Do not be depressed with yourself, ever!

sad_face_stick_figure_sign_400_clr1On the globe, not a single soul has the same fingerprint, as far as we know. And, not a single soul has the same iris print- if you can call it that- as far as we know, Subhan’Allah. Allah (swt) says in order for you to recognise one another- we kept you different. Subhana Rabbi’al ‘Ala. That is the creation of Allah (swt); He says everybody is different, so you can recognise each other.

Look at the term ‘Lit’arafu’. Imagine if a thief had to steal and we were all the same, we would rather just lock up the next person. In fact, no one would know who stole from whom, because we would all be looking the same, Subhana Rabbi’al ‘Ala.

So, if we sit and think about it, it’s a blessing; that is why never ever be upset with what Allah (swt) has put you, or what Allah (swt) has given you, or where He has placed you; never be upset. If you are big, huge, fat, and you weigh a lot, someone, somewhere will be attracted to you, you will also find a husband. Don’t worry. There are some men who don’t like that which is thin and skinny and bony. So, Alhumdulillah, Allah (swt) has created different people with different taste.

Imagine if the whole world had the same taste. So if you are dark, some people like dark people; if you are light, some like light. Do not ever be depressed with yourself ever. It is against the gratitude to the Creator Himself. No matter what colour eyes you have, or the type of hair you have or if you don’t have any hair at all, because you are bald now, Alhumdulillah, thank Allah (swt) for that. Wallahi, there are certain people who are attracted to those who are bald, Allahu Akbar.

This is Allah’s (swt) plan. He has kept it in such a way that it is amazing. And, He says I have created you in different levels, different sizes, different shapes, different likings, different inclinations and so on. One man’s food is another man’s poison. That is a saying that we have leant since we were young. If you would like to translate it- sometimes you have food in some area that might taste so nice to the people of that area, whereas a visitor coming there will not be able to put it even close to his mouth, Allahu Akbar. That is a literal translation and it can happen, and this is why there are different dishes- you have the Indian dish, you have the Malay dish, and so much more Masha’Allah. May Allah (swt) grant us from the food of Jannah Insha’Allah- because that will definitely be something standard for all of us according to our liking, Insha’Allah. We ask Allah (swt) to grant us understanding.

Look at the beauty of the levels that Allah (swt) has created us with. Don’t ever be depressed or question why Allah (swt) made you this way. And, this is why Allah (swt) says that He has chosen who will be male and who will be female, Allahu Akbar. Don’t ever question the decree of Allah (swt). ‘Ya Allah (swt), why did you make me a male?’ Don’t be upset with Allah’s (swt) decree if He made you a male, He made you a male, in order to test you as a male. If you are a female, your test is different. There are different things that Allah (swt) has to test you with.

Men are from Makkah and women are from Madinah

MoM-Gender-Roles-1John Gray wrote a book titled “Men are from Mars and women are from Venus”. This bestseller sold over fifty million copies worldwide. It has some valuable stuff that has saved many marriages. It emphasizes the difference between men and women. It also lays failure of relationships upon not being able to understand these gender differences. We will reflect upon this book highlighting some points worth mentioning.

Firstly, it is imperative to understand whether the differences between males and females are innate or acquired. Are they biological or learned through social interaction? It is amazing to learn that babies react differently to certain stimuli so naturally when they have not yet acquired any behavioural characteristics. Hence, certain differences are inborn and inbuilt. Cultural expectations are different from the two.

How can we build a successful relationship?

For starters, a huge hurdle is the problem of generalization, even though every single human being is unique. We are always dealing with individuals. It doesn’t harm us to appreciate that men and women think and behave differently. A word of caution is that in spite of recognizing these gender differences, we do not fall into the issue of gender conflict. For Muslims, the basis of everything is Islam. In Islam, men and women are supporters and companions to each other. Their innate nature is meant to complement one another.

Abu Hurairah (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection) said: “By Him in Whose Hand my soul is! You will not enter Jannah until you believe, and you shall not believe until you love one another. May I inform you of something, if you do, you love each other. Promote greeting amongst you (by saying As-salamu ‘alaikum to one another).” (Muslim)

What does love mean? It is not just a word or an emotion. It governs our behaviour. Your beloved’s well-being is connected to yours. You are unhappy, when your spouse is sad. You cannot relax, if he/she is distressed. For Muslim homes, mercy should be the pre-dominant emotion that ensures peaceful homes.

In Islam, interestingly, men and women have been treated equally and same. Women are considered to be twin half of men. Whenever Allah (swt) addresses believers, He calls out to both men and women, unless the Prophet (sa) has specifically mentioned something that is gender specific. In reality, men and women are from the same planet, and they have more in common.

Some ways that they differ could be their unique ways of reacting to stress. Men retreat to their cave. We have a supreme example in our own Messenger (sa) of that. Perturbed about the despicable state of Arabia’s affairs, he spent solitary time in Cave Hira. Men value competence and like to figure out stuff themselves. The last thing a man needs in times of stress is intervention from someone.

Women, on the other hand, like to discuss things. When they work very hard, they expect men to automatically understand what’s troubling them. And when they have no clue to their feelings, women get upset.

The Prophet (sa) used to tend to his own clothes and help at home by serving his family. He didn’t wait for his wives to break down. He acted proactively.

Similarly, when the Prophet (sa) was shocked by his experience with angel Gabriel (as) for the first time, he ran to Khadijah (rta). Men want to be trusted and appreciated. Look, how she behaved. She validated and assured him.

Lastly, it is important to note that men and women are equal in the eyes of Allah (swt) based on their worship.

Transcribed by Rana Rais Khan from a talk at Mercy Mission, Karachi.