Monday, April 19, 2021

FRIDAY SERMON: Gender equality or gender obliteration?, by Abdullah Abu Jabir

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I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

“(Remember) When Yusuf (Joseph) said to his father: “O my father! Verily, I saw (in a dream) eleven stars and the sun and the moon,-I saw them prostrating themselves to me.” Qur’an 12:4

The last century saw the rise of the amplified voices of gender equality advocates. Though plausible if the word “equality” can be substituted with “equity”. Justifiably so, the rise in the movement was/is supported innocently by many women who were/are victims of men’s oppression. They needed a voice to echo out their plights.

It will be unjust to highlight the slippery slope of the gender equality slogan without attempting to decipher the silent and even the obvious causes of it. As was pointed out earlier, many innocent women find in this slogan a glimmer of hope for what they are going through in the hands of failed men.

The objectification of women by misogynists which often leads to low self-esteem in them has paved way for some women to react, often beyond limit in order to gain back their self-esteem and rights. For many years, women have been at the forefront of many advertisements even when there is no need. This happens often because of their body and appeal. Slater & Tiggemann, 2002, stated that “certain situations that accentuate awareness of observers’ perspectives on women’s bodies, such as ballet dancing, beauty pageants, modeling, and cheerleading, are likely to enhance sexual objectification.” Unfortunately, amongst the women, there are some that see this as liberation.

Similarly, before the coming of the Prophet of Islam -Muhammad (peace be upon him), women were seen as part of the male inheritance. They were equally treated as sexual objects and only some categories of women were allowed to veil themselves. According to Ahmed, Leila (1992), “prostitutes and slaves were prohibited from veiling.” Today, veiling is projected as oppression while unveiling is seen as liberation. Thereby giving to the women of reputable ancestry what was given to the loose women of whoredom.

Again, women were/are denied voices and they often end up depressed and suicidal because of the repeated emotional, physical and psychological torture that is being meted out against them by their failed men. The Islamic system allows women to voice out their genuine concerns for their personal rights that have been trampled upon and for the common good of the society. This was a common practice during the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

Putting the spotlight on the Muslim woman who rather finds solace by tagging along with the slogans of women’s rights and gender equality, it could be opined that she often fails to pay much attention to what Islam has championed for her in terms of rights and status. In all fairness, there is some sort of conspiracy of silence on the part of some men of the pulpit. Over the years, the rights of men as husbands have been repeatedly amplified with less energy towards the rights of women. This has resulted in creating a society of absolute patriarchy. To most Muslim women who find themselves in such a twisted society, they see Islam as having little to offer for them. Again, knowledge is light.

In Qur’an 12:4, the verse referenced above, the scholars of Qur’an exegesis such as Ibn Abbas, Ad-Dahak, Qatadah and Sufyan Thawri opined that Allaah the Exalted, likened the father of Yusuf to the sun and the mother to the moon while the stars represent his brothers.

Amazingly, the sun, the moon, and the stars all play crucial but unique roles in the universe making it habitable for humans. Whenever there is an overlap on the path of either the sun or the moon, the world experiences eclipse. When there is an eclipse, the stars disappear. Similarly, if the woman is brainwashed into striving to be equal to the man, there will be a social eclipse and the family system will collapse. This is what the world is witnessing today.

It is highly disrespectful and deliberate mischief to try to convince a woman that she is equal to man. There is an inherent difference in the physical, psychological and emotional makeup of both men and women. And honestly, movements such as feminism is a disguised patriarchal power play. The men leave the women struggling all their lives trying to convince the misogynists that they are equal to men thereby abandoning their role as unique homemakers. It is not right for a woman to look after her kids because that is oppression but it is okay for her to take the job of a nanny to look after the children of other women.

As a way of illustration, a car will not be able to move smoothly if the engine is faulty. Likewise, it will not be able to move if the tire is faulty. Together with other ancillary components, the car functions when the engine and the tire play their respective vital roles. Imagine convincing the tire that, you have been made to run on all kinds of roads, smooth and rough under all sorts of weather conditions. Sometimes under the scorching sun, some other times under the slippery road. It is time for you to assume the role of the engine because it feels superior to the detriment of your inferior position in relation to the entire car architecture.

Assuming the tire is sufficiently convinced that it is assuming an inferior position and role (remember, tire is as vital to the smooth running of a car and the safety of the occupants just as the engine is crucial to the car itself) and now embarks on a quest to become the engine. What happens? Undoubtedly, it will first have to suspend its primary role which is running of the car and ensuring its movement from points A to B which it was designed for. Afterward, it will now begin an endless and fruitless journey to becoming an engine. Does this make sense? This is what is intended when gender equality is thrown at our women. In fact, they are being robbed of their God-given talent of raising golden generations. They are being obliterated by transgenders in their domain.

In trying to be equal to men, women are forced to leave their homes to compete with men thereby leaving behind their kids at the mercy of a series of housemaids. The child bonds more with the housemaids but often grows up confused because, by the age of six, he or she might have been nurtured by at least six different housemaids. The parents now wonder why their kids are disrespectful to them and show no mercy to them. What does it benefit a parent to leave the home to gain the world and lose the family for whom the wealth is sort for?

It is morally right and even a duty for the women to speak against the oppression meted out against them by misogynistic and irresponsible men. However, as a Muslim woman, you have the obligation to do so within the parameters of the Shariah (Islamic laws) which has left nothing untouched in this regard. A Muslim woman is equally allowed to work but under stringent religious conditions where she respects her dignity, appear in proper Islamic garb, avoid free-mixing, avoid traveling in the midst of non-mahram men and create a balance between homemaking and career goals.

Mr Abdul (Penabdul), an architect, is the Chairman/CEO of Sustainable Project Works (SPW) Ltd & a Lecturer at Baze University, Abuja.  Twitter: @Penabdull Instagram: @Penabdul

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