By Azka Javeria and Umm Zahra
The past few days have been really troubling for us, what with all the posts on ‘Aurat March’ storming our social media accounts every day. We wanted to write about it, but were slightly scared of making our stance public. Finally, we mustered the courage to write and share our opinion!
There is a good side and a not so good side to Aurat March, and both need to be recognized.
It is not a problem if women are standing up for their rights. When the state, society and men of the family fail to protect and empower their women responsibly, we see marches as reactions. Someone has made disturbingly wrong decisions in the lives of these women who have lost faith and any hope for justice.
The majority laments that the march is indecent. But we have driven them to a point when the protesting women find honour in something else – mainly for their voices to be heard.
We also need to ask ourselves if it isn’t ‘indecency’ when a woman is slapped in public, when she is disgraced by select family members in public, when her dignity is breached in public by onlookers and passersby. And the list goes on.
Having said all that, we do have some reservations about the march.
Slogans and their tone
The purpose of a slogan is to get your message across in as little words as possible.
If you have to explain the meaning of your slogan again and again, then unfortunately it does not fulfill its purpose and you might as well change it.
Similarly many slogans are outright rude and target the opposite gender. You need to remember that your initiative isn’t against men, but against a system which oppresses women, and honestly why would you talk to somebody the way you would not like to be talked to? It is understandable that you are hurt and depressed and the march gives you a way to vent but again extremism cannot fight extremism and rudeness won’t kill rudeness!
Also, some posters actually are against Islamic values; some are totally against all norms of decency – let’s not deny it, as we all know about them. There really needs to be a proper check on slogans before they are raised.
The march itself
People, how is a one day march going to change anything? Let’s face it – a march never solved anything. No political or communal change was ever brought by any march.
Only recently in Hong Kong, citizens had been marching in the streets against their new legislation. But after a couple of months they all packed their bags and went home. End of story.
Moreover, it was not the way adopted by our Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him, the man who made the biggest impact in the world, setting the foundation of the Muslim civilization and transforming the social system along with his obedient and guided companions (may Allah be pleased with them).
Did the early converts organize a march against their persecutors? Did Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her) organize a march against Abdullah bin Ubay, the hypocrite who maligned her? No, she worshipped earnestly and waited for Allah’s (swt) grand plan to come into action. The Quran revealed special Ayaat (verses) guarding her chastity and nobility of character and exposing the sinner.
Did Aasiyah organize a march against the Pharaoh? No, she raised a prophet in her household, distanced herself from the evil of her husband and invoked upon her Lord (swt): “O my Lord! Build for me a home near You in Paradise.” (At -Tahreem 66:11) After death, she ended in the eternal bliss of paradise and became a symbol of a great woman with whom Allah (swt) was pleased and who the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him) considered a role model for the believing women if they faced similar trials.
Many years later, did Fatima al-Fihri organize a march to establish higher education institutions? No, she did not waste time. She found solutions and sought help from Allah. She invested all the inheritance that she received from her father and built the first university of the world! The list of such incredible Muslim women can take up to volumes of books if we were to pen them.
None of the suffering women were patient about oppression (Zulm).
They worked against Zulm, they migrated, they pulled themselves away from those who slandered or mistrusted them, they sided with fellow oppressed women and helped them however they could – all the while being boldly unapologetic about it.
The final proposed solution
Take a spiritual retreat: In times of darkness, intellect and emotions surrender. The only light that shines through is when we have a divine connection with our Creator. Make Dua, embrace obedience to Allah (swt), adopt the Prophet’s way and wait for divine help to arrive. It will, in sha Allah, in ways you had never imagined. Have faith and hold on!
Grow personally: Recognize the potential, talent and goodness within you and water this seed with care. Let it grow into a shady fruit bearing tree. Give the world back what it never gave to you. You will truly improve your own and someone else’s life too. Allah (swt) has breathed a soul into you which is divine – do not let the Shaitan or his followers corrupt it.
Build yourself emotionally: Allah (swt) has granted us emotions to connect, communicate, express and love each other. Use them positively to heal yourself and other suffering souls. Let Allah (swt) avenge your culprits. Do not bruise yourself and other innocent people who were not responsible for your misery. You can patch up a broken family, or you can educate women around you about their rights and what they can do about it constructively.
Plan intellectually: There are ways to stand up; there are ways to use your voice which will work better than any march, which you can practice without going out in the summer heat. You can write about women rights. You can make documentaries and videos about successful women. You can help out women in distress by actually doing something for them either financially or emotionally.
Islam shows us how to deal with these issues. Islam empowers women. Islam honours women. Do not let an abusive culture come between yourself and your Lord (swt)!
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