Interesting conversation lately…
Yes, Islam means to ‘submit’ and muslim means to ‘the one who submits’
The question then arises, submit to who?
Submission to the commands of Allah, as taught to us by His final messenger, Nabi Muhammed(saw).
Next question: Does that mean that muslim women must submit to their husbands?
‘No, the term muslimah is a female who submits…again to the commands of Allah. Not a person who submits to her husband/father/any male’
So then, why are muslim women forced to cover themselves?
For this, I sighed first… Then answered.
‘Yes, in some countries, muslim women are forced to cover themselves, by their fathers, by their husbands ect. However, that cannot be said of most muslim women in so-called western countries. Me, for example, no-one here knows my husband, no one from my family is nearby. If I so wished, I could easily take off my hijab, but I choose to wear it. I want to wear it. I want to submit to Allah’s commands. My hijab is a part of me! If a women is free to expose her body, why shouldn’t she be free to cover it, if she wants to?’
Next was: So why does Islam say women can’t be educated?
Again, another deep breathe…
‘Islam commands that people gain knowledge from the cradle to the grave! People, it does not specify muslim men, it says all people! If you’re referring to Afghanistan or certain areas of Africa, then again, it has to do with cultural ideology…
What about Malala???
‘That was Pakistan. And what happened to her was undoubtedly a crime! If anything, she is now an example of what muslim women always were. Those who break barriers and strive for excellence. Did you know that the first university in the world EVER, was established and founded by a MUSLIM? Not just a muslim, but a muslim WOMAN? And the current youngest qualified doctor in the world, a young woman from Palestine, a muslim WOMAN! Do you know that Islam had afforded women numerable rights, including inheritence of property, when most other societies were still debating the existence of females having souls…’
Yes, but! What about? What about? What about?
And so the conversation carried on in this fashion for a while, when I came to the realisation, that while most ask questions, because they truly want to informed. They want to know more, they’re really questioning the mass media propaganda that they’re bombarded with, and have an open mind…Others have a list of questions to try and ‘attack’ Irrespective of the answers you give, attack they will.
Unfortunately this particular conversation, was one of attack. I tried to answer the best I could, but nothing I said was going to penetrate that pre-formed (and wrong!) conception of my faith.
It reminded me of the verse
“Indeed, you do not guide whom you like, but Allah guides whom He wills..” (Quran, Surah Yunus:15). Whilst it is undoubtedly our responsibility to educate ourselves and answer questions with patience and clarity, ultimately guidance comes from Allah alone.