Feminism

/ˈfɛmɪnɪz(ə)m/

       noun     

        the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes. This is the definition of a word most often misunderstood.

To be a feminist is the want to be equal not inferior. Inferior was a word I struggled to understand. No dictionary could help me understand why Arab women were inferior to men. We are lower in status and value. 

In the 19th century, women were looked down upon for choosing education. They were looked down upon for choosing work or driving cars but as time went by, women were able to gain justice. However, they cannot vary from what society expects from them, They need to be in the tiny bubble of a man’s creation. 

They will all talk about you, that girl who chose not to marry, or that girl who decided to travel abroad to study, or simply, a girl deciding to live alone. After all, all women are just mothers and wives. They cannot have the freedom of choice because of those cultural beliefs.

Sexism within societies is transplanted into religion and law most of the time. People, men specifically, like to settle and invoice horrid thoughts into peaceful things, such as Islam, for it has never said we were inferior to men, but rather, equal.

Khadija was the epitome of a feminist, one of the most important women of early Islam. She supported the new faith of Isam whilst many others decided against it. 

As the Prophet Muhammad himself is believed to have said: “God Almighty never granted me anyone better in this life than her. She accepted me when people rejected me; she believed in me when people doubted me; she shared her wealth with me when people deprived me; and God granted me children only through her.” 

Nusayba Bint Kaab, one of the early women to convert to Islam, took part in the battle of Uhud (625) where she held a sword and shield and fought alongside men. She protected the prophet and shielded him from the enemies. She fought alongside him in many battles, her skill with the sword astonished those who saw her. Her courage and loyalty are admirable. 

Prophet Muhammed (peace and blessings be upon him) has also shown great and deep admiration and respect for women. He said, “Paradise is at the feet of mothers.” Once a man came to him and asked, “O, Messenger, who among mankind is worthy of my kindness and love?” The Prophet answered, “Your mother.” “Who next?” “Your mother.” “Who next?” “Your mother.” Only after the third time, he said, “And your father.” 

Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) echoed what the Quran said, “I command you to be kind to women.” In one of his last commands in his farewell pilgrimage before his death, he kept repeating, “I command you to be kind and considerate to women.” In another hadith, he said, “It is only the generous in a character who is good to women, and only the evil one who insults them.” 

This itself is pure evidence that sexism is part of today’s society’s social norms, not islamic’s beliefs. UAE is fighting toxic masculinity and sexism and giving women a great amount of recognition by supporting their ambitions. 

One of my role models is Shamma Al Mazrui, an Emirati politician who serves as a minister of state for youth affairs. She is the youngest government minister in the world. She is also among the top female activists under 23 who are changing the world.

Another person I admire is Noura Al Kaabi. An Emirati businesswoman who is the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development for the United Arab Emirates. 

There are also many teenage girls who are already making headlines. Fatima Alkaabi (Youngest Emirati inventor) and Alia Al Mansoori (Winner of the Genes In Space competition and aspiring astronaut).

Scott A. Miller/The National
Scott A. Miller/The National 

Arab women are driven by motivation and passion. Many have stepped out into a world of business or politics! It is not a male dominant-industry anymore. The women I mentioned in this article are a few of many others who are taking over. 

Photo: Audrey Lee

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