Dear Wallah Bro,
There will come a time in your life when you’ve established your iman, graduated college, stabilized your finances and have secured a job. You might feel like you’re ready to find someone special. When that time comes, please don’t expect that someone to be any less established than you are.
Muslim women aren’t molded and utilized to fulfill your desired outcome. I don’t mean to be so crude, but the belief held by some cultures within the Muslim community sees women as moving factories meant to produce children. How could you expect a woman to raise a family when she isn’t developed herself, or worse, you hinder her development as a person and woman? We can’t enable the ummah to progress if a bulk of the community remains immobilized at home. As a Muslim woman, I seek to share my talents with the world, something I can’t always do within the four walls of my house. I have the right to share my knowledge just like any male member of the household.
There is a stigma within some subcultures surrounding the success of its women that has led to an expectation where we must remain in supportive roles while our counterparts flourish. Nowhere in Islam does it say that women must remain uneducated and stay sheltered within the confines of the household. Rather, the Qur’an says, “Whoever goes out seeking knowledge, then he is in Allah’s cause until he returns.” (Jami` at-Tirmidhi volume 1, Book 39, Hadith 2647). Islam clearly does not limit knowledge and privilege to men, so for the brothers who misleadingly continue to use the Quran as a way to limit girls and women of their community, remember what the Qur’an says. “Your wives are a garment for you, and you are a garment for them.” (Qur’an 2:187)
God states it clearly and simply: men and women are equal. Having educated Muslim women isn’t a novel 21st-century innovation: Islam has always stated that Muslim women are to be treated as equals to men in all aspects of society. In fact, Prophet Muhammad’s wife Khadijah was a highly-educated businesswoman and athlete. If it worked for the Prophet (PBUH) 1,400 years ago, then it shouldn’t be an issue now.
We have antidotes and commands from the Qur’an and sunnah — the real issue is committing to following these examples. Just like you perform your prayers and give charity, you must also respect the rights of Muslim women.
We are enablers for progress. Not only do we have the power to create new generations, but we are also innovators in society. Islam has always injected feminism into society, so it’s time some of our brothers get with the program.