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In the Name of God بسم الله


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Islam and Feminism

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Lady Khadija, Lady Fatima, and Lady Zaynab are exemplary models of Islamic femininity. Their virtue, intelligence, patience, and strength is celebrated in Muslim civilization, alongside other reputable women. These women stood up to the sociopolitical injustices of their time, making their permanent mark in history. Without these paragons, the religion of Islam falls apart. Throughout the Quran, God explicitly addresses both men and women, because they are both necessary in the establishment of good societies and families. The Prophet elevated the status of women, from being buried alive beneath the Earth, to having Paradise beneath their feet.

But today, we live in a time where it is almost easier to say that you are a cannibal than to say that you are not a feminist. People look at you as though you are in favour of rapists, sexual assault, inequity, and bad behaviour to women. The truth is that we live in a very individualistic society, where competing individuals are pitted against each other in all aspects of life. There are constant clashes between economic classes, races, religions, sects, and now, even genders. As individuals, we stand largely on our own, with little communal or neighbourly support. Instead of viewing society in a familial, tribal, or communal lens, we view society as a collection of selves in constant competition for jobs, grades, wealth, reputation, and territory. As Muslims, it is true that we have individual responsibilities, but we are also commanded to be selfless - not greedy, stingy, territorial, or combative - and genuinely look for the collective interests of our communities.

Faith in God, Trust in God

A Muslim is one who has become convinced, through reason and intuition, that there is no god except the One Creator, Sustainer, and Nurturer of the cosmos. We then accept the prophethood of the final Messenger (s) due to his inimitable character and revelation. After we have established the Book of Allah and the Sunna of the Prophet as our ethical foundation, we are to follow the moral guidelines and principles that they espouse. It is our belief as Muslims that Muhammad (s) was the last prophet and messenger, and that the system that he brought would be one that would be in our best interests in every era and every place. Our God, in His boundless compassion and mercy, wants us to live out the most fulfilled, natural, and productive life, so that we may achieve the best of this world and the next. Islam recognizes that men and women are different, but equal, and so different instructions and obligations have been given to each gender for our own best interest. God has also warned us of what happens to communities that transgress these natural balances - dogmatism, nihilism, and eventually destruction.

Feminism vs Women's Rights

Feminism is much like the Marxist dialectic, except the proletarian class is replaced with women, and the bourgeoisie is replaced with men. Feminists advocate for women's rights, but its underlying theory is that men have collectively oppressed women by monopolizing all forms of power: political, economic, cultural religious, physical, and sexual. Its goal, therefore, is to destroy the patriarchy - which it says has been built to keep women down - and redistribute the power. Historically, feminism addressed some serious issues: suffrage (women's right to vote), economic independence, and generalizations against women. There is no doubt that some aspects of pre-modern society and developing countries have been very oppressive towards women in particular, including violence and economic oppression.

There is, however, such a thing as being an advocate for women's rights without being a feminist. All of the prophets uplifted and defended the rights of females, but they were also proponents of a patriarchal system. Islam advocated for the right of women to own property, take leading roles in commerce, choose their husbands, and take part in politics. Societies still addressed domestic violence, and chivalry instated the respect of women, the removal of their burdens, and holding them in protection and honour. Women were even exempted from religious and economic responsibilities to make their lives easier. In reality, a good man wants the best for his mother, his sister, his wife, and his daughter. Similarly, a good woman wants the best for her father, her husband, her brother and her son. These "patriarchal" civilizations consisted mostly of women who would reinforce these values in their sons and daughters. It's inconceivable that a worldwide system would collectively dupe and oppress all women for thousands of years.

But the underlying premise of feminism is that the two genders are at war with one another, and the only way to stop that is to destroy the patriarchal power structure. This simplistic worldview sees all aspects of patriarchy - including Abrahamic religions - to be oppressive and designed to put women down. It generalizes all men, it ignores any good that came out of traditional communities, and it puts the world on a dangerous course. The gender war basically pits the two genders against one another, perpetuates misconceptions about men ("mansplaining", "manspreading", "toxic masculinity", unhinged objectification) while ignoring men's issues (graduation, suicide, poverty, drug addiction, gang violence, work-related injuries, conflict, imprisonment, unfair divorce settlements and custody cases). The movement presupposes that men are privileged just by being men, and then ignores the many ways that men suffer.

Feminism is Changing

This is not an argument for weak women, there is no women in my mind stronger than Fatima, Zaynab, Umm al-Baneen, Sakeena, Ruqayya, Khadija, Asiya, and Maryam. They all displayed strength in their life and were often killed or imprisoned for their strength. I do not believe that all women must be submissive, gentle, meek, or put up with male abuse. Pre-modern societies had their misogyny: preventing women from owning property (how is that any different from Fadak?), forcing women into marriages, having women pay dowries, and having women put up with brutally violent husbands - all of this is haram and reprehensible.

However, supporting third-wave feminist ideology is different from supporting women's rights. As Muslims, we should be against an ideology that preaches Free Love, which is promoted by some of feminism's pioneers ( such as Mary Nichols), and promoted by popular modern feminists like Gloria Steinem. We should be against the idea that marriage and the patriarchy are a plot to keep women down, which is the position of Wollstonecraft. We should be against a feminism that shames stay-at-home mothers as uneducated and brainwashed. We should be against the simplistic idea that males are privileged just for being male, which leads to policies and customs that ignore the issues of our young men and boys. We should be against a raunchy feminism that would like to normalize female sexuality (the Vag.ina Monologues, #freethenipple campaign, slu.twalk, Femen) and legalize prostitution (Margo St. James, Norma Jean Almodovar, Kamala Kempadoo, Laura Maria Agustin, Annie Sprinkle, Carol Leigh, Carol Queen, Audacia Ray). We should be against a feminism that enshrines discredited narrative over fact (the wage gap, rape culture) and silenced those that disagree with it. We should be against an ideology that promotes the legalization of late-term abortion. We should be against queer-focused, anti-nuclear family feminists that have sway over the LGBT and Black Lives Matter movements. We should be against a feminism that denies any biological, anatomical or psychological basis for gender, and promotes gender-fluidity, non-binary and nongendered identities, genderless bathrooms, and cross-dressing. We should be against any ideology that promotes censorship on campus or among academics; including the idea of a safe-space. We should be against an ideology that attacks the hijab and separates harassment from clothing (a clear contradiction of 33:59 in the Quran). As someone who works with young people, I can say that all of these ideas are very influential among millennials, including young Muslims.

Freedom to Work, or Freedom from Work?

While feminist ideology has often run against capitalism and the free market, there is a strong aposteriori link between feminism and capitalism. It's an unintended unholy alliance: just as feminism encourages emancipation through economic independence, the free market will always want more consumers, more workers, more students paying tuition, longer hours of operation, more bank accounts (more revenue from interest), and more people relying on outside food. Most feminists today realize that there will not be a proletarian utopia, at least not any time soon, and so co-opting the current system is good enough for now. Many policies are being proposed and implemented to give women an edge in the business world. Today, women have a 2-1 advantage getting a STEM job (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) at an American college (Cornell 2015 study). A lot of this is because of the oft-repeated statistic that women make 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. The problem with this statistic however is that it does not take into account career choices, degrees, hours in the work place, men being more likely to ask for raises, and female CEOs less likely to give themselves a higher salary. When you account for these factors, the gender pay gap is only about 4 cents, and there is no way to verify if those 4 cents are because of gender discrimination or other reasons. Wages are different from earnings.

Although feminist tropes can be good for upper-middle class white women, who want to escape the boredom of being a housewife or mother to work in bookstores, offices, and schools; it can be extremely detrimental to working-class women, who are now forced to work as maids and babysitters while raising their own children at the same time. Many women must support their children and their parents, often without the support of a man, whilst working overtime. All households in the future will definitely require two full-time incomes just to make ends meet. The problem, however, is that women no longer have the freedom not to work. They are basically forced to work to upkeep a home, because their husband's salary is now likely worth significantly less than it used to be. They will no longer have the option to stay home and raise their kids: nursing them, teaching them, and safeguarding them. Now, they must rely on babysitters, the television, the internet, coaches, and out-of-touch retired relatives. Leaving children unattended also gives predators and abusers more chances to get to these children. In general, naturally, a mother has the best interest for her children. When she is removed from the picture, many children grow up unloved, abused, suffering from mental health issues, behind in school and filled with the media's filth.

I can understand the reasons for female economic independence, but it comes with several costs: delaying marriage, raising one's chance of fornication and casual relationships, and having less family time during marriage. Especially today, economic independence is taking much longer to achieve, because more people are attaining university degrees. As Muslims, we must brainstorm as a community and find a more Islamic middle ground and moderate path.

Islam is not against working women whatsoever. Lady Khadija was a rich businesswoman, and the Prophet was her employee. A woman can do whatever she wants with her own money, while a man is obligated to spend his money on his family. In our fiqh, a wife can even demand to be paid by her husband for any housework or childrearing that she does. Many women in the history of Islam were known for their knowledge in the Islamic sciences and their personal virtues. But this all happened in "patriarchal societies".


You cannot rely on the education system to teach your children ethics or practical life skills. On the contrary, you may even have to reverse some of the negative affects that public schooling can have a child. How much energy can realistically you give to them when you are working and under stress, on top of other responsibilities? There must be a middle way: take the first few years off, then work part-time (or go to school) until they hit adolescence. In our religion, a woman can also demand a wage for household responsibilities, demand a dower of her choice, and demand a maid for cleaning or nursing. These tools need to be revitalized for the modern age, even if it means that men work longer hours and families live within humble means.

As a child, I was able to do extra reading and math, French, Arabic, Islamic classes, Quran, sports, and eat only home-cooked meals, all because my mother took those years off. Most of all, she gave me the love, attention, and energy I needed as a child, without relying much on babysitters. She was able to become a teacher, memorize the Quran, volunteer at my school, exercise, have a social life, and have time for my father. Any lifestyle we choose will require some sacrifices, it's about what you prioritize. As a highschool teacher, I learned a lot about the parent-child relationship and how it affects their school and social life.

Feminism plays right into the hands of misogynists

In feminist circles, marriage is constantly attacked as a patriarchal institution designed to oppress women. Stay-at-home mothers are mocked and seen as weak and brainwashed. This is completely irreconcilable with Islam, which promotes marriage and motherhood as means to reaching God and a balanced, fulfilled life. Instead, free love is pushed for both genders, and a strong effort is being made to take all shame away from all forms of sexual deviation. Advising our sisters is now considered "sl.ut-shaming". But free love is incredibly oppressive towards women. Men can now have as many sexual partners as they want, without their parents' permission or knowledge, without being responsible for children, for food and shelter, or for other marital responsibilities. If sex is freely available, then men can do this indefinitely, without getting married, and they will become more adept at this with age, which is usually coupled with economic stability and maturity.

Furthermore, with feminists pushing to legalize "sex work" (prostitution), they believe that they are trying to free sex workers from the patriarchal law enforcement. But does this really help women? Paving the way towards legalizing prostitution means that cheating will be accessible to more men. More men will just rely on the sex industry, and less men will need to commit to a woman through marriage. With free love and immodest clothing and behaviour, women open themselves to the objectification of players, without those men paying any consequences. God created women to be the most sentient and empathetic of beings, and there is no doubt that being used, abused, and heartbroken repeatedly inflicts permanent scars. With more men checking out of marriage than ever before, and a 50% divorce rate in some parts of the world, it is not a mystery that older ladies with many past partners - and even children - will not be able to find the most desirable spouses. Islam recognizes the power of sexuality, which can either build or destroy communities. A woman is most fulfilled with a strong, stable man by her side - this is conventional wisdom in every culture - and so Islam recommends early marriage. But instead, feminism encourages women to get a full education and climb the corporate ladder, only to find that there is a lack of suitable male partners that can stimulate their intellect. With drug abuse, suicide, war, homelessness, and other crises that affect men in particular, there is always a natural imbalance in society. God hates bachelorhood and divorce, because they destroy the family, which is the basic unit of society. Men potentially lose most of their assets in a divorce, and often lose custody of their children, which causes more men to just keep a girlfriend.

Prostitution is not the oldest profession, it is the oldest oppression. Sex in Islam is enshrined in the protection of women, while free love victimizes women in many different ways. it is true that 1980s Second Wave Feminists were against prostitution and pornography, because they objectified women. But feminism today is changing, and its campaigns play right into the hands of perverted men.

Feminism is Anti-Scientific

Feminism ignores tons of conventional wisdom, science, psychology, and evolutionary biology. One of the faults of feminism is that it assumes that all feminine and masculine traits are socially constructed. Meaning, any characteristic of a gender is a product of culture and society, rather than nature. This flies in the face of everything we know about gender through biology, psychology, chemistry, and anthropology. The reality is that we are hardwired with certain traits, which allowed the human race to survive and thrive for thousands of years. Human nature does not change overnight due to an ideology. Political correctness and gender politics is silencing the academic process ("trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" are the most unacademic and unintellectual concepts in modern universities). The reality is that male and female brains are different. Men and women excel in different subjects and they tend to [refer different careers. Male domination of the STEM fields or physical labour is seen as a sexist social construct by feminists, rather than just respecting the different skills men and women have. Males and females compliment one another; they are not supposed to be exact copies of one another. In today's sanitized politically-correct culture, we can no longer highlight these differences without being silenced or shamed.

The question we are brainstorming is: is gender a social construction and a function, or is it biologically/neurologically/chemically/anatomically/psychologically rooted? Most reasonable people would say that it is both. Even the LGBT movement, which argues that people can be born with a male or female brain, would therefore agree that there is such a thing as a male or female brain, or a male and female anatomical appearance ("lipstick feminism"). So we must ask ourselves, do these differences have social consequences? Are we attracted to the same things in the other gender? Is motherhood and fatherhood exactly the same - and if they are different, what are the consequences or growing up without a mother or a father in a divorced or gay household? Why have almost all cultures used the exact same division of labour for generations? My view is, in answering these questions, we will conclude that men and women should have the same rights, but that their behaviour and affect in society will generally differ. And this is a good thing - it brings balance to the system. Men and women need one another to live a fulfilled life.

Not to mention the current LGBTQ trend (i.e. gender politics), which are a spin-off of identity politics. I can now identify as a 6'10" grade 1 lesbian Chinese female fox without being challenged in most academic or work settings. We can debate the roles or stereotypes of men or women, but if we are silenced from questioning basic identifiable realities, then what does that say about our ability to answer the real questions?

Addressing Women's Issues

I firmly believe that the issues of domestic violence, forced marriages, and unfair treatment of women needs to be openly addressed in our community. Domestic violence is a symptom of a diseased heart. It destroys families, and it cannot be taboo in our communities to openly challenge its reality. The caveat, however, is that we must address these issues in a way that does not give credence to movements that are set on destroying our civilization as well. As Muslims, we should rise above the domestic power dynamic and learn how to be compassionate, merciful, and loving. God created marriage as a sign so that we may know Him. But we can reproach these serious issues without compromising our futures.


Extended readings:

Allah's Hijab: http://www.shiachat.com/forum/blogs/entry/65-allahs-hijab/

Feminism and Islamic Epistemology: http://almadinainstitute.org/blog/feminism-recalibrating-faith-according-to-an-islamic-epistemic/

Feminist outrage: http://muslimmatters.org/2014/11/17/the-hypocrisy-of-feminist-outrage/

The Gender Pay-Gap Myth: http://www.businessinsider.com/actually-the-gender-pay-gap-is-just-a-myth-2011-3?op=1

The Decline of "Marriageable" Men: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/11/all-the-single-ladies/308654/

Women who have more sexual partners have unhappier marriages down the road: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/21/more-sexual-partners-unhappy-marriage_n_5698440.html

Violence against men: http://www.sciencevsfeminism.com/the-myth-of-oppression/violence-by-women/a-historical-review/

Same-Sex Science: https://www.firstthings.com/article/2012/02/same-sex-science

Same-Sex Attraction: http://muslimmatters.org/2016/08/22/from-a-same-sex-attracted-muslim-between-denial-of-reality-and-distortion-of-religion/

Marriage will never be a Feminist Choice: http://www.xojane.com/issues/unpopular-opinion-marriage-will-never-be-a-feminist-choice

Is feminism destroying the institution of marriage? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11824814/Is-feminism-destroying-the-institution-of-marriage.html

Egyptian women number 1 beaters of husbands: UN study http://tribune.com.pk/story/1158555/egyptian-women-number-one-beating-husbands-shows-un-study/

More than 40% of domestic violence victims are male: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2010/sep/05/men-victims-domestic-violence

Ashura march for LGBT victims: http://i.imgur.com/otAHWTD.jpg

MSA Gay Pride Month: http://i.imgur.com/eACrFns.jpg

University of Toronto professor attacked for refusing to use "genderless pronouns": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4R0bWC41g4

Why as Muslims we cannot support Noor Taghouri: https://themuslimvibe.com/muslim-current-affairs-news/why-as-muslims-we-cant-support-noor-tagouris-decision-to-feature-in-playboy








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MashAllah Qaim, you're so talented.  Please consider publishing your blogs in a book format.

You made so many good points in this blog, esp. the one about women and working.  I hated leaving my baby boy with my elderly parents to return to work.  Isa was only 4mths old when I did so, and the guilt never left me. I ended up being a wage slave.  Sometimes baby would keep me awake the whole night, and then I would somehow stagger into work like a zombie.  I would think to myself on the way into work, this is isn't freedom or liberation.....THIS IS HELL. 

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Sometimes, feminism plays right into the hands of misogynists. Even if a woman would like to make different life choices and spend time with their children, they are pretty much forced to work. If they are single mothers, they may even work two jobs, while bound to her children, struggling to get sleep and have a social life.

Furthermore, the incoming legalization of prostitution will only subject women to more objectification, abuse, and unfaithful partners. Prostitution is not the oldest profession, it is the oldest oppression. Sex in Islam is enshrined in the protection of women, while free love victimizes women in many different ways.

Third-wave groups like Femmen are protesting objectification by protesting naked. This, "sl.ut walks", and "free the nipple" campaigns play right into the hands of perverted men.

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9 hours ago, enigma313 said:

MashAllah Qaim, you're so talented.  Please consider publishing your blogs in a book format.

You made so many good points in this blog, esp. the one about women and working.  I hated leaving my baby boy with my elderly parents to return to work.  Isa was only 4mths old when I did so, and the guilt never left me. I ended up being a wage slave.  Sometimes baby would keep me awake the whole night, and then I would somehow stagger into work like a zombie.  I would think to myself on the way into work, this is isn't freedom or liberation.....THIS IS HELL. 

Since you're still their mother, guess it was a treat from Allah swt and you just passed it very well, don't worry about it.

I'm sure Isa will proud to you.

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incredible brother Qaim most of the points you said were incredily spot on and how i too as a woman felt about these issues, i completely agree about boys reaxhing for trucks and girls reaching for dolls, now i was a tom boy but even i didnt feel one had to com pletely and absolutely reject feminine identity i didnt want to see little girls stop playing with dolls or told they couldnt ? and its not wrong to identify what one can play and not play with, i have seen women are generally emotional while men are not, simple and true fact in society. Qaim i am impressed not just hte points i mentioned here, i am impressed overall

Edited by sidnaq

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1 hour ago, Qa'im said:

Many feminist thinkers have been against the traditional gender roles, because they limit women to the domestic sphere, thereby having less economic and political influence and independence in society. Gilman and Goldman are key thinkers that argued for the economic emancipation of women, breaking out of the private sphere of unpaid childcare and housework. Gayle Rubin has also encouraged female economic independence so that they would not need to rely on male domination in heterosexual marriages. So yes, practically speaking, second wave feminists encouraged women to finish their education and attain economic independence before thinking about marrying. The problem today is that economic independence takes a long time to attain (a bachelor of arts won't get you far), and even then, most households cannot subsist on one income alone. Again, I can understand the reasons for female economic independence, but it comes with several costs: delaying marriage, higher chance of fornication and casual relationships, having less family time during marriage, etc. In Islamic fiqh, you can come to a middle ground. Women can pursue a career, or be paid for their housework and rearing, but marriage and having children remains an early priority.

It isn't just to challenge male domination for the heck of it, it is a matter of finding practical solutions in a certain kind of society.  What is wrong with encouraging women to achieve financial independence in state capitalist societies?  You can live in a dream world and think about a patriarchal utopia as well, where single or dependent women are well taken care of, but that isn't the predicament most women have found themselves in. 

Okay, so you have identified the problem, you suggest a middle ground?  That is easy to suggest but how do you achieve this? It is easy to say marriage and children should be the first priority and I agree, but we both realize that for most women it isn't a matter of choice. So how is the women's rights movement to blame? I agree that such pursuits leave tremendous strain on marriages and are detrimental to the development of children, but I don't see how you can primarily put this on feminism.  Businesses are always looking to pit workers against each other, it used to be children before, it is women and foreign workers today.

1 hour ago, Qa'im said:

Many third wave feminists are against the institution of marriage altogether, or large aspects of it. Even a movement like Black Lives Matter, which was founded by feminists and LGBT activists, does not mention "fathers" on their website, and see heterosexual and nuclear families as an arm of white supremacy.

Okay, well at least you are being a little more specific now, even though I highly doubt most feminists today are against the institution of marriage.

1 hour ago, Qa'im said:

More consumers, more bank accounts, more workers (including more competition for the same jobs, which lowers wages), longer open hours, more industries. It's a match made in heaven.

It isn't, most features of capitalism run against the very core values of the women's rights movement.

1 hour ago, Qa'im said:

And what is women's emancipation? First, second, and third wave feminists have different definitions and goals, but all three reek of utopianism.

Yes, and islamic movements don't reek of utopianism?

1 hour ago, Qa'im said:

Well there were many second wave feminists that criticized the objectification of women in pornography, for example, but third wave feminism - which is pretty much feminism's logical conclusion - has promoted legalizing prostitution, sl.ut walks, naked protests, etc. The agenda to get women to wear less and absolve them of all shame and blame plays right into the hands of misogynists and players.

Again, this is exactly the nature of rhetoric you see on fox news regarding muslims.  Most feminists still see porn as objectification of women, because it is, and I highly doubt most are interested in naked protests, you seem to be drawing a lot of your conclusions based on sensationalist nonsense in the media. 

Edited by King

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I'm not going to deal with " Islam and Feminism". King said a lot of what I would have anyway.

I come from a perfectly good tribe  whose traditional  " gender roles" never depended on " western feminism" or " eastern Abrahamic religions" for anything anyway and few of our families, thank God, could be described as " nuclear". Multigenerational is the norm.. A lot of the work was done by both genders since much of the food supply was plant and fish based. Both genders can do that just fine. Women were /are leaders here,no problem. So were /are men. Who got the job ....who was/is  the best at it according to the community. Still that way. Works fine. In some other tribes, the Chiefs are all male, but the women , the Clan Mothers, choose them...and can depose them. That works fine too.

I will say the " neutral " articles ( those not associated with Muslim or conservative Christian websites...where one would expect only authors who agree with a certain position would post...kind of like the Salafi ones I am being directed to to show me why my daughter has made the mistake of her life) ,when you read them in full, do not seem to bear out the conclusions some folks seem to be making here. Just because a female or male brain are not the same size or the connections are different says nothing about abilities or intelligences and those articles are pretty clear on that. They are also clear as to the parts that societies play in men and women's  " roles" ....which is not related to their brains or abilities.

Here is a direct excerpt from the " truck" article:
"Previous studies have reported differences between males and females in toy choice; that is, girls generally favor toys such as soft dolls, whereas boys generally favor construction and transportation toys (e.g., Connor and Serbin, 1977; Liss, 1981; Pasterski et al., 2005; Roopnarine, 1986). We believe that this description of the findings fails to highlight another important and intriguing “within-sex” difference in toy preference, which is wonderfully illustrated in Hassett et al. (2008). As shown in their Fig. 1, when play time with toys is examined in human children (Berenbaum and Hines,1992) and rhesus macaques of all ages, males spend significantly more of their play time with the “male” toy(s) than with the female toy(s), while females spend about equal times with “male” and “female” toys. This is true both for frequency of interactions and in time spent playing (Hassett et al., 2008). "

(It appears females can swing both ways. Perhaps it is only the males who are "deficient"?.)

As well, PISA has found women's abilities in math, science, etc. to be closely related to gender-parity. The reason for this is probably obvious. Whether it has anything to do with " Islam" is up to you. In any " patriarchal" society where a woman's ability to get an education is ruled by a male who may or may not wish it, it is probably due to access,not her intelligence or  ability.

•  Boys do better in only about ½ of the OECD nations. For nearly all the other countries, there were no significant sex differences. In Iceland, girls outshine boys significantly. They also state that , in all nations taking the test globally,although boys  on average are  better in math, girls are better in reading and both genders do about the same on science.
programme for International Student Assessment.

There is an interesting article in Forbes on the STEM issue:


IMHO, There is no  scientific reason to limit either gender in anything from toys to studies or to presume abilities. I have never found it to be true in teaching. In fact, the honor students in the upper grades tended towards the females. The math and science requirements were the same for both genders. 

If you want to say to your daughter that a good woman stays in the house and tends to her kids....do that.

If you want to say to your daughter, as I do, that she must be prepared to lead an entire tribe of people into a future that may include multiple  legal and possibly physical conflicts with the dominant culture...do that.

Just admit it has nothing to do with her brain.

Whether the problem is Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, culture, society, unfair gender roles ,or bad parenting...women are not being held back by  brain formation, lack of ability ,or temperament in relation to males.

(To remove the gender issue:
My own ethnicity ( and others as well)  is underrepresented  proportionally in the sciences to this day. Do you  folks think this the result of some inborn racial inability or do you think it could be due to the fact that up until my own high school career native kids were  routinely tracked off into non-college prep courses because they were considered fit only for manual labor or domestic work? )

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Feminism is much like the Marxist dialectic, except the proletarian class is replaced with women, and the bourgeoisie is replaced with men.

I'd say that both the struggle for the proletariat and women had their seeds in the Industrial Revolution, the driving force for which was the capitalist exploitation of scientific/technological innovation.

The latter upended existing socio-economic relationships, and there was a collateral impact on marital life. This change was followed by the trauma of the two world wars, both of which saw, in the west, the deaths of millions of men and the women left without them, again altering the balance of power.

Feminist ideology was simply a rationalisation, justification and solution to cope with the rapid changes that were taking place. 

Was it superior to what preceded it? Well, it helped society to cope with the new realities being imposed on it.

Both of the industrial revolution and the world wars equipped the west with the tools with which to dominate the rest of the world regarding both goods, arms and the ideologies with which to use them. The by-product of feminist ideology has been used in much the same way.

Will these ideologies persist?

No. Well, likely, not in ways that we are familiar with.

Firstly because as these ideologies have been communicated to other cultures, there'll be a range of different responses. Some cultures that lack the capability will take the ideology as is and will simply impose it on itself and will look towards the west for the latest versions of the same ideology.

More resilient cultures are likely to appropriate these ideas, adapt them and mould them to suit their own perspectives in a world that is in any case changing in terms of technology and science and which will anyway need an evolution in these ideas.

You'd imagine Islam would fall into the latter category.

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8 hours ago, LeftCoastMom said:

Multigenerational is the norm.. A lot of the work was done by both genders since much of the food supply was plant and fish based. Both genders can do that just fine.

I think when people talk about feminism, what they are often talking about is the loss of control over economic activity by the family unit, in favour of the industrial organisation.

Now some of this may ostensibly have been driven by the differing labour requirements of new economic processes.

But I think it is fair to say that some societies have internalised the industrial organisation into the family, for example, with the development of 'family businesses'.

As I said previously, resilient societies will adapt change to suit their beliefs, needs and traditions, less resilient ones will adapt themselves to whatever the new paradigm is.

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Glad I came across this blog and I couldn't agree more. And you're right that in the beginning Feminism dealt with some important issues and did indeed bring a good change for women but today it has gone out of control and it does not serve women in general and is destructive to society.

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On 9/27/2016 at 6:10 PM, LeftCoastMom said:

IMHO, There is no  scientific reason to limit either gender in anything from toys to studies or to presume abilities. I have never found it to be true in teaching. In fact, the honor students in the upper grades tended towards the females. The math and science requirements were the same for both genders. 

If you want to say to your daughter that a good woman stays in the house and tends to her kids....do that.

If you want to say to your daughter, as I do, that she must be prepared to lead an entire tribe of people into a future that may include multiple  legal and possibly physical conflicts with the dominant culture...do that.

Just admit it has nothing to do with her brain.

Whether the problem is Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, culture, society, unfair gender roles ,or bad parenting...women are not being held back by  brain formation, lack of ability ,or temperament in relation to males.

I have no disagreement that women should have equal access, equal pay, and equal opportunity everywhere. Even in traditional Islamic civilization, women were able to do almost everything men did (being judges or governors are notable exceptions, and I think that can be revisited. In my view, even Muslim men should not be judges in non-Muslim systems, but that's a different topic). The question we are brainstorming is: is gender a social construction and a function, or is it biologically/neurologically/chemically/anatomically/psychologically rooted? Most reasonable people would say that it is both. Even the LGBT movement, which argues that people can be born with a male or female brain, would therefore agree that there is such a thing as a male or female brain, or a male and female anatomical appearance ("lipstick feminism"). So we must ask ourselves, do these differences have social consequences? Are we attracted to the same things in the other gender? Is motherhood and fatherhood exactly the same - and if they are different, what are the consequences or growing up without a mother or a father in a divorced or gay household? Why have almost all cultures used the exact same division of labour for generations? My view is, in answering these questions, we will conclude that men and women should have the same rights, but that their behaviour and affect in society will generally differ. And this is a good thing - it brings balance to the system. Men and women need one another to live a fulfilled life.

The modern age is unique in that the nature of work is very different. Our jobs are not just limited to hunters, gatherers, farmers, builders, and merchants - aka jobs that require a lot of physical labour and travel, and so therefore have been historically dominated by men. Today, we have more educators, desk work, office work, writers, counselors, librarians, accountants, community organizers - i.e., more varied jobs that do not require any physiological function, and therefore will be gender neutral. It is natural that men and women will work, and their wages should be identical. But wage equality does not equal earnings equality or interests equality: men and women make different decisions in life.

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Just today in the news:

A professor at the University of Toronto, my alma mater, is being attacked in the press and decried on campus because he refuses to use gender neutral pronouns like "xe" instead of he or she. Bill C-16 potentially considers this to be criminal discrimination. Here is his plea:

Furthermore, today, an event called "Why Feminism Hurts Women" organized by internet provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos was cancelled after the FBI investigated a credible bomb and firearms threat: http://www.breitbart.com/milo/2016/09/29/milo-event-florida-atlantic-university-cancelled-due-credible-threats/

For those who thought this was not a big deal: even openly questioning this stuff can hurt you or your career in the West.

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Now I'm no fancy big city lawyer, and maybe I do not know what is the proper decorum for treating a "guest" but I'm throwing my chips in here just for the heck of it and I am sorry if the rest of yous is embarrassed of me.

Firstly, @LeftCoastMom if you don't want to hear about Islam and feminism, good job. Maybe we don't want to hear about how y'all are oh-so-more-civilized than we? It's a two way street, innit. You can have a bit more tact is all I'm saying.

Secondly, and this is in relation to the oh-so-more-civilized bit: since you are teaching us the ways of you people, how about I teach you one of our words? The word "hujjah" is usually translated into English as proof. But it is more encompassing than the English word. For example, if I say: such-and-such prophet's word is hujjah upon you this means that what he says is binding upon you. Or for example, if a Shia Muslim wants to debate a Sunni Muslim, naturally he will try to use Sunni sources. Why? Because the Sunni sources are a hujjah upon that Sunni. It would make no sense for a Shia to argue with a Sunni using only Shia sources, and vice versa.

Now... what makes you think the ways of your ancestors are a hujjah upon us? That's the question.

As someone who used to have a sort of wannabe fascist tendencies but thanks God I have grown out of, I am not even convinced that the ways of your ancestors should be a hujjah upon you, either.

I'm not saying tradition is garbage, I'm saying: tradition needs to be assessed by a higher gauge, and not taken as a hujjah unto itself. Everybody has traditions; if everyone takes their traditions as hujjah, then it essentially creates a moral relativism.

By the way, before Islam, the kings of my nation used to practice incest and use religious justifications for it; that the relationship of incest was heavenly or whatever. Thankfully, people do not take that as hujjah upon them. Because that would be stupid. (FYI this is a five thousand year civilization I'm talking about here; what if people ignorantly used that fact to defend such a practice? It's not all that farfetched; it happens all the time)

Re: division of labor

As brother @Qa'im mentioned (thankfully he is much more clever than I), every society has had some sort of division of labor based on gender. This is something which is very difficult to argue against, given the biological aspect of it, both the gap in physical strength and the reality of pregnancy (aside from the metaphysical debates as to what is the "true" character of man or woman; debates which is unfortunately dismissed by people who think that doubtfulness is a substitute for intellect).

Of course, women always worked. The notion that women started working in the 1960s or during WWII or that crap... that's born out of the concept of the modern bored housewife. But if you go to any village and turn the clock back one generation, you know that there is no such thing as an idle housewife for most of history. What was considered womanly work a couple hundred years ago would be considered hard labor today. My mother has an aunt whose back is at a 90 degree angle. That's from a whole life time of non-stop work.

Women working is not unique to your special unique snowflake of a people; that's a universal thing. However, there has always been a division of labor based on gender. In every society, almost without exception. Why? Because it makes a lot of damn sense, that's why.

Now, I don't know what all those letters you posted signify. I am assuming they are some kind of test?

If they are a test, then I should let you know: I went through five years of university education and maybe studied for a collective... 30 minutes. for my entire time in school. I graduated with no issues; I didn't make the honor roll or whatever it's called but I definitely graduated. Meanwhile, female classmates always killed themselves before tests in order to achieve the desired result. If you ask any professor, they will tell you that grades are reflective of effort rather than natural aptitude. They will openly admit that they will give higher grades to someone who is constantly asking stupid questions and coming to them after class with more stupid questions, rather than someone who stays quiet but proves through their work that they understand the subject matter perfectly.

So yeah, I know that girls on average get better grades than us... but I can't really bring myself to respect anyone who considers grades as being valuable enough to judge a person's intelligence or abilities based upon them. FYI I'm not saying girls are stoopid, but this "grades" issue was brought up in the past on shiachat, and some poor soul was using it to justify the fact that certain jobs are dominated by women even though they ain't any better at them than men. It's kind of ridiculous, really. University, in most cases, is a complete waste of time and money. Most of us go into them with no goal in mind; it's just a social convention. This is why attendance rates are so much higher than graduation rates. The whole system is a joke; using our insecurities about "future" and "career" to squeeze money out of us; anyone who uses this as a way to assess people's abilities is faaaaar too confident in the legitimacy of the system.

Sorry if I left some of your post unanswered; I didn't read it all. It just seemed like an ethnic studies class threw up all over my screen. I already took that class once I didn't want to pay tuition again so I stopped reading.

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On 9/28/2016 at 1:47 PM, Qa'im said:

Let us keep the conversation going inshaAllah.

So just to clarify, this is not a thread that is going against all of the ideas and achievements of feminists. I think most people today instinctively agree with suffrage, equality of opportunity/access, and equal wages. I can tell you, however, that the movement is transforming among millennials, and not just with a minority subsection of the population. As a school teacher, and as someone who is doing his masters in a liberal arts program, I have some insight on the trends on campus and even among Muslim youth. I am talking about the feminism of people like Amber Rose and Lena Dunham, who are immensely popular today on the blogosphere. I am talking about third wave feminism, which is a pornographic ("The Vag.ina Monologues", Newman & White), queer-focused (BLM, LGBT, anti-cis), pro late term abortion, pro raunchy fashion and nudity (#freethenipple , sl.utwalk , divorcing harassment from clothing - a clear contradiction of 33:59 in the Quran), enshrining narrative over fact (the wage gap - which is oft-repeated even by Obama and Clinton, rape culture, folkloric myths that won't die), anti-marriage (have fun: https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=feminist+views+on+marriage), anti nuclear families, and straight-up man-hating (mansplaining, manspreading, toxic masculinity, which are periodically discussed on Buzzfeed, Vox, and VICE).

Events promoting all of the above have taken place on university campuses (I have attended 3 universities), and our community is not immune to this narrative. Just look at your average tumblr blog, and ask yourself if Lady Fatima would have endorsed all of this. Strange enough, men who are straight and white are even being banned from some events: https://www.google.ca/?gws_rd=ssl#q=straight+white+male+banned+events

Furthermore, the movement, which was initially established to bring women up, ignores and fails to address issues where men are at a disadvantage in society today: graduation, violence, addiction, mental health, homelessness - all issues that affect men disproportionately. Even a 2015 Cornell study noted that women have a 2-1 advantage going for the same jobs, because firms must now fill gender quotas. Christina Hoff Sommers and Karen Straughan have highlighted many of the shortcomings of modern feminism, while still promoting equal rights and opportunity.

As for pornography and prostitution, it is true that 1980s Second Wave Feminists were against these things, because they objectified women. But that is not the dominant position among Third Wave Feminist theorists. And these are not just loony extremist ideas - more than 44% of Canadians (where I live) believe that prostitution should be legalized. These aren't just misogynists, this is the general population and a large subsection of modern feminists.

But you see, many third wave feminists are against marriage altogether, because it is patriarchal and oppressive. Strong criticisms of marriage go all the way back to Wollstonecraft. You can read their perspective below:



And this is an article about divorce: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/men/thinking-man/11824814/Is-feminism-destroying-the-institution-of-marriage.html

So we can promote marriage in our communities by denouncing certain feminist tropes, including this vile men vs. women dialectic, the LGBT movement, free love (Mary Nichols, one of the 19th century founders of feminism, believed in free love, same with the popular modern feminist Gloria Steinem). We should promote modest/elegant dress and healthy eating; not the rape-culture narrative and body-positivism.

In my community, there are a disproportionate amount of single and divorced ladies who simply cannot find desirable partners to marry. It is becoming an epidemic in almost every community I have visited. We have to review why this is happening, and my argument is feminism is partly responsible for this problem for contributing to free love culture and preferring education and career over marriage, pushing women to marry closer to 30 or 40.

If you take a look at your original blog post, it is loaded with gross generalizations and over-simplifications.  Now you seem to be elaborating on specifics and this contemporary third wave of feminism.  This is fine, and I acknowledge that some self described feminists today have lost the plot and and employ aggressive tactics which are detrimental to women's causes.  I still am not convinced that most feminists today are against the institution of marriage or are pro porn etc. Yes I realize that the institution of marriage has always had it's detractors, a lot of them male, and this would be true of any institution.  The institution seems to be struggling due to a lot of factors discussed above in this thread, it isn't that most serious feminists are out there encouraging their female counterparts to avoid the institution all together. We have already discussed the primary drivers for women seeking education and employment.  Also, most research in the west establishes the important role of both parents in a child's development, and women are generally encouraged by professionals to avoid having late pregnancies.

Legalizing prostitution however is an interesting question.  The arguments are backed in part by proposals based on a review of the practical consequences of prohibitive practices employed in different societies.  Legalization of drugs is also interesting, as in some societies this has led to a significant decline in overall drug related deaths and pathologies.  I do not feel the core of these arguments are driven purely by ideology and you cannot equate being for legalization with being for prostitution, so that inference above is not fair.

Thirdly, I do not see what is so surprising about the women's movement in general ignoring the suffering of men.  Most movements tend to be specific and primarily focus on the trials of the group they are trying to represent.  It would be better if this was not the case, but to expect otherwise is not realistic.

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If a woman with young kid has to work, it's only for a short period of time, 3-4 years. After 4 years, raising a kid is not so much work. If a women keeps having children when she has no support, then it's her fault for staying in the relationship. It's a misconception that a house wife can focus on raising kids or she is allowed to sleep in if she spent the night taking care of a sick child. Most women have responsibilities towards their in-laws or guests.

I want to work because being house wife is the hardest job in world. Women, who are not good in studies, are very good at housework and for men, only housework matters. When I go to work, at least I get paid for my work and I get SOME respect because of that money. I know many women who are brilliant in their professions but at home they are degraded in front of uneducated women because they are not very good at housework. 

If we compare women in east and west, I think anyone can see that women In west (where feminist movement is more effective) are in better condition than women in east. Compare the condition of women in societies dominated by men TODAY with the women in west. It's not fair to compare women in west with women in an ideal islamic community. That community doesn't exist. 

Edited by rkazmi33

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On 9/30/2016 at 8:46 AM, rkazmi33 said:

After 4 years, raising a kid is not so much work. If a women keeps having children when she has no support, then it's her fault for staying in the relationship. 

Wow, you're ignorance is so deep.  The hardest years begin after the age of 4.  

On 9/30/2016 at 8:46 AM, rkazmi33 said:

Women, who are not good in studies, are very good at housework and for men, only housework matters.

So only women who are thick and dumb stay at home, if they are intelligent they go out and work.  Spewing even more ignorance here.  I am educated to degree level, choose to work part time in television, and spend all my free time with my children. 

On 9/30/2016 at 8:46 AM, rkazmi33 said:

I know many women who are brilliant in their professions but at home they are degraded in front of uneducated women because they are not very good at housework. 

I know women who are talented in the home and in the workplace, and they would surely wipe the floor with someone as ignorant as you. 

On 9/30/2016 at 8:46 AM, rkazmi33 said:

If we compare women in east and west, I think anyone can see that women In west (where feminist movement is more effective) are in better condition than women in east.

The number of women with mental health issues is on the rise, as is the case of the number of women being treated for eating disorders, and the list goes on.

Oh and btw, did I mention or emphasise enough how ignorant you are, and how insulting your comments are too. 

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Salam brother @Qa'im

Are you married yet? If not how about set a good example for marriage for the rest of the brothers on SC , as you mentioned there are many single and divorced women who cannot find a suitable partner.

With your qualifications you have a lot of scope :)

Hope to hear the good news soon ** if you are not married or engaged to be married soon!**

Edited by certainclarity

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13 minutes ago, certainclarity said:

Salam brother @Qa'im

Are you married yet? If not how about set a good example for marriage for the rest of the brothers on SC , as you mentioned there are many single and divorced women who cannot find a suitable partner.

With your qualifications you have a lot of scope :)

Hope to hear the good news soon ** if you are not married or engaged to be married soon!**

Is this supposed to be sarcasm? How about we stick to discussing the ideas and concepts instead of ad hominem points

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1 minute ago, Qa'im said:

Is this supposed to be sarcasm? How about we stick to discussing the ideas and concepts instead of ad hominem points

Not at all just a sincere wish for you. :) 

Most of your points,in my opinion  are valid, otherwise I would have not liked it.


Edited by certainclarity

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Going back to third-wave feminism's objectification and sexualization of women. There is a strand of feminism that is provocatively and overtly sexual, in an attempt to normalize and humanize female sexuality. A relevant example in the news this last week is Noor Tagouri's feature on a reprehensible magazine. Noor Tagouri is a rolemodel for a lot of young Muslim women, and she has over a hundred thousand followers on social media. She has received a lot of support from some sections of the Muslim and non-Muslim community, and most of those supporters would probably describe themselves as feminists.

The magazine specifically targeted Noor not for her career, but for her headscarf. According to Linda Sarsour, this magazine actually contacted four hijabis for their piece. Three turned it down, but Noor took the opportunity.  This is classic orientalism: This magazine is trying to fetishize the hijab for a deranged male audience. Everyone knows who Hugh Hefner is, everyone knows what the bunny represents. This magazine has done nothing but objectify women over the years. Her feature has also redirected countless young Muslims to a pornographic page.

Noor wants to be the first hijabi mainstream anchor. But is the hijab just a fashion statement?

She should not be namecalled or threatened. But I sure hope this is not the future of Muslim women in the West. I actually followed Noor's career for years, because she had spoken against the objectification of female journalists. But she fell into this trap, and now thousands of young feminists are justifying it. She is praised in Western media as a liberated Muslim woman, a renegade, making her own stand, fighting against social norms. To me, this is not emancipation whatsoever, this is classic misogyny. Should Muslim girls look up to her and emulate her?

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  • Latest Blog Entries

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      [2] https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/emerging-viruses
      [3] https://www.healthline.com/health/zoonosis#list-of-diseases
      [4] https://edition.cnn.com/2020/04/09/media/emily-maitlis-bbc-coronavirus-scli-intl-gbr/index.html
      [5] https://www.newyorker.com/news/our-columnists/how-Iran-became-a-new-epicenter-of-the-coronavirus-outbreak
      [6] https://foreignpolicy.com/2020/03/24/how-Iran-botched-coronavirus-pandemic-response/
      [7] https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-support-available-for-landlords-and-renters-reflecting-the-current-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak
      [8] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/31/bailouts-coronavirus-state-aid
      [9] https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/11/coronavirus-who-will-be-winners-and-losers-in-new-world-order
      [10] https://www.ft.com/content/00017d02-5f39-11ea-b0ab-339c2307bcd4
      [11] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-trending-51706021
      [12] https://www.standard.co.uk/news/health/cheltenham-festival-defends-decision-coronavirus-a4406906.html
      [13] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/Iran-coronavirus-methanol-drink-cure-deaths-fake-a9429956.html
      [14] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30190-0/fulltext
      [15] https://www.al-Islam.org/God-and-his-attributes-Sayyid-mujtaba-musavi-lari/lesson-19-free-will
      [16] https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/3-pronged-strategy-in-place-to-stop-virus-spread-in-dorms
      [17] https://www.ft.com/content/6e9b4fe7-b26e-45b9-acbd-2b24d182e914
      [18] https://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235033293-quran-social-science-natural-science/
      [19] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/bible-belt-us-coronavirus-pandemic-pastors-church-a9481226.html
      [20] https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/04/13/999313/kerala-fight-covid-19-india-coronavirus/
      [21] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-52628283
      [22] https://www.npr.org/2020/05/14/855918852/heavily-armed-protesters-gather-again-at-michigans-capitol-denouncing-home-order?t=1589550976807
      [23] https://www.ft.com/content/32f297e0-45d9-4dd3-a028-868e698dc66f
    • By starlight in Light Beams
      Yesterday I ordered an outfit from an online store. I don't know what made me do it when I have been trying to pare down my worldly possessions to bare essential and I know I already have too many clothes. Maybe it was the combined effect of slashed price and the excited ''Yesssssssss, get it" from my best friend.  That was morning. By evening I had begun to get a steady stream of messages, 'Dr.B passed away' , Dr. M and his wife and parents have tested positive, 'My cousin and her two sons tested positive', 'my Uncle and his house help's results came back positive' and then this morning someone else I knew died. All of this made me feel very low and that started a string of negative thoughts, one of which was,'Why did you order those clothes?You are never going to wear them at home and work might not happen for another three months and who knows you might be dead by that time so the package is going to arrive and lie there unopened for months at best. You must be out of your mind ordering clothes and back up of moisturiser and those dozens pens and notebooks that you might not live long enough to use'.  
      What followed was "enough of this blasted(french) Corona and lockdown" and a feeling of regret about wasting time and money over those things. But only moments later as I gained some clarity what dawned on me is this is actually how our relationship with material things should be, not just when a deadly pandemic is staring us down in our faces. Corona or no corona I do not know if I am going to be alive the next morning or the next minute so the wiser thing would be to not waste time on worldly things until and unless it's absolutely essential. There are far better things to do with the resources Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) gave us.
      The problem is that while we all know and admit that death is inevitable and come anytime, most of us just confess it with the tongue and do not really reflect on it enough to bring about a change in ourselves. Our lifestyles have become so deviated from the fitrah that materialism and consumer culture is considered normal. This pandemic has been a blessing is so many ways one of them is that Allah has given us a chance to reset the compass of our lives back to fitrah. Let's hope we are able to do that. 
    • By Haji 2003 in Contemporania
      and even if we are not perhaps we should try to be and if we can't are there other ways of understanding the world around us in order to make informed decisions that are necessary for survival?
      A hoax?
      I was inspired to think about this. by yet another post on ShiaChat asking about the numbers of deaths caused by Covid-19 compared to the numbers dying annually from other causes e.g. malaria or car accidents. The motivation behind the observation was that maybe the fuss around Covid-19 was a hoax perpetrated by those who want to benefit themselves at our expense.
      Driving people to science ...
      A 'positive' outcome from this crisis is that people are trying to engage with the science and statistics behind the virus, even though they may not be doing so perfectly. But at least it demonstrates a desire to understand the world rather than spend time in idle frivolity. And perhaps as a result of better understanding acquired by such means we may be better able to cope with the next, more virulent virus. At the same time there are clearly attempts by some to mislead to further their own agenda.
      Epistemology for the masses
      But I also believe that God allows for information and knowledge to take a number of different forms and if we cannot understand one, there is always something else that may take us in the right direction.
      A measure that's easy to understand
      There are many different measures of how deadly or not the virus is and based on that information what the imperative should be on us to take any action. Some of these are very technical and difficult for the layperson to understand. Indeed we read a number of arguments questioning the threat that CV19 poses and these include the following: 
      CV19 being no more deadly than flu  more people die in road traffic accidents questions about the integrity of the mortality data because it may not be able to distinguish between whether someone died of CV19 or with it so on.  They may sound plausible to the unwary and suggest that perhaps no lifestyle changes are necessary.
      However I think that it is instructive that we have quantitative information about deadliness that is very easy indeed to understand, and it can not be easily manipulated or changed for propaganda purposes. It is the data on excess deaths.
      In all developed countries and many developing ones we know how many people die each year. We just look at the number for this year and you can see the impact of CV19. Of course if there is more than one pandemic happening then it's not so good, but at the moment we only have one.
      I think the importance of this measure for theists is an important one. Ultimately God creates everything. A just God who created CV19, would also offer us reliable and valid tools to measure its impact.

      Salvation for those who can't add up
      In addition to quantitative data that is easy to understand, we also have the benefit of qualitative data.
      The video coverage and audio/text narratives provided by doctors and nurses in many different countries about their daily experiences should be evidence enough to show that this is not some existing cause of death like malaria. Clearly health professionals in many different countries are overwhelmed in a manner that the common flu does not cause. 
      Did China lie? But does it matter?
      A common refrain from President Trump in late April 2020 has been that the Americans were caught off-guard because the Chinese lied about the nature and extent of the virus. In some ways each of us has been in the same position as the American government. To what extent has the information that has been provided to us been accurate and a reflection of the real situation?
      I don't think it matters.
      Because it has been easy enough to observe, almost in real time, what the impact has been on peoples' behaviour. People can lie about their opinions and their analysis of reality but they tend to behave in a manner that reflects their true understanding of a situation.
      There were enough videos coming out of China about the hospitals being built, the roads being disinfected, the guards at the ground level of apartment blocks restricting who could enter or leave, to tell anyone regardless of cognitive ability that this was a serious virus. This was not flu.
      So we did not need to rely on what the Chinese said, all we needed to do was observe what they did.
      So you did not need to know the R value of the virus, you did not need to know the difference between different types of mortality rates and so on. All you needed to know were the extreme measures those on the front line were taking because they were terrified and act appropriately.
      CV19 forces us to drop misconceptions, ideologies, beliefs and every other artifice that we have created.
      It forces us to try and understand nature with the cognitive and analytical skills that we have.
      It provides evidence for those who Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) has given the greatest quantitive skills for measuring and understanding what is going on and which will likely be essential for policy making at a global and national level, but at the same time there is enough quantitative evidence that is easy to understand and even qualitative data that no individual need feel unqualified in terms of making the decisions that will help preserve their lives.
    • By Haji 2003 in Stories for Sakina
      This story is about a tea party, but actually it isn't about the party.
      It isn't about the party that Anna Pavlovna holds, the one that many people know about but about whose subsequent events they remain unfamiliar. In fact if I wanted to I could try really hard and remind myself of the time I attended, but as I said that's not really the purpose of this story.
      You see Sakina many people arrive at Anna Pavlovna's party with high hopes and expectations. They have a self-image of their literary prowess and they want to be able to tell everyone else that not only did they attend but that they experienced everything else that happened afterwards as well.
      I was a bit like that to be honest. The first time I went I was about your age. I'd heard a lot about Anna Pavlovna's world and I wanted to be able to casually mention to friends and associates that I'd been. And so I would try so very very hard to get to know the attendees and to be honest it was impossible. I made many attempts and never got further than the entrance to the party itself.
      So I tried a different tack.
      I'd try less hard.
      Instead of trying to get as far into this world as I could and meet as many people as I could, as quickly as I could, I would take the opposite approach.
      I would only spend so much time at the party and I would stop, no matter how engaging the characters and no matter how interesting the stories that they had to tell.
      And the next day I would come back to where I had left off and the people and the stories would still be there and slowly but surely I'd have the impetus to find out a little more about them and the following day a little bit more and so on.
      In fact their lives became a little soap opera for me that went on for over a year and that's how I finished War & Peace.
    • By Abdul-Hadi in Chasing Islam
      [In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful]

      Some people may object to my embrace of Islam. "Oh, Islam is such a difficult and demanding religion" they will say "It's too difficult to be a Muslim, especially in the West". I wholeheartedly disagree.

      Islam is not difficult at all, unless you allow it to be. Submission to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) is the natural state that humans were created for, so I have not found it terribly difficult at all thus far and even if it was, that doesn't mean that it's not worth pursuing (actually, challenges are good for us because they force us to persevere and grow in the process of overcoming). Religion and faith are not toys to be played with and put away on a shelf until the next time that you have a job interview, wind up in jail, or face an illness- Religion and faith are aspects of the human experience that should fundamentally change us as people, and always for the better.

      This is the difference between a fulfilling life and a life of constant desire for the cheap thrills of this world (which never satisfy), religion is the difference between heaven & hell; as Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) sees all we do + his judgment of us will ultimately come down to how perfectly we submitted, how closely we followed his commands, and the weight of our sins of both commission & omission in this life (sins of omission would be neglecting salah, charity, or treatment of his creation, etc).

      I honestly never thought I was going to be able to embrace Islam. There are enough posts on SC where I sound apprehensive and lean in that direction. What I have noticed is that within the past week, I have thrown myself into developing my practice of Islam with a much greater sense of mindfulness than I ever did with my Christianity. I believe that this is because in Christianity, we expect God/Jesus/Holy Spirit to "work within us" and change us without having to put in much effort ourselves besides reading the bible and praying daily. If we expect someone else, even our concept of God, to do this work for us it will likely not be done. We have to put forth the effort to change ourselves and develop our religion and Insha'Allah, we will become better, more complete human beings. In just a week, I have gone from near-total ignorance of the Quran, inability to pray without reading off a sheet, and praying "when I remembered" to keeping salah, memorizing the process of offering my five daily prayers, and setting five alarms on my phone (complete with an adhan for added immersion). I've even been able to commit short surahs to memory (in Arabic nonetheless!) so that I can offer my prayers properly as they were modeled by the Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم). I never in my wildest dreams even two weeks ago, imagined that I would be capable of doing this, so I am both excited and at the same time, feeling a sense of serenity- that this really is "it" and that I have found the path that I belong on in order to develop as a person.

      Today, I received my misbaha (dhikr beads) and have begun to offer dhikr, starting with the tasbih of Fatima (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) this afternoon. I have also ordered a modest prayer rug. Now I find myself wondering what my next steps are to improve my practice of Islam; namely what other parts of my religion can I begin to practice and what parts of myself I can work on improving. Although I am just a "baby Muslim", I truly feel as if I am changing for the better and that perhaps I should give myself just a bit more credit than I do for how far I have personally come in such a short period of time.

      However, as easy as practicing Islam has been for me + as natural as it feels, I realize that my experience is just that- my experience. Brothers and sisters all across the planet, many in this nation of mine (America), may not have such an easy time adhering to their faith. For some (Uyghurs in China, Bosnians), the practice of Islam comes with the very real risk of persecution & death from the unjust & tyrannical, but nonetheless they keep the faith without probably ever making blog posts like this one. I believe that all of us, including the People of the Book (Christians and Jews) can learn something about fidelity, devotion, perseverance and not least of all courage, from these brave brothers and sisters in these countries that are much more hostile to Islam.

      How do you think I can improve my religious practice from here on out?

      How can you improve yours?
    • By Hameedeh in Think Positive
      Two years ago I became a minimalist. I'm not talking about music, sculpture or painting, but minimalism in my life. I read about creating a minimalist home, but I did not buy the book:
      So, I am thrifty and I buy very little. Whenever I am shopping and see a dozen things I want to own, I question myself. Do I have storage space for this? Is this really necessary? Will I really love it or is it just something that I never had before and always wanted to have one? Just wanting to possess something is not a good reason to buy it. Could I take a photo of it and just look at it, without spending my money? This must be a good reason to join Pinterest, to have all the things you want to look at, but never need to buy, store or move them. 
      As you have seen, my ShiaChat blog is minimalist by nature. I usually say very little, because if there is one thing that I know, it is that I recognize great writing when I see it, but I am not a good writer. I hope to become a better writer some day, and in the meantime, I invite you to my tumblr. Please, if you can, start at the last page which shows my first post (a prayer for the safety of 12th Imam AJ) and then scroll your way up, and over to previous pages in chronological order, the way my brain was working. 
      ♥ May your days be sunny, your nights restful, and your heart satisfied with the blessings that Allah has given you. Think Positive. ♥
    • By Abdul-Hadi in Chasing Islam
      There has been a lot of talk about confessing of sins in my life experience so far. I'm not going to do that here since we aren't supposed to, but allow me to give a little background on my specific situation in regard to confession. Coming from the Christian tradition, the idea of not confessing ones' sins sounds very alien & almost as some sort of a cop-out to not have to face up to the wrong you have done. Whether it is the Catholic form of confession to a priest (either face to face or hidden behind a curtain) or the protestant scene's insistence that we confess to as many members of our local church as possible-- We who were raised in Christianity had the idea of confession pounded into our heads like a post into dry, hard earth since at least the earliest we can remember. Our every moral failing, character flaw, and vice must be shared with the wider Christian community for the purposes of "accountability"-- the idea being that by talking about our sins, we will feel shame and not commit them anymore (Catholic) & that confessing these negative thoughts/behaviors can help other Christians to encourage us in our spiritual journey. Normally, this doesn't work out this way and you as the individual Christian become the object of gossip in your congregation... which we understand to be sinful in and of itself. The idea of "covering up" your sins is treated as if you were voluntarily refusing to use the toilet to eliminate waste from your body.

              While I do see some value in confessing sins, I do not now and have never seen much value in confessing them to more than your parish priest/congregational pastor & any parties who might have been directly wronged by your actions; and certainly see no benefit to confessing to the entire church. People have their own vices, failings, and flaws; thus they usually aren't in a great position to counsel others on modifying their behavior and perfecting their spiritual practice. Of course, this has been argued to me by many a well-meaning church lady as "Think of it that you aren't confessing for your own benefit, but for the benefit of others who have their own sins that they need to repent of, but feel too much fear of judgment to do so". As referenced above, this normally doesn't work out in that way. My general rule now is that if you absolutely must "come clean" about sins, that the better practice would be to confess this to your spiritual mentor/religious leader (ideally one you have a close relationship with).

             Initially, I had assumed that this Christian practice of reconciliation would also apply to Islam, so at the risk of sounding like a hypocrite, I will "confess" that I have done this prior to being clued-in as to why Islam doesn't have a reconciliation ritual practice. However, the logic was something that took me a little while to make sense of, as it has to do with "honor culture". "Honor culture" is something that we do not really have as American cultural Christians. Bearing that in mind and my continuing to work through the Christian dogma of original sin, I have to remind myself frequently on SC to NOT approach others as an "open book". Think of it in the same way as oversharing on social media: not everyone needs to (or even wants to) know about my sins & failures.
            This is not for my benefit, as I do not have a concept of "honor" aside from keeping my word to others (we are taught that the actions of others have no bearing on us as individuals). I have chosen to modify the Christian motivation of "responsibility to the church" that would encourage confession, to a view that does NOT encourage it for the sake of sparing others discomfort-- to not break a taboo that may make my brothers and sisters feel awkward or "put them on the spot" with a false, pharisaic piety that may make them feel lead to open up about shameful things from their own life, as well as not propagating the concept that "sin is OK provided you confess publicly". I am a guest here and I am no longer among my own culture, after all. To borrow a term from the Gospels, I don't want to place a "stumbling block" in the path of my brothers and sisters.

              It's much better to not speak of my sins to anyone aside from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) , as he is the ONLY one who can forgive our sins.

             I'll admit that having to completely relearn everything I was so certain of in regard to faith & spirituality can, like any training or exercising of mind or muscle, be uncomfortable at the outset. However, we take these journeys and diverge from the walk of our native culture and our parents because the peace that comes with finding truth wherever it objectively lies is greater than providing ourselves a momentary balm for our troubled souls that something that is not necessarily beneficial can bring (like using a substance when we are emotionally hurting).

             Insha'allah, this week and from here on, I will work extra hard to remain mindful and not overshare, offer forth Too Much Information, and thus protect both my honor and that of my brothers and sisters who have lived this deen from birth or at least prior to my pursuit of universal truth & perfect submission to my awesome and all-powerful creator.

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