WE as a world is going to celebrate International women’s Day on 08 March 2021 under the theme of “Choose to Change: A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change”.
We should celebrate it and highlight the importance of women’s in our existence, but not for only this day. Celebrating on March 8 every year, this day is symbolic of the historic journey women around the world have taken to better their lives. It comes as a reminder that while a lot has been achieved, the journey is long and a lot more needs to be done.
Let’s solicit, focus and contemplate on this day apart from what we are doing from a long history as a groove.
1. We need women who are so confident of their self-worth and value that they would never fall for or choose anyone unworthy of them. She should be so educated that she scares the ignorant man away, so humble and down to earth that her personality filters out the creeps.so, we should raise our daughters with self-worth and sons with emotional intelligence to recognize that in the women they choose.
2. Sisters if you don’t want to work after marriage and support your spouse financially please explicitly state this to your future spouse and their family. We come to know that men and their families are searching for working women so that they can come into their family and support the family at large especially with finances.
In Islam, women have no such duty or responsibility. If a woman earns it’s her own money. If she decides to support her husband and his family that’s a good deed but not an obligation and she cannot be forced or guilt tripped into doing this. There are men and families who need women to work and support the household. We have to accept the fact that there are Muslim families that need many working members to keep the family afloat or even to hardly make ends meet. If you want to continue to work, not help spouse financially and want him to take absolute financial responsibility and also do house work let him know this clearly. So that the brother/potential can make an informed decision as well.
Many brothers don’t want to do any house work if they are taking 100% financial responsibility of the household. Discuss gender roles and expectations. Financial difficulty and vague responsibility around finances after marriage is a reason for a lot of divorces. Failing to have clarity about this issue from men and women is destroying a lot of lives. Know what you want and know what level of service you can give before promising and before stepping into marriage. Don’t FORCE your spouse to do something after marriage. If you are honest, the other party will make an informed choice before marrying you and will not be disappointed. Make your expectations from your spouse known to them. Explicitly state them. And if you are making promises make sure you can keep them and those are not mere meaningless words. Although, don’t live life thinking that things will remain the same. Dynamics change, financial situations change, you as a person will definitely change, your capabilities and health changes, and so does the fact whether you get blessed with kids in 5 years or 15 years. Fact is you aren’t going to be the same person with the same outlook on life (save some solid ground for Aqeedah and Deen) and the same wishes and desires when you were engaged to a few or several years into the marriage. Unfortunately many times couples fail to be flexible or compromising or understanding. Choose a man who shows Rehma, who steps up when needed, who doesn’t gaslight. And be a similar woman. Guide each other to Jannah, you both are in that together as a team.
3. The worst thing you can do as a parent or guardian to your daughter/s is to constantly tell them that THIS IS NOT THEIR HOME and their real home is the home of their in-laws.
Because once they do marry and go to their in-laws they are told the same thing. That this is not their real home. Their real home is the home of their parents. This results in Muslim daughters having no sense of belonging or a place to call HOME. Their anchor, their place of refuge and their paradise on Earth is an illusion. Their safe space and their safe haven is nil, zero, and nonexistent.
This idea that daughter’s real home is the home she is married into has zero basis in Islam and has been adopted by polytheist religions where the daughter is literally donated to the other family in marriage. And she is expected to leave her in-laws only as a dead person and not before that.
“Doli mein gayi ho – doley mein hi wapis ana”
(Left our home in wedding carriage – return only in a casket not before – basically asking her to put up with everything to make this marriage work)
(Someone else’s property/Treasure)
While our beautiful Islam even after marriage, her father and her brothers remain her Wali, her guardians and her caretakers. They are allowed to intermediate, help, rescue her and facilitate to annul her marriage if there is abuse. Islam doesn’t believe in daughters exiting marriage as a dead person. Muslim parents stop using emotionally abusive sentences like
“Yeh Shauq sasural mein purey karlena”
“Yeh sasural jakey humein sharminda karegi”
“Apne miya ke saath ghoomna”
Please facilitate things for your daughters. Facilitate travel within your means and with safety, encourage her and empower her with words, tell her you trust her to live an emotionally healthy married life, fathers and brothers need to step in and facilitate safe travel (picking and dropping) for their daughters and sisters.
Teach your daughters to be kind and respectful but also teach them when to fight back, stand up and not tolerate abuse of any kind. If she wants to meet a friend, wants to attend a marriage or a party instead of shutting down her basic social requirements as a human make sure you drop her, give her a healthy time to enjoy the celebration and pick her back up without cribbing and making this seem like a big deal.
Real Muslim men take pride in protecting those under their care. And real women honour the trust their parents place with them. Stop viewing daughters as a burden.
Stop viewing daughters as someone you need to get married and wash your hands of responsibilities that are tied with them. Our deen is complete, let Muslim women find a home, safe space, support, love and independence without having to leave their homes or sacrificing their dreams to appease family’s twisted ideas rooted in culture.
4. ADVICE FOR SISTERS
Never marry a man who FORCES YOU to give up your financial independence/job “without a valid reason” in the guise of I am here to provide and protect. And says things like if I don’t provide and protect why you want me in your life.
There are a ton of reasons why women want men in their lives for:
– To fulfill the halal of Nikkah and have progeny.
– For companionship.
– To have a male presence in life.
– For friendship.
– For love.
– For Loyalty.
– To start a family and be a part of extended family.
Security and protection is one of the reasons not the only. And definitely not worth giving up your passion, your job, your activism, your communal service. A strong man will never be intimidated by a strong woman who has her own finances going for her. Rather he will step up and do 50% of what needs to be done. Marriage is a companionship and team work. A man who wants you to give up your financial freedom “without any reason” is probably someone who wants to control you. He is co-dependent on you, and is seeking validation from you depending on him for finances. His co-dependency is to feel needed. That is not a man at all. That is a boy who has a lot of growing up to do.
In our times we need two salaries and two mature people who are ready to step up to help each other at home and with finances. Valid reasons to give up a job differ from couple to couple. In which case one spouse may have to take up the responsibilities of the house, old parent, sick child/sick parent, and other numerous issues. Although if from the get go someone has an issue with your earnings, it is a red flag.
Focus on your goals and success and you will find a man who appreciates that and is your equal. Don’t marry a man who is intimated by your success, opinions or free will. Don’t dull your shine to make someone else comfortable.
The opposite is also true. Don’t marry a man who is marrying you “just for money”. Who wants you to work at the cost of children suffering, at the cost of your health (mental and physical). Because we do have cases where the man sends his money to his family entirely or the wife doesn’t know what is happening with his money and she is the one fending housework and finances both.
When it comes to independence and finances secure yourself. Make a thought out choice after Shuraa (counsel) with elders and those with experience. A man is only insecure about a woman when he knows she deserves better. Only a strong man knows how to live with and cherish a strong woman – weak men will say she has an attitude problem. We live in a women hating and patriarchal world. If you’re independent, it’s a problem because apparently a weak man feels worthless, if you’re dependent you’re a gold digging leech or a gold digger. So basically you are doomed if you do, doomed if you don’t if you depend on what others think about you.
Make your mind and your own choices. Focus on your self-worth and secure yourself and your finances. When you are in a dark place and push comes to shove, you will be dependent only on yourself and Allah. The men and people who are judging you now will be nowhere in the picture.
My idea or words aren’t talking about women giving up jobs and becoming stay at home as moms/wives with their own “consent” and “mutual agreement”. The keyword is “force” and forcing. Don’t let anyone override your consent or ambitions. A good man will support women and help in achieving her dreams.