Sunday, April 16, 2017

The Sacrifices of Women

There are entire generations of women who have been taught that being a self sacrificing Ideal Muslimah martyr wife and mother will bring them fulfillment - without mentioning the cost to their physical, emotional, and spiritual health.
These women have been taught and trained to hide their own individuality and sense of selves to the point that they can't even remember who they are - and their husbands certainly have no idea because they only ever expected the Ideal Muslimah Stepford Wife, and got it.
The idea of women reclaiming ourselves and taking ownership of our lives is terrifying, because we have been told that to do so is selfish and self-centered.
Worse, so many Muslim women have been taught that their spiritual well-being depends on being this model wife/mother martyr.
To step away from that role leaves them feeling spiritually bereft; their husbands would be bewildered and often upset to see their wives of 20, 30, 40 years no longer performing that particular role and instead pursuing goals or ambitions of their own choosing.
And as women have been told for so long, a husband's displeasure - no matter how petty or silly or selfish of him - is nearly equal to God's displeasure.
Some women will reach a point of recognition and break away from it all. Far more, however, will choose to struggle with their inner emptiness and loss, without doing anything to change it.
It truly is difficult to shut out the ingrained programming and the voices in our minds telling us that we are displeasing God if we choose a different path, a different way of viewing ourselves as believers, as women.
There is nothing wrong with being a wife or mother, but to make that one's focal point/purpose of life is devastating. We were created to worship our Lord, to be khulafaa' of this world, and that worship and responsibility does not require sacrificing our entire well being for the sake of culturally constructed roles and ideas of Muslim womanhood.
The trouble with sacrifice is that we often confuse sacrifice for the Sake of God with sacrifice for the sake of a husband or children.
No doubt God will reward us all the same, but for us to expect humans to repay us with inner fulfillment is deception of the greatest kind. In the end, regardless of women's good intentions, we must know for ourselves and teach our own children that self fulfillment does not come from giving up your own sense of self for the sake of others.
It is completely possible to be a loving wife and mother without becoming *only* a wife and mother. As a Muslim woman, you are still allowed your own thoughts and opinions and dreams and to say and do things that others may not like and disagree with - so long, of course, as we are certain that we are not sinning.
And therein lies the difference: the pleasure of Allah is not necessarily the pleasure of the people. What the people disapprove of is not necessarily what Allah will punish us for. Sacrifice for the sake of Allah will be rewarded by Allah, not the people for whom you sacrificed your life.
{Say, "Indeed, my prayer, my rites of sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allah , Lord of the worlds.} (Quran 6:162)

No comments: