’!

“And they (women) have rights (over their husbands as regards living expenses) similar (to those of their husbands) over them (as regards obedience and respect) to what is reasonable, but men have a degree (of responsibility) over them. And Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise” [al-Baqarah 2:228]

Muslim women are by all means equal with men in terms of reward. They also have responsibilities that they must fulfill. Women should also run to do good deeds if they want to enjoy a good life in this world and a great reward in the Hereafter. This is Allah’s promise.

Allah says:

“Whoever works righteousness — whether male or female — while he (or she) is a true believer (of Islamic Monotheism) verily, to him We will give a good life (in this world with respect, contentment and lawful provision), and We shall pay them certainly a reward in proportion to the best of what they used to do (i.e. Paradise in the Hereafter)” [al-Nahl 16:97]

And Allah knows best.

I hope this helps.

Salam and please keep in touch.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

Virgins in Paradise: A Lure for Sex-Obsessed Muslim Men?

Can Women Be Rulers, Leaders & Heads of State in Islam?

Are Muslim Women Liberated or Became Sex Slaves?

What Is There for Women in Paradise?