Written by Gracie Lawrence
There are tons of scholarly articles that explain the Islamic stance of women- so I am not going to go into that in depth. However, as the internet is also filled with information intent on making Islam look crazy, thanks to some very dedicated groups, here are some more reliable sources for those who are interested in the woman’s role in Islam.
But in a nutshell, for those who do not know or have the time to research into the above links, here’s a clue:
And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women. (Quran 2:228)
Yes, there is a lot in Islam that is about rights between family members (husband/wife/kids), neighbors, business partners, and even between me and you, dear reader. But those “rules” are not what makes being a Muslim woman hard, it is what restores the balance to a system that can be overrun with those who sometime take too much or sacrifice more than they should.
But having a relationship can be difficult, especially when one party is thought of as just a stereotype. And the predominate stereotype that I see about me and other fellow converts- is that we are backwards.
And how do I know that there are many with this belief? Because campaigns like this have to be launched: Not ‘Brainwashed’
For those who absolutely insist that I am backwards because I chose Islam for my life – I doubt I will do much to change your mind if your identity and confidence is built on the misconception that 1. I am oppressed. 2. I am an idiot 3. This poor oppressed idiot of a woman needs saving.
Yes, it is fun to save things- I know that. Every time I see a picture of a sad baby seal on an organically grown cotton tee-shirt, I sigh. Every time, I think about wide-eyed orphans and how many I’d like to adopt, like kittens in a basket, I get misty-eyed.
And I know that this sympathy stems from the awareness that I HAVE IT BETTER. And awkwardly that can actually elicit some good feelings- yes, tinged with guilt- but it reminds me to be more grateful for my circumstance (that I know has little to do with me); however, for others, this feel good feeling stems more from them being a washed in an ugly false sense of superiority.
So when I am walking down the grocery store in my headscarf, concentrating on the price of macaroni and trying to calculate if I truly AM saving more if I buy bulk, and I get cast one of ‘those looks’-
or if I overhear whispers between women that usually start with “I don’t know how … “. If one more person tries to ‘save’ me, I am liable to throw MY face on a cotton tee that reads – SAVE The Gracies from Judgmental Busybodies!
And that, my friend, is what makes being a Muslim woman in the West hard, not Islam.
I am not subservient (though I do like to help those around me), not backward (I was lucky enough to be born middle class in a first-world or developed nation), and I didn’t convert for a man (not that a woman can’t make her own choices post-man-in-life), nor am I uneducated.
I am not the voice of the impoverished Afghani girl, or the underage Yemini child bride (both problems that can be overcome if Islam were truly and correctly implemented in those parts of the world).
I am just your friendly scarf-wearing neighborhood Muslim.
AND once the shock of that can be overcome, and you can look at me as an equal…
We can have a real relationship as neighbor, or friend, or co-worker, or just acquaintance. If you’re interested.
By the way- I am also not trying to change your way of life or bring Sharia law here either … Just saying.
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