Saturday, March 26, 2005

Are We Losing Our Way?

A few days ago, a beauty contest was held in Toronto by a Canadian Pakistani group that involved (among other things) women parading in evening gowns to the approval of men and women alike. The event garnered tremendous publicity in the newspapers that made it appear that Muslim women were finally breaking taboos. The protests of various Muslim organizations went unheeded and the chief organizer of the event criticized those opposing the event. She stated that those in opposition to the event needed to realize that we were now in the 21st century and that the show would go on. The participants declared that it was an opportunity to prove that Muslim women were emancipated and progressive. Buoyed by the success of the pageant, the organizers announced that the show would be held every year.

Has the ignorance that afflicts many members of our community reached the point where they are no longer able to distinguish between emancipation and exploitation? Is this what the Holy Prophet (peace on him) taught us? Are we following the example of the best of all women, the wives of the Prophet or have we also fallen a prey to the lucre of materialism and the worship of Mammon? When modesty is thrown to the winds and we crave the approval of the Kuffar we have truly reached the nadir. Gone is respect for the Quran and the Sunnah and in its place is this insatiable urge to conform to the ideals of a society that finds itself in various stages of moral decay.

This inexplicable desire to seek the approbation of those whose opinions will not count on the Day of Reckoning has created one brouhaha after another. Witness the Jumuah Salah led by Amina Wadud in New York recently. Apart from the fact that the concept is moored in a controversial interpretation of just one Tradition it was led by a person who has openly declared that she rejects a portion of the Quran and who has affirmed that she supports same sex marriages! Can the Salah behind this person be valid? But our friends at MWU continue to portray this as an act of liberation while choosing to keep silent on the real issues.And as expected the press had a field day depicting this as an example of Muslim women fighting for their rights.

And this brings me to another woman who recently lead a mixed gender congregation; the shennanigans of Asra Nomani are well known. MWU recently claimed that she was the Martin Luther of our times. Absolutely pathetic. I know that some have taken issue with me on this topic on blogs all over. They claim that it is her personal life but I strongly disagree. When a person lives, acts and makes statements that are in clear transgression of the Quran and the Sunnah and then tries to mislead others then what can we be left to think, other than that their purpose is to spread fitnah? Anyone who aspires to a position of leadership of our Ummah has to set an example the way our beloved Prophet (peace on him), the Khalifas, and the Sahaba did. Criticising such a person is certainly not gheebah as some have claimed, but a fulfilment of the Prophetic injunction of stopping evil by force, one's tongue or at the very least acknowledging that the other person has erred. A failure to do so is a reflection of our Imaan or what is left of it.

If our community wants to talk of women's issues then I am all for it. The only proviso is that it be done in the light of the Quran and the Sunnah and with the guidance of our respected scholars. I find it surprising that we are willing to consult lawyers, doctors, and accountants in their fields of expertise but when it comes to Islam, anyone and his brother thinks that he is an expert! Memorize a few verses, collect some Hadiths, learn some Arabic terms, and you are ready to roll! The charlatans are having a ball and the others increasingly confused. Regrettably, the malaise has spread deeper than I thought and will continue to do so until we reaffirm our deep and abiding commitment to the pristine principles of our Deen. We owe it to ourselves and to posterity to expose those who prey on the weakness of others.

May Allah Subhan Wa Taala protect our Ummah from the purveyors of filth and fitna. Ameen.


Blogger DrMaxtor said...

Excellent piece AJ. There are just some folks who aspire to be losers in both this dunya and the hereafter. I got an interview with Ms.Nomani on my blog, check it out.

1:42 AM  
Blogger Mohop said...

Upon being read the line about MWU comparing Asra Nomani to Martin Luther, my husband responded, "Uhh...Martin Luther was an Augustinian monk suffering from a crisis of faith, not a feeling of oppression." This ridiculous comparison alone is enough to convince me that the MWU crew have no idea what they are talking about.

12:43 PM  
Blogger izzymo said...

I have been meaning to post about Asra Nomani and Martin Luther. Especially since Martin Luther did not have any love for the womenfolk. He once said that girls are like weeds and that's they grow and mature so fast. He certainly didn't approve of women having any active role church as per Paul's request from the New Testament.

Female imams? Forget it. Martin Luther probably had the same Occidental prejudices towards Islam like many people of his time. But that's proof that MWU didn't bother to really study his work to see what kind of man he really was.

And he certainly wasn't the type to condone free interpretations of the Bible by lay people. If he were alive today, we would not recognize the modern day church and the acceptance of gay marriage and female clergy. But Asra Nomani chooses HIM to be her role model? Subhan'allah.

1:46 PM  
Blogger izzymo said...

And the pageant, I know we all know that it is not Islamically proper to prance before people showing off your body and being exploited like a piece of meat.

I had hoped that they would have had a peagent displaying modest Pakistani clothes so that they could prove that you don't have to dress in Western clothes in order to be modern.

It's cultural imperialism run amuck and many of us, from all different ethnic backgrounds within in umma, are selling out our cultures and religion to conform to values of those who don't even respect us. Why be in awe of someone or repsect someone who doesn't have any awe or respect of you?

1:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salaam 'Alaikum

I find it interesting that the organizer of the pageant would say that Muslims following the Qur'an and Sunnah need to realize we're "in the 21st century" for a variety of reasons... One is that there are definitely more interesting, integral, necessary things to think about and participate in for our modern times than beauty pageants. Do religious Muslims in the West use electricity and computers? Please. Second is that beauty pageants have suffered, as far as their popularity in the society in recent years. The Miss America pageant in recent years has been scrambling to get viewers (instituting such things as phone in voting), but that didn't stop ABC from dropping them anyway; it may not be televised this fall. Other pageants, such as Miss USA, are now following suit and trying to become more relevant or interesting to an audience that can see women in less than bathing suits (if they so desire) or women doing something with themselves other than living on their looks all over television, film, and the internet. It seems the organizers of this particular pageant are living in the 20th century. Perhaps they join the rest of us up here in the 21st.

3:19 PM  
Blogger ابدلرحیم said...

To Risama: Muslim Fashion Show should (not be, but if so) be including all modest clothing, not just Pakistani clothing.

To the author, wohw, you're so right and it's so sad.

10:38 PM  
Blogger DrMaxtor said...

Cultural Imperialism ? You got it Riasma. Since we are in the 21st century why dont these old backward folk start dancing in the streets sans clothing.
Miss Canada Pakistan ? Thats 2 countries isnt it ? I got a better name for this MISS SOUTH ASIAN INFERIORITY COMPLEX.

11:56 PM  
Blogger meryum said...

It seems that this prayer in Boston was actually led by another woman and Asra Nomani prayed behind her, in a sad congregation of 3. I might also add that this prayer was held outside because the Brandeis University MSA refused to host it.

5:10 PM  
Blogger DrMaxtor said...

Did you know that Nomani has links on her website to some outfit called "newislam" with folks like Manji, Rushdie and Nasreen on it ?
What a shock.

7:07 PM  
Blogger pervez said...

you all are just a bunch of sick minded people. Please remoe the filth from your head or else if you cant then leave the west and go back to home sweet home.
aj, i think you should start looking at the positive, if women's rights have become so equal in our great muslim nation then please prove it to us with atleast one example.
the person who wants to rename the pageant as MISS SOUTH ASIAN INFERIORITY COMPLEX, first come and watch the show and then make your comments.
no wonder the wrath of the same Allah has come upon all teh muslim nations which are turning them homos.
common you guys seem like people who have never visited the middle east or pakistan. Open your eyes and look carefully, there are more gays and lesbians in pakistan than in teh west.
quoting from the Quran does not make you perfect, you guys are sitting there warming your chairs and called asra nomani, the miss canada pakistan pageant all sorts of things.
You are the losers in turn.

6:16 AM  
Blogger pervez said...

asra nomani, is a great woman, it all depends on you sick men who can first of all start concentrating on allah rather than looking at a woman doing the namaz. you are insecure, because the truth is that ther e is no man who can do that in islam. even our own profet could not keep his hands away from a woman who was 15 years his senior to a mere child who was 40 years his junior.

6:18 AM  

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