Saturday, February 19, 2011

O Believing Men - A reminder

Upon reading the article - Homely Homemaking Homebodies? Why the Quran Commands Muslim Women: "Stay in Your Homes" by Sadaf Farooqi,  I noticed there were many comments. Though I did not go through them, I did read a few which lead me to write this article that I have entitled:

O Believing Men - A reminder
“And remind, for indeed, the reminder benefits the believers.” [Quran: 51: 55]

Autho billahi min ash shaytaan al rajeem Bismillah Al Rahman Al Raheem!

So I begin with this, the most powerful reminder :

You shall see them, as they are brought face to face with the chastisement, in a state of abject humiliation, looking with a furtive glance. But the believers will say: “Surely the true losers are they who lose themselves and their kindred on the Day of Resurrection.” Lo, the wrong-doers will be in an enduring torment. [Ash-Shura 42:25]

Gender roles is an issue that seems to be in chaos, what was deemed as "natural" in the past is now considered nothing but "traditional oppression". It seems gender roles has drastically changed throughout the ages with the commencement of the 'Women's Liberation Movement'. Dating back to the early 18th century came the first glimpse of the feminist movement spurred by middle or upper-class white women in search of political equality. The climax of the feminist mentality saturated itself in the 1980's-1990's; this reform campaign altered all forms of social standards -religious, familial, political, professional etc.

"And enjoin on one another goodness towards women; verily they are married to you: you have no power over them at all unless they come in for a flagrantly filthy action; but if they are devoted to you, then seek no way against them. And verily, you have rights over your women, and they have rights over you." [Tirmidhi ]

As a result of an attempt for progression we found ourselves in the other extreme; regression! It is clear to many the instinctive nature women have; rearing children, their home, their family life. A task that in today's world is immensely underrated, deemed almost as "unaccomplished" if it is ones sole livelihood. However, in the rage of change and a distinct need for human rights initiated by women we are left questioning, what has happened to the men? What are their roles and who have they become?

Islam outlines our gender roles in astounding perfection. It encompasses our nature as males and females; acknowledging our God Given strengths and weaknesses.

“Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allaah has made one of them to excel the other, and because they spend (to support them) from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient (to Allaah and to their husbands), and guard in the husband’s absence what Allaah orders them to guard (e.g. their chastity and their husband’s property). As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely, Allaah is Ever Most High, Most Great” [al-Nisa’ 4:34]

We as men and women have been placed on this earth for the same purpose (to worship One God and associate no partners to Him), but with entirely different roles. Lets break this down from a visual that we are familiar with in the modern world. Allah subhanhu wa tala has given the man the sole responsibility to provide for his family food, clothes and shelter. Man is given the responsibility to see that his family receives secular and Islamic education. He is given the responsibility of leading his family towards Jannah. He is given the responsibility of protecting his wife, his children, his sisters, his parents; kith and kin. He is given the responsibility if the need arises to physically denfend Islam for the sake of Allah subhanhu wa tala or in our current state to accomplish this mentally and/or verbally. He is given the responsibility to socially serve Al-Islam (ie. Daw'ah, helping the needy, neighbours etc.). Women have the responsibility of obeying her husband, guarding their property, teaching his children, and safe guarding herself (maintaining modesty). Not to say a woman should not help the needy, be good to her neighbours, keep relations between kith and kin etc. but her duty remains mainly within the home. Now compare them! Is it not clearly noticeable through Islamic rights that women carry a lesser burden but equally meaningful? We as a whole Ummah have messed up the system!

A man in Islam has been given the role of the Amir; the leader of his household. Brothers do not under-estimate this responsibility! You have been given the rights in order for you to fulfill great responsibilities! It is upon the man to make sure that he lives up to his responsibility and it is for the woman to ease that burden by complying to that which he requires done and/or needs. You cannot run a school without a Principle, you cannot win a war without a Sergeant, you cannot aim for a 'touch-down' without a game plan that others also have to follow through with ... It is the man's responsibility and right to create that 'game plan' and oversee its execution is correctly conducted. If he does not do that then he too bears the failure along with his players.

A wise man knows that in order to be successful in his duties he should learn to adopt 'mutual consultation' - or 'team work'. A manly man, or a 'man' in all essence of the word is not one that should be able to bench press 350 lbs then expect his wife to haul in all the groceries, go to work, see to the children and that's it for him; 9-5pm is all he is willing to contribute towards his family - towards his Akhira. If that was the case what would be the point in having a man around? This is a mentality contributing to divorce on the rise along with many sisters simply uninterested in marriage wa Allahu Alim. The Prophet (peace be upon him) was reported to have helped in household affairs. If any man stood in the shoes of a woman for a day and completed the tasks that it takes to make a home run smooth, clean and Islamic he would understand the value in aiding her. By helping her, he helps his children and by helping his children he is fulfilling his responsibilities of leading them away from the fire (Insha'Allah), therefore securing himself with His Creator Insha'Allah. Plus it creates love within the home and each other. A home is not a 'one man' show. It is not for the man to call the shots and a woman to be void of her needs and rights. Nor is it for a woman to be "independent" and a man to be purposeless and disrespected. There is a fine, delicate, beautiful balance that Islam sets for us. Yet we have gone way beyond these, as a result the consequences are astounding social ills!

If a woman is not home and she is the second breadwinner, then who is caring for the children? Who is imparting the knowledge that they need to be righteous Muslims? Who is mentoring the children to help them understand the world around them without it sucking them up and stripping them of their souls? If a man is comfortable with his wife working to provide for herself, interacting with other men, neglecting the household affiars, losing his respect in the home then how can he feel sure that he is fulfilling his God given responsibilities? How can both spouses be a comfort for one another when the whispering of Shaytaan has the husband holding the door wide open? In the end of the day the burden will also still lie upon the man because Allah subhanhu wa tala gave Him the duty and the rights to fulfill his task - the ball is in his hands!

“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 Allaah is All-Mighty, All-Wise” [al-Baqarah 2:228]

It is a heavy burden brothers! Even still, one too many brothers are very comfortable in not taking the responsibility of financially maintaining or sheltering or ensuring the household is heading in the right direction. In fact many men in our 'progressive age' expect their wives to contribute to the household financially, as though it is upon her to do so. Too many brothers are failing in their responsibilities to protect their family from the evils of this world and their destruction in the hereafter, too many are simply not bothered therefore do not demand their rights in order to fulfill their responsibilities. Therefore a man is wronging his family due to his failure in fulfiling their basic Islamic rights (food, shelter, clothes,educating them). And in some cases only when it suits him then he demands his rights from his wife.

"O you who have attained to faith! Ward off from yourselves and your families that fire (of the hereafter) whose fuel is Human beings and stones."[Qur’an 66:6]

Along with the adolescent mentalities plaguing our healthy minded adult Muslim community, the "yes dear" syndrome has infiltrated itself into our homes, into it's own form of extremism. All too many of us forget that Islam is a moderate path, we are neither here nor there but rather in the middle. Do not be a tyrant, yet do not be 'whipped' (agree to everything even when it is wrong). Do not be Scrooge (stingy), yet do not be Santa (comply with everyones wishes - naughty or nice), do not be 'Molly Maid' and also do not be a couch potato, do not make your family all you ever do yet do not ignore them or find excuses to be out of the house constantly. Just walk a middle path and you'll find success, Insha'Allah!

"Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have rights over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed [i.e., not let them into the house] whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner” (Narrated by Muslim, 1218)

Marriage is half our deen not because it sounds nice for you to say that on your wedding day or feel accomplished that you're now married. It is because it carries a heavy weight, you are now entrusted with another person and Insha'Allah children which you will be questioned about on the Day of Judgement. You are entitled to more rights but now others have rights upon you too. You cannot neglect your home and the rights others have upon you yet feel fulfilled as a dutiful Muslim; it is simply not possible. Our religion is an action based religion; it encompsses honor, dignity, truth, justice, kindness all entwined within our worship. It takes sincerity, courage and as with everything great it also requires sacrifice. Success is not within our own mind, it is within the Orders ordained upon us in the hopes that with sincere intention we have earned our seat in Jannatul Firdos.

May Allah subhanhu wa talaa Protect us from the evils of ourselves, man, jinn, and shaytaan, may He forgive us for our sins and give us strength to fulfill our duties...Ameen

May Allah forgive me if I have said anything wrong for all good is from Him alone and wrong/bad is from myself.

Your sister in Islam,



What are the rights of the husband and what are the rights of the wife?

The Ideal Muslim Husband

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