The Prophet (ﷺ) said: “I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwellers were women who were ungrateful.” It was asked, “Do they disbelieve in Allah?” (or are they ungrateful to Allah?) He replied, “They are ungrateful to their husbands and are ungrateful for the favors and the good (charitable deeds) done to them. If you have always been good (benevolent) to one of them and then she sees something in you (not of her liking), she will say, 'I have never received
any good from you.”
[Sahih Bukhari Vol. 1, no. 28. Translated by Dr. Muhammd Muhsin Khan]
Women were not created to do EVERY single chore around the house and take responsibility for EVERY single part of raising and educating the children while you sit down with your feet up on the coffee table. God forbid that a man gets up and vacuums. Or that he sits down with the children and helps them with their homework instead of going out with his friends. Women were not created as slaves. It doesn’t mention that in the Quran nor does it mention that in the sunnah.
When I see posts like this, by important figures in the Muslim world, I get scared.
I spent a very large portion of my Sunday school education learning how to be an obedient wife, since becoming a wife was my only ticket to heaven (you know, most women are in hell hadith along with the women are cursed by angels when they don’t have sex with their husband hadith being rammed down my throat from ages 12-16). As a contumacious teenager, it got quite frustrating after a while to learn that men have control over my destiny as a woman to enter heaven, since it is only through a man I can become a wife or a mother. As a result, learning about gender and sexuality and love and relationships in Islam has grown to be an obsession of mine. And I mean obsession. I’ve read every book I’ve gotten my hands on on Islamic marriage law, love, sexual practices, gender studies, etc. – I’ve had lengthy discussions with every scholar I can about the same ideas wanting to get as many perspectives and opinions and ideas as possible. I generally try to avoid sharing my opinions on this tumblr, but I’m frustrated enough to want to share my nonsensical thoughts.
Now as an adult seeing friends suffer through marriages where they obey every command of their husbands, but it is never good enough for their in laws or husbands, it’s terrifying to know that women are taught misogynistic ideas in Sunday school. And it’s scary to learn that many men do not receive education in their Islamic schools to learn how to be a good husband, son or father. In all my readings and studies of Islam, healthy family life is emphasized as integral to building a healthy community. And yet, throughout my (limited) experiences in Muslim America, I’ve witnessed nothing that encourages a healthy family dynamic in our Islamic education systems.
I’ve a friend whose mother in law tormented her with these misogynistic hadith about how disobeying one’s husband leads them to hell. I’ve a friend whose husband only meets her in the bedroom for sex and otherwise never communicates with her. I’ve a friend whose husband did not know that when a woman is menstruating you cannot have sex with them, and then called her a liar for saying that its in the Qur’an. I’ve a friend married to a man who is extremely emotionally abusive, but afterwards constantly tells her over and over again that he loves her. I’ve many friends who were told by their friends that on their wedding night they should just do whatever their husband commands them to do, since you know, sex is for men.
I’ve attended a good number of Islamic lectures and classes on various topics throughout my years, and in so many of them these sexist paradigms are promoted, even when spousal relations aren’t even part of the topic at hand. So many jokes are made about how women want a man to love them, and men want a woman to respect them. This generally equates to obey your husband, and he will shower you with love.
From my readings, academic books on marriage law in Islam show that many legal scholars look at a nikah contract through purely sexual terms - a nikah is merely the legalization of sex. Spiritually, however, sex and love are seen by many scholars throughout Islamic history as inexplicably beautiful ways to connect to each other and to create a deeper connection with God.
When we approach love and sexuality in purely legalistic terms, problems will occur. Saying that it is a woman’s right to be given love is not the same as demonstrating what love is. When we approach love and sexuality in purely mathematical terms, problems will occur. Saying that by doing x with your spouse you will be rewarded with y in the next life doesn’t promote a growth and depth in a relationship that is unique to the two partners in hand.
Why is it 2016 and an American imam is saying at his pulpit we should tell our loved ones we love them? Why is it that when I attend jummah khutbahs that the imam is telling the adult men in the audience that they should go home and tell their wives they love them? Isn’t it embarrassing that this is a common problem in our communities - that men do not express love to their loved ones? And if they grew up into beings that are incapable of saying that they love their wives, what does that mean about how they express love with the other loved ones in their life? And is saying that you love someone enough to demonstrate love?
Is it not a sign of a failure in our spiritual education that we do not know how to love our spouses?
tl;dr I’m terrified of having children and trying to figure out if I should send them to a local Islamic school.