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Today’s Top Posts
- The Haraam List
- Khairey: Pashto Curses, Insults, and Verbal Abuses in the Pashtun Culture
- Punjabi-Pashtun and Pashtun-Punjabi Racism and Hatred in Pakistan
- Female Reciters of the Qur'an: Un-gendering God's Word and Questioning the Patriarchal Idea of "Aurah"
- Terms of Endearment in Pashto
- Books on Islamic Feminism
- Feminist Poetry
- The Babarra Massacre of August 12, 1948: Translation and Background of Pashto Song "Margiya Ma Raza Darzama"
- On names, respect, and making an effort to pronounce people's names correctly
- The difference between "Pathan" and "Pashtun"/"Pakhtun"
- “Stopping Male Violence” (bell hooks)
- Minority youth leadership training opportunities
- how to hold men accountable for their violence against women
- when an intellectually stifled nation murders its future: why Mashal Khan of Mardan was lynched
- The Genocide Pakistan Committed against Bangladesh (Mar.-Dec. 1971)
- re the myth that male sex drive is uncontrollable and stronger than female sex drive
- on being deprived of women’s recitations of the Qur’an
- Thoughts on the Muslim Women Leaders Program
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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.
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.
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.
Readers’ discretion advised. This is about violence and the dangers of ignorance, arrogance, irresponsibility, and hypocrisy.
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.
I’ve been listening to a lot of female recitations of the Qur’an lately. They bring me so, so much joy and peace that it angers me that we’ve been deprived of their voice – literally of their voice – for so long. What a tragedy, what a horror, what a loss, what a fucking violence to God’s word that our male scholars decided our voice is awrah (literally genitals, y’all!) and based on that premise alone denied the entire universe of the miracle that is women’s recitation of God’s word.
This is why I trust no one, I trust no scholar (for anything, not just for gender-related interpretations of the Qur’an/sunnah) – and I forgive no one – who ever, ever has uttered, at any point in time, that a woman cannot recite the Qur’an publicly. Perverted ideas translating into law. I can’t believe anyone ever took you seriously. I hope you’re burning in hell, all of you. #deathto #allmalepanels #allmaleijmaa’ #manels #youdon’tspeakformyCreator
When I get up there, I’m going to tell on all these men. I’m going to tell my Creator about all the ways in which they manipulated God’s word to justify their own perverted ideas about women. Some of them tell us women have no sexual urges, that men’s sexual urges are higher than women’s, while others contradict those guys and tell us that women’s sexual urges are much stronger than men’s and that’s why women are “naturally” shy, modest, etc.
I can’t even. People ask me why I’m so “angry” all the time. Really? How are you NOT angry? I can’t trust people who’re not angry. I can’t trust people who see no reason to be angry about all the ways women have been violated. dismissed. ignored. deprived.
Resist. Defy tradition when it hurts.
In my classes, I have made it a point to always, always show my students a recitation by a woman whenever we’re talking about Qur’anic verses. I’ll show a male recitation only when I can’t find a woman’s one (which was often until I learned that Maria Ulfa’s complete recitation of the Qur’an is available online!). And since looking for specific verses of women’s recitations is a lot of work – but looking up men’s recitations of those same verses and surahs is no work at all, just a youtube click away – I physically hurt and I apologize to my students that I’m showing them a verse that’s paradoxically about women and a woman’s concern being addressed by God in the Qur’an and we can’t hear that through a woman’s voice. Something feels so profoundly wrong and unacceptable and obviously very ironic about that.
Anyway, here are some recitations by women. Please. Listen to them. Resist the patriarchal nonsense than women’s voice is for their husbands and immediate male family members only while men’s voice is just the default, natural public thing, undesirable, etc. Really? Anyone who thinks men’s voice isn’t attractive clearly hasn’t yet heard Mishary al-Afasi. That guy is ultimate #MaleAwrah.
Maria Ulfa’s compelte recitation of the Qur’an
Faridah Mat Saman
Not sure who this one is, but it’s gorgeous too
Tahera Ahmed‘s recitation at ISNA (first public female recitation at ISNA!)
Nor Azra Ayub
Not sure about her name, but here’s another one
From January 23-25, I was at a Muslim Women Leaders Program at the Union Theological Seminary with 20 other empowering Muslim women. The program was hosted by the Islam, Social Justice and Interreligious Engagement (ISJIE) program, directed by Dr. Jerusha Lamtey, Assistant Professor of Islam and Ministry at the Union Theological Seminary.
The program was, for me, an unforgettable experience, and the friendships that were formed, I hope to maintain for lifetimes to come. Needless to say, in everything that follows, I speak only for myself and on my own behalf, not on anyone else’s.
Okay, so the other day, a thing happened on my Facebook with a male academic scholar of Islam (a bunch of thanks and love to all my friends, women and men, academics and non-academics, who responded brilliantly in support of my original statement and in opposition to the way the person had responded! You folks keep me going
The past several months, I have been experiencing so much patriarchy and it has been so draining to deal with it all, to fight it all, that I have even lost my courage to write for pleasure. I decided today that I’ll write amidst a bunch of deadlines because I need to regain my spirit, my energy, my passion, my love for everything that gives meaning to my existence. I was reading Warshan Shire, a brilliant feminist poet whose each word makes my heart ache in the most beautiful ways possible. (She has this incredible book of poetry called Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth. Read it.) I want to hug her every word. She writes so powerfully. And it is her poetry that gave me the strength, that reignited my passion, to write again. They say that when you lose interest in the things you love and have always loved—not because you’ve found new interests (which is all valid) but because you lose the love for everything you’ve ever loved doing—it’s not a good sign about your health. I’ve been fighting this urge to lose interest in all things I love for so many months, and I regained it all only yesterday. I want to cry loving all this beauty that’s been breathed back into me, that’s finally returned home to me. May you, too, always have the strength and the energy to keep loving everything that brings you peace and power.