Friday, April 13, 2012

For the Record

SO, he asked, What are you aiming for? Hits? Cos if it's hits you're after you'll have to write about her article. Cos this Ijtima piece, it's not saying anything that wasn't said before. I've been saying it to my father for years.

This is a loosely worded snippet from a conversation I had with a friend when he read the half finished draft of the Ijtima piece (that has since been forever immortalised as a BBM BC).

But I went with that piece because I believed what I was saying. It was sincere. It stemmed in some part from my deep ire at the horribly sexist 'If Ijtima was for Ladies' joke that went around.

So, for the record:
1) The post wasn't about creating controversy
2) It wasn't about getting hits
3) Sajid, it definitely wasn't "a case of making a point and rebelling against the status quo because you feel slighted; a desire to make a triumphant gesture/act of defiance?" (though I do love how you worded that)
4) It definitely wasn't because I wanted attention (since, as friends will attest, I get far more of that than I actually want :p)

It was meant to engage. To make people think. And indeed,  judging by the quality of comments from my intelligent friends and acquaintances, it did just that.

So no, I don't regret writing it. And no, I don't take back any of what I said.

Also, for the record, the suggestion that ladies start their own, that was kind of tongue in cheek.
Funny how some of the anonymous commentators noticed that and that alone. Conclusive evidence that when people read your words, seldom do they see what you're trying to convey. Often they see only that which they want to see.

Oh yes, and to the lovely young sister who e-mailed, suggesting I sound insane, I didn't ONCE mention wanting to wash deghs. Reread that piece. Nor did I suggest women be allowed to sleep over (as some anonymous commentators understood). I spoke of a chance to listen to the lectures, first hand. I spoke of being given a CHOICE! As a woman, I'm sick to death of men deciding for me as though I lack the intellectual capacity to decide for myself.

Right. Tantrum done. If you'll excuse me, I'm off to see a pot about a chicken.


Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground ~ Rumi

Saturday, April 07, 2012

It's a Guy Thang

  I remember quite well, as a child, the ‘Istima’ of old. The annual Tableegh Jamaat ‘Show’ , that I always thought was designed to keep everyone away from the that other ‘Show’ – aka Shaitaan’s Headquarters.  And then as I grew into the girl who ended up at Daarul Uloom, I remember making dua for the success of the Ijtima, being behind the effort 100%.  Even now, I still consider it a noble effort. But this me wonders, especially after the year the Ijtima was held in Benoni, the year that I was drawn  into the enormity of operation and got to witness first hand, the power of such a gathering as a catalyst for unity within a community, why the Ijtima remains, after all these years, such a blatantly sexist  gathering.

I get the allure. Honestly. If I were a guy and had the option of spending a long weekend hanging out with the ‘ouens’ as opposed to trawling malls and doing the Rand Bleh Show, or horror of horrors, Sultan Mud-Bahu and having to stand by patiently while the missus messes around with seven shades of lipstick (all of which look identical to me), no prizes for guessing which I’d go for. Promise me eternal salvation while I’m at it and fathers and brothers, we have a weiner.

But at a time when Muslims are grappling with ways to marry their Islamic Identity to their Citizen of the World one, is the Tableegh Jamaat not just shooting themselves in the foot by clinging to the old ways? Expecting the modern Muslim woman -who now knows that she can do all those things the Majlis insisted she couldn’t- to placidly sit by and understand that this opportunity to sit in a ‘mubarak’ gathering will be denied her, merely because she is missing a Y- Chromosome? DO they really expect this modern, thinking woman to understand that salvation will be hers if she cooks up yummies and diligently sends it to the gathering? That her salvation is saffron coloured and smells of elachi? Whatever happened to The Quest for Knowledge being compulsory upon every Muslim Male and Female? (hadith)

And then, to add insult to injury, a brainless BBM forward does the rounds,  demeaning women, making them sound like little more than brainless fashionistas interested in nothing besides the ‘pretties’ of life. When, as a friend sagely pointed out on twitter, we all know that women manage under much more adverse conditions when they perform hajj.

I’m not asking my TJ brothers to allocate tents to the sisters where they’ll spend the nights (cos really, then you’ll find condoms needing to be put on sale amid the topis), but that a tent (with separate entrance- can’t forget that little detail) be allocated to our sisters and the program schedule made available so that they can select which lectures they’d like to attend.

If the Prophet PBUH could set aside days for the sisters, what’s wrong with setting aside a little space for our ‘respected mothers and sisters’ where they too can have a share in the blessings?

On second thoughts, Juju would sooner grow a brain than any meaningful change take place within the TJ camp, which has been much the same for the last forty years. Leave them to their glorified male bonding exercise. The Sisters should just get together and start our own sister’s ijtima!

We could handpick our scholars. International. Since locally all we really get is the Indo Pak line of thinking that would like to see women in the kitchens only, and keep them there.

And I’ll be damned if anything stops me from getting centrepieces for our tables. Who says you can’t learn in a pretty environment?

image courtesy of Badass Muslimahs