Take it or Leave it

I received an email a few months ago from a production company asking if I was interested in appearing in a documentary.  Intrigued, I googled them and upon discovering that they were the same ones that filmed The Great British Bake Off, agreed to speak with them.

It turned into an hour plus phone call where questions about faith were put to me and my answers noted down.  I’m fairly opinionated (as if one did not know that already).  My answers were uncensored and in person, I can be fairly funny, outrageous and my accent is to die for.

Post phone call, I was told they would probably be interested in casting me but it had to go through certain editors etc.  I’m not sure if that’s still the case but I came to the conclusion that I would say no (sorry to the production lot if you are actually interested and are reading the answer here..!).  Reality T.V, albeit a documentary style, just wasn’t for me.  I was fairly certain that one of the reasons I caught their interest was that I know the things I should in terms of Islam but there’s a fair amount I don’t agree with.  I’m sure I would have come across controversial and whilst appealing from a production point of view, it wasn’t the right reasons to go into it.

Some of the points I made to them however did get me thinking.  Whilst I didn’t feel it right to blast it on television, let’s plaster it on the blog.  Below, I’ve summarised some of the issues I seem to be grappling with recently from a faith perspective.

  •  The religion is not fair towards women.  To me, it is heavily geared towards men and yes, I do feel in some ways oppressive towards women.  Some examples of what I perceive to be unfair; polygamy, divorce rulings and rulings of war allowing concubines.
  • Hijaab (head covering).  I still wear hijaab but lately wonder if I am wearing it for the correct reasons.  I see lots of things on the internet about how pearls come in shells and that’s how we treat our women etc etc.  Eh no.  If it’s men that have the problem and are tempted, why can there not be a rule that they need to walk around blindfolded?  Give them an eye hijaab.
  • Our Prophet (عليه السلام) marrying Ayeesha so young.  Yes, I know.  We get this one thrown at us all the time.  I used to talk myself through it: “Well she was actually older than made out and it was the custom of those days”.  But, I struggle with this one and my attempts at rationalising it sounds feeble nowadays.
  • There’s a lot of judgment within the religion.  If wee Yusuf decides he’s gay, he’s criticised and put outwith the folds of Islam.  If we question something, we’re told our Imaan (faith) is weak and to start doing more to come back.  We think that families should be accepting if their loved ones convert to Islam but would ours ever be accepting if we decided on something alternate?

Agree?  Disagree?  Am I a lost cause?

 

13 thoughts on “Take it or Leave it

  1. Very valid and questioning (not nit picking, but intellignet questioning) is very healthy. When is comes to Ayesha (Radiya Allahu anha) I think she was 17 when they married, basically the issue is when was she born? Before the hijra (making her 7 when they wed) or before the bitha (making her closer to 17)? That seems to be where confusion comes in. Basically we don not know how old she was, only that she was younger. Questioning this point is important, because Islam most certainly does *not* allow child rape!!!

    Another question I have, is is it true that women are not allowed to marry non-muslim men? Because I cant seem to find a daleel in hadith or Quran, just in the shariah, i.e. is it a religious or a legal ruling? I think many of the things that are unfair to women come from the shariah, which may not be applicable to every era.

    Ok, I question alot too 😀

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  2. I agree with a lot of the things you are saying. I know many women who wear the hijab because they want to though and it is a witness of their faith more than being to protect men from their”weakness”…the truth is most religions have wanted to control women ,but my mum, God receive her soul , who had studied classical arabic at the Paris school of Oriental language always told me that in the Q’ran men and women are equal. The problem with religion is what is God’s decree and what is men’s ? I am a devout Catholic but I too struggles with some of my religion’s aspects…like you I wonder about my little Joseph who knows he is gay! I feel I have my personal relationship with God which is not like the established religion I follow, I too question,and when I do, my muslim friends who are devout and some of my Catholic friends question my faith, but I am sure my God who is a loving God likes me to question. There’s faith and culture and they’re two different things.

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    • Barthola, you hit upon something which I have been thinking a fair amount about. Is it men that in their interpretations of religion have sought to use it to as a means of ‘keeping women in their place’. I do feel that my relationship with God is more of a spiritual connection and don’t feel the rules themselves are just as such. What I feel is that we don’t use enough logic in Islam.

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      • Yes but not only Islam, even the buddhist religion has some serious sexist aspects for ever men have tried to control women and each other and women too are guilty, some of them are our worse enemies and don’t realise it. But that’s why you have to follow your heart. As for Aïsha I never could understand that one,but the answer might be in what one of your followers said . She was older but something about we interpret her age…I don’t know and hope she is right. Men though as a general rule do what they want and I know for having met some escapees that child brides and rape of girls is happening unpunished in some countries like Saudi Arabia. But that has got nothing to do with Islam. No more than the inquisition crimes in the Catholic Church have anything to do with Christianity or the teaching of Christ, Thanks God that He is greater than us and knows how to look in our hearts. And a prayer is a prayer whatever religion we are in. Take care,it’s lovely to be able to think and discuss theses issues.

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      • I probably agree with the follower in terms of Aishas age as it wouldn’t make sense any other way. Yes you’re right, polygamy exists within even the British culture without being called it lol. I think being a good person is above all the greatest lesson religion is trying to teach us. Yes it is lovely thay people of all faiths cab contribute to the discussion and we can understand different perspectives x

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  3. I used to be strongly anti polygamy and I still would never ever be strong enough to even entertain the thought of my husband having another wife. However when I did research it makes sense why it is allowed in Islam..it’s not recommend just allowed. One because the ratio of men to women. Esp in regions where post war, there are lots of women who are left widowed with kids. But now a days women are strong and independent so even if they are single they don’t need a provider..exceptions being women in third world counties. Also Islam is the only religion that says do not marry more than one if u cannot be fair..other religions allow polygamy as well but none say to be fair or recommend marrying just one. I think, although it’s not an ideal situation, subhanAllah God made a rule to help ppl instead of saying “no, I know there’s lots of helpless women and lots of rich men, but men can only have one wife”. It’s not meant to be for men’s pleasure although unfortunately a lot of times the rule is twisted for the favour of men. And women aren’t allowed more than one husband probably simply cause u wuddnt know who the dad was lol

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    • Sorry, not buying. The polygamy situation is open to rampant abuse that seems to be uncontrolled by law or culture. If God/society really wanted to help people we would help lift women out of poverty in the (usually) male dominated societies that doesn’t allow them education or work in the first place and then leaves them with the option of being a second/third/fourth/misyar/mutah wife. I personally do not know of any polygamous marriage where the families are happy, at best the situation is tolerated. I don’t exactly see men lining up to marry the older impoverished widower/divorcee either.

      And the fact is, in most developed nations most couples have access to excellent contraception so in theory, provided people educated themselves every pregnancy would be planned and the father would be known. Otherwise it’s relatively simple to get a DNA test and they are getting cheaper by the day.

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    • I understand where you come from however I am inclined to agree with JoJo in terms of the polygamy ruling. I don’t particularly understand why this rule exists instead of trying to help through financial support if it was to prevent woman back in the day from being kicked out onto the streets. I also believe that whilst it might have been the custom of the day back then, it is more often than not used for sexual gratification nowadays. I lived for a while in a country where polygamy is normal however even there, it was held over womans’ heads and they basically had no choice in the matter. Those who asked for a divorce if their husbands proceeded knew their children would be taken from them and put under the father’s care.

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      • I agree completely that the rule is being abused and misinterpreted. But it’s original reason for allowing polygamy is one I know kind of understand.. Although I would never be in one or have ever heard of a successful one

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  4. Polygamy was allowed in Islam after the early jihads (holy wars). It was to allow women who would otherwise have remained childless, the chance to have children. But this was because there was a massive lack of men due to the war. It was not meant to be a permanent situation. Not all religions allow polygamy some really forbid it. But there are many types of unofficial polygamy around us , some men have children with different women and continue to circulate between them…the fact is that these types of men are hardly providers for these women , they don’t pay their child maintenance they don’t bring food but instead they are like parasites getting food and shelter from each of them. It actually makes me laugh when people talk about men being providers. Not anymore , and I don’t think that they ever were in the poorer layers of our societies. The rich ones can be but also are very controlling.

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