By Arshi Dokadia:
When one thinks about Muslim women, there comes this image in mind, where we are dressed from head to toe in a burkha and only our eyes visible. We are not allowed to gain an education and go out and pursue careers. And when it comes to Hijab and us covering ourselves, everyone has an opinion on how we are suppressed and living under a male-dominated culture because of it. I am not even going to go into the argument of how all Muslims are not terrorists because it has been written on length about how we are not; and how we ourselves keep on pleading to the terrorists, who terrorise in the name of Islam, to actually learn Islam and accept it so they stop shedding innocent blood.
In a society where feminists are criticized, I am personally a bit paranoid about some of their ideals too. Because, what I see in today’s feminism is not a chase for equality, but a chase to overpower men. I want to tell these feminists that we can do much better than feed our ego by overpowering or suppressing the other. Let’s just co-exist in peace. In an era where ‘Feminism’ is a stigmatized term, calling myself a feminist is some risk I am taking upon myself. Numerous times I have seen my male friends criticize one of my friends for claiming openly that she is a feminist. And to be honest, she counter-claims that I am not a feminist because I wear a hijab.
And as I interact with my readers on Wattpad, where I am their career counsellor, I realize that the stigma against Muslim feminists prevails.
How can a Muslim woman be a feminist?Let’s see how.
Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines Feminism as
: the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities
: organize activities in support of women’s rights and interests.
So I can summarize Feminism as the belief that men and women should have equal rights. Now, let me quote the noble Qur’an:
“And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” [Noble Qur’an 2:228]
So, where does the holy scripture go against feminism?
Apart from that, I think that we must remember how feminism came into view- to fight for the rights of women. And what it represents now is a bunch of women who want to suppress men. But wasn’t fighting suppression the main idea of feminism?
Why can’t we just be humanists? Humanity is the best religion, best principle and the best cause to chase after.
We Muslim women, in general, are not suppressed, but that doesn’t mean that there are not other extremes where women are suppressed. What feminists should do is fight for actually suppressed women and not the ones who choose to wear the hijab or niqab by choice. Often I have been asked to remove my hijab to show liberation of women. But isn’t liberation wearing what you wish to? I mean if a woman is fighting to wear jeans and a mini-skirt, or showing off her body in India, no one bothers, but one woman is asking to cover herself and everyone is just screaming suppression!
That my dear friends, is hypocrisy.
I am twenty, I am from an age group where your worth is decided in how many likes you get on Facebook and how many followers you have on Instagram. So, when I am moving away from the oft taken road, why are people so insistent that I should follow what everyone is doing? Be it what I wear or what I choose to study? That I gave up MBBS for writing? That I want to exercise my choice and wear a hijab?
Stop criticizing each other’s life choices, this is not just for feminists, but everyone in general. Guiding someone, giving a suggestion is completely different from criticizing people.
We have many troubles to face, from the increasing prices and economic depression, from neck to neck competition, to global warming, to the danger to our own life through imminent nuclear wars. Do we really have time in this fast paced world to criticize others for their choices? Or for their level of religiosity or modernism? For anything, really?
Please, lets just live and let live.