Imagine a society where all women are educated and given the same opportunities as their menfolk. They earn the same amount, work the same hours, play the same games and have the same respect. Utopia? Not exactly. From another loan: “You're either the lamb or the knife. If you're both, you're going to cut yourself and bleed out one day.”
Forcing all women to become powerful, assertive and 'free' is tantamount to pushing them off a cliff. We're failing to reach a balance where we have the choice and option of 'freedom' to reach the level of President, if that be the highest state of liberation on a “free” world, and the choice to stay home and bake cupcakes, lounge in pyjama bottoms, and have a lift club for the kids. If,that be the highest state of liberation for a stay-at-home woman, which sadly it is not.
The emancipation must come from within. And it lies largely with our menfolk. Among the most powerful, yet humble women I've encountered are those who have strong male role models and support. Am I saying that women need men to succeed? Yes, that's what I'm saying. That's what we need for an Islamic society to progress. Get rid of the redundant notions of western feminists, and Islamic feminists and let us work towards gender appreciation. When push comes to shove men and women can do the work of each other. Combat rank females in the US military have a greater risk they say of rape from their fellow soldiers than been struck by opposition artillery. Males, they say are the worlds best chefs, sometimes the better care givers too.
Education that leads to University degrees, that lead to powerful careers maybe the key, but I doubt it. Among the women I interact with, I see plenty of degrees and careers, yet still a rising level of marital discord and petty arguments. The reason daddy educated her was 'so one day if she needed to she could stand on her own two feet.' Well, yAy! for that, but how does it help two miserable people and their children, when the same has ricochet effects in a society? Again, gender appreciation is key. Instead of giving our men puffer-fish-syndrome in a mosque lecturing them on how their Prophet [pbuh] made them the would-be objects of prostration, explain why and how they reach that status. Why such a a lofty rank? Why such responsibility? Why are they garments, protectors and maintainers? And do it without adding the jocular 'cos they're emotional beings,' yeah.
When the Prophet [pbuh]'s lovely wife Aisha [rad] was slandered and accused of adultery her husband was distraught, searching for ways to prove her innocence, going as far as asking her servant Bareera [rad] to give her a good character reference:
"I cannot accuse her of any defect except that she is still young and falls asleep, forgetting about the family's dough which the domestic goats come in to eat. (i.e. she was too naive and simple minded to deceive her husband)." [Sahih Bhukari]
Among the many things this teaches us, aside from Rasulullah [pbuh]'s devotion to his wife was that Aisha [rad], the most celebrated and revered female muhaddith, is human. She was easily bored. She got tired. She lost interest in the mundane. It is reported as a flaw, yet raised her status, and her rank. Let any career orientated woman be any less than domestic goddess and what do we get in our societies? Complaints. Yet, no solutions. Certainly, not that it is okay. Not the way our Prophet [pbuh] saw it.
There's a spoke in the wheel of our progression, and dishing out degrees, careers and awards to women may not be the solution.
As Gloria Stienem rightly said:
We've begun to raise daughters more like sons... but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.Similar thoughts are resonated in this post about a gender entitlement quote from Pastor Douglas Wilson.