Miscalculations of Thought

genderequalSome days back, I happened to read an article written by some lady doctor in an English daily. There she had lamented over the cruelties the womenfolk are facing severely at the hands of the men in our society.  After quoting quite a few instances, she concluded that this all happens due to the sad fact of “domination of males over women in every sphere of life.  Should the society convert to a female domination, all such painful incidents would vanish”, she opined.

I do not know what the other scholars  would  like to speak over this sort of conclusion, but this much  is  clear  that it is  just  a hasty  analysis arrived at,  disregarding the  multiple  hard  realities. This also portrays how adversely we arrive at decisions while our concepts remain unclear.

Let us assume that the things take a sudden turn and come into a perfect equation with the doctor’s aspirations: the domination vests into the hands of the females.  What then will be the outcome?  Will the society start enjoying a peaceful and comfortable life?   Will the affairs bestow their “proper” bounties to the ladies?

The question in fact is not of a ‘male or female domination’. The truth of the situation is that the power and authority may fetch cruel results if practiced unchecked. Many women are dominant in Pakistan, rather in the world, at various capacities at their workplaces. The question arises obviously:  has the environment altered altogether there, and have the women felt a sigh of relief?  Do the commanding ladies not practice tortures and exaction of their female subordinates, (leave aside the male employees)?  Likewise, each house-wife remains almost in a continued confrontation at her home with her husband’s mother or daughter-in-law spoiling the mental peace of the entire family- a daily business. In families where   luckily or unluckily polygamy prevails, the two co-partners (simultaneous wives) remain in a continued battle although both happen to be the legal and genuine wives of the same gentleman. There are also numerous cases where the nannies, (the ‘maasees)’ are inhumanely treated by their lady employers.  One can also find a number of female authorities dominating in the private and public sectors proving to be no less corrupt in their departments than their male counterparts.

I too have come across a few lady government officials who proved to be the most corrupt person, and were found involved in heavy bribes. Likewise,  anyone may  come  across  the rumours  circulating in the corridors of  any government  office  regarding  the  misappropriations  and stone-heartedness of the  female bosses where  subordinate lady staff  is rarely  spared of their  tortures, harassments, and injustices.

the old integrated family-system of the West  has now gone a story of the past. The quantum of sexual, mental, and physical abuses against the females appearing on the surface is something very terrible.

Still however, I say, if the things happen just in the pattern to the aspirations of the respected lady, the question persists of whether the cases of such injustices and corruptions would reduce to zero?  Would everything go rosy?


The pleaders of the female liberty claim that the practice of exercising “unwanted” bindings over the women is the result of a male domination only. But talking so, they omit to fathom how terrible results have manifested out of these misconceptions!  They have failed to assess that these “wise” women have proved to be a demon that refuses to return to its original bottle. The solutions recommended by them proved to be only fatal to the society. Illegitimate children as well as broken families are just two of its vivid damages.  Western ladies are in no more a mood to pay heed to any good advice advanced in their favour deeming that as their insult only. This is why the old integrated family-system of the West  has now gone a story of the past. The quantum of sexual, mental, and physical abuses against the females appearing on the surface is something very terrible.

Also  the women  have  very rare  exhibited  the quality expected out of them, that is of  an  independent  and instant decision-cum- administration  skill.  It is their built-in  nature, not the male dominance,  that hampers their  advancement  in exact equation to their male counterparts   Male dominance, in fact is not a fabricated and concocted  phenomenon but  a  natural  one, right from  the very birth of the first man . This is why the supremacy the men enjoy over  their counterparts (the women)  in every walk of life  is a vital fact prevailing all over the world, of which Europe is also no exception. In  continents,  where constitutional  rights and equal status  have already  been  guaranteed  by the authorities for ladies , it is a  dream yet  to materialize in essence.

Remedy to such injustices sought in the form of permitting the ladies a full-fledged liberty some 150 years ago, materialized never a truth, simply due to its being contrary to the very human nature.

Any remedy  forwarded  by-passing the very divine guidance  proves  not mere  an exercise futile, but also  a developer of   additional  problems for the mankind.  

Let us here peep a while inside the capitalist system of life.  Upon exercising harsh and unbelievable cruelties upon its workers remorselessly, there arose a revolt and anguish among the workers. Strikes, lock-ups, and agitations developed. Remedy sought by the then learned people to reform that system was just opposite to that:  Rule of the labourers with stress to their importance in the process of production. In place of reforming, the existing pitfalls of the old capitalistic system, the radicals deemed it proper to reject it altogether, and propound a new economic order.  What happened thereafter was that the Communism, implemented in the name of workers proved another unjustified tyrant system for the workers. The workers were belittled, insulted, and treated like slaves with no right of say into the affairs of the business. In this new economic order, the standard bearers, the labourers, found that they have been befooled again. They were directed to mind only their designated jobs  without interfering into the society or the government  matters, They then lost their  self-opinions, and were turned  into the state property  who would provide them  thenceforth the means  what the state  found  fit for them. Their remuneration was  to remain fixed, irrespective of their skill or the amount of their production; and they would have to abstain forming  trade unions,  as the factories and workplaces where they were  employed,   their “own” properties. Likewise, they also lost the opportunities to seek   jobs of their self-choice.

This all in fact was a phenomenon contrary to the very human nature. It, therefore, lets the workers go slow in their jobs and loose interest in the production, leading to another big disaster in the industries.



An incorrect step of revival, led the state of affairs deteriorate further.

“Liberate the womenfolk and permit them the right of property-ownership and a say in the formation, and functioning of the  governments”, was a unified popular slogan raised by the intellectuals and the ladies both a century before. “Why are they being treated as a 2nd class citizen when they do possess the faculties similar to their counterparts?” They argued. “Sitting inside the homes is an insult to our personality and capability”, they stressed.

Conclusion: Any remedy  forwarded  by-passing the very divine guidance  proves  not mere  an exercise futile, but also  a developer of   additional  problems for the mankind.   By “divine guidance” we sure mean, “the teachings of the Quran and the Apostle (sa) of Allah (swt)” since the religions other than Islam have long been corrupted, Islam appears the only true guidance. Says Allah (swt) in His Holy Book, “Certainly, to Allah belongs all that is in the heavens and the earth. Surely, He knows your condition and (He knows) the Day when they will be brought back to Him, then He will inform them of what they did. And Allah is All-Knower of everything.” (An-Nur 24:64)

Stray thoughts do no service to the society save spoiling it.  This is the Qoul ul Fasl; a fact settled for ever.

All You Need to Know about Ihram

Image courtesy: onislam.net

Image courtesy: onislam.net

It is a widely held belief that Ihram is, the two white sheets or towels worn by the pilgrim. The two unstitched white cloth pieces worn by men are “the Ihram garments for men” and not the actual Ihram.

The word Ihram in the Arabic language means ‘entering into a state of prohibition.’

In the Fiqh terminology, Ihram of Hajj and Umrah is the intention of the Hajj and ‘Umrah by which a person enters the state in which certain things become forbidden on him or her.

Three states of prohibition

The first state is for both men and women

  • Depilatory of hair from the head or any part of the body in any manner. For this, most women apply hair oil and kneed their hair into fine braid so the need to comb hair is excluded in state of Ihram. One can also wear hair band to preclude hair from getting messy.
  • Cutting finger and toenails.
  • Using perfume on either the body or clothing is verboten. Unscented soap, shampoo, and sanitizers are available in market.
  • Sexual intercourse.
  • Hunting or assisting in hunting. Killing head lice too.
  • Wearing gloves.

The second state of prohibition for men only

  • Covering the head with something that remains on it (like a cap for example).
  • Wearing sewn clothing such as t-shirts. Using safety pins to fasten two white sheets or wearing undergarments is also not allowed.

The last state deals with women

Wearing a veil or face covering. Therefore, it is forbidden for a woman to wear the veil and gloves after crossing the Meeqat. However, she can buy the cap veil from Alamgir welfare store. The veil will not touch her face and she can easily cover her face.

To conclude, I humbly request women to not to spend on clothes a lot. It is not mandatory to buy new clothes under the banner of Ihram. Specifically, it is not obligatory to buy white clothes as your Ihram. Ihram is a state of prohibition and not white sheets and clothes. It is painful to see women wearing white thin clothes and apparently naked in Haram. You are visiting a holy place and Allah (swt) is the most worthy of our modesty and shyness. Choose such a clothing that covers your Satar completely (i.e. cover the body parts prescribed by Allah (swt)). Worldly talks, gossips are a big No! It is hard for a woman to abstain from talking; however, she can try to talk as less as possible. Hajj is a pious journey which can remove all your sins, so try to make the most of this opportunity.

May Allah (swt) bless all pilgrims Hajj e Mabroor (Hajj- that is accepted by Allah (swt)). And may He accept their deeds and struggle, by uplifting their faith and determination. Ameen.

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.

Marital Blues: He Loves Who?

divideredThis is the dilemma most of the men around encounter, as soon as they step into a marital relation. The first few months are a bliss, since there is absence of responsibilities and family pressures. He is solely a husband enjoying with his better half and guarding and combating for his beloved’s rights and desires. He cannot imagine a single thorn to prick her feet that would cause her pain or anguish. However, the picture starts to dim, as the time passes by. Later things start to deteriorate, when he is being questioned by his emotional mother and sentimental wife. The tug leaves him despicable and perturbed. “What can I do to make each of them happy?” is a common question that pops up on the surface of his consciousness. He starts to avoid and ignore the situations that direly require his supervision, wise decision and problem solving. He spends most of his time secluded in his own cave. The love is now out of the window.

In this relationship, man plays an immense role. He can make it bloom or he can cause it to wither. Whether he likes it or not, but he has to play judiciously as he is the one around whom all affairs revolve. Women are possessive by nature. One of my male teacher said, women are possessive. It is all about their family – its wellbeing, its health and all related to their own kith. For this reason, it is natural for a mother to feel insecure and jealous when her son’s attention, love, care, and time is divided. She cannot tolerate the shift and thus, resentment follows towards the new addition. In this situation, the man has to be cautious of the mother’s feelings and tackle accordingly by giving her time and constant reassurance about the status she still holds in his life. On the other hand, the wife who is newly wed to him craves for his attention and time, love and care. He should balance the two entities with insight and not to make any one of them feel unloved and ignored.

In this relationship, man plays an immense role. He can make it bloom or he can cause it to wither. Whether he likes it or not, but he has to play judiciously as he is the one around whom all affairs revolve

There are some common points to ponder on before a man reacts.

Firstly, a woman who is now your wife is not an outsider. She is a part of you and your life. She is not a third person. So do not, I stress, do not make her feel like a fish out of water. It is not about her and us (you and your biological family). When you expect her to treat and take care of your own family like hers, then make her feel a part of the family too. If you are going to shun her and talk behind her back; make detail discussions about her attitude and behaviour to others behind doors; complain to your parents, especially your mother, about her actions or words that you find offending etc. – it all will make her feel isolated. When you expect her not to bad mouth about your family, and some issues that she might be facing with people around; and to deal with the shortcomings with tolerance and oft forgiveness- then you are expected to be as generous as you want her in regard to her short comings and not to bad mouth, complain or nag about her bad points to your family.

Being a man, you are held responsible to earn the bread and butter for the family. You are made the head (Ameer) of the family. Working outside by dealing with people, and surviving peak rush hours of traffic, bearing losses, or not meeting up the desired target may make you vulnerable and depressed. As you expect home and your spouse to be pleasant, the same is expected of you. Pouring down your frustration and tiredness on your spouse and kids is not at all justified.  How can we forget the example of our beloved Prophet (sa) (may peace be upon him) who used to be playful and loveable towards his wives, and he used to pamper them too even when he was given such a difficult and challenging work of Dawah (spreading Allah’s (swt) Deen) and also facing a lot of felicity and turmoil.

A man should neither misbehave with his mother nor speak to her in a loud tone, specifically when the spouse or the kids are around. A mother who has taught you how to speak is not at all worthy of your foul language and raised tone. Treat her in a respectable way, even if you do not agree to her terms and conditions. She may feel degraded in front of others and this will give birth to a grudge in her heart against your spouse (as she might feel her responsible for this outburst of anger and misbehaviour). Satan is everywhere and he loves to instill assumptions in our hearts. Accusations are a result of these whispers of Satan mostly.

You should be open to both entities and listen to both sides- instead of being judgmental by favouring one over another.

You are required to be a man with his own set of rules; forget those days of leniency and childhood. It’s time to act like a grown up instead of crying and complaining. Safeguarding the respect of both is crucial in attaining a good and friendly environment at home. You need to open your ears, but not to believe in everything you listen. At times what you see is not the truth but a manipulated and falsified lie. Do not turn a deaf ear to your spouse’s complaining by considering her guilty every time, and accusing her for things she did not do. Generalizing complains that you have got against her will break her into pieces, and will not earn anything but lack of trust in future. You should be open to both entities and listen to both sides- instead of being judgmental by favouring one over another.

Every person has his/her own right and worth. If anyone is given undue importance over the worth of another, it will create chaos. Limit other’s interference and influence over your decisions- especially governing your own family. It is all about maintaining a balance. You need to decide it yourself by an honest retrospection about your actions. And if you have decided it once that you are too good to be challenged, and you have done a lot to make things workable and your spouse happy- then no one can help you and your highly held ego. We all make mistakes and we all have some short comings. Wise is the one who does not drown in his ocean of I, me, and myself notion and in the pool of self-assumed goodness and sacrifices- but the one who looks beyond it and is ready to make a change. Where a female is involved, you have to deal with it like a fragile thing with lots of emotions, appreciation, recognition, and praise. And when two females are involved, then with these things, the aid of Allah (swt) is a must. Consistency is required when dealing with females, you are not required to do big lofty things, but little tiny things on a daily basis will do wonders. Calling her or texting her once in a day will make her more than happy. It is not necessary to buy expensive gifts every time, a surprise note or a flower will surely earn you grade points.

Every person has his/her own right and worth. If anyone is given undue importance over the worth of another, it will create chaos.

Supplicate to Allah (swt) for being accurate in your decisions and to be fair in dealings. Pray for tranquility and love among the family members and a heart that is ready to forgive and forget. Dwelling on past issues will not bear any good outcome. So stop being critical and sarcastic. When it is cancerous for you to compliment your spouse, it is cancerous for the relation when you pass nasty comments even under the banner of joke.

In a nutshell, marriage is for man and not for boys. It is not a platform to satisfy your sexual desires and physical needs. If you are not ready to bear the responsibility and to manage all affairs with a hard nerve, then kindly don’t opt to tie the knot soon.

What’s Wrong with These Men?


Men on Vacations

You are on your dream getaway to the end of the Earth. Hand in hand with your husband, you board the plane and land on Kankoon islands. Once on the beach, you swing in a hammock, rocking gently. The palm trees above sway in the breeze. The calm blue ocean stretches before you as far as the sight can gaze. The warm white sand beneath nestles wondrous shells. You can feel a smile on your face, as you quietly hear the sounds of the waves rolling on to the shore. Such serenity, such tranquility, such peace! Ah! Just the time and place for romance.

And, suddenly, you hear a snort, a snore and a growl. As you flip around, your better half is fast asleep with his mouth wide open. The romance that was to ensue is obviously not going to take place. Frustrated and frowning, you wonder how anyone can bother to kill time sleeping in this paradise? After spending millions and travelling for miles away from the crazy mayhem at home, he chooses to doze off, instead of romancing me? Guess what? You shot in your own foot and gave him no other choice.

In order to understand a man’s behaviour, one needs to step into his world. For most of them, in the 8 to 10 hours that they spend at work, regardless of their profession, the day is filled with action and challenges. Planning, executing, leading, deciding, meeting, multi-tasking, directing and taking orders – this is usually a man’s day at work. This is a demand that he needs to meet every day. In our modern day and age, because of an over-competitive culture, less people are hired to tackle more work. Hence, this man generally has to take care of demands that require him to stretch his coping ability. If he succeeds, he feels pleasure and elation and a good type of stress called eustress. But if his coping ability fails to meet the demands, he feels low and disappointed, which gives him negative stress called distress.

Now, when such individuals are exposed to a non-challenging environment, where their perceived coping abilities outweigh the perceived demand created, boredom and frustration occurs. For such active individuals, it is best to opt for more adventurous holidays, such as trekking, bungee jumping, scuba diving, sky diving, driving into wilderness, camping or rafting. Chances are that such engaging vacations will thrill them. You will catch them smiling often and cracking jokes, as they feel decisive, confident, understanding and euphoric. This state depicts eustress: the good stress, under which you perform your very best. This is when the chemical messenger/hormone noradrenaline increases. Physically, one can feel goose bumps rise. Pupils dilate, hearing is acute, palms and feet become sweaty and a feeling of excitement engulfs without anger and hostility.

Thus, no matter how much you love the calm of coconut beaches, that’s not the place for your romantic retreat.

Even at home, Sundays for many families are miserable. Wives bitterly complain that their husbands either choose to plant themselves before a machine (laptop, television, etc.) or snooze every now and then. The best way to get them to their feet is to excite them with some action that challenges their perceived coping abilities. It could be building something, playing sport or cooking barbeque outdoors, in other words, anything that requires alertness, thinking and decision making. Otherwise, if you leave them lounging about at home, you will find them curled in a corner sleeping away most definitely, as they are bored out of their mind and find little to sink in their teeth into.

Men after Retirement

Now that you have an understanding of how a man’s work life generally is, you can very well imagine how he feels when he is given a golden handshake, retires or is asked to leave. Most men suffer from multiple disorders and serious health conditions after their retirement and not during their active work tenure. Why? They undergo strokes, heart attacks and other such fatal illnesses, when they are resting in peace at home, not while they were active in service. It’s because it is distressful for them to be of no use to anyone, while they most probably still could have been. They have enjoyed their moments in the limelight, raked in many badges of honour and have been the best workers on force like the salt of the Earth. For this reason, we often hear several embellished versions of their active employment days long after they have retired.

When this man is sent home after years of meeting challenges, his perceived coping abilities are still high but the perceived demand is very low. He is expected to rest, sleep, play with his grandchildren or read books, when he still could have been doing far more. It is a world they have a hard time being part of. We often hear our mothers and mothers-in-law complaining about our fathers and fathers-in-law that they have transformed into grumpy old goats and throw volcanic temper tantrums.

In Islam, there is no logic of retirement. Our beloved Prophet (sa) died at the age of 63 years and was working until then. The concept of retirement is the capitalist society’s need to replace old ideas with new ones, less vigour with more and old with new, in order to serve their demands. And, as a lollipop, they hand over some package or finances to console their lifelong servant, who has given the best of his years and ability to them. In reality, these corporations have made far more profits, while this man was employed with them, than what they offer him at the end of his service. They still get the better deal.

Hence, a Muslim man should keep this in view and gradually taper off, rather than sit at home and wait for death to catch him in his rocking chair. His family should facilitate this important transition and find value in his remaining energy, experiences and capabilities. Otherwise, the person, who experiences depression and loss of control, also produces large amount of cortisol: a chemical messenger/hormone that suppresses the immune system, if it exceeds its normal range. Prolonged effects of cortisol can lead to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, chronic anxiety and depression.

The crux of it all is that every believer has to engage in activities that offer him situations to control and excel at. In cases of retired men, learning new technology could be interesting. Offering consultancy based on their experiences could be another area to explore. Offering services to philanthropic organizations free of charge or at nominal cost can be very motivating and gratifying.

Women play a very significant role in this. Get the men moving, when they find themselves redundant and useless. But refrain from nagging or overdoing it, as it may backfire. Hikmah (wisdom), pure Neeyah (intention) to help them and Dua (prayer) are very important. They all need situations worth exploring, glimmering with excitement, taking chances and making mistakes just like children do.