The most common myths about Muslim women and why they’re wrong

When I read this article on "Raw Women"... a beautifully written article with very well explained facts and decide to share it on my blog so more and more can read this and know the details.

 (Fahmina arshad)

The most common myths about Muslim women and why they’re wrong

Myth: Muslim women are all oppressed

The most common myths about Muslim women and why they’re wrong Myth: Muslim women are all oppressed

The western perception of Muslim women is often contradictory. Although generally pitied as objects of oppression, visibly Muslim women also bear the brunt of anti-Islam sentiment. Last week two Australian Muslim women, Randa Abdel-Fattah, and Anne Azza-Aly appeared on ABC’s Q&A and expertly cut through many of the myths and distortions surrounding Islam and terrorism. As the tension mounts in the wake of Australia’s recent “terror raids”,I enlisted the help of Randa, a former lawyer and current PhD student, and Anne, a counter-terrorist researcher, in order to dismantle some of the common myths around Muslim women.
Myth: Muslim women are all oppressed
The assumption that all Muslim women are oppressed owes much to Islamic dress requirements (hijab). While the Quran calls for both men and women to be “modest,” in practice it is primarily women’s dress that is policed, and the various denominations have differing interpretations of what this means. While women belonging to the small Alawite sect stopped wearing any form of hijab in the 1960s, Sunni Islam (which encompasses Salafism, by far the strictest interpretation), has seen a trend towards ever-more conservative dress, with more and more women covering their face as well as hair.
It should go without saying that any woman who is forced, whether by the state or her own family, to wear the burqa or headscarf is indeed oppressed. Nonetheless, many Muslim women do choose to veil of their own volition. That this choice is required only of women does lead to legitimate questions of whether such a choice can actually be free. However, Randa cautions that, “We are all subject to the influence of certain norms and expectations about how we dress, behave, express ourselves…I don’t think much of any of our decisions are completely ‘free’ whether we wear hijab or don’t, whether we are religious or not.”
In other words, all of our choices are limited by the patriarchal society we live in. The perception that all Muslim women are subjugated is linked to the mistaken belief that the liberation of women in the west is complete. However, the idea that women’s bodies exist largely as sexual objects is just as entrenched in the west as it is Muslim societies, the difference is that Muslim women are called upon to conceal their sexuality whilst western women are encouraged to exploit it.
Overturning these systems of oppression is not as simple as banning certain items of clothing. Just as western women took the reigns of their liberation into their own hands, so too must those Muslim women who feel constrained by their culture. Anne says one way for Muslim women to do this is “to start a discourse on the niqab (burqa) that takes it away from the question of rights and looks into the political symbolism of it and the religious interpretations.” Ironically, the more the west fixates on the burqa and attempts to dictate what Muslim women should wear, which only serves to put Muslims on the defensive, the more Muslim woman are actually denied the opportunity to have this conversation.
Myth: Muslim women are (or should be) uneducated.
While anyone who saw last weeks’ Q&A would know that Randa and Anne put paid to this notion, the perception that Islam itself frowns on women’s education is fanned by the hostility towards women’s education in some Muslim nations.
“It is a travesty that Muslim majority countries have forgotten or chosen to ignore the rich history of Islamic jurisprudence which featured at the centre- not in the periphery- so many amazing Muslim women,” says Randa, “There is a huge gap between Islamic doctrine, our history and what we see today.”
Indeed, the world’s oldest university was founded by a Muslim woman in the 9th century, and today, Muslim women are working tirelessly to ensure women have access to education. This includes, of course, Malala Yousafzai, but also women like Sakeena Yacoobi, founder of the Afghan Institute for Learning, which began surreptitiously educating girls under the Taliban in the 1990s.

The sad truth is, misogynistic fundamentalists deny women (and some men) their education simply because it makes it all the easier to oppress them. This, however, far from being sanctioned by Islamic doctrine, is actually in opposition to it: the first words in the Quran are, “Read. Read in the name of your Lord.”
Myth: Muslim women are a security risk
When Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi used the recent “terror raids” to once again call for a ban on the burqa, he was quickly joined by PUP Senator Jacqui Lambie, with both claiming the veil is a security risk.
Anne says that while some Arab countries have indeed banned the burqa for security reasons, Australia has “not had any incidences to warrant a level of concern.” Furthermore, “there are some very high level fatwa’s (religious decrees) that dictate that the niqab (burqa) should be removed in circumstances that require identification for security or medical purposes. So religiously there is already an avenue for mitigating risks associated with wearing face coverings.”
The upshot is, there is no point blaming women for terrorist activity perpetrated primarily by men. “There is no proven relationship between terrorism and niqab wearing,” Anne says. “It really is a non-issue.”
Myth: Muslim women are inferior to men
Growing up as an Alawite Muslim, I certainly felt my brothers were given preferential treatment. However, I also recall that the reasons (or excuses), given by my parents were more related to status and reputation than religion, including the all-too familiar refrain, But we can’t let you go out! What will people say?
There is a fine line between culture and religion. My friend Sofia, a university lecturer, says that religion is culture, and that regarding it as a separate phenomenon only obscures the reality – that human societies shape and modify religion according to their own peculiarities and practices (which is indeed what we are seeing with modern terrorist groups).
But that doesn’t change the fact that the often-abhorrent treatment of women in Muslim societies is largely at odds both with Islamic history and with what is written in the Quran. Whilst I view Islam through a secular rather than spiritual lens, for Randa, every day is “a struggle to reconcile my deep conviction in, and devotion to, the Islamic faith with the sickening reports of abuses of many women in the name of Islam.”
However, she adds, “Not for a moment do I think that the oppression and brutality directed against women stem from sincerely held religious beliefs. Whether it is targeting girls who seek an education in Afghanistan or treating women like second-class citizens in Saudi Arabia, the fact is that the oppression of women is essentially about coveting power and dominating women.”
For all their differences, the underpinnings of both Muslim and western societies are fundamentally the same, for each is built on the shaky foundation of patriarchy. As much as we like to blame religion for much of the world’s ills, the truth is, much of what we recognise as religious oppression is actually cultural misogyny.
On that note, I’ll leave the last word to Randa, who calls for, “A kind of radical surgery in Muslim countries in order to remove the festering, diseased pustule of patriarchy that attempts to define one half of society as walking sex organs…This would entail promoting theologically grounded arguments that would empower women to make dignified choices based on their own religious tradition.”

To read from the origional location please click here 

مُحلّے اور مُحلّہ داریاں ۔۔۔ ایک قصّہء پارینہ

مُحلّے اور مُحلّہ داریاں ۔۔۔ ایک قصّہء پارینہ

آج کل کی نوجوان نسل کیلئے تو واقعی یہ کوئی دیو مالائی کہانی جیسا ہی ہو۔یہ کوئی ایک دو صدی پہلے کی بات نہیں بس کچھ عشرے پہلے تک مجھ سمیت بہت سے لوگوں نے یہ سب کچھ ہوش و حواس میں دیکھا ہوگا ، ان کا لطف اُٹھایا ہوگا اور یقیناً اب ان کے ناپید ہونے سے معاشرے میں ایک خلاء بھی محسوس کرتے ہوں گے۔۔آج کل کے نفسا نفسی کے دور میں یہ سب خواب سا محسوس ہوتا ہے۔ وہ لوگ، آپس کا پیار، ایثار، خیال ، احساس سب کچھ ماضی کا حصہ بن چکا ہے۔

متوسط طبقے کے اُن محلوں میں لوگ اس طرح رہتے تھے گویا آپس میں خون کا رشتہ ہو۔ دُکھ مل جل کے بانٹے جاتے تھے، خوشیاں مل جل کے منائی جاتی تھیں۔ ضرورت مند کی ضرورت ایسے پوری کی جاتی تھی کہ ایک ہاتھ سے دوسرے ہاتھ کو خبر نہ ہوتی۔ایک ہی محلے میں خالہ خالو، ماموں مُمانی ، چچا چچی، دادا دادی، نانا نانی ، پھوپی، بھائی باجی غرض کون سا رشتہ تھا جو نہ پایا جاتا ہو۔ کہنے کو گویا زبانی رشتے تھے لیکن جس طرح نبھائے جاتے تھے اس کی مثال نہیں ملتی۔کسی کے گھر میلاد ہے، جگت نانی نے محلے کی لڑکیوں بالیوں کو جمع کیا اور پہنچ گئیں میلاد پڑھنے۔ نہ لڑکیوں کو ہچکچاہٹ نہ ماں باپ کو کوئی اعتراض۔بیٹیاں بہنیں سب کی سانجھی، مجال ہے جو کوئی نظر بھر کے دیکھ لے۔چچا اکبر دفتر جاتے وقت باجی شکیلہ کو کالج چھوڑ دیتے تو کبھی احمد بھائی منی کو اسکول چھوڑ آتے۔ سودا سلف لانا ہو یا کسی کی شادی کی خریداری مدد کیلئے ہاتھ ہر وقت تیار رہتے۔ نہ کسی کو وقت کی تنگی کا شکوہ نہ کسی کو مصروفیت کا بہانا۔ بڑی دادی کے پاس سب بچے بچیاں قرآن پڑھنے جاتے، سبق پورا کیا اور دادی کا کام بھی نپٹا دیا، لڑکیوں نے جلدی جلدی جھاڑو پوچھا کیا تو لڑکوں نے سودا سلف لادیا اور بھی جو کام دادی نے کہا ادب سے پورا کیا۔

موسم کی سوغات ہو یا روزمرہ کا کھانا، رمضان کی افطاری ہو یا عید کی سوّیاں ایک دو سرے کو کھلائے بغیر کسی کا لقمہ حلق سے نیچے نہ جاتا ۔ کبھی کبھی تو فرمائش کرکے پکوان پکوائے جاتے۔ بھابھی رئیسہ بھرواں کریلے بہت مزیدار بناتی تھیں اس لیے کوئی نہ کوئی بھرواں کریلوں کا سامان لئے بھابھی کی خدمت میں حاضر اور بھابھی بھی بڑے مان سے ان فرمائشوں کو پورا کرتیں۔ سہہ پہر کے وقت اگر چچی کا مدثر نہ مل رہا ہو تو آنکھ بند کرکے خواجہ صاحب کے گھر چلے جاؤ موصوف عادت کے مطابق پلنگ کے نیچے سوتے ملتے۔ گرمیوں کی لمبی دوپہر میں امینہ چچی کے گھر کے صحن میں بادام کے درخت کے نیچے ایک جھولا چارپائی میں نائلہ اور اس کی سہیلیاں پڑی رہتیں اور مصالحہ لگا لگا کر کچے پکے بادام کھاتیں۔مہتاب نایاب کی شادی کا موقع آیا ۔ شادی کے جوڑے ثمینہ آپی نے پیک کئے دوپٹے شہناز نے ٹانک دیئے۔ مہندی کلثوم نے لگا دی اورشادی کے دن ناہید باجی نے دلہن تیار کردی لو بھئی سب کام ہو گئے، محلے کی بیٹی کی رخصتی کا فریضہ مل جل کر اس طرح ادا کیا جاتا گویا سب ہی کی بیٹی ہو۔ نہ کوئی تیرا نہ میرا جو بھی ہے سب کا سانجھا ہے۔

غرض ایسی ان گنت باتیں ہیں جو لکھنے بیٹھو ں تو صفحہ کہ صفحہ کالے ہوجائیں پر باتیں نہ ختم ہوں۔ نام نہاد ترقی نے ان سب خوبصورت رشتوں کو اس طرح کچل دیا ہے کہ اگر کوشش کی بھی جائے تو انکی اصل شکل کو دوبارہ نہیں بنا پائیں گے۔

Hijab Maroof Alvi a Young Female Entrepreneur

A Dreamer and a Doer

I feel  immense happiness and pride to write about this energetic talented young girl named

“Hijab Maroof Alvi.”
A Dreamer & A Doer.

Hijab  is a target-oriented and clear headed  young  girl who is adept in her domain. Especially her dedicated work on IT is what I like to quote. Her skills and capabilities, speak through her work. 

Hijab is a highly intelligent, perceptive young girl. She grew in learning, in character, in depth of understanding. Because of her positive disposition, her  reflective way of operating, and all of the character traits that make her so special, Hijab’ s questions never go unanswered, and her searches always bring her to exciting new discoveries. As a colleague, Hijab is outstanding, I have watched her grow, seen her talents and abilities not only in the workplace but outside its walls, when interacting with all types of people, as well. 

She has incredible creative energies and a refreshing idealism tempered only enough to accomplish what needs to be done. Her creativity knows no bounds. Sh
e is extremely dedicated to her work and has non-extinguishable amount of energy that she puts into her work. Always, in her work, she is consistent, dedicated and passionate, enthusiastic, cheerful, and a pleasure to work with. She is an initiator and always struggle to come up with new and innovative ideas that proves helpful for the society at large. I respect her, because she always came up with new ideas that can help people specially students.

As the founder of, TACO Services , she is providing  great technical services to the clients.  She said; “You’re Satisfaction – Our Destiny” and she mean it.  Where she has the company of The Catalyst, Muhammaed Azeem Akhtar, Visionary Taqi Rizvi and last but not the least The Analyst Naqi Rizvi  who help her  in  production and implementation of the plans.

TACO -The Amazing Creative Operations Services is a web designing company and IT Training Institute based on young and creative professionals who would create and provide you with the best solutions to your problems according to your requirements.

I highly recommend her for any position of work, leadership, education, or any other capacity in which she can spread her excitement and share her talents with others. 

I see a bright future, ahead of her and wish her best of luck, for everything in life.

Aliza Brohi ... A Ray of Hope for Girl Education in Pakistan

       ایک پاگل لڑکی !

ALiza Brohi, Saving Future Girls School

جن کے مظبوط ارادے ہوں پہچان اُن کی
منزلیں آپ ہی ہوجاتی ہیں آسان اُن کی
وہ پرندے جنہیں منزل کی لگن ہوتی ہے
ایک پرواز مسلسل ہی  ہے پہچان   اُن کی

علیز ہ کا نام سُنتے ہی یہ شعر بے اختیار میرے ذہن میں در آتاہے۔ جی ہاں علیزہ بروہی ایک دبلی پتلی درمیانہ قد کی لڑکی جس کے بُلند حوصلے اور مظبوط ارادے اُس کی بڑی بڑی خوبصورت آنکھوں سے صاف عیاں ہوتے ہیں۔بڑے بڑے لوگ بڑی بڑی باتیں کرتے رہ جاتے ہیں اور اس چھوٹی سی لڑکی نے ایک بہت بڑا کام صرف اپنی مسلسل کوششوں اور مظبوط ارادوں کے ساتھ مکمل کیا۔ گو کہ ابھی صرف پہلے سیڑھی پر قدم رکھا ہے لیکن کہتے کہیں کہ ہزاروں مِیل کا سفر صرف ایک قدم سے شروع ہوتا ہے۔

ایک ایسے معاشرے میں جہاں اچھے اچھے خاندانوں میں بھی لڑکیوں کی تعلیم کوغیر ضروری سمجھا جاتا ہو وہاں سڑکوں پربھیک مانگتی چھوٹی چھوٹی معصوم بچیوں کو سڑک سے اُٹھا کر اپنے گھر میں واقع ایک کمرے پر مشتمل اسکول میں لے کر آنے اور ان کو تعلیم دینے کیلئے اُس نے جو پریشانیاں اُٹھائیں اور جن رُکاوٹوں کا سامنا کیا، ہم اُن کا تصوّر بھی نہیں کرسکتے۔اُس ایک کمرے کے اسکول سے لے کر ایک چار کمرے کے اسکول تک کا سفر بلاشُبہ اس نے اپنے بلند اور مظبوط 
ارادوں کی مدد سے ہی طے کیا، لیکن یہ اُس کی منزل نہیں یہ تو آغاز ہے اُسے تو ابھی بہت آگے جانا ہے۔

سیونگ فیوچر کے نام سے بنے اس اسکول میں اس وقت ۱۰۰ سے زیادہ بچیاں تعلیم حاصل کر رہی ہیں۔ جہاں نہ صرف تعلیم مفت ہے بلکہ اس کے ساتھ بستے، کتابیں اور یونیفارم بھی اسکول سے فراہم کیا جاتا ہے۔ صرف اس لئے کہ ان کی تعلیم کا سلسلہ صرف اس لئے نہ ٹوٹ جائے کہ ان کے ماں باپ یہ اخراجات برداشت نہیں کرسکتے یا کرنا نہیں چاہتے۔ یہ تمام چیزیں فراہم کرنا علیزہ کے لئے جوئے شیر لانے سے کم نہیں تھا لیکن اس نے حو صلہ نہ  ہارا۔ کُچھ مُخیّر اور درد مند افراد نے بھی مدد کا ہاتھ آگے بڑھایا اور ناممکن کو ممکن بنانے میں مدد کی۔ لیکن ابھی اور آگے جانا ہے۔ علیزہ سے بات کرتے وقت میں نے اُس کے لب و لہجہ میں نہ صرف اُس کے ارادوں کی پُختگی دیکھی بلکہ اپنے اسکول کی بچیوں کیلئے اس کی بے لوث محبت بھی محسوس کی۔ اﷲ کرے کہ لڑکیوں کی تعلیم کے لئے اس کا جُنوں کبھی ختم نہ ہو اور اس چراغ سے چراغ جلتے رہیں۔

My Angels My Angels

Dreams Love and Relations
from the eye of an artist.

Wow!!  That was my expression when I entered into thesis display hall at NCS Karachi.  The work on display at the North City School of Art  is anything but the work of this upcoming artist,  
Naveed Siddiqui  is amazing. His creative work on wooden panels is one of the first striking pieces when I entered in the school.

Fears and uncertainty in relations emanates in the work produced by the artist. His work was a personal statement. He took a cue from his life and expressed his feelings in a fanciful manner. The way he showed his dreams, love and a fear of uncertainty in relations, proved that imagination has no limits.

Naveed said: We have some relations in our life which have no significant recognition in our society but somehow those are the most considerable than anyone,  and for me, those are the best I have. In other words you can call them “Spiritual Relations.” In these art pieces I tried to portray my relationship with my loved ones and to express visually what these people mean to me.

The tagline of thesis attracted me a lot “My Angels My Angels”. For paintings, Naveed used oil on wood. He designed typical wall hanging painting style in standing form and divided paintings into different levels so that they could be tried to be understood through a particular angle which I found very interesting.
When I asked Naveed that why you chose angels and wings? He answered, I used angels and wings because they are the sign of purity and freedom which I found in some of incredible relations I have in my life.

Including me other guests have also commented effusively in the guest book.
Fahmina Arshad with Naveed Siddiqui 
Thumbs up for this promising artist, Best wishes for the future. Keep it up !

View a slideshow of the art here. 

Women can Bootstrap their Career too

Bootstrapping Your Career 

Bootstrapping your career 

Bootstrapping YourCareer is written by Hammad Siddiqui . A book about career development, Job recruitments, personal grooming and everything which can help you to boost not only your career but your life too. If you think that the book may contain a lot of pages, difficult tasks, and complex processes, then you are wrong, a book of 125 pages written in a very simple way.  Book based on real life experiences of Hammad sahib with daily life examples. He simplified the tangled processes in a very possible way.

The book has 8 chapters and every chapter is a masterpiece. From start to think about your career till grab your dream position,  this book will take you the place where you want to stay forever.   I found the situations and advises more acceptable for us because the book is written particularly for the Pakistani job market.

As I am a big supporter of Social Media, The chapter about social media attracted me a lot. I love the phrase “Your Network is your Net worth”. Readers will get excellent tips for the productive use of social media.

From the chapter about Tools, Trick and Techniques, I got the answer of the most difficult questions of the history of the interviews “Where do you see yourself after five years? “  I hope other readers will also get their desired answers from the book, like me.

Another thing which I like most is “Five biggest career regrets” in chapter 7, which can help to anyone for a better planning for career growth.

Chapter 8, the career questioned answered, is very interesting and readers can express well in their interviews by adopting these wonderful ideas.

Conclusion:  Bootstrapping your career is an exceptionally good helping tool for career development not only for the new comers but for the professionals too. Highly recommended for the masses.

Special Note :  Bootstrapping your career is an   “equal opportunity “ type book, means no gender restrictions, Girls , professional or nonprofessional women can also get help from the book to boost their career and life too.

The writer Hammad Siddiqui  is currently serving in center for International private Enterprise as deputy Country Director. He writes at

His twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn profiles are

To order your own copy of Bootstrapping Your Career, send an email to  or  from

About Author

Fahmina Arshad is Blogger, Social Media Activist, Women Rights activist, women rights defender, feminist, women issues advisor and ambitious to work for Women Growth in Pakistan.

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