As the days of hajj approach, and the stage is set for the greatest congregation in the world, it seems unbelievable that Islam today is so misunderstood. Why? Because Islam as we know it today, is actually a potpourri of culture and tradition, with a dash of eastern stereotype.
Here’s how we bust these myths:
Myth 1: Islam oppresses women! Muslim women have no right to earn and be financially independent! Their job is only to make babies!
Fact: While Islam encourages hijab and for women to stay in the home, it doesn’t restrict women from independence! Gotta talk about Khadija R.A. here, the prominent and successful business woman and that Quran endorses women earning as their Allah-given right! (Quran,4:32)
Myth 2: Islam asks only women to cover up and be modest, but boys will be boys!
Fact: Oh hey, Islam also asks men to cover up! So men are equally responsible for their attire AND they are also commanded to lower their gaze and take responsibility for their public behaviour! (Quran, 24:30).
Myth 3: Muslim women must marry whoever their parents choose for them
Fact: Muslim women have the right to choose their life partner, no conditions attached!
Case in point: woman named Khansa Bint Khidam who came to the Prophet and complained that her father forced her to marry her cousin, and the Prophet PBUH told her that she was free to dissolve this marriage and choose whomever she wished to marry.
Myth 4: Islam does not allow education for women. Muslim women are backward and uneducated!
Fact: Islam has made education equally obligatory for both men and women! After the death of Prophet (PBUH) , Aisha (R.A) was advisor to the four khalifas, teacher for the sabaha (R.A.) and a scholar par excellence for the 2000+ authentic hadith she narrated directly from Prophet (PBUH).
Myth 5: In Islam, men must always be older than the wifey, because men are, you know, superior, and the girl has to do the drawing room parade like a product up for sale, to be chosen for the prospective groom.
Fact: Hazrat Khadija R.A. was 15 years older than Prophet PBUH when SHE chose the Prophet PBUH for herself and proposed to him. That should teach us a lesson or two for the process of rishtas and shadis today.
Myth 6: O Muslim woman, thou art the maid of the household!
Fact: If the Prophet (PBUH) could mend his own clothes and serve his family in the house, what makes the modern man so smug and secure that housework is the absolute responsibility of the women? In fact, women may only serve the family if they want to, they cannot be forced into it!
Myth 7: Muslim women are meek, submissive creatures, so they should just go in the kitchen and do the dishes, or vacuum, or something.
Fact: Muslim women are brave with the strength of empowerment that Islam gives them. Read up on Nusaybah Bint Ka’ab, who valiantly defended the Prophet PBUH, almost single handedly, with a sword in her hand in the Battle of Uhud.
Myth 8: Islam gives women no rights.
Fact: Wait, what?! It was Umar R.A’s wife whose voice overrode his, and he allowed it and justified it, saying that when she takes care of the house, and is his companion in life, she has every right to confidently express her opinions.
Myth 9: It is the our express duty as Muslim women to breastfeed the baby.
Fact: The Quran encourages breastfeeding, but it also clearly states that the woman has a choice! In fact, the parents can also pay a foster woman to feed the baby. (Quran, 2:233)
Myth 10: Muslim men need to keep a strict stern front you know, cuz women get spoilt.
Fact: The religion whose prophet is so kind, gentle and friendly with his wife, that he would race her for fun in the jungles and show her the antics of the street gypsies that she longed to see, you think this religion endorses rigidity and severity with the wife?
About the author
Previously a high powered corporate, Sana Kashif is now a special needs mom and feminist passionately serving at alaaizah.org
Featured Image: Pinterest.com