I share here a much awaited and the most awkwardly debated topic. I was impatient to jot down my thoughts on this since many days, just that it didn’t reach a threshold, the peak where it gets off the brim of my thought process– not that I didn’t get time but well…. bas “aamad nai huwi”. To state from before, here might be a post that shows you the crude mentality nowadays people have. It can reflect the understated topics, yet stated boldly here. It can even portray a society and culture we have quite quickly adapted to and enjoy when its practised –not realizing it can harm someone for an entire life!
Just a disclaimer: You may get angry and bombard swear at this as it can be according to some a very “bold” or “disrespectful” and even “utterly a lie” ..but hold it till you get a daughter or have a sister and look upon them too- then think again. Stories shared here are of people I’ve met and dealt with personally and yes, they wish to stay anonymous. If you ever have respect for a woman, be it your kaam wali (house maid), then kindly respect the stories too. Hold your sarcasm. It may be a long read to tire you off, but nevermind… for the time it may take to actually inspire someone to have the guts to speak against this topic can grant me eternal peace for sure.
So… it all starts with this Rishta (marriage proposal) process. A culture in our tiny minds that we know grew its roots on basis of literally objectifying a woman from head to toe, assessing the lineage since the first man was born on the face of earth, asking for a burden of dowry, restricting her talents before marriage contract is take .. and then rejecting her. Well because she is not “equal to OUR status” or “she just isnt right”.
…. The so-called respected and so-called elites and the so-called aalim-faazil (knowledgeable), multiple degree holders and so-called mature people are actually doing this. Just because they think the “tall, dark and handsome prince” of theirs’ is no match to her dark skin or decent simplest lifestyle or here desire to take pardah (veil) or work abroad with it, it is actually when they come to house with their critics or deny even meeting for once.
I know of someone who got rejected because they live apparantly in a crowded, yuckiest, tacky little society of Karachi. They ignored that her mother is a single woman, who raised her 3 daughters and a son with a hardwork no one can pay back. They ignored that the girl they rejected is not only a masters to be but also a a student of Quran. They ignored their means to end a new day is struggle of its own, every day. What they emphasized on was how fair the girl is.. how many dishes she can make.. how much she earns.. how much dowry can the single mother give .. how much ..how much .. oh come ON!! How much could you ask for?
Then, I know of a trauma survivor who was approached by a family of religious mindset. Said, “if one of us could have gone through such trauma we wouldn’t have left them to die?” Oh well, kudos to you thank you. The girl observed pardah and they accepted. The girl told them the turmoil she went through and they agreed to move forward. They enchanted the rhyme of “we believe in Qadr and what happens is because of Allah (SWT) will” they decored their own house and their own daughter with the best. No doubt, they were of utmost obligence and gratitude when it came on talking terms.. But when it was known to them the girl they approached for marriage might not be able to bear children, they refused to step forward and denied tying the knot. Were they the gods of time? Where did the “belief in qadr” disappear now? There were many “if’s” and “buts” left unexplained..
..I’m also inspired by the struggle of a girl who went through phases of extreme bad luck on behalf of her own extended family. A family who conducted black magic on her so she doesn’t become successful in career. She went through turmoils after turmoils in her health, finances, emotions and what not. Just because she was pretty? Just because her family was settled in U.S? Just because she was kind and humble no matter how much you disgrace her? Just because she started taking Hijab? No wonder, she gave then all a shut-up call. She achieved positions in her studies, was humblest and prettiest and respected among her classmates. She gave toughest of degrees yet she had to compromise still on her career for a time, but she chose to take a break and shift back to Pakistan when she got married. Hopefully, to lead a happy ever after. To those toxic bunch of relatives who could not control their jealousy, in your face. Huh!!
Then, I know of stories where people asked for “miss universe” but want her to work at home and breed their son’s children. I know about divorcees who were crushed beneath the lame old thoughts loag kya kahein gey? (What will the people say?) And they never remarry. I was once confided about a truly talented girl who was married to a guy and moved to U.S where she found out he was alcoholic and extra marital affairs. The boy’s parents justification on asking if they knew about this? “We thought he would get better after his marriage” oh really? You think your 25+ year old spoilt son would be “better” after getting married to a girl who just met him and who you thought is a made to order “kachi umar” (tender/ younger age) bride so she would do as said to her and deal with him? …. slow claps for you who couldn’t correct him in all these years?
These are a few, mere drops in an ocean to tell the world of what every girl of in majority of household goes through. There is no criteria. The ones who reject could be ranging from super man to avengers yet their mentality could be so low you cant even see with naked eye. What theu show off is ego that was built on thought engraved in minds by culture or inspired from other religions. These are real stories of real people who got real hurt. Do they even dare to reflect ? Do they ring a bell? Do you even know where we, as a society, are standing? Do we, at sometime realise about the word “karma”?
Being a woman, I can state that yes we have an equal right to be as human as men are. When they need respect, we demand the equal. When they need time, we need space too. When they have desires, we have them too. If its your house, its equally and legally mine too.
…….On a religious aspect, the much that I have studied till now in Quran, I come to realise is that we as woman don’t know our rights. We dont mention them in Nikkah contracts. We are never tild to do so. We dont know that Allah SWT has blessed woman with ranks such respected , in history of time and till time remains… and graced with positions among scholars. We are among the blessed that He granted Jannah under our feet when we become mothers. There is a whole Surah in Holy Quran by our name, “The Women”.. Allah SWT gave respect to women by making Aisha RA, one of the mother of believers, as the one who narrated the most Hadees of Prophet Muhammad SAWW.
…..The men remind their wives of Sunnah of four wives yet, they forget to read the behaviour of Prophet SAWW with his own wives. How he SAWW actually got up to drink water, clean the dishes, bend down on his knees so his wife could climb to sit on the camel, played and laughed with the family, gave them love equally and respected them equally among his OWN relatives. Isn’t this all a sunnah too?
…..The Prophet SAWW even remarked in his last Khutbah in Hajj, “… to follow after me of what I leave behind The Quran and the Sunnah, … to give respect to your women… to observe salah and to pay zakah…”
We don’t know that Meher (bridal money, they call it) is Farz upon the groom to give. We don’t know that the money we women earn after marriage is actually our right to spend upon who ever we wish. We have been given rights of divorce and to mention this, Allah SWT has mentioned in Surah al Baqarah that Allah speaks on behalf of the women as their Wali, for Allah sees all and knows all.
We have been granted ease in our periods to not pray, or keep the fast- because Allah regarded this monthly cycle as “painful time” He SWT knows we go through a zillion of mood swings before and during this, cravings and laziness of peak to what men regard as “frustrating”, “disrespectful”, “undesirable” and “not being up to the mark (daily expectations?)” but our Allah grants us relief in so many ways, He loves and knows His creation so well.
We should know its the right of the women to accept or deny a proposal. If she doesn’t want to marry that guy, there is absolutely no one to force her no matter the circumstances of black mailing or threatening her life. Such feudal lords!
Likewise, if she does want to marry someone of her choice- be it her being a virgin or a divorcee or a widow, it is totally upto her and no one can force her unto something she would actually be compromising her life with….
Its her decision if she wants to move abroad or not, work or not, pay or not….
Its also the mutual understanding between the spouses if they want kids or not, when they want it, how they plan it…. If they want to live with parents or not…. If they want to do odd jobs or not.
BUT!!! …We Judge! And because we think we are the judge of other peoples’ life, then ofcourse no one is to judge us? No one should blame us if we talk loudly– oh, because we have reached an age where talking on high pitch is actually the “grace of old age“… we criticize other daughters because we forget we have ours too in line… we disrespect daughters because we think being the “groom side” we are the benevolent and most respected among the society when we ask for a family to pay for their daughter as she leaves her parents for ever… Then we judge when will this daughter breed babies and keep poking her because oh come on, its our right, no? Unfortunately, for such people, its a NO. Simple english– NO!!
We dont realize there are times when these woman actually build barriers around themselves, around their heart- hardly letting anyone in…..
Walls so strong of steel.. without any windows.. without any doors.. nobody could absolutely judge their life on how they feel and what emotions they go through. How single moms become fighters? How a woman who miscarriages few times is able to love an adopted child? How does a girl since teenage learnt to support a family of five? How could you judge her? How can you say things to her when the walk in her shoe actually haunts you worst nightmares?
Its just that we really, really need to make our daughters so strong and independent and make sure they look after them first and then the family because its so very important. Literally, people forget women become foundations to build nations.Respect her decisions, if she wants to observe the Shariah Pardah (order of veil from the Na Mahram as adviced by Allah SWT in the Quran) then let her do. She isn’t pleasing you. She is pleasing Allah SWT.. this reminds me of a beautiful quote by Sister Yasmin Mogahed.
If such nations who grant respect to their women- being their mothers or mother-in-law, daughters or daughter-in-law, sisters or sister-in-law etc they prosper without doubt. They know they can’t be successful without their support. They know they actually can’t find their glasses, their other pair of socks, their old rusted books they remember after ages of where they kept– just on a lighter note 🙂
…. You respect them, they will respect you as equally. You grace them with tiny compliments and they would actually light up your life. Tried it before? If not, then don’t judge me here.
We need to believe in our women to make them drive their own life, make their own decisions and not drive their life according to our standards and rituals.
…Teach our women to respect and love the family as equally as she does of her own, tell her to be flexible enough to mend in the new family. Accepts their insecurities and compromise for what is easy for her. To look for a guy who respects her, her parents and her desires upon his own. To look for one who acknowledges her self respect and don’t make it a matter of his “man ego”.
…Teach our sons to applaud on her victories, love her scars, appreciate her passions, give her space and support her through every thick and thin.
…Teach ourselves to refrain from peeking into lives of others, commenting and discussing and criticising and taunting others, forgetting we have kids of our own or a life of own to worry for. not asking for the price of daughter you are bringing into your family, she is priceless as your own daughter, so believe that first!
To end this never ending debate is hard, for the rivalry between such mentality continues. We need to teach people of small minds to start praising other people and not judge them because of where they live, how they live and what they live for. You are not the judge. Ultimate judge is Allah SWT who sees all .. hears all and will be The Judge on the Day of Judgement.
Please, get a life..
Before life gets you.