Many many moons ago, I had a suitor tell me that I should follow his leadership. He told me that if I followed his plans that the marriage would work out. Of course, I wanted to vomit. He would tell me time after time that he was my imam (leader) and my role was to follow him in accomplishing his dreams. He would acknowledge that I could go after my dreams. He encouraged me to do so. However, his dreams were more important and held more leverage. Unfortunately, I would just be on the ride enjoying the benefits of being his wife. Now, I couldnt tolerate that any longer. I had to end that mess.
The crazy part was the fact that he knew how I felt about patriarchy. He knew I was not one to be oppressed. He pledged that he would never hit me, but I wasnt just concerned about that. I was concerned with mental abuse. Leadership roles has always been attributed to men, historically. Many men and women still believe that a woman’s place is to follow.
Yeah, not me. Most of the world is controlled by men and somehow everything in the world is pretty much a mess. I do not hate men. I love men. I believe women and men should work together to end sexist oppression. What exactly is a woman’s place? I’m not quite sure.
So, I have tried over and over again in figuring out if marriage is right for me. I know that marriage is a divine institution, but women have been oppressed by marriage for so long. Some women put up with the crap in their marriages because they are expected to and are told that submission is salvation. For me, submission should go both ways. If not, you have a domination-subjugation relationship. This leads to oppression. This is not ideal for me. The marriage must be mutual. There must be love, respect, trust and communication.
The spirit of Islam is justice and love. After battling months after months, years after years in being taught and fed patriarchal Islam, I gave up. I knew this was not it. I needed to find the Islam that made sense to me, as a woman. I was not going to marry a man that felt that a domination-subjugation marriage was ideal and acceptable. For this reason, I havent married. I have strayed from marriage like the plague. I would rather be single and suffer whatever woes supposedly you have with single-ness. I couldnt imagine getting into a divine marriage and have hell. This is not right. I will not tolerate patriarchal and make an excuse for it.
Many women have told me that Islam is patriarchal, thus I should bow down to patriarchy. Yes, Islam is patriarchal like most religions. I agree. No doubt about it! Nonetheless, patriarchy is oppressive. It is a system rooted in violence. There isnt love in this. It is domination and subjugation. So, I have went in search of an Islam that adheres to the spirit of love and justice for men and women.
In seeking out answers, I encourage others to never take the convenient route of just going with the majority. Yes, it is easier to go with the majority. You wont get questioned or persecuted. However, nothing changes if a change of thought doesnt occurs. If we all yields to one frame of thought then to hell with change. If you are too afraid to think independently then shame on you. You could’ve helped many. I may never get married. This is just the reality. I refused to succumb to a patriarchal marriage of oppression in which I am treated as a piece of property to be transferred from one owner(my father) to the next (my husband). And to hell to the teacher that told me and other muslimahs (Muslim females) that a dowry (bridal-gift) allows a man to enjoy us sexually whenever he pleased. I am not a piece of property. I am a human-being. I will not compromise myself nor my integrity for any person or institution.
To my future daughter(s), you aren’t property nor any man’s sexual object. You are a human-being. Stand up for yourself and forever use your voice!
To my future son(s), you are not a woman’s protector. You dont have to feel sorry for females because they are female. They are not helpless, no matter what people tell you. They are capable just like you. Never treat a woman like property. Never seek the permission of a woman’s father for marriage. Her consent is her permission. She should neither be given away or passed off. She is your equal, no matter what you hear in the streets. You condemn anyone that tells you otherwise.