After a very long time did I find a book that was not only interesting and aspiring but heart wrenching and overwhelming. Every Muslim girl can relate to it and maybe others too. Not only did it encourage me but also it gave me hope, courage and the spirit to look at life positively. The book made me understand my religion and made me question so many things that have become a part of our culture that truly against the religion.
I want to quote some of my favourite part from the book:
“ It seemed to me that the answer was that women had been forced to redefine themselves through the opportunities and experiences they had lived through. Femininity had changed and been updated by the challenges we had faced, and the outcome was stronger and more centered women. What appeared to be missing was the challenge to men to trigger them to update their own notions of masculinity. Instead of rising to the challenge, some of them now felt at worst threatened by the lively, energetic woman who wanted a proactive spiritual and material life, or at best uninterested them.
What we needed was a collective reassessment of what it meant to be a man and what it meant to be a woman, a new gender reconstruction going back to the very roots of Islam, where men and women were partners and companions rather than disjointed and dysfunctional. After all, as the Quran said, men and women were created in pairs. The gender constructs that we needed to operate as a fully functioning society-and that was within my own small community, as well as in wider society-had become blurred, or even lost and that meant we had lost the ability to love each other for who we were. “
Another excerpt that touched my heart was:
“ You had to be sexy in the public domain to be accepted. If you were interested in love. Then it had to be a beautiful, glamorous sexy kind of love. That was difficult to reconcile as a practicing Muslim woman wearing hijab. That is also why a muslim woman talking about love is such an incongruous idea. It jars with our notion that love is only romance or love only means sexuality. ‘ sexiness’ in public is fundamentally opposed to hijab and the headscarf because the headscarf is about being sexy only in private. Being sexy was definitely an essential part of being a woman, but it is part of her mystique, to be retained in her control to reveal as part of the companionship and journey of love for a partner. For me, love for a companion was not a shared public experience and neither was sexuality. Like other muslim women, I was interested in love but not the kind that forced me to define love only and exclusively as being sexy. My mission was to understand love in all its facets and to define it on my own terms. “
some of the parts were so beautifully constructed they made my heart wrench. Here are educated, liberal and religious women who are looking for a similar man who believes in their beliefs and trusts them. A man who is not threatened by their intellect but is rather respectful and proud. The wives of prophet Mohammad (pbuh) were intelligent, independent and impressive women. Hazrat Aisha is remembered as someone with a very high intellect who helped spread islam to a great deal. The relationship between a wife and a husband is one of trust, understanding and mutual agreement. Then why are the men of today so different? Why do they not respect and accept a modern chaste woman, why are they so bent on dominating rather than sharing. Why are they so involved in talking that they forget to listen? Just because a woman is educated or career oriented does not mean she has to be trapped at home after marriage. Or even if they want their wives to obey, why cant they first gain their trust in order to convince them?
There are questions that many women of today ask and are either hushed or ignored. Should we lower our standards simply because men will not rise to the occasion or simply because we are women.Our parents did not send us for higher education just to be told to do the opposite of what we have been taught. They sent us so we could enlighten ourselves, gain and share experiences that we wouldn’t otherwise. We were taught to be respectful and polite towards others choices and decisions. We were told to not judge a book by its cover. We were groomed, cultured and polished into becoming wise women. We were advised to study the lives of the great women in islam and how they preached what they taught. We were instructed to correct ourselves rather than pointing fingers at others. All these mannerisms were instilled for us to become better women, wives and later mothers. So we could raise our children to be better daughters and sons in the future