He, Him, His, Himself
Blog Post 28
February 10, 2020
Warning:This blog post contains challenging content dealing with racism, sexism, misogyny, abortion, sexual assault, rape, physical abuse, torture, violence, slavery, kidnapping, murder.
A respectable man told me the other day that the family is such an important aspect of our lives and we need to put our time and effort into the family. He said it’s harder than fighting against oppression and injustices, here and globally, cause
that's easy to do and lots of people do it all over the world. Making our families healthy and strong and mending family relationships is much more difficult than the political activities we perform and the demonstrations and protests we attend. He said,
Our families are “the real work” and it’s “so hard.”
I listened. I’d heard that before. But I was surprised such a statement was coming from this man cause he did engage in political activities, demonstrations and protests and posted and spoke about the world today and the mess it’s in with clear understanding of who’s behind it all and why. He wasn’t messing around when it came to speaking out for truth and justice and he didn’t let others push him around and change his mind and make him tame.
So I thought about why he’d say that. I thought about how people all over the world put their time and effort into their families. I thought about all the men and women who work to support their families, to give them shelter and food, clothing and education. I thought about all the women and men who teach their children right from wrong and how to be a kind human being, compassionate to the weak and downtrodden and strong against the aggressors. I thought about all the women and men who worship the Creator and help their families stay on the Right Path by sending their children to madrassah and even Islamic day schools, attending the masjid, volunteering there or elsewhere, helping out their extended families and neighbours and coworkers and communities in various ways.
And I also thought about two things:
1. Men are the maintainers of women.
2. Oppression, corruption, murder and mayhem
have laid waste to generations of people in every land.
Let’s look at each of these truths in turn.
Through the ages, men have dominated women, abused women, held women hostage and assaulted and raped and killed women. Men know this and women know this. In jahiliyya Arabia, female infants were buried alive, their fathers ashamed to have a girl. Back then, boys were the best. In China, when the one child policy was in effect and mandatory (1979-2015), women were brainwashed and coerced into aborting their female fetuses so their only child would be a boy. Back then, boys were the best. During slavery in the Americas, white men had free reign with their female black slaves, raping them whenever and however, whipping the ladies, debasing the ladies, selling their children, selling the ladies, killing them. Back then, men were the lords and women were property like animals. In war most everywhere, women are manhandled. They are accosted, gang-raped, sold into slavery, slapped, spit on, beat, tortured, brutalized and murdered. Even within a marriage, men hurt their wives. If this is not true, then why did Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him and his family, say he was surprised that a husband would strike his wife, the one he lays with and makes love with, the one whose lips he kisses.
So, let’s be real. Sure men are dominated, abused, held hostage, assaulted, raped and killed. Sure men are whipped, debased, sold, accosted, gang-raped, slapped, spit on, beat, tortured, brutalized and murdered. When and where? War? Slavery? Prison? And who’s doing all these atrocities and crimes to men? Who starts all these wars?
Who are the slavers, the transporters, the sellers,
the owners, the jailers, the torturers, the killers?
My take is that men are the maintainers of women and rather than taking care of women the way they should, with kindness and compassion and love and mercy, with tenderness and understanding and generosity, they are pissed off cause they have to take care of women and maintain them and work to provide for their needs and wants. This is what I believe.
I am not denying that there are many men who treat women well. They work hard and don’t hate providing for their wives and families. They speak nicely to women, listen to and value what women say, understand the feminine traits and incorporate them into themselves, admire women’s skills and patience and love and compassion, honour women’s childbearing, birthing, nursing and childcare abilities, cherish women’s intellect, sweetness, courage, beauty and spirituality. These are good men. These are good men who can’t live without women.
These are good men who realize the path
to Paradise is wrapped up in and around women.
But the history of the world as it is proves otherwise. From the time, Prophet Adam and Lady Hawwa, peace be upon them, ate from the tree in the Garden, the story got told wrong. The story got manipulated. It was not Lady Hawwa, peace be upon her, who got tricked or even did it on purpose and then tricked her husband. Both of them were culpable and neither blamed the other. Shaitan fooled them both. Lady Hawwa, peace be upon her, was not the bad one, the bad woman, the sinful, evil one. That’s where it started and that’s how it went on through the ages until today. It’s all mangled up.
So since men are the maintainers of women that means
they are required to take care of women in all ways.
They must work and spend their money on the women and the families. This means if a man is married, his wife must be sheltered, fed, clothed and taken care of financially in a better state than even he can be. Through mutual agreement, if the wife works, every last penny she makes is hers and she is not required to spend it on anyone but herself. The husband though must spend his money on her and the family. This means he may be required to do without if his financial situation is strained. If they both need shoes and only one pair of shoes can be afforded, guess who gets shoes. If the husband wants a racing bicycle and his wife needs a winter coat, but there’s money enough for one of those items, guess who gets what. Etc., Etc., Etc. If you know men like that be assured they are good men.
But throughout history and in today’s world, men spend on themselves. They frown upon and lie and hide their financial status so they can accumulate and spend on themselves. It isn’t women who’re asking for luxury and sports cars, the latest fad in technology, cruises, yachts, vacations around the world, diamonds, gold, designer clothes, and so on. It’s the men who want to deck themselves and their property (their wives) out that way and show off what they possess to other men. And the women play along cause it’s nice. If they’re asking, though, it’s cause they’ve succumbed to the status quo and are veering off the path.
More about this maintenance thing. Since men have to make and spend their money on women, what do the women have to do? Not much. Besides worshipping Allah, being educated and a fine example of a human being, women’s only other responsibility is her availability to her husband. She does not have to cook, clean, take care of the children, work inside or outside the home, etc. Why do you think that is? Men marry women so they can have sexual relationships and children. Normally, sexual relationships end with children. It’s kind of like a bargain – you work and take care of me and I’ll take care of you. But the children are the father’s responsibility, not the mother’s. Men think they marry so women will take care of them, kind of like how their mothers probably did, but without the sex part.
Men don’t and have never thought so.
That’s why women get the short end of the stick and are abused and killed on top of it. Even a man very close to me told me in the last years of his life that all the women and girls did was play while he was out working carrying mail in the heat and the cold and the sleet and the rain. That’s what men think women do at home when they’re off at work. Play like children. Play with the children. Act like children. Women equal children.
Yet, if you think back on your own grandmother, mother or even your wife or yourself, is that what women do if they’re not working inside (like a home business) or outside the home? They just play, relax, drink coffee/tea/water?, watch tv, surf the web, text their friends. Most likely, not! So in reality, women do tons more than the men who maintain them. Not only do they bear and birth children, nurse them, help them develop into full human beings capable of using their intellect, emotional intelligence and caring toward others, nature and the world (the first three, men cannot and never will be able to do), many women shop for groceries and clothing and household items, etc., prepare meals and cook and fry and bake, wash dishes and pots and pans, vacuum and mop and dust, wash and dry and fold and iron and put away clothes, straighten up the house and closets and drawers, etc., empty the garbage/blue bin/green bin, plan and enroll and implement activities for the children (and even for themselves and their husbands), including outdoor play and swimming lessons and madrassah and Scouts, etc., take the children to appointments, help the children with homework, communicate with the children’s schools and teachers, monitor the children and ensure their safety and physical, emotional and mental well-being, check on their tv and internet and cell phone usage, follow-through with consequences, plan birthday and holiday events, maintain contact with relatives, including their mothers and mothers-in-law, etc. And many, many women manage to do all these things while working full-time jobs outside the home and/or running a home business.
The truth is:
men should be ashamed of their behaviour.
If any man reading this can honestly say they are willing to do what women do, I’d say they’ve never attempted it. If any man reading this, actually read through the list of what women do, they’d be ashamed of themselves. If any man reading this, had thought about what women do before reading this, they’d be ashamed of themselves. But the vast majority of men don’t know or don’t want to know what women go through, what women do, how women feel, what women are like, and not because women haven’t probably told them, but because they’re so wrapped up in “I have to maintain them and they don’t have to maintain me.” So many men are more than happy when their wives say they want to work cause let’s face it women will use their money to support themselves and their families. Not because they have to, remember, but because they want to. And then, men try to control that, telling their wives and daughters and mothers what they can and can’t do with their own money. My God!
Isn’t misogynist the word of the day? It means woman-hater. Man-made, mankind, all men are created equal. Women are not invisible and you know it. Women suffer just knowning women suffer.
I guess what I’m saying is:
Sure, let’s work on the family.
Men first. Man up.
Now the second truth… ‘Nuf said. It’s the same thing.
But I’m not certain that’s what the respectable man meant for me to get to when he said what he said that day. I know what he meant but this is what I wrote. I'll get to what he meant another day, inshallah.
Disclaimer: Men and women are being generalized in this blog post. I know that.