why Muslim men feel offended and threatened by Muslim women’s interfaith marriage

So, less than a couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog post where I showed that the Qur’an never prohibits Muslim women from marrying the People of the Book. I was surprised by it was so widely shared–over 2,000 shares on FB, not all of which I have access to. The “shares” I do have access to, I was interested in following to see how people were engaging with it and with those who shared it. I followed its reception out of interest but mainly to see if there was any pattern in the response was, and if there were any differences in how Muslim men or Muslim women were engaging with it. It turns out, the engagement with it has been indeed gendered: the rejection came almost exclusively from Muslim men, whereas Muslim women either “meh”‘d it or were receptive towards it. Only men (and I repeat: ONLY men) messaged me to tell me to tell me they did not like it, did not agree with it, and were troubled by it in other ways. Of course, I’m certain a lot of women did not like it and did not agree with it, but what I’m struck by is that the “rebuttals” came exclusively from men, while it received most support among Muslim women.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about why it is that Muslim men responded the way they did. Discussing this response with friends, we decided it’d be good to write about it more openly because of these uncomfortable realizations – that we always knew about, but I didn’t want to believe.
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the Qur’an does not prohibit women’s marriage to people of the book – and other facts about interfaith marriage in Islam

Pre-post: This is for those who believe that Muslim men are allowed to marry People of the Book while women are prohibited; because that means that the whole “shirk” of the People of the Book becomes relevant only when we’re talking about women but not when we’re talking about men (I address this below). If you believe it’s prohibited for BOTH genders, this isn’t for you. 

According to most (Sunni) Muslims, and to the historical Islamic tradition, Muslim men are allowed to marry Christians and Jews, and according to all Muslim sects and schools, Muslim women are prohibited from marrying any non-Muslim. The Qur’an has a few verses that prohibit marriage to the mushrikeen (polytheists, generally), and since there’s little disagreement on this and since this prohibition applies to both genders, I’m not concerned with it. I’m interested in the claim that it’s “haram” for women to marry Christians and Jews.

Muslims popularly believe—and Muslim scholars/teachers of Islam falsely promote the claim—that the Qur’an explicitly prohibits women’s marriage to People of the Book. So I’ve been doing some research on this, and it turns out that the Qur’an actually does not prohibit women’s marriage to People of the Book at all.  It merely allows men explicitly to marry them. So here’s some interesting stuff that I think people should know, especially Muslim women who are shamed and guilted into marrying People of the Book.

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Posted in being human, Death to patriarchy, feminism, forbidden things, I can't believe this needs to be said out loud, Islamic feminism, let's talk privilege, Muslim things, why we need feminism, your face is haraam | Tagged | 8 Comments

the liberating difference between sharia and fiqh

Okay, so, too many people–Muslim and non-Muslim–use the words “sharia” like everyone knows what it is, like it’s some piece of literature confined to some bound book that anyone (or at least the “scholars”) can consult about different issues. A Muslim dude once even asked me, in a conversation where we disagreed on some topic, “Have you even read the Sharia???” I told him yes. He believed me ❤

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why the reluctance to engage and acknowledge Islamic feminism?

I’ve been thinking a lot about why non-feminist scholars (including male academics, even otherwise feminist-friendly ones! – see here, for example) and popular mainstream “traditionalist” scholars of Islam don’t engage Islamic feminist works. Sure, a part of it may have to do with the academicy language of much Islamic feminist scholarship, but I believe it’s more than that. Because male academic scholarship produced by men who aren’t very pro gender egalitarianism is still read and cited and promoted by traditionalist folks, especially if they’re white, male, and are anti-LGBTQ.

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“Stopping Male Violence” (bell hooks)

bell hooks on relationships with men, patriarchy, men committing violence against women they supposedly love, and keeping men’s secret of the violence they commit within relationships.
I’ve been reading Ch. 5 of bell hooks’s The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love on repeat the last couple months. The chapter is titled “Stopping Male Violence.” I beg everyone to read it. Everyone of all genders. I’ll scan the chapter if you can’t access it otherwise.
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Minority youth leadership training opportunities

In a matter of one week,  I was informed about three excellent opportunities for young folks interested in leadership. They all focus on Asian American youth or South Asian American youth. Sharing here in order of their deadline. The italicized parts are copied from their respective websites.

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how to hold men accountable for their violence against women

Sharks and men

(Clearly one of my favorite reminders about the incompetent way we choose to respond to domestic violence.)

All sorts of trigger warnings because this is about violence against women. Also, I’m talking here exclusively about violence committed against women by their male partners. I know that women alone aren’t the victims of violence, I know men can be victims too, I know it’s “not all men” (this is such BS) – I’m not talking about “all men” (go to hell with this nonsense); I’m talking about the men who do commit violence, and chances are, you know at least one man in your life who does it, but you either don’t see it or choose not to see it or aren’t aware of it. Yet.  This post is about violence against women. Emotional, physical, psychological, verbal, financial, sexual, and so on. That’s to say, don’t derail this conversation. Any comments that mansplain violence to me will be deleted. I’m highly suspicious of individuals, especially men, who choose to talk about violence against men *only* and *especially* when a conversation on violence against women is taking place. For those people, here’s an excellent and enlightening read – because domestic violence against men committed by women isn’t nearly the same, and it certainly doesn’t have the same consequences, as violence against women committed by men. Another essential article you need to read, like yesterday, is this one called Not all men commit abuse against women. But all must condemn it.

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when an intellectually stifled nation murders its future: why Mashal Khan of Mardan was lynched

Readers’ discretion advised. This is about violence and the dangers of ignorance, arrogance, irresponsibility, and hypocrisy.

What happened?

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The Genocide Pakistan Committed against Bangladesh (Mar.-Dec. 1971)

In commemoration of the Bangladeshi genocide that began (sort of) on March 25, 1971.

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Posted in Death to patriarchy, genocides, human rights, Pakistan, social justice, violence in this world | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

re the myth that male sex drive is uncontrollable and stronger than female sex drive

This may get a little … vulgar? uncomfortable? immodest? etc. And very long.  But here’s the idea: 1) there’s a popular myth going around that male sexuality is uncontrollable, and that’s why they get to do the things they wanna do (i.e., “nature” is exploited just to validate male  irresponsibility), 2) this myth has powerful and destructive consequences for women and society at large, 3) this myth is linked to the way we study science, humans, nature, etc., and – and this is very important – 4) if a woman doesn’t wanna have sex with you, it’s most likely because you’re not doing it right (because discomfort doesn’t just come out of nowhere) – but, yes, yes it might also be because she isn’t ready to or interested in having sex with anyone right now. Or ever.

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Posted in being human, Death to patriarchy, feminism, forbidden things, gender, human rights, I can't believe this needs to be said out loud, let's talk privilege, society, why we need feminism, your face is haraam | Tagged | 21 Comments