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What It Means to Be A Man

In the Muslim world (and non-Muslims world for that matter), there is a major problem. A problem so big that I believe if we fixed this one problem most other problems would correct themselves. That problem is the definition of manhood.

What most of the world defines as manly couldn’t be farther from the truth. And what comes from this misunderstanding is sexual violence, domestic violence, misogyny, single parent households, the list of societal woes goes on and on. (Read the Macho Paradox, by Jackson Katz, a vitally important book on the problem with machismo).

what-it-means

So, when I came across this article by Yasmin Mogahed, it so perfectly summed up the problem and the solution, I felt compelled to share it here on islamwich.

Yasmin Mogahed writes:

Yasmin Mogahed
Yasmin Mogahed

Last week my sister called. She has been studying abroad since summer began, so naturally I was thrilled to hear from her. After hearing how she was, I asked about her new home. With her living in a Muslim country, I felt assured that everything would be fine. For that reason, what she described next was a complete shock. She began to describe a place where a girl can hardly leave her house without being verbally harassed by men walking by. She said that the catcalling was no longer the exception; it had become the rule.

Then she told me about a Muslim girl she knew. The girl was riding in a taxi and when she arrived at her stop, she handed the driver his money. In many of these countries there are no strict meters, and since the fare is somewhat arbitrary, the driver became angry. Eventually the altercation escalated to such a degree that the driver grabbed the girl by the shoulders and began to shake her. At this, the girl became angry and insulted the driver. The driver then punched the young woman in the face.

At this point, I was extremely disturbed. But it was what my sister said next that was most devastating. Nearby, there was a group of men who saw what was happening, and rushed to the scene. Naturally they came to help the girl.

No. They stood and watched.

It was at this point in the story that I began to wonder. Suddenly I found myself questioning every definition of masculinity I had ever believed in. I wondered how a man—not one, but many—can stand and watch a woman be abused, and do absolutely nothing about it. It made me question what ideals define what it means to be a man in today’s society. Had the definition of masculinity become so distorted as to be reduced to just unbridled sex drive? Had the image of the ‘knight in shining armor’ really been replaced by visions of macho, catcalling boys in the street?

Most of all, it got me thinking about what it means to be a Muslim man today. I wondered if our dominant definitions as Muslims are really what they should be. Today, a man is expected to be stoic, unemotional, inexpressive, tough, and unbending. Physical aggression is glorified and emotional expressiveness ridiculed. I then decided to examine the epitome of what it means to be a man. I decided to look at the Prophet (peace be upon him).

One of the most common definitions of manhood today is the lack of emotional expressiveness. It is almost universally believed that to cry is ‘unmanly’ and weak. And yet the Prophet described it very differently. When the Prophet was handed his daughter’s son who was dying, his eyes flooded with tears. His companion Sa`d then told him, “What is this, Prophet of God?” He said, “This is a mercy that the Almighty has made in the hearts of His servants. And surely God has mercy to the merciful ones among His servants.” (Narrated in Bukhari)

But today, a man is not only expected to hide feelings of sadness, he is taught early on that even other emotions are not to be expressed. During the time of the Prophet, there were some men who believed the same. Once while a villager was present, Prophet Muhammad kissed his grandsons on the forehead. At that, the villager said with surprise, “I have ten children. I have never kissed any of them!” Prophet Muhammad looked at him and said, “He who does not have mercy will not have mercy upon him.” (Narrated in Bukhari) In fact, with regards to showing affection, the Prophet was very clear. He said: “If a man loves his brother in faith, he should tell him that he loves him.” (Narrated in Abu Dawud)

The Prophet used to also show a great deal of affection towards his wives. Aisha reported that the Prophet would only enjoy his meals when she would sit next to him. They would drink from one cup and he would watch where Aisha would place her lips on the cup so that he could place his lips on the exact position. He would eat from a bone after she would eat from it, placing his mouth where she had eaten. (Narrated in Muslim)

The Prophet used to also [do chores] around the house, contrary to another widely held myth of masculinity. Aisha reported, “The Prophet Muhammad used to stitch his clothes, milk the goats and help in the chores inside the house.” (Narrated in Bukhari & Muslim)

But, perhaps one of the most common myths of what a man should be is the idea that a man should be ‘tough.’ Gentleness is widely considered only a feminine trait. And yet the Prophet Muhammad said: “Allah is gentle and loves gentleness. He gives for gentleness what He does not give for harshness, nor for anything else.” (Narrated in Muslim) In another hadith, he says, “He who is deprived of gentleness is deprived of good.” (Narrated in Muslim)

And yet so much of that gentleness has been lost from our modern definition of masculinity. It is frightening when a boy can consider it manly to sexually harass a woman on the street, but consider it no question of his manhood to stand and watch while a girl is being hit. It makes you wonder if maybe our image of what is ‘manly’ in fact resembles a Hollywood gangster more than it does our beloved Prophet.

Yasmin Mogahed is an internationally published writer and instructor of communications. This piece was originally published on her website.

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62 thoughts on “What It Means to Be A Man

  1. Can’t help but think that a lot of how men are treating women these days has to do with the rampant abuse of pornography. When countries like Iceland are making it illegal (to preserve natural sex- Go Iceland!!) and the Muslim words gets to sit back and enjoy- something is really wrong. It reminds me of reading about an ESL teacher in either Saudi or the Gulf somewhere who was a younger cool teacher-guy that his Arabs students thought to include him in this rape video that they were enjoying on their phones after class- not realizing that not everyone appreciates rape-porn, they were a bit embarrassed. Another point- I am noticing is that there are also a lot of group rapes going on in various Eastern countries- so even if you are with your husband or other mahram, it isn’t really going to do much good. I am not even sure it is worth going overseas for the Islam anymore. Perhaps to learn Arabic maybe?

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    1. There is not enough paper and ink to talk about about what ill pornography has done to men. I get jokes because I am too you to be talking about this disease that reduced men to blithering sexual perverts. Most muslims just brush the problem away and think that “it is just is” and move along.

      And there is nothing “soft core” about it either. Even the idea that you are viewing what people usually do in the bathroom, itself a some sort of oucctlish thing.

      I would not say it is not worth going overseas to acquire Islamic knowledge, it is certainly is. But to live there; absolutely not. Raise your children in America, irony of the century, the only decent there place.

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      1. Ouch! I’m raising my daughter in the UAE – and every year visit my homeland, Ireland to see family etc. No, no, and no again – I will not raise her in the West where she will be looked upon as a second-class citizen for wearing hijab! Here, women are respected, there are enough good Muslim brothers to make up for the handful who err and she has all the rights I would expect of a country ranked 14 on the International Human Rights Ranking Indicator (see my latest blog post for details). I don’t know about the USA, but in the UK, Islamophobia is rife – why should I choose to raise my child in such an atmosphere? Here, she is bi-lingual and attending a school where Islamic values and the Qur’an are cherished and used as a guiding light for all other activities – why should any Muslim accept less and compromise?

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      2. Alhamdulillah sister. Glad to hear there is still a place on the Earth where a sister can feel safe and practice her religion. May Allah reward you and grant you and your family firdous.

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      3. “And there is nothing “soft core” about it either. Even the idea that you are viewing what people usually do in the bathroom, itself a some sort of oucctlish thing.”—– This is the point- Sister Hyde is Correct. Any kind Of Porn Degarades Women and Hijacks Males’ Brain. A Porn doesnt use a woman (female performer) as a person or Human being . As porn puts this thought into male viewers that it’s okay to use women as Sex object, it can be problematic . By the way, How is it possible to create and watch Rape porn? Its just beyond my imagination.

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      4. Totally agree! porn shows men that women are merely here to please them. And u see this attitude’s affect on society. Young girls especially fall victim to this attitude and are completely devastated when they are not perceived as desirable to all men everywhere (an impossibility for any woman). It is harmful to the female psyche. It is harmful to the male psyche. It is a plague on society that people love to glorify. It used to be that you had to hide in order
        To watch porn and it was shameful if you were discovered. Now it is the norm perpetrated by the boys will be boys virus that infects the heart and mind. Rape porn is the product of the sickness reach a sociopathic fever pitch. Normal porn is no longer enough so men go out looking for a victim with intent to film and sell. May Allah grant all involved swift justice.

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    2. I hope these “men” are given justice swiftly from their Lord and have to feel the pain and humiliation every rape victims go through. Is there no humanity anymore? How can you call yourself human much less a man when you derive pleasure out of another fellow human’s suffering? I can’t even stand to think how many “men” there are out there of this ilk.

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    3. @ Sister Gracie,
      ” I am not even sure it is worth going overseas for the Islam anymore. Perhaps to learn Arabic maybe?”—- I am agreeing with ur commment. Nowadays we can find online Islamic Versity and We can Learn Arabic online. So, I think u r right.

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      1. Woow! chicho,I ain’t no girl! Do I write like a girl ? I am a man ! (Why is it so hard to see that Hyde is a boys name; it is not Hyd–ee, right lol!)

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      2. Just before y’all burst into a choral rendition of the Star Spangled Banner in Arabic (LOL) may I remind you that there is at least one very good reason for ‘going overseas for the Islam’, ie, Hajj – a duty of all Muslims who are able and can afford it and one of the 5 pillars of Islam. Just saying …

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      3. Indeed. I go back and forth on the issue myself for the reasons you stated, why live in a country where you will be discriminated against and for the reasons Gracie and the brother stated, we can practice Islam and learn Islamic knowledge to an extent in the West. It is a question on many reverts minds. Do we stay and suffer discrimination but religious freedom, or go and live in a society that can be dangerous but has pockets of Islamic lifestyle???? And I would LOVE to learn the star spangled banner in Arabic and scare a few bigots LOL

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      4. I think we need to be careful that we don’t fall into the same trap that many Westerners fall into–where we make sweeping generalizations about the East. However, I do agree, that many places in the East, Saudi Arabia, comes to my mind (as an aside, I applaud those sisters who are protesting that despicable driving law, by driving.), has suffered a human rights catastrophe, if you will. Torture, honor killings, gang rape, brutality, election fraud, censorship and infringements on religious freedom, etc, but we must remember that these human rights violations are in spite of Islam not as a result of it.

        I know we in the West like to think, as our textbooks tell us, that human rights began with the Magna Carta, the English Bill of Rights, Dec. of Independence, American Constitution, French Declaration of the Human Rights of Man and the Citizen, the UN Declaration of Human Rights, etc. However, this euro-centric contradicts itself by dismissing or ignoring the contributions and histories of other peoples; that is to say, where is the equality they are claiming to bring about? Most of all, though, the above documents all contain ingredients found in Islamic sources from the 7th century and later, like presumption of innocence, religious freedom, equality of all people, black or white, male or female, non-coerced confessions in criminal cases. As the Qur’an states, “O ye who believe! Be ye staunch in justice, witnesses for Allah, even though it be against yourselves or (your) parents or (your) kindred, whether (the case be of) a rich man or a poor man, for Allah is nearer unto both (them ye are). So follow not passion lest ye lapse (from truth) and if ye lapse or fall away, then lo! Allah is ever Informed of what ye do.” (Q:4:135)

        Of course, Islam in the 20th century may not have been the most fertile ground for democracy, but it was a less fertile ground for its greatest evils as well. Nazism, fascism, communism, genocide, racial lynching, apartheid under the Dutch Reformed Church, and all of the large-scale wars were due to secular reasons, wars that claimed about 100 million people. Islam gets ridiculed for not producing the best democratic policies, but is not congratulated for having standards of human behavior that avoid the worst. And Abu Ghareeb and Guantanamo and the rampant Islamaphobia in America demonstrate an America that is running from its human rights record, not towards it.

        As for studying in the East, I think the scholarly approach is different, not better, but different. Both have their strengths of course. In the West, one is more likely to learn about things in Islam, whether it be this or that. In the East, or any Muslim-centered educational system, for that matter, one is much more likely to learn THE thing–you get to learn your religion or, at least, a certain interpretation of that religion. I think to separate ourselves from Eastern scholarship, would be a great loss, because these scholars are much more open, critical, and brilliant than is sometimes imagined in the West, although the scholarly approach is different. Moreover, many of the Eastern scholars are forced to operate within polities that are based more on the people in power keeping power than the Islamic principles of honesty and justice. Islam is just the vehicle that has been hi-jacked and manipulated by certain countries in the Muslim world in order to maintain their control in that region.

        However, I am not changing my tune, that we need to re-evaluate, but I think separating ourselves from the East, would be unwise and incredibly problematic.

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      5. I completely agree. Americans believe that they/we are the inventors of human rights (White savior complex perhaps?) when in fact Allah gave us rights since Adam and Eve and Islam came to reaffirm what our natural rights are, long before the American colonies where even a twinkle in the eye of the colonist. But, I look at it like this, America has the same corruption and human rights violations that other nations have (rape going unpunished if it is perpetrated by a popular athlete, censorship, torture, death by drone without sentencing or trial). The only two differences are that 1. the American powers that be are better at covering up their corruption (perhaps it is imperial practice handed down through the centuries?), and 2. these powers that be still have some fear of the masses of voters who can in theory throw their a$$es out of power. Whereas other nations are open about it and don’t care who knows about their corruption and have no fear of the people they rule (and if they do they only murder and oppress them more). What peeves me the most about some “Muslim” countries is exactly what you said “Islam is just the vehicle that has been hi-jacked and manipulated by certain countries in the Muslim world in order to maintain their control in that region.” I don’t want to be associated with that, nor do I want to be associated with the atrocities of American. So it is kinda like “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know” situation … for now. And in either case there will never be a place in this life that will be jennah. No, we should not disassociate ourselves from the East; there is valuable scholarship and sincerity in the brothers and sisters who live there. But is that enough to overcome the twisting of Islam at the top in order to make hijra?

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      6. @ Brother HYDE , sorry my Mistake..! LOl… U write like a Good human Being n Your comments on islamwich.com are very enlightening.

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      7. I think that we should distance ourselves, as Muslims, from the regimes that are oppressing the people in whatever place. It is very Islamic to speak truth to a tyrant, as the famous hadith goes, and that is what we must do. In fact, many of the protests, popular or otherwise, in the East are Muslims coming together to do just that, not armed, not rebelling, but telling the tyrant “Hey, dude, you are a bad ruler.” Of course, if the ruler sends in troops or goons to beat, injure, and disperse the protestors, then these Muslims have a right to defend themselves, and the protestors are not the ones causing fitna; rather the tyrant or ruler is.

        Moreover, I think, many of these regimes and ruling parties have become non-Muslim and, therefore, are not fit to govern Muslims. I mean, we are told not to rebel or engage in armed resistance against the ruler, unless, and this is key, we see explicit egregious kuffar from the ruler or ruling party. And that is exactly what we are seeing in many countries in the East.

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      8. @ Hyde -nothing wrong with writing like a girl. When I see the name Hyde- I think of Hyderabad, but maybe that is just me lol.

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      9. I just want to add something about how great it is to live in the UAE. It is actually pretty great if you are white- or can pass as white. It isn’t as great if you are dark skinned. I have heard this from Somali Canadians and African American women. There are major ethnic/racial/tribal issues in that area of the world that many white expatriates have the luxury of being unaware about. The second thing, although it is fantastic to live in a place where you are not a minority (Islamophobia not as bad in Canada compared to the UK), it is a compromise. The price of education for kids is very high and the quality is not as good. This is something that has been written about in various articles. I am also personally influenced by what I see around me- that is very economically privileged people’s kids that come from the middle east and their educational woes once here.@ writingfloridian – I completely agree with what you say here- there is a lot of good there and so much is held back by politics or just upsetting such and such Prince with such and such business (power and money). This mixed with cultural issues of sweeping what is embarrassing “under the rug” and the level they take respect to (in terms of those that are their superiors) that can make open discourse difficult. Maybe that is changing now? In Jordan they are now saying things about the King and Queen that were unfathomable just a few years ago. You are right about Islamic countries not getting credit for averting some other the worst events that took place in human history. East and West- we both have our weakness and strengths. It would be great to get the best of both.

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      10. In response to gracielawrence’s comments about the UAE. I am white, of Irish/British descent, my husband is Egyptian, of Nubian descent, therefore his skin is pretty dark – he’s often mistaken for Sudanese. I don’t know what experiences the women of colour you’ve spoken to have had in the UAE or where in the UAE they lived (this is crucial because Dubai eg, is a Western-dominated haven where being European/American/Australian is almost a guarantee for success) but all I can say is, in my experience there is very little racism here amongst practising Muslims. My best friend is from Niger in Africa, married to a German revert, and has never mentioned any prejudices against her or her kids. I’ll ask her about it next time we take a walk on the Corniche together though. Yes, there are tribal allegiances here still amongst the Emiratis – some are fair-skinned, some are described as ‘black Emiratis’ but the Union of the 7 Emirates which came into force in 1971 (a very young country) did much to alleviate tribal rivalries and animosity. I have encountered many black Emirati men in high governmental positions. As I’ve hinted at above, Dubai is probably the least favourable place for a devout Muslim to live as Western culture and habits dominate there. The local Emirati population is the lowest in the UAE in Dubai as well. I live in the Northern Emirates – Ras Al Khaimah by choice. We wanted to raise our daughter in a more traditionally Muslim atmosphere – a place where she will not see half naked women wandering about the malls and where we could find an Arabic speaking school which doesn’t charge an arm and a leg for education as so many of the British/American/Canadian/Australian schools in Dubai do. I am extremely happy with the education she is receiving here. If I feel it is lacking in any way, my husband and I will supplement it ourselves. She is bi-lingual at the age of 5, takes all her lessons (except English) in Arabic, but in line with Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah is phasing in the teaching of Maths and Science in English and this will start for her next year. What more can I say? I’ve lived here since 2007 in 3 different Emirates – Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras Al Khaiman. I feel I know the place pretty well and it suits me and my family. Unlike some other Arab countries (particularly the so-called Arab Spring places) the UAE has never been ruled by dictators who syphon off the country’s assets and move them abroad for their own personal gain, thus depriving their own people of essential benefits. The leadership here is truly caring and generous towards their own people and as I’m sure you are aware, many Western ex-pats enjoy a luxurious, tax-free lifestyle far in excess of what they could afford in their home countries. If they don’t like it, they can leave. At the end of the day, IMHO we are all global citizens in any case and the true location of Islam is in the heart, not in any geographical location defined by man.

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      11. I read your post about the UAE. It’s not saudi, you know. Lol! The only thing that surprised me was that the US got as high of a rating as it did (did someone take a bribe?) Lol. I have heard wonderful things about UAE from Muslims and non-Muslims alike and from white and black people alike. Like I said to writtenbyafloridian no where on Earth is going to be jennah every place has its drawbacks but the UAE seems to have a good thing going. You said it well when you said the true location of Islam is in the heart.
        Btw love your blog!

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      12. @safia – that’s great, I am happy for you. I am not judging your family decision, just adding my experience and tales I have been told from others who did experience hardship. Also contributions like this (from KSA) http://www.saudilife.net/life-and-society/281-fiction/36707-black-women-don-t-need-to-cover

        I agree with you as far as the Global citizen idea- although what passport you hold also has a lot to do of where you get to go.

        There are differing opinions as far as the Emirati or KSA royalty are concerned- I don’t want to go into it here, and I am not taking sides- just that not everyone agrees with these views- although these views are probably not very public in those regions. They do give their citizens lots of money and preferred job placements- more generous than KSA, but the Emiratis have less people.

        I don’t know about the “if they don’t like it, they can leave” statement. That is like saying either accept or shut your mouth. IMHU people should have a right to express themselves even if the opinion is critical- and I would say the same to an American saying that to a Mexican or Canadian saying it to any immigrant as well.

        Salam sister, thank you for contributing and it is always refreshing getting another point of view from across the world!

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      13. Thanks, Corbin. Gracie – I hope you also get the chance to read my post ‘It’s Not Saudi, You Know’. There are huge differences between life in the UAE and Saudi as there are in all countries in the Gulf, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) – unique, long and turbulent histories make for some interesting conditions and throwbacks! Re: my ‘If they don’t like it, they can leave’ comment – many do – the UAE doesn’t suit everyone. I’ve heard many privileged ex-pats complain about certain aspects (eg, the price of alcohol or education in the top-notch international schools) and in the next breath say, “We’re thinking about trying Singapore next”. This is the reality today – many people country/continent hop in search of the perfect conditions for their chosen lifestyle. As Corbin has already pointed out, there is no utopia or jannah on this earth – we all just make our choices and do our best Insha’ Allah. BTW, it’s also a huge misconception (not saying you think this) to believe that all Emiratis or Saudis are wealthy because the rulers ‘give’ them everything – not true. I live in a modest bungalow (they’re all called ‘villas’ here no matter what the size) surrounded by Emirati families whose wealth and standards of living vary enormously. I guess the adage is true – if you want to know me, live with me. Alhamdulillah I’ve been given the chance to see another culture up close and get to know about life in the UAE through personal experience.

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  2. Subhanallah, this post really touched me emotionally especially when remembering how our dear Prophet portrayed actual manhood. It is a crying shame to read about how our men are turning out, our Muslim brothers.

    P.s I cringe and felt a sudden morning sickness-like symptom when I look at Robin Thicke’s face. It’s like looking into a the eyes of a rapist. Too harsh? That’s how much I abhor his approach towards entertainment.

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    1. Your not the only one sister, that abhors these over grown entertainment degenerates. Weather they are rap stars, or pop or whatever, these people are “manufactured sickness” for the young generation.

      And no you are not too harsh in calling him that. I call him that too, and all his kinsmen.

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      1. Not too harsh at all, sister. I would advise law enforcement to sentence him for every rape that takes place because the rapest perceived “blurred lines”

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  3. Well I certainly hope that chivalry is not dead as long as I am live. Growing up on reading about mediaeval knights and horses, I always thought, that sort of heroism existed in society, but unfortunately it really does not.

    Very good post. Indeed what does it mean to be a man ? To have a six pack abs, to watch Monday Night Football, or sore chicks at a club ? Where is the English gentry, the noble aristocrats to teach the commoners civility and decency ? Actors and pop stars now roam the public’s eyes. Sexuality dominates the mind. Perversity is actualized via a click of a button.

    Is it not a sign of the end of times, when the lowest scum of the earth, the most ignoble pernicious bastards of humanity run around mocking the people’s imagination, taking up space and offering northing in return ?

    Who are the role models for young men these days ? Lil Wayne? Some actor ? Some musician ? Some wannabe who made a sex video with a girl ? What kind of men do you think they will became if they are fed on pornography, sports, worthless education hyper-materialistic college degrees, calumniating emasculation, etc, etc.

    Look at the sitcoms dads. Blithering, sexually immature fat buffoons, being ring-lead by their skinny, over educated sophisticated sexually dominating wives. If these are the men to be, what hope can you give a young man ?

    The ilk of feminism has a lot do with making the man an enemy. I am not going to go into that here, but they are equal partners in the social disorder. I mean all these juvenile men did come from a mother did they not ?

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    1. I agree feminists who have gone to the extreme have indeed made men out to be the enemy. Role models you ask? I would like to nominate you and writtenbyafloridian as the new role models if and only if you continue to live as the prophet lived. Do you accept the challenge?

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  4. The problem is that many men think themselves a Promethean godlet, who since God is dead, or more precisely, never existed, that they must, as Nietzsche proclaimed, “have to become Gods, merely to seem worthy of the act of being God’s executioners.” The two most dangerous things in the world are people who think themselves God and those lunatics who claim to speak for God, and those two worlds are beginning to collide, I am afraid.

    Also, who is Robin Thicke? I’ve never heard of him.

    Regarding the East, the UAE is pretty frickin awesome.

    Salam

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    1. I never thought about it like that, men thinking of themselves as godlets, but it makes sense. The human psyche can become quite deranged without the proper understanding of tawheed. Robin Thicke is a pop star who sings about how women are animals and a “no” doesn’t always equate rape. He is a pretty terrible human being.

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      1. Oh, I just Googled him. Yeah, the lyrics to that song are pretty horrible, whether in jest or not–it’s just offensive on so many levels.

        I have so many faults and make so many mistakes that I don’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as the Prophet. I am just striving to serve God and do good, for that was the trodden path of the Prophet.

        Your kind words inspire me, though, but I think you are the better role model, dear sister.

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      2. Yeah Thicke is just that … thick. We all have our faults brother, but the fact that you admit it and are hesitant to accept the challenge means to me that you are worthy. Sounds very lord of the rings lol

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      1. I think on some level this is very true. They may not consciously think that they are godlike but I am sure they feel all powerful and above the law. They don’t understand tawheed, their position in their world, or the fact that they will be held to account.

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  5. Good post and article, but … please don’t assume all the rapes and attacks you hear about against women in the ‘East’ are perpetrated by Muslim men. The Indian rape cases take place in a culture where women are extolled as sexual objects (Bollywood take a bow of shame) and economic circumstances produce men who feel powerless. Rape, sexual assaults and general harassment in the streets are all signs of weak men attempting to reassert a perceived ‘natural order’ of dominance IMHO. Thanks for mentioning the UAE writingfloridian – Malaysia’s a pretty cool place to be a Muslim woman too, and Turkey, Indonesia’s not bad either, I believe …

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    1. No, they are not all Muslim men, but some of them are and I am pretty sure to the victim of these crimes it doesn’t matter nor does the feeling of socioeconomic frustration. Let’s not make excuses or even explanations for this reprehensible behavior. There is no reason in the world that would make sure a horrific act understandable. I understand this is not what you are saying, but giving this behavior a reason is a slippery slope. And to me it is the goverment’s sad lack of punishment for these crimes that is perhaps the saddest part. It makes men feel like they can get away with it.

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      1. Exactly! I am against “cruel and unsual” punishments (& they are prohibited in Sharia), but the law must be must be put down.

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      2. My dear, giving this behaviour a reason – no – giving it an explanation – yes – ie, we are human and we are repeatedly tempted by Shaytan in this life. Some manage to repel the evil thoughts which lead to evil deeds, others fail. And I agree with you – governments fail too.

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  6. There is also a cultural difference- in the West rape is normally a one on one deal. In places where there isn’t really a date culture or women are rarely alone – there are more gang rapes. I do not just mean walking down the street, but vans cruising along with several men inside. It is probably more common for prostitute sharing, but also for rape cases. Also add in the cultural issue that if a woman does get raped it is a blow to her and her family’s reputation. How will they get her married? The family doesn’t want to go public with their tragedy- a lot of justice goes not served. However, if they do catch them- the consequences are more severe than in the West (for sure).

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    1. Hey yo I am a Man, and yes I don’t write like a girl. From Brooklyn sista, so show some respect, ya hear (LOL 🙂 )
      And Hyde as in Mr. Hyde…

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  7. I’ve really enjoyed reading the comments and joining in the discussion of the issues arising from this article. Before I bow out of this thread, I just wanted to record a few facts about Saudi Arabia since it has been referred to several times above. Saudi is unique in the Muslim/Arab world because the system of law there is based on Sharia, but each case is interpreted by judges who refer to the medieval texts of the literalist Hanbali school of Islamic jurisprudence. I presume this accounts for ridiculous laws like a ban on female drivers. It also accounts for why it is very dangerouse to judge or make blanket comments about ‘The Gulf’, ‘Muslim countries’, ‘Arabs’, ‘The Middle East’, etc, without being more specific and referring to the unique conditions of the legal system in each country, eg, what system of jurisprudence have they adopted? I’m no expert on this myself but find the various connotations quite fascinating! Salam to all and keep doing your best on this blog, Sister Corbin and Sister Gracie – love it!
    🙂

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    1. Thank you, and I will be doing my best to educate myself better on the various differences of these countries. Your comments are appreciated and I look forward to reading your blog!

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  8. I do wonder why Muslim men are not so gentle and their manhood get reaffirmations when they stand and be a spectator while another F**** ass***** is harassing a woman. As far as my knowledge about Sahi Bukhari goes, it actually supports these outdated patriarchy and other aspects of disgusting masculinity in name of Islam. I have had people show me proof that it also approves of raping slave women as per the tradition from that era.
    I am very doubtful of using Sahi Bukhari, Abu Huraira and so on because they all condone marital rape, another controversial topic.
    If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 7.122
    “If a woman spends the night deserting her husband’s bed (does not sleep with him), then the angels send their curses on her till she comes back (to her husband).” Narrated by Abu Huraira (R.A)
    Forcing or forcefully having sex with one’s wife — rape is rape. Disgusting and inhumane, and people ask me why so many Muslim women who were born and raised in Muslim countries have so many problems with Islam and its teachings

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    1. To me, these hadith, esp the ones about beating your wife and raping your slave, are a matter of serious (and nefarious) mis-translation as we will find when we look to the original Arabic words used. The word used to mean “beat” is also the same word for “leave”. So who said it was beat your wife and not just leave her? and so on?? Hadith when translated is so tangled up in generations of mis-translations and support by those who wish for more power. It is a mess.

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      1. Yes these are serious issues and while we are on topic of slaves, Islamic hadith promote keeping slaves and there’s also many incredible hadith about how female slaves can get freedom from their male masters; the process explained is that when a female slave is pregnant from her master she can go free. What a tragedy within Islam and this stems from both the battle of Badr and Uhad.
        Unlike most Muslims, (no offense intended) I don’t follow Hadith so closely to the book, am very logical in my thought process, it sounds a lot of fabrication and invention by men and women both and I was not there myself so how come I must bow down to the authority of these people.
        Sounds blasphemous, so be it, but I follow Quran repeatedly saying “use your brain, use your brain, think, reflect and rethink. Instead of the mumbo jumbo being told to me and millions of other women to take away our rights and make us second class citizens all in name of Islam.

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      2. Of course, this is the bet thing you can do. Allah commands us to use out logic, to think, think, think. Because we have been warned that we will lose Islamic knowledge. So, He commands us to seek Him out and not to follow blindly. It is not blasphemous, and those who think so cause great oppression (Spanish Inquisition, all of Europe in the dark ages, a lot of what is happening to Muslim women now). You also have to wonder what do people who want others to follow them or their schools of thought blindly gain from having such a following? Power? …

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  9. So basically we have a choice of getting used sexually or be cursed by Angels?!!? Bukhari never ceases to not anger normal people like me!

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    1. Whether it is saheeh or diaf or anything in between, it is dangerous in the wrong hands. And by no stretch of the imagination does it give men the right to rape their wives!! What pisses me off the most about this hadith is that it is the most quoted hadith about rights in the bedroom, but what is conveniently left out is all the rights women have in the bedroom. We remain silent when it comes to the responsibility of a man to please his wife when their are Islamic guidelines of how to treat a woman too. I will leave this to my post on rights within a consensual marriage though.

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  10. Exactly my reasoning to not pay so much heed to the patriarchal Hadith literature, because they are on one-track that is all for men and nothing for women.

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    1. It is sad that a lot of our religion has been corrupted, and there will be no more prophets to bring things back to the truth. It weighs heavily on my mind and makes me question every single hadith I listen too. But alhamdulillah at least we still have Quran.

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