Posts Tagged Criticizing rape culture

Guest post: Reflections on slavery, hijab, male authority, and convert neo-traditionalist apologetic bafflegab

(by Rosalinda—largely in response to this post)

I am under the impression that the whole women’s dress thing is something no woman can ever, ever do “right” in the eyes of these men. First, they claim that all women should wear hijab.

And when women where hijab, those scholars/brothers talk about how a woman wearing hijab shouldn’t wear pants, colourful clothes, jeans, jewellery, tight clothes etc. So a woman can never win. Talk about gaslighting…………

Here is a good take on the whole “correct hijab” thing by Orbala.

And yes, even Hamza Yusuf claims that a woman who doesn’t wear hijab “dishonors herself”.

OMG I can’t believe this! He uses the fact that enslaved women weren’t allowed to wear hijab by 3Umar al-Khattab and that they were bare-breasted as an argument for the “tolerance” of “traditional islam”.

This is of course NOT true: Hijab could, in that day and age, only be worn by free Muslim women to distinguish them from enslaved Muslim women, whose bodies were basically fair game – a slave owner had the right to have sex with an unlimited number of his female slaves, who, like Kecia Ali puts so eloquently, “weren’t in a position two hold or withdraw consent.”

But this argument of his is really mind-blowing…..

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Owning space

This post should probably come with trigger warnings. At least, the quote below was very triggering to me, when I first read it on Side Entrance.

“When our sisters are deprived from the right to come to the mosques, or given sub-standard accommodations and treated disrespectfully, it is only natural that some of them will take matters into their own hands and counter-react.

Some of that counter-reaction will be legitimate, and some illegitimate.

Rather than worry about what various counter-reactions have been and how legal they are, I believe we need to concentrate on the root cause of the problem. It is an undeniable reality that women’s prayer spaces (in those masjids that actually have them – for quite a few masjids still don’t even have such spaces) are less accessible, less clean, and less maintained than the men’s sections. Women have to deal with crying children, bad microphones, no visual access to the Imam/khatib, dank hallways to get in and out, and many other issues. Perhaps the worst issue of all: too many of our brothers comment on what they assume is inappropriate clothing when our sisters come to the masjid. This makes many sisters feel uncomfortable simply coming to the masjid.

In a day and age where our sisters are going everywhere, visible everywhere, active everywhere, the BEST place for them to be is in the masjid, praying to Allah, and being with fellow Muslims, and learning about their faith. Rather than believe that they should stay home, we need to contextualize our environment and ENCOURAGE our sisters to come to the most blessed places in their cities: their mosques. We need to make sister’s facilities as neat and clean and well-lit and accessible as the brothers. We either put them in the same hall as the men (as was the case in the time of the Prophet (SAW), behind the men), or provide state of the art AV access to the lectures/khutbah. We need separate rooms (also with AV) for sisters with young infants so that others can also pray and listen in peace. And most importantly, we need to tell our men that it is not THEIR business (unless a family man is dealing with his own wife/daughter) how other women dress. Let the people in charge of the masjid deal with dress codes.

Frankly, in this day and age, if a sister actually comes to the masjid (rather than going shopping or watching a movie or doing any other activity), we should WELCOME her, have the sisters get to know her, and make her feel special. Her priority is not the scarf on her head but her attachment to Allah. Once she feels that attachment, the rest will follow.

Our sisters in faith are our mothers, wives, and daughters. How can we treat them any less than we expect to be treated ourselves in this regard? And how can we deprive them of coming to the masjid when our Prophet (SAW) explicitly forbade it in his own time, and our time requires even more spirituality and education for them?!”

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A sermon that I wish I had heard: “We live in a rape culture”

Nobody to the best of my knowledge has preached such a sermon, but one can always dream…. Maybe if we keep dreaming good sermons, they will eventually balance out all the rotten sermons we heard.

This sermon would have been preached by Imam Hoda MacKenzie. Yes, that’s a Beatles’ reference:

Father MacKenzie writing the words of his sermon that no one will hear/ no one comes near/ look at him working, darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there/what does he care?/all the lonely people, where do they all come from? all the lonely people, where do they all belong?… [“Eleanor Rigby”]

So, take it away, Imam MacKenzie!


All praise is due to God, whose help and forgiveness we seek. We seek refuge in God from the waverings in our hearts, and from our evil deeds. The one who God guides is guided, and the one who is misled will not find a patron or a guide aside from God. I bear witness that there is nothing worthy of worship but God, and that Muhammad is God’s messenger. I seek refuge in God from the outcast satan. In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful. All praise belongs to God, the sustainer of the worlds, and peace and blessings upon Muhammad, his family and Companions. ‘Amma ba’d:

God Most High says: “Wa man yaksib khatii’atan aw ithman yarmi bihi barii’an fa-qad ihtamala buhtaanan wa ithman mubiina” –“The one who commits a wrong or a sin and puts it (i.e. the blame) on the innocent has burdened themself with falsehood and  evident sin” (Q 4:122)

Sisters, Brothers, Friends: we live in a rape culture. We here in North America live in a culture in which straight men’s sexual assaults of women, children of any gender, and trans people—while illegal and punishable by law—are still also all too often regarded as somehow excusable, even justified. A culture in which the onus is most often placed on girls and women to dress and behave in ways that supposedly will reduce their risk of being sexually harassed or assaulted—rather than on boys and men to cease harassing and assaulting. A culture in which the onus is on trans people to pass, or at least to be unobtrusive, so that they don’t get harassed, sexually or physically assaulted, or even killed. And as Muslims, what is our place within this culture of rape? How are we responding to it? Do we contribute to it, and if so, in what ways? Does our Islam challenge us to work against this culture of rape? If it doesn’t, why not?

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