Let no gender divert us from it

As many of you are already aware that I am on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs of my health and I pray that may it expiates my sins and shortcomings and elevate my levels. Ameen.
Amidst of this ride, one fine day my father asked me to accompany him in a get together organised in a nearby locality we are living in. 

I couldn’t say no to him, we went there and the chief guest over there was former chief justice of Delhi High Court, Justice Rajendra Sachar. 

He is the one who chaired the Sachar Committee constituted by the Government of India, which submitted a report on the social, economic and educational status of Muslims in India.
I, as an audience said few words there on peace and our responsibility towards it.  
When I handed over the microphone, I asked my father to drop me at home as I was not feeling well and as we were about to exit the main gate, someone called us from behind saying that Justice Rajendra Sachar wants you to come back. 

We went inside. 

He said, “beti you were leaving saying your side, you should listen to me as well and before I say anything, I will say and congratulate you that you said what you had to. You know beti,  I am so old and I have attended so many Muslim gatherings, and one thing always troubled me that in Muslim community there are no female voices to be heard, sometimes I used to feel is it a male chauvinist society?” he said this with a smile and voice which was tough to get heard properly even over the microphone probably because of his too old age and mostly because of the inappropriate distance between the mouth and the mic. 
Well! I am writing all this because back at home his remarks made me reflect upon a lot many things which we as a Muslim women confront and face. 
You know it is not the case that our women have nothing to say, actually when they have a say, their obvious identity of their attire or attitude  doesn’t represent them as a Muslimah, they are too liberal to be recognised such or may be to be recognised as a Muslimah is too backward for them. 
The second case – those who carry attire and attitude of Islam in them, they are the ones who are constantly bombarded so much by their own community members to extent like – how can you speak in public? Your voice is beautiful, you are such a fitna, stay at home only, your voice is awra, you should not speak and what not.

They are criticised to such extent that they sometimes feel and wonder about their very own existence as a fitna and nothing else, believe me we, yes *we* irrespective of our genders are fitna for each other, so it is not only females, males too are fitnas! 
And men too are also asked to lower their gaze, guard their modesty and fear Allah swt. So, yes doing islah is good, one should but it should be as per Islam not as per some weird self set standards. 
These are two extremes – being liberal to an extent that one is not even identified as a muslimah and other being caged to the walls of home to an extent that making them feel that the only way to achieve salvation for them is to remain within these walls and their going out will all be fitna and fahash. 

Having said that all, let me be clear, I’m not painting Islam as moderate. Islam is not secular liberal neither it is claustrophobic in nature. 

Yes, Islam seems sometimes very tough to follow and practise but it is because the by and large society today is not practicing it and one feels odd going against the norm and trend. But that’s a different point, and we know it!
Coming back to point again, between these two extremes of West and East there is beautiful Islam which propagates not the absolute freedom and neither it prohibits women to step outside the homes. 

It defines well the  etiquettes of intermingling of opposite sexes when it is required. And we have a lot many examples to quote from history like shifa binte Abdullah who was the market inspector appointed by second Caliph of Islam Umar r. a,  we have examples like Rufaida Al asalmiyya, the nurse. We have examples of women who fought in battle fields, and several such examples like Fatima Al Fihri who established the first university and the long list of women to mention. 
But sadly, to counter the so called  liberation of women by west which believes in unchecked, absolute freedom, some of us have dragged women and caged them as something not be even heard of!
And on top of it all, the women who are done with some good university or colleges or professional courses are highly belittled if they prefer to prioritise their motherhood over their careers, they are looked down as what the hell they have done after so much of studies as good for nothing type stuff.  How sad it is indeed – the heavy job of tarbiyya and the job of shaping the future generation and leaders is belittled to such an extent that you are identified  as “Nothing! Just a housewife” type terms. 

Come on! If culturing the young minds and hearts to flourish in beauty and love is nothing then there are no words to describe this mentality. 
Sad is indeed the case if we are educated but not enlightened enough to understand that education doesn’t necessarily mean you make money, though no harm or restriction in it if it is done under the permissible limits of Allah swt but to limit the spectrum of education to money making is ignorance of highest degree. 
The purpose to write this post is – Be enlightened, be vocal to the wrongs of the society and don’t fall into the trap of East and West, see Islam, study Islam through authentic sources. 
If your education is not igniting in you the spark about bad things happening around and taking a stand against it then check out!
My dear ladies! You are already empowered, recognise your worth and let not any one let you down. We both men and women are equal in sight of Allah swt, The best one in His sight is the one who has righteousness and Taqwa. Enjoining good and forbidding evil is our duty and let no gender make us divert from it.

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