EQUALITY/EQUITY Q3:36

Someone close to me remarked me about how she trains her daughters to sleep with or without the lights on, because either of her girls could end up with a man who had a preference. I have boys so I had never considered that, but I began to do so from that point on. They sleep with the lights off but what if they got married to a woman who prefers to sleep with the lights on, would they expect her to bow to their preferences because she’s female? Was that right?

Men are different from women; but should one be treated better than the other or should we be treated the same; hence the debate about equity versus equality.

Equity versus Equality

image credit: http://www.maine.gov

I have observed the recent trend in homes because of the worsening economy. I cannot comment on other parts of the world but for Nigeria, an increasing number of women are entering the workforce and this is affecting marriages. The world has been beaming the spotlight on women since the Beijing Conference of 1995 to ensure gender equality. More girls are being educated, more girls are getting scholarships to college, more women are getting jobs, more women are becoming the breadwinners, more women are becoming more vocal about their rights, many are struggling to get married and fewer are staying so.

It is a wonderful thing educating a woman, empowering her and informing her of her rights but while we do this, we are beginning to neglect the boys. A woman is more likely to shelve her degree (in Nigeria) and learn a trade to make ends meet that an educated man would. He is more likely to dust his CV, type out more applications and wait to be called for interviews.

From the get-go, girls are taught to be more industrious, more resilient and more focused than boys are. Responsibilities are quickly piled on the head of the first born if she’s a female. She is expected to learn house chores, show manners and respect, fend for herself and her younger ones, prepare meals, protect her virginity and excel in school. More often than not, it is alright for the boys to simply excel at school.

By the time these girls are through with tertiary education, they are piling on the postgraduate degrees and amassing skills in the workplace. If jobs (and suitable men) are not forthcoming, they are learning to become self-employed by sales of wares, or learning a skill or two like make-up artistry, hair styling, fashion designing etc. When Cupid shoots his arrow, they contribute meaningfully to the wedding and eventually, the family upkeep. Soon, the dark clouds begin to drift toward the new home. Husband is laid off, or resigns because he cannot stand his boss then wifey steps in to juggle all the balls. Husband marvels at his wonder woman for a while then resentment kicks in as he no longer feels needed. From then on, everything goes downhill fast, unless Allah steps in.

As I said, female education is a wonderful initiative to balance out the disproportion of literacy between men and women but while we aid the women, the boys are becoming weak and cannot handle the empowered women. In an era of raising Khadijas and Aishas, we are neglecting to raise Muhammads. Educated and successful women are written off as arrogant. It takes Allah’s Grace for a wise woman to remain humble under such circumstances but even her humility may be misconstrued for stupidity. In this part of the world, the man is king; he is the boss and used to getting things done his way. Wifey would not remain subservient to a petulant brat for long.

Balance is very important in nature: Night and Day, The food web, the seasons, life and death. The man provides, the woman nurtures. The man is the head of the home. When that balance tilts, it rarely bodes well.

 

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MY VIEWS ON TERROR Q5:32

Assalaam alaikum, dear readers.

I often do not comment much on the ‘terrorist’ attacks around the world because, I am tired of them. Opinions abound on the topic and I have read articles which echo my thoughts on the topic so I did not want to over-flog the topic. The attacks are becoming rampant with even more lone wolf attacks than before, and the effect on the ummah is painful.

Also, I have not particularly commented on these incidents myself because the information we receive from the media and online is always skewed and flawed, unreliable and seeking to enforce some propaganda (like the linking of the Paris bombing with the Syrian refugees). How can one make an accurate analysis when our sources of information are filled with spurious tales?

Every time I hear of an attack, my heart sinks. My heart always goes out to all the people involved: the victims and their families as well as the killers’ families and the Muslims living in that vicinity. The most recent one in San Bernardino was first brought to my attention by a fellow blogger, Anum. At first, I was filled with trepidation when she mentioned the gun attacks but to be honest, I was secretly relieved there was no mention of terrorists/Muslims…but not for long.

When terrorism began, the group (not neccessarily Muslim) responsible for the attack would release a video of the attack before and during the occurrence. It lent an air of authenticity to the group. Even after the video, the FBI/CIA would analyse if it was genuine or not. Now, all it takes is simply to claim responsibility which personally, I feel anyone can do. Isn’t the game about how many people they can kill in order to strike fear into people’s hearts? Even before the group claims responsibility, the media is already insinuating that it’s Muslims. Heck, even we Muslims think it is one of us!

It is true that most of the terrorists bear Muslim names but surely, if there is anything I have learnt about international (even domestic) politics, it is that things are not always what they seem. However, taking these issues at face value, it seems that the vast majority of these suicide bombers are youngsters, fiery with a new sense of misguided purpose, sorely deficient in sound Islamic knowledge, eager to be brainwashed. For most of the Muslims reading this, terrorism does not make any sense in whatever shape or form but our youth are voluntarily being recruited into ISIS and other terror groups.

‘Abdullah [bin Mas’ud](R.A.) narrated that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) said:
“In the end of time there will come a people young in years, foolish in minds, reciting the Qur’an which will not go beyond their throats, uttering sayings from the best of creatures, going through the religion as an arrow goes through the target.”- Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2188

The onus is on me as a mother to ensure that those I can directly influence – my children- are positively impacted with the proper Islamic knowledge. (How can they imbibe this knowledge if we the parents do not possess them?) They should integrate with the community, both Muslim and non-Muslim and know that hurting people is unacceptable. Terrorism is abhorrent, plain and simple. No matter how thinly we slice it, no matter how different we may seem, we all bleed the same and hurt when our loved ones are taken from us. They must grow to understand that oftentimes, Islam is rational and if something doesn’t seem right, they should trust their instincts and verify further before they act. They must inculcate strong values which would guide them throughout life and help them manage pressures from their peers.

 

Jabir (R.A.) reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, Iblees placed his throne over the water and then he sends out his troops. The nearest to him are the greatest at causing tribulations. One of them says: I have done this and this. Iblees says: You have done nothing. Another says: I did not leave this person until I caused discord between him and his wife. Iblees says: You have done well.
– Sahih Muslim 2813

Finally, it is my opinion that a sound home with the parents working together as good role models for children will help to stem the tide of terrorism. Every organization needs foot soldiers, recruits and (with the exception of those being forced into these groups) our children should not be susceptible to such brainwashing if we have done our jobs well as parents, with Allah’s Help. We need to sit up and pay attention to the plethora of information available out there corrupting our children. We must censor the TV and the computer; know their friends and visit their schools. It is not enough to be out there raking in the money. It is not all about the money. Children need love, attention, approval. If they get it from you, they are less likely to seek it elsewhere.

In as much as we are having more Islamophobic attacks, we should stand strong, educate people about Islam through our actions and perfect our character. This too shall pass. There was a time in history when Jews were heavily persecuted by the Nazis; Japanese were also humiliated in the US following the Pearl Harbour bombing; Blacks did not have the opportunities they now have in Europe and the US. It is our turn now and in sha Allah, it will become a fading memory. Nothing ever lasts forever. Unfortunately, this may mean that another religion or race may be picked on.

May Allah help us all.

SHORTCHANGED: A RANT Q83:1-17

I am not in my happy place. I tried to avoid writing because I am not in the best of moods but if I do not write it and set it free, it will keep sitting like a log on my heart making me unable to sleep.

My baby is ill again – with the same illness I treated about two weeks ago – because of fake/substandard drugs!

There is so much anger/sadness/frustration in my heart at the moment. Why do people do this? WHY?

I could rant ‘Why?’ all night long but I would not. Instead, I will share some experiences.

I had a close family member travel abroad and when she fell ill over there, she was given a single medication that had she been given here, she would not have been better unless the drugs were foreign. A cocktail of drugs would probably have been prescribed to restore her health. I really could not believe she was given a single drug which controlled her condition!


After the crazy Eid day cooking well into the night, I used a foreign brand of acetaminophen (paracetamol) tablets. The next morning, I had no lingering effects from the previous day. I woke up early, bright as a bird! The medication had worked like magic! Trust me, I have used different brands of paracetamol after very stressful days, but none had ever worked like this did.

Same happens when we use medications brought by hujjaj (pilgrims) when they return from Hajj. They work!

Why would our drugs not work? And if they do manage to work, why do the diseases relapse after a few days/weeks? Don’t these evil manufacturers/importers have children or family members of their own?

We have treated many patients in the hospital with the medications listed in the medical books only for the patients to deteriorate or die on us. Money is squandered on useless investigations that should not have been ordered in the first place and on placebo-like medications which should not even be available for sales in pharmacies and on irrelevant autopsies to probe cause of death.

Some doctors have learnt to prescribe only specific brands of drugs – often foreign and above the reach of the average Nigerian. Patients do not buy them because they cannot afford them, or they buy the fake/substandard ones only to have minimal improvement, if any at all. Sometimes, they leave the hospital all together only to get scammed by unorthodox ‘herbal practitioners’ and profit-oriented prayer houses.

It is so frustrating as a doctor and makes patients doubt your competence when you prescribe drugs that do not work! Heck, it makes you doubt your competence! Most significantly, PEOPLE DIE!!!

How can humans be so evil?

Please, say a prayer for my child. May Allah heal him.

SUICIDAL BIKER Q4:93

I was at a bus park in one of the suburbs of Abuja, Nigeria two days ago. I hopped into the front seat of one of the vehicles going to my destination and buckled my seat belt. Some passengers entered behind me as we waited for the bus to fill before we could proceed.

Suddenly, there was a biker leaning back on his motorcycle with his arms outstretched and his legs stretched out on the asphalt while his bike spun with him as the pivot. This was right in the middle of a highway, and with no protective gear! We stared at the daredevil biker with our jaws slack and wondered if he was suicidal. Promptly, he jumped back on the motorcycle and sped away in the direction of traffic and was back riding while standing with his arms in the air, weaving through oncoming traffic like he was hoping for someone to hit him! We concluded he was definitely high on hard drugs!


Motorcycle stunts and impromptu car races are not uncommon in Abuja but they often occur in the main city itself. The publicity is done underground and yields a crowd of onlookers and kids of wealthy Nigerians showing off their cars and skills. It is not usually done for a fee or prize, but just for recognition.

Then he was back again – leaning back onto his bike as it made a couple more revolutions! Traffic grounded to a halt as no one wanted to be responsible for killing a suicidal biker. People began to gather and our bewilderment began to morph into uncertainty then fear. A female passenger echoed our thoughts aloud:

‘I hope this boy is not one of those Boko Haram people! Where is the driver o! I am not comfortable with this crowd!’

The once-quiet bus became noisy as we all began to talk and voice our concerns. You see, there have been recent bomb blasts in the suburbs of Abuja, Nigeria. The most recent happened a mere five days ago and these attacks are often in crowded places like markets and bus parks/terminals. The ISIS-affiliated Boko Haram claimed responsibility for these attacks.

We feared this young man could be a Boko Haram recruit seeking to detonate his bomb when the crowd had swelled to an appreciable size. As we talked, I unbuckled my seat belt and opened the door. One cannot be too careful, I reasoned. I might even have walked away but what guarantee was there that I was going somewhere safe? Passengers, irrespective of religion, began to yell for the driver to get us out of the park.

Meanwhile, the biker continued his stunts until an elderly (Muslim) man took a swipe at the young man as he whizzed carelessly past. I saw the biker park his motorcycle ahead and saunter back toward the senior citizen! The bus hushed temporarily. Was he going to fight the old man? We did not want to find out. The crowd was swelling considerably but we were able to see the two men talking.

Suddenly, news filtered to us that the biker was trying to sell CDs showcasing his skills. There was a huge sigh of relief but nonetheless, we couldn’t wait to get out of there. Some motor park touts took his CDs from vehicle to vehicle marketing them but none of us bought them. I wondered briefly if they would give him the proceeds from selling his merchandise.

As we finally left the park, everyone settled back into their shells and we barely spoke till we arrived at our destination.
******
As usual, many equate the terrorists with Islam and paint all Muslims with the same brush. This shouldn’t be so. The vast majority of Muslims are simple humans with the same simple needs and a desire for safety for ourselves and our families.

This makes me so grateful for the narrative Brandon Stanton of Humans of New York is sharing on Facebook – the lives of the victims of terrorism, their fears, their tears and the utter desperation that moves that to migrate. May Allah reward him and his progeny with immense good for shining the spotlight on the brave victims, not the terrorising cowards!

CLUTTER II

continued from Clutter I

Advantages of regulating internet time

• Better money management: money will be put to better use instead of procuring more expensive phone, the latest gadgets, internet time, or spending money on gaming and pornography sites

• More productive and liberating lifestyle: you will be able to read the Qur’an more, pray more, sleep better, enjoy relationships, exercise and be more confident.

• Healthier life style with possible weight loss: you will be more active instead of sitting on your rear all day. Bad postures from sitting behind a desk all day will also reduce, saving yourself from low back pain later in life

• Promotes imagination and creative thinking: being online all day moulds your thinking and stunts fresh ideas making your ideas cookie-cutter images of all you read online. If you read what everyone reads, you know only what they know, right?

• De-clutters your mind: weeding out all that unnecessary information overload allows your brain ‘purge’ itself and retains information better

Solutions:
• Have a buddy check on you at various times of the day. Be accountable and honest with this person

• Weed out your bookmarks or speed dial sites (on Opera mini). Limit them to six

• When opening tabs, try to keep them to a maximum of 10. Once you are done, close that tab.

• Unfollow some perpetual but non-beneficial tweeters who clutter up your TL. Same goes for Instagram, FB, and other social media sites

• Add a couple of people who add more knowledge and value to your TL or feeds to make it richer. Also have live friends who you can talk to about daily events instead of tweeting about them.

• If you are use the BlackBerry Messenger or WhatsApp, talk to contacts who are prone to doing so, to stop sending you broadcast messages (BCs)

• Having a 1000 contacts on your cell phone, 80% who you haven’t contacted in 12 months beggars common sense. You really should delete them!

• Get a timer (not your phone and start to cut down on your internet time. Reduce an hour every day for a week, shave off 2 the next week until you reach a comfortable compromise. Keep it short and you will utilise your time online more purposefully

• Often times, our FB has been cluttered with all our family members, all our classmates since the last century, all our colleagues from several places of work, then all the FB pages we think might be interesting. It is often near-impossible to sieve the good from the bad so I would suggest opening another FB page (after all, it’s free!) and restricting friends to the bare minimum while you continue to ignore the other account as you’ve always done since you are always afraid to share your thoughts due to fear of your family or boss.

• Cut down on the number of gizmos you have: the more internet-connected devices you have, the more likely you will be online so maybe you will consider not renewing your phone internet subscription? Or leave your tablet device at home sometimes. Maybe.

• Upgrade and update your library to include books or magazines you love to read, toss out the old newsletters, magazines, and outdated books.

• Get a hobby and key into this, if you can, at those times you are most prone to go online

• Set a time for lights out. Once the time hits, go to bed. If you can’t sleep, make extra naflah, adhkar or read a book with your bedside lamp.

• Have off-days when you will not be online. At least once a week. Reward yourself on these days for fulfilling your promise. Penalise yourself if you have not been able to meet up.

• Bored? Play the your favourite recitation of the Qur’an, nasheeds, read the Quran, pray extra prayers, go on a nature or power walk, exercise, visit family or a friend, call a friend, read a book…the list is endless. Whatever you do, don’t spend all your free time in the sticky web.

• Last but not the least, deactivate notifications on your phone for all except calls and texts. The emails and instant messages can be read whenever you pick up your phone without the pressure the notification sounds bring.

Feel free to add more suggestions in the comment section and let me know how this works for you. I’m working on me too!

PS:

It’s been about a year I started blogging. I just saw the notification when I returned to my blog. It is unbelievable how time flies! 24 hours is beginning to seem insufficient.

A big thank you to the wonderful people who still follow and read my writings despite my inconsistent posts. I am truly honoured and grateful :D. Especially my dear mum who always reminds me to put up a post. ❤

It's a year already! Make hay while the sun shines, people!