I didn’t want to go into this subject as I know it’s a sensitive to some people and I’ll probably be labelled for it, but after the terrorist attack beside my local masjid a good friend of mine has told me she is considering taking off her scarf out of fear. Although I disagree as I fear it is letting the terrorists win, I understood her concerns and feared that if she did chose to there would be some men who will judge her for it. So here we go.
British Muslim men, and men in general (however I want to specifically focus on us), have betrayed our sisters, we have failed them so much, whilst on the other hand you have most of the real work countering Islamophobia, looking after our community and fighting for our rights being done by our sisters. The Quran says that “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women” (Surah an-Nisa 4:34), yet we have tried to change these roles. We have become, for lack of a better word, feminised.
When I was at the Palestine protests in 2014 some of the brothers complained about the amount of sisters there, complaining that if the police clashed with them there was nothing they could do as they’d risk endangering the sisters. But with over a million Muslim men in Britain and with only about 20,000 at the march, how are our men protecting our sisters in Palestine? If the men are going to act like women, don’t be surprised that women are starting to act like men. If we don’t protect our women, don’t be surprised that they have decided to protect themselves and in turn protect us. Many of the genuine Muslim organisations and charities are mainly women whilst we strut around pretending to be like our favourite popstars and story characters. Even most of the Muslim activists seem more interested in their egos and trying to look like Hollywood heroes, whilst our sisters appear far more genuine and modest, they don’t just love the sound of their own voice. All we do is talk, but we need organisations and to build our community.
I’m not in any part trying to say how Muslim women should act, that is for Muslim women to discuss and decide upon, I’m saying that Muslim men need to look in the mirror rather than judging our women. I respect any sister who wears a headscarf, but before you judge a sister for not wearing a headscarf you should be asking yourself why you weren’t lowering your gaze and are watching her. Also what non-Muslims believe about gender roles and such is irrelevant, I don’t care what they do or believe and will not judge them, that is their business, just as this is ours.
Now we judge women for wearing jeans and for acting unwomanly-like, but when I go to the gym it’s like most of the men are not going to keep fit or to get stronger, rather they want to grow out muscles to have “beautiful bodies” and strut around like supermodels. We cover ourselves in jewellery, expensive watches and designer clothes, even fancy cars and act like models and movie stars. This feminisation directly affects our responsibilities as men, whilst at the same time we call women “a diva” for wearing some designer sunglasses or a fancy scarf. I get that some brothers may say they are fulfilling their roles, but until we as a collective start to do this, it is irrelevant.
I know many men are going to get really sensitive about what I’m saying and may even throw a tantrum, but if we don’t start taking charge of our responsibilities our women will have enough of us. Why am I not surprised that many are starting to echo western women and are starting to say they don’t need a man to be happy. I know this western individualism plays a large part in this problem, but we need to hang on to the rope of Allah subhanhu wa ta’ala and not be influenced by this, man is the companion of woman and we need each other. We are equal, but also we are different, almost all white terrorist attacks on Muslims are on hijabis and if we’re not going to defend them or not going to face the same threats they are, what right do we have to judge them?
I would like to point out that this has been written in anger and I may wake up in a few weeks and think ‘what the hell was I talking abut?’, but I think it is worthy of consideration.