Friday 17 August 2018

The role of Women, in society and in Islam

 Hello lovely readers, 

With Women's Month upon us, and my insane life at the moment, I have been pondering on the role of women in society. I have seen many write ups about why we celebrate Women's Day, or Women's month with the focus on empowering women and taking care of young girls and women in our society. This has led directly to deliberating my role as a woman in society, in my home, in the lives of others and most importantly, my role as a woman in Islam.

Leading up to this month, this week, and my birthday, has me introspective and listening more than I have been talking and participating. I have read, contemplated and found so many answers within, and realisations which have presented itself. 
My first role is as a woman, for myself... I cannot fulfil any other role if I am not sure of who I am, what I want and what my responsibilities are. My responsibilities do not refer to taking care of the family, or the home, or being a model wife. Instead, my responsibilities include being aware of myself in the world, which means knowing my impact, my strengths and weaknesses and how this affects my interactions with others. It means being fully aware of gifts which have been Divinely bestowed upon me, my Divine purpose in this world and having the consciousness to embrace these, even when it doesn't fit with my idea of my role and purpose. The very act of being is a responsibility, where I am content to trust the greater plan to the Almighty and listening intently to the Divine guidance offered. This is easier said than done, because my humanness means that my control freak tendencies will get in the way, my headstrong ideas of my future will cloud my intent and my judgements will pop up when I least expect it. It takes work and constant insight into the self to keep these at bay. And this is merely one example of how I live my Hajj ♥️

My other roles include being a wife and mother, and this too comes with responsibilities apart from the usual cooking, cleaning and mom jobs. The responsibilities I consider all-important are being the best version of myself with them each day. Presenting my best and being my authentic self goes a long way to making them feel safe and secure in a very significant male-female relationship in their lives. Treating them with respect and showing them that they matter in the context of their own lives, and mine, is something I strive to impart. In return, these men who occupy my life, reciprocate the respect and reverence toward me as their wife, mom and as a role model. From birth the kids would have been watching, learning, absorbing every detail about how I go about in the world, more than what I would tell them, teach them or say. They learn by example; and by just being fully aware of myself, the wonderful bits and the not so wonderful bits, I would hope to teach them to accept themselves in this way too. Part of my role as a wife is to be the companion and support structure, providing a safe haven for my spouse and partner in life. Being able to accept my partner for who he is, warts and all, love him entirely, is a gift on its own, and I receive the same in return. 

As a woman in Islam, I am held in high regard, and in no way am I meant to be the stereotypical subservient good 'wifey'. In Islam women are elevated, and this has been reinforced by our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), by raising the stature of women to one of high esteem, privilege and dignity. We have evidence of the high esteem of women in Islam by just observing the great Muslim women in history:

  • Khadija, "The Mother of Islam", who was not only the the first follower of Islam (and also the first female follower of Islam), but also a successful businesswoman and entrepeneur.
  • Some of them avid scholars such as Aisha, the wife of the Prophet (PBUH), who was an acclaimed teacher, an intellectual who narrated over 2,000 hadiths.
  • Asiyah, wife of Fir’aun, who died a matryr, tortured at the hands of her husband for embracing Islam.
  • Arwa al-Sulayhi, also known as the Little Queen of Sheba, who ruled Yemen in her own right for 71 years, the longest ruling leader Yemen has ever seen. She was also highly intelligent and well versed in the study of Quran as well as other religious texts and the sciences.

  • It is clear from the few examples above that these women who are so revered in our Islamic history were strong women, who were well versed academically, business minded and headstrong individuals, while knowing their place in Islam. 

    It is not to be like men, but to hold our own space as women, uphold our responisibilities with dignity and enjoy the privileges afforded us. I do not wish to compete with men, I do not wish to usurp their place, I wish to co-exist with them in peace, being fully entitiled to my dignity, esteem and privilege. I am grateful to be able to live freely, able to follow my thirst for knowlege and an education, run a business and speak my mind. I can only hope that the example of my husband is followed by our three young men InshaAllah.

    Today's look is a warm bundled up look against the biting cold we have been expereincing in Cape Town. A teddy coat from A Sense of Style, over a black dress with ankle boots- perfect for comfort and style.


    Outfit details: 

    A Sense of Style Coat
    Asos black dress
    French Connection bag
    HS Collection scarf (turban)
    Neck scarf purchased abroad
    Woolworths leather boots

    Ciao for now, 
    RuBe xoxo

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