Love notes to women – and to myself

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.

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Posted in Death to patriarchy | 7 Comments

what’s wrong with fetishizing the “Chai Wala”

I know, I know – us feminists can’t even be happy with simple, plain eye candy and have to find flaws in everything. You’re welcome ❤

I just don’t see why that image went viral and why everyone was so shocked to see that a Pakistani tea-seller could be so attractive – other than that he was being fetishized. Where in the world do people live that they lack good-looking men so much they go cray when they come to know of one? I think there are several reasons why this photo went viral and why especially Pakistani non-Pashtuns went cray-cray over it. Read on, fellers.

And, by the way, if you shared this picture on your social media, have been told why your choice to exotify it is wrong, and you’re still defending your choice because “but I shared it only because he’s so attractive and yet so simple! What’s wrong with that?” … yeah, you actually just answered your own question without realizing it, but let me break it down bit by bit because there are many layers to this problem. Continue reading

Posted in Death to patriarchy | 18 Comments

a song for Afghan refugees in Pakistan: Pekhawara Afghanan che khapa na krre by Naghma

With Pakistan evicting some 600,000 Afghan refugees by the end of this year alone, this song, sung by Naghma in 2011 (I think?), is so real and relevant it’s heartbreaking. Song is at the bottom of the lyrics. The Pashto is in Green (one of my favorite colors, yay!). Immense thanks to T. A. S. for helping with translation of a couple of lines/words I was struggling with.
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Posted in Afghans, beauty, being human, Death to patriarchy, human rights, I can't believe this needs to be said out loud, Just stop, let's talk privilege, migration, Pakistan, Pashto, Pashtuns, Poetry, violence in this world | 4 Comments

when people say it’s harder to raise girls

This is for every daughter in the history of daughterhood. And for every woman who’s ever been told “I’m so sorry!” when she has given birth to a daughter. I’m sending you comforting thoughts and vibes ❤

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Posted in Death to patriarchy | 1 Comment

how not to respond when women point out an #allmale panel

 jb-nonsense6Muslim male “celebrity shaikhs” are exhausting to deal with. And a huge fail, too. They always complain that we don’t express our concerns “the right way” (about which, please see below), but then they block you and delete your comments and accuse you of “abusing” them or the comments section when you speak up.

The latest case of blatant patriarchy (that I know of) in the Muslim American community is this image to the right. Accessible also through this link.

Apparently, over 30 “Muslim American scholars” gathered at some “impromptu” event, and the person who shared this picture, someone taken a little more seriously than he should be in my very professional and humble opinion, with immense pride, so pleased with himself like he was doing us all a favor or something.

And they met to talk about “major issues.” I’m so curious to know what these “major issues” must have been that could be discussed only by men – and I’m curious to know what their definition of “major issues” even is. Obviously, all-male panels aren’t among them. Even though, as documented here, all-male Muslim panels are a disturbingly common reality.

If you were a Muslim woman and didn’t have any faith in your own community, you’d think this was all intentional or something. But we can all just go back to our back seats of invisibility and, at best, marginality and relax and calm down and chill and all because it turns out, this was “just an impromptu” event. #sighofrelief.

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Posted in Death to patriarchy, forbidden things, I can't believe this needs to be said out loud, Islamic feminism, let's talk privilege, Muslim feminists, Muslim things, social justice, why we need feminism, your face is haraam | 16 Comments

To Muslim Women in Mosques, Eid Mubarak!

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Eid Mubarak, world! Tomorrow, Monday, is Eid-ul-Adha – the “festival of sacrifice.” How unfortunate that too many of us interpret that in the literal sense. Ever paused to wonder if maybe it’s sacrificing our egos for a better, more just home, community, world, instead?

The following is for Muslim women, Muslim mothers, mother-like figures, and guardians on whom the community places the responsibility of not just generally taking care of but also managing children in mosques during Eid prayer and sermon while men do the hard work of, well, enjoying their child-free zones and being angry at us for taking care of their children.

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Posted in Death to patriarchy | 3 Comments

Why are women so picky when it comes to marriage/relationships?

This is disturbing, so don’t read further if you will be triggered.

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Posted in Death to patriarchy, feminism, gender, human rights, I can't believe this needs to be said out loud, Just stop, let's talk privilege, Sexual abuse, social justice, society, stop using the word shame, violence in this world, why we need feminism | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Why women’s existence is a miracle.

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If you haven’t yet realized, women are a miracle. And I’m not referring to their ability to give birth, to give life, to have miraculous bodies that can do wonders that humans still haven’t understood fully or even remotely begun to appreciate and value.

I’m referring to the fact that despite the millennia  of violence, exploitation, oppression, hurt, injustices that we’ve gone through, we are still alive.

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Posted in Death to patriarchy | 2 Comments

Happy 7th Birthday, Kashmala Jaaney!

Dear Kashmala, my beloved Kashmala, my janan, zama da zrra armaan, zama da zrra sara, pa taa qurban! How my heart is overjoyed because you exist, because I have you, because this world has you.

Blessed be the day you were born, janana. Blessed be this day. How fortunate I am to be your aunt.

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Posted in Death to patriarchy | 3 Comments

give Muslim feminists their due credit for changing your life.

validation by men

Being a woman

Recently, more and more, I have been observing the change that Muslim communities have undergone in terms of their perceptions of Islam’s views on gender – and all of of that is because of the hard work of Muslim women (at least some of whom identify as feminists) who don’t get any credit for bringing these changes at all. It’s infuriating, it’s exhausting, and it’s frustrating being in a position where you keep seeing that and keep being silenced. And when you point it out, there’s an outright rejection of this fact. I actually just got back from an event where I was discussing Qur’anic verse 4:34 with a man at the table (the man doesn’t believe dharaba means “to beat/hit”), and I pointed out the contribution of women scholars like Amina Wadud, and this man had an expression on his face that was a clear: “Um. No.” But he didn’t say no. He was just silent and shaking his head slowly left and right as if to desperately want to say no but also knowing that I knew what I was talking about and probably not wanting to be proven wrong at the moment. It was just his expression that was so dismissive of the idea of Muslim feminists bringing such meaningful change into a Muslim community.

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Posted in Death to patriarchy | 2 Comments