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Why Now Is The Ultimate Time For Muslim Women To Thrive

Although there is still a lot of work to be done, who else agrees that Muslim women are living in unprecedented times?

Although there is still a lot of work to be done, who else agrees that Muslim women are living in unprecedented times?

Muslim women have always been at the receiving end of severe scrutiny much to their chagrin.

Is she wearing too much makeup? Why does she not wear a hijab? If she is wearing one, she is doing it the wrong way. Being bogged down by society about what to wear, how to wear, career aspirations, or no aspirations, is considered a norm. 

Unfortunately, This behavior has been accepted and not even questioned for a long time. But now I notice a wave, a wave full of hope in a sea filled with despair. By the wave I mean the new generation of Muslim women. The younglings that are turning out to be the au fait flagbearers of how a Muslim woman should exercise the rights bestowed upon her by Islam. 

We can collectively agree on how much times have changed for women, the luxuries we enjoy, and the progressive times where a girl is not drowned when she is born or buried alive. The forward-thinking of the elders to ‘let us’ study until we get a nice ‘Rishta’. The above statements are heavily laced with sarcasm to still my bereaved heart. But gone are those days when these were the liberties we were supposed to meekly accept as a favor. 

As a kid, I recollect every religious lecture being primarily focused on the duties of women in Islam but significantly less importance was given to educating us about our rights as women of the Islamic faith. 

Her duty as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, and even daughter-in-law was brewed and concocted in a fresh pot and fed occasionally. But what about her right to educate herself, to be treated equally and justly by her parents, to accept or reject a marriage proposal, and to have a husband who respects and loves her (read: helps around the house)? 

Why did she never even get a whiff of this blend? 

The young generation of women who will be pioneers of changing our future know their rights in Islam and now have a way to put them across tactfully. But how did that change come about? 

The rosy path that is laid out for them was paved by the immolation of their mothers, grandmothers, elder sisters, and aunts’ dreams and sometimes even basic rights. What they reap are fruits of hard labor that went unnoticed for generations. 

A puny yet profound seed that was planted ages ago and went through severe rough patches over many lifetimes and seasons of life. Withered and shriveled by the constant tug of war to claim the rightful prerogative only to be survived by the hopeful and relentless idealism.

The illiterate mother, who fought with all her might to at least provide the bare minimum schooling for her kids. To the grandmother who encouraged her granddaughter to follow her calling instead of advising her to put a sock in her so-called feminist ways of life. 

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After chatting with several women over a week I noticed a similar chatter about how grateful they are for the changing times. One of them went on to add that she is blessed to be married to a man who is more involved in the house and shoulders the responsibility of parenting equally if not more; whereas men from the previous generation were considered weak or not ‘man enough’ who empathized with their wives. 

Another one also gave social media the due it deserves for at least surfacing the rights of Muslim women. Access to reels, lectures, and even Islamic podcasts at your fingertips has led the way for a fundamental shift in the cultural mindset. 

When I asked these women which societal changes, according to them, have made their life easier compared to their mothers, I got mixed responses. 

The answers were along the lines of distinguishing the Sunnah way of leading life as compared to the cultural way, where people are now aware of how some etiquettes are deeply rooted in culture but have no Sunnah or fiqh backing. 

Also, kudos to the moms teaching their sons basic life skills, like cooking and cleaning, a prerequisite for every girl married or otherwise. These moms are exterminating years’ worth of misogyny with this masterstroke. After all, it takes a woman to understand another woman. 

One of the women also pointed out how she is grateful to be born in this generation whenever she watches the men of the previous generation treat their women poorly. 

According to a study in 2022, education plays a pivotal part in the fair distribution of familial responsibility in India. For example, approximately 73% of college graduates say, both men and women in a family should care for children. 

That is enough and ample cause for celebration. We have come a long way from refusing to acknowledge to remotely recognizing and later on, supporting and even fighting for our rightful place.

Even though the path to egalitarianism is concrete and suffused with evident bias, I witness a crack out of which a floret is peering waiting for its turn to bloom into timelessness.


References

Pew Research Centre (2 March 2022) Gender roles in the family.Available at: Gender roles in the family in India | Pew Research Center (Accessed: 26 July 2023)

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