Monday, 17 November 2008

The crisis of modernity and the role of the Muslim women

Society has witnessed a lot of change in last couple of decades. Men's roles and responsibilities, hopes and aspirations have changed through out this period. As a result, gender roles have acquired new meanings. Education has played a very vital role in empowering women and their social status. Majority of women are more likely to be found in workplace than ever before. The way women in modern days perceive their life varies from the traditional way. Now a days, in our society a so-called 'successful woman' is the one who seems to have it all i.e. good look, good education, at least a graduate degree, a good well-paid job as well as a nice family , most probably with one or two children.

Apart from some exceptional 'superwomen', it is almost impossible for most of the women to cope with so many responsibilities in such a limited time and maintain a 'successful' reputation. That’s why the tale of 'superwoman' seems a myth to a lot extent. The pressure and expectation created by the modern society causes lot of stress for women. It has left most of the women with double burden of private and public life.

If we go back to the rise of feminism in 1960s through out most of the western nations, the movement was triggered by western women becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the way they have been treated. The inequality in almost every sphere of life made them rebel against the society. To a lot extent, strict patriarchal values played a major role in oppressing women. Unfortunately, though Islam views men and women as equal partners in society who complements each other, the Muslim societies around the world treated women more or less in a same way as their western counterparts.

The majority of Muslim societies are to a large extent influenced by the West through its brutal legacy of colonialism and imperialism. As a result Muslim women in modern times have also witnessed lot of change in their lives. The rise of modernity has enabled women to have some luxuries in their life such as the right to have liberty, equality, education and so on. However, we as Muslims cannot view the whole concept of modernity as something very positive for us to follow. We need to scrutinize the nitty gritty of what it really means to be modern.

Modern world is getting increasingly secular in its nature. The complete absence of Devine entity in our public life is what the ultimate goal of a modern life is. Religion has to a lot extent been forced to the private arena and the major institutions are left secular in their vision and course of action. Modernity promotes the idea of individualism, instant gratification, the preference of wealth and fame over ethics and morality. No doubt the rise of modern society has given birth to negative understanding of life and the expectations of men.

For modern Muslim woman Islam is not just a mere religion rather she perceives Islam as a way of life which is termed as Deen in Arabic. A modern Muslim woman tries to maintain a balance between her public and private life. Whatever has been prescribed to us by our Lord Allah SWT to follow in order to remain as practising muslimahs, we try to follow that to our best of abilities. The way the modern society wants us to perceive and plan our life is not compatible to what our Lord wants from us.

Unfortunately Islam as a religion has been portrayed as very rigid and oppressive to women due to ignorance and cultural practise of majority of Muslims around the world. Sadly local culture which to a great extent is not approved by Islam and its teaching, has been dominating Muslim mind over the years and as a result our beautiful and universal Deen, Islam has been unfairly judged through the action of so-called Muslims who lack proper knowledge of the Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved prophet Muhammad SAW.

We as Muslim women have lots of things to do to create a strong Ummah like our golden age of Islam. First, we need to educate ourselves through in-depth study of the Quran and the Sunnah of our beloved prophet SAW and only through learning and practising sincerely our religion we can empower our women and the whole of the Ummah Insha-Allah. We also need to remember that Allah has entrusted us with a great responsibility of Khalifa which makes us, Muslims and Muslimahs the representative of our Lord on this earth. We have been sent with a noble mission. We have already promised Allah before Him sending us for our great mission on this ephemeral world to worship Only Him and follow Only His guidance wholeheartedly and try to propagate this noble message to everyone as well as creating a world based on justice.

We Muslims women are not weak and powerless because we have Allah as our Lord and Sustainer. He is sufficient for us as a Helper. He is also the best of the planner. So what are we waiting for? O my dear sisters in Islam let us embark on a journey of learning, practising, propagating this wonderful faith of ours and uniting this great Ummah of our beloved prophet Muhammad SAW. Let us help each other to know and worship our Creator with our best of abilities and march to jannah together. May Allah SWT grant us His Mercy and His acceptance of us as His khalifa.

No comments: