I know that I recently posted what I am SO over but a conversation with a friend of mine got me to really thinking about what I am SO over as far as the Muslim community is concerned. Some of it is rather controversial but then again, when have I ever shied away from controversy? Let’s go…
I am SO over:
-Running to a sheikh or imam for every little issue in life. I mean, seriously, can some people tie their shoe without asking a scholar what the ruling is on it? I understand that people want to ensure that they are doing the correct thing but seriously, some of us are bordering on the idiotic. I’m sorry if that sounds arrogant but I’m fed up. What happened to logic, reason and being a grown up? What happened to consulting your own soul, as the Prophet (s.a.w.) said? Do you need a sheikh to tell you that it’s wrong to steal from someone even if they aren’t Muslim?
-Fiqh obsession. Yes, fiqh is necessary and useful but I’m also concerned about my spiritual connection to Allah. How am I connecting to Allah? Am I reviewing and analyzing my current spiritual condition and looking for ways to improve it? I believe in taking a holistic approach to Islam not a piecemeal approach.
-The lectures and kutbahs about the husband’s responsibility to “teach his wife”. Um, excuse me, we live in 2009. For many people it is no longer that case that the man goes out and learns something while the woman stays home and waits for him to impart his knowledge when he comes back. Maybe my lifestyle is different but what I see happening is an exchange of ideas. Couples are learning TOGETHER. Even for women who stay at home a similar thing is happening. Women are reading, attending classes (online or in the masjid) and listening to lectures. Couples may attend classes together or separately and come back to share what they’ve learned with each other. So, is it really the case that “the husband” is teaching “the wife”?
-Brothers lecturing about “proper hijab” and the woman’s position in Islam. (I realize I said this already but I think it needs to be said again). I don’t want to attend another interfaith dialogue where a man is discussing this issue. Personally, I find it disempowering when a man decides to speak for me and how I navigate the world as a Muslim woman.
-Interfaith dialogues to the neglect of intrafaith dialogues. When are we going to discuss the issues that Muslims have between one another? When are going to work on communication, relationship building and repairing between Muslims? Better yet, will I ever live to see a Muslim community or group (on a large scale) seek cross cultural communication and team building training? Seriously, we need to bring in a third party facilitate these discussions. We can no longer pretend that everything’s fine. Just think about how many conflicts you’ve seen (between Muslims) that were the result of cultural misunderstandings. Or think about how many groups of Muslims you’ve seen who’ve tried to run a program or organization and failed because of personality conflicts, power struggles, disorganization etc.
-Lectures on marriage and family in Islam that don’t address the contemporary, current state of the community and world we live in. When I think about it I realize that different cultural communities have issues that need to be addressed within those communities. We can no longer pretend that all Muslim families and marriages wrestle with the EXACT SAME issues. For instance, there are particular issues that African-American Muslim families face that differ from those that an Arab-American Muslim family face. The point really hit home after I attended the first MANA conference.
-People from predominately Muslim countries or those who were “born Muslim” expecting me to defer to them. I don’t have a problem learning from others. I think everyone is a teacher. However, I don’t believe that a person’s country of origin or their being born into a Muslim family automatically makes them my spiritual guide.
-Muslims who deny the existence of racism, sexism, classism, and privilege in the Muslim community. Even as I experience mistreatment because of race and gender, I am still aware of other ways that I am privileged. I realize I must also work hard to prevent myself from invalidating the experiences and perspectives that differ from my own. For example, I was speaking with a friend of mine about the pressure she faces from her cultural community. She was frustrated because she felt like they were “always watching her” and would report back to her family about any perceived indiscretion on her part. It would’ve been easy for me to tell her that she shouldn’t care and that this is “her life”, forget them. But that is my perspective. I don’t come from a community that places such pressure on me. I can pretty much do what I want and it won’t jeopardize my family’s standing in the community.
What are you SO over?