] [Pick the date]
We, Muslim women, are NOT confined by Islam.We are liberated by It. I was not lying back in first year—when our FFP teacher asked us to describe ourselves in one word, I confidently described myself as precious. Because, really, I am. I may not have been raised in a wealthy lifestyle, but in my entire life I could say that I have been treated like a precious gem. Some could say I was a spoiled brat. But then again, I was just pampered with so much love and care and even at 20, still am. Back home, whenever something needs to be bought at a neighboring store, it is not me or my sister who go out to buy it. My sister and I are only tasked to do some of the kitchen and cleaning chores but all the other “handful” loads (i.e. going out to buy something, mop, wipe windows), the men—who are actually my poor little brothers, hehe—do. I may not be free to go out on dates or party like most people my age do, but I am free from the “close-to-danger” things it bring. I may not be free to dress in some of the trends which require showing skin, but I am free from the possibilities of getting treated in a bad way or getting catcalls or yong parang binabastos. I may not be free to marry the man I love or like or want*, but in part, I am free from wondering if I will ever get married, hehe. :P Plus I am free from having to worry if my parents will like the man or not. ;) I may not be free to mingle with people of the opposite sex, but I am free from being mindful whenever they are around. Before, when I was still not wearing the veil, my mom would spend thousands for my yearly hair treats just to “behave” my dead-slash-electrocuted hair. Now, there is no need for the hair treats because the hair is often covered already. My mom has thanked Allah (swt) so much for this. :D There are many things that make me feel free because of Islam. People who know me from way back and have witnessed how much I have changed perhaps best understand my point. Because of Islam, I am free from being a slave to the ways of the world. I am adored even without exerting much effort on the most superficial things. I am beautiful even if I am not wearing the trendiest clothes because I am respected—in fact, it is when men lower down their gazes when they see me approaching that I feel most hannamapandi

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flattered (Haha! Or maybe they do that because I scare them? Hmp. I hope not. Hehe.)… Above all, I am free from having to please everybody else because I know that it is Allah (swt) alone whom I should please. I admit that there is much ugly publicity about the treatment of women in Islam— such as Muslim women being oppressed, maltreated or treated unequally with men. That could be a fact. I would not dare contend with that because I do not know everybody’s stories. But it saddens me how many of those who are victims blame it on Islam. Moreso, the bad image those stories have created for Islam. I think it is important that all of us who hear or get to read this kind of stories— Muslim or non-Muslim—must all understand that sometimes the things we people do with regards to our culture are actually very different from the things that are done within the precepts of our religion. Everything we do, it is a matter of choice…whether or not we would prefer behaving according to the dictates of our culture or with obedience to what our religion tells us. For me, this is exactly why the advice of the Prophet Muhammad (saw)—to continually seek knowledge from cradle to grave—is important. For how can one learn to appreciate something without learning about it first? >i< To those who may have hated Islam because they are “confined” by it or because they hear nasty stories about it, I hope I am able to help through the points I just made. ALLAH bless and guide you always. Salaam!

*Most of my non-Muslim friends worry a lot for me regarding this, hehe. But this one is actually a misconception. In a Taaleem, Kaka Kashmir said that it is in the Quran that a woman is asked whether or not it is alright for her to get married to a particular man. The woman is given a voice. Kaka Kashmir, however advised us that whenever we follow what our parents tell us, we become more blessed. Because more often than not, their decision is guided by Allah (swt). She also added that if our lives become miserable afterwards, it is not right that we blame it to our parents even if we deem that to be rational. Whatever we do with our lives is a matter of choice. What is important is that we pray that we always will be guided in our choices.


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