Being a woman in the 21st century can be one heck of a confusing thing. 

On one hand, we all know this- have heard this, have been bombarded with this, have digested this


- The beauty standards.

What to wear, when to wear, how to wear. How to look, where to look, why to look.

On the other hand, What to do when ‘he’ does something. What does ‘his’ THAT look mean. What does it mean when ‘he’ says THAT word. Does ‘he’ love you or not.

We need more hands.

In all this dilemma,

It’s no wonder that the poetry/spoken word that arises out of this Lil’ Muslim Black Riding hood’s brain goes something like this:

Being a woman



         

"A strut, a pout and a twirl
That’s what you gotta do to get there girl,
Up the ladder
Or Down the drain
Please make sure you don’t use your brain!
No, don’t stop to think!
If you do, and if it’s not our way, you stink!"
The game of manipulation
That’s the stipulation
Surprised at my articulation?
Yea, I had an education.
Not that far from civilization

I know you’re tired of the old women's objectifcation on-the-face slap
Wanna hear something new?
Then listen to these words, not music, not rap
Wait, I forgot to ask my husband first, Oh snap!
Too bad he doesn't exist, except in my imagination

Now that I have his permission,
Let me continue with my narration
No, it’s not a lecture on feminism
Although, I might consider communism

I know what you’re thinking
You can’t see my face, How frustrating!?
I apologize for the discomfort
How silly of me, to follow my faith and have your sentiments hurt!
Freedom of expression you say....




But some expressions are more free than others, nay?




Nay? What’s wrong with me? Am I British? All happy and gay?
Speaking of Britain, Jane Austen, my lady

Not long ago, way before slim shady
In Pride and prejudice, Emma , Sense and sensibility

She had things to say
That always makes my day
Again, I somehow know what you want to say
“Hold on, young lady
Stop it already!
We know that you’ll take that thing off
You have a dual personality!”
Sorry folks, I may be in flowing black
But eating souls, does not make up for the nutrition I lack



Speaking of black, why do you see oppression when I wear this colour;

But it’s liberation you see when it’s another






You see, I studied technology
Know a little of sociology
And thankfully, psychology

 No, I am not here to perform
But rather, to inform
And hopefully reform
Intellectual stimulation is my aim
Without this style, I’m not game
Let me take you on a journey
Of discovery and- OKAY you can take your attorney

I always wonder; when we think of talent
Why is it entertainment equivalent?
Mindless and frivolous
But I better stop wondering
Before my thoughts go meandering
Because this show must go on

As a little girl I loved Cinderella
She was pretty, plus had a prince charming, not a gorilla


But you know who was the real beauty?
Not the pinky, but the brain.
She wore yellow and she valued that which was not in sight, plain

But now I’m 22, it’s not the same
In Beauty’s beauty too, I see that game
That game of manipulation

Again, the telepathy is unnerving
I can hear your thoughts out loud and alarming
“211st Century is about sexual liberation!
Dress the way you like, have no restriction!”
Now I know this is no parliament
But here, I’d like to make an argument
Let’s think about the porn industry
Some may support, some may disagree
Porn workers need to live, you say


        
   But the greatest bankruptcy is of the soul, Nay?


Again nay! Ahh Britan, Britain why with you I’m so smitten!
Maybe it’s the Monarchy,
Always liked the royalty
Unlike in democracy, the rulers are so pretty

By the creator from the creator, for the creator
Oops- that’s not the definition of democracy?

I think it’s spelled...
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
.
 - Rationality!
The radar is picking up again
The atheists and agnosts are squirming in their seats
“You simple minded freak!
Where’s the proof for this God of whom you speak?
OK  we get your feminist P.O.V.
But Don't talk about religion, You can shut up now and l-e-a-v-e"

Listen here folks, that's where you assumed wrong


Not to avoid objectification do I wear this,  neither am I a monk


Not for my husband or father 


Not for you to stop staring at me, either


It's not a fling


Because I wear it for my King!


And that's the bottom line,


It's for the divine.


I answer to none but Him.


Now I know I am speaking for women


But before that, I am human


My role model is a man


Muhammad (pbuh) was his name 


And definitely not.. Bella Swan







Self esteem is a sensitive issue


And developing it is a journey marked with tissues


Trust me, I know the vulnerability


I am not ignorant of reality


But Bella-she jumped off a cliff, when left her love!


 Muhammad (pbuh) on the other hand, when died Khadijah his wife, stood up for prayer and called above.



Now Bella is just human, I agree

But wouldn't you consider, so was he!

"The most precious thing in the world is a pious woman", he said


Now if that doesn't make you reconsider, you gotta check your head


"The best of you is the one who is best to his wife" is from him another quote

So you see, we are all still in the same boat

You don't think religion is cool


And I don't blame you, we all went to school

We were taught that religion is a mind controlling tool

And the one who believes in it and follows it is totally a fool


But by stating that as a fact to me and you,

It makes me wonder..Who's controlling who?

Then there's the saying "Religion is the opium of the masses", 


But Mister, have you opened up the scripture and put on your reading glasses?



If no, here’s something you might find interesting: Hope you are carefully listening;


in the Qur'an this fallacy is equal to treason..

Which one you ask?


The one where you blindly follow your ancestors without using your reason.


In school I studied evolution
And when I read that humans came from apes, I had a simple confusion.


If humans came from apes, and apes are still around...

I don't need to complete this, you see it's not profound.

E may be equal to mc squared at sight

But this matter, my friends is definitely not light



Now I am not perfect, that my mom will testify

But that doesn't, your ignorance or hate justify.



Moving onto something that always makes me sad
Are ladies getting hit by men who are bad


You know what's even more sad?

Using religious justification, what a horrible fad!


"Do not beat your wife!" Said my role model to his friends

And I seriously failed to understand where from came this opposite violent trend!

But it didn't take a lot of thinking after all, in the end.



"Ignorance is the opium of the masses." is my conclusion
Why else do you think they say that Ignorance is the bliss and not education?

But I'm sorry, I live in this world too and I refuse to be a victim of that drug

Not knowing the purpose of life might leave everyone else with the atheism bug

But for me I follow this sign that says "Read" for on my soul it tugs.




Incidentally "read" is also the first word of the Qur'an to be revealed.


Now I know that you are tired of sermonizing and wondering if this is yet another trap

But wanna hear something new?

Then listen to these words carefully,


It's not music, not rap







Now for the ladies in the audience I have a special task


 Go to your room, lock the door, look in the mirror and a few questions please ask!


Who am I really, deep inside- what is under my mask?

Is it just in the glory of my outward beauty that I bask?
Something that will fade away, won't last

Or maybe it's in the misery of my deformity that I lay


The love of my man and his sweet words


Is that what really decides my worth?


Or maybe it's how many A's I get in school


And making sure I am not a fool


Or in the happiness of my children


will I feel the oblivion


Or building a career


Making sure work is always near.





You will feel the layers peeling away
And raw vulnerability making its way



That's not the time to feel hopeless, nay

That's the time dear sister to get up and pray


That's the time to remember some of the women of yester-years 


Who was protected, defended and God valued and preserved their tears

Think of the mother of Moses, her baby to her was dear

Not wanting to see him killed; she faced her worst fear

In the river she left him to float
In God alone she hoped
And wonder of wonders! 
See what happened..she could not have imagined
Her heart was soothed again by having him near


Yet another example and this is my favorite of the sample


Is that of Aisha r.a. when she was slandered.

She cried and cried for days without end

Oh what to speak of the delicate workings of the mind of a young woman, who was so full of modesty, accused of immorality!


Now on the surface this idea may seem foreign.


But ladies, before was formed your rough and tough terrain


Don't you remember, what it was like?


To be innocent and in your daddy's pride, take delight?

Innocence and ignorance are two different things.

One stems from inner purity, 

The other from not having thoughts of clarity

Now back to Aisha's story


When finally her innocence God revealed

And she was asked to rejoice and feel relieved,

Her mother asked her to thank her man;

And her reaction never fails to awe me, definitely not like Bella swan!
As young as Aisha was, and of simple understanding
Non shall I thank except for God was her saying!


Now dear sisters, remember the questions I wanted to yourself make you ask?

Don't get me wrong, I was not suggesting you forsake those things all along.

Just that while doing them, the task of ensuring your hereafter is safe, do not prolong
No I am not sermonizing, just giving friendly advice.


And I realized that this is a great device.

Hope you had a productive time, And-

 the purpose of life was re-realized.





4 Responses
  1. Ma sha Allah sister. I found it engaging.


  2. Anonymous Says:

    Hiba, that's a brilliant piece of work! Quite intriguing, I must say. Being someone who always felt religion or anything else had no right to curb the freedom of expression, especially for women, I felt liberated reading your reviews. Perhaps not all women despise or feel desolate in a purdah, perhaps, they must be loving the sense of security it brings, especially from impolite gazes. That's a social satire from you which is quite relevant to today's times. Cheers mate, keep writing!


  3. Hibaysh Says:

    @Adil Abdul Karim

    Thanks brother! Glad to know. :)

    @Anonymous

    Thanks a lot for your feedback! I am very happy to know that this piece made you feel liberated.

    If you found the fact that there are 'some' women who love the purdah/abhaya/that-flowing-black-piece-of-cloth-that-some-Muslim-women-wear intriguing, I am curious about what you'd say to the fact that in some countries like France, Muslim women are fighting for the right to cover themselves. Basically, their right to ‘freedom’ of religious expression is being curbed. If the irony was water, we’d be having an emergency evacuation right now.

    There is a huge community of educated Muslim women out there, who love the hijab/niqab, because they love their faith and they want to follow it, free of any compulsion. And the word 'huge' is an understatement. There is even a World Hijab day ( http://worldhijabday.com/ ) , which came about to raise awareness about the Hijab. Here are some pages that might provide further insight:

    Colorado soccer team dons headscarves after Muslim teammate is banned from field : http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/colorado-soccer-team-dons-headscarves-muslim-teammate-banned-field-article-1.1725987`

    Marwa Sherbini: The Hijab Martyr : http://muslimmatters.org/2009/07/10/marwa-sherbini-the-hijab-martyr

    Here’s an All-you-can-read Hijab buffet: http://muslimmatters.org/?s=Hijab

    Much gratitude for your warm observations. Keep reading! ;)


  4. Ashmin Says:

    Great piece Hiba


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