Tag Archives: funny

Do Muslim Women Feel Oppressed?

Published On Islam Faith
October 2017

 

 

IMG_3417

 

“Why not?”
“Coz I said so!”
“Good one Mom. You should be a lawyer.”

Ahhhh remember the good old teenage years when you died a little bit inside every time you heard one of your friends didn’t have curfews or chores? When they made something called ‘last minute plans’ while your parents needed the exact detailed information of the outing 10 to 12 business days before the actual date?

I distinctly remember asking my friends those same questions that night we were all chilling together. I was on a strict diet at the time, and needed a distraction from the melted chocolate oozing from the center of the giant molten lava cake they had just broken into to.

“No. I didn’t have any rules growing up. My parents let me do whatever I wanted. I’d come home at sunrise and they wouldn’t even ask where I was.” One friend replied.

“You’re so lucky!” We all said.

“Yeah, everyone envied my freedom back then, but you know what I envied them? Feeling protected and cared for. You guys should be grateful for parents who loved you enough to discipline you!”

 

While most of my friends made faces and quickly engaged in a heated debate on the different types of parenting, my mind dazed off like usual and an invisible camera blurred everyone out to zoom in on my thoughts.

Could these be the silent notions going on in Muslim women’s heads too? Do they die a little bit inside when their non-Muslim friends do what they want while they must adhere to all these Islamic rules and decrees? And most importantly, do women in Islam view themselves as being protected and cherished, or just down right oppressed?

 

The ‘Liberation’ Fixation.

We can argue about it till the cows come home, but unless we agree on what it really means to be ‘liberated’, one of us will end up really pissed.

So I looked it up and the literal meaning of ‘Liberation’ is ‘the act of setting someone free from imprisonment, slavery or oppression’

So far so good?

Now, would you guys allow me to use the veil (hijab) as an example?
Thanks!

Let me just add that modesty isn’t just in the way you dress. It’s an attitude. It’s something pure in the heart that affects the way you dress, think and behave. So if a Muslim woman chooses through the power of free will vested in her to wear the Hijab, even though she’s constantly pressured not to, would you say she’s ‘liberated’ from the social imprisonment and the slavery to ‘popular culture’? Yeah, I think so, too.

Alright, how about a Muslim woman who’s forced by her husband or father to wear the Hijab against her will, even though the Holy Qur’an explicitly says:

“There shall be no compulsion in [acceptance of] the religion” (2:256 Holy Quran)

And even though Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said,

“The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Now this ‘bitter-Hijabi’ woman is clearly suppressed, right?
Of course she is, but can we really blame Islam for it? Is this what God wants Muslims to do, to force each other to do things out of mere oppression? Things they’re probably not going to get rewarded for since it’s not from the heart?

This fixation on female liberation needs to take a more informed form. Are we angry with the Islamic Laws or are we angry with the Muslims who make Islam look bad coz they misinterpret its teachings?

We need to channel this bottled anger at someone people. Let’s make a decision and stick to it. Who’s the real culprit here, Muslims or Islam?

 

Women In The Wild West

While we could argue both sides, many might dismiss the scriptures all together and claim that western culture is the answer, for it is the essence of true liberation.

Well, it really depends on how you look at it.

Take the Hijab again. Some people will equate it with suppression, oppression, depression and all the ugly ‘essions’, while others will simply parallel its modesty with elegance, dignity and poise.

Now that I think about it, for the most part, it does seem like a natural inclination to view ‘modest clothing’ as closely integrated with being ‘classy’. Royalty, respected influencers, businesswomen, professors, educated women whose sole purpose is to make a difference in this world… You’d probably have a hard time imagining them walking down the street wearing hot shorts and cropped tight tank tops accentuating their enormous ‘boob-jobbed’ cleavage, no matter how ‘liberated’ they may feel.

There’s a difference between liberation and dissipation.
Between demanding attention and demanding respect.

And hey, if wearing the veil is viewed as ‘oppressive” then perhaps Christianity and Judaism should go on the list, too. For it’s not just Islam that preaches about the merits of modesty:

 

“For if a woman will not veil herself, then she should cut off her hair; but if it is disgraceful for a woman to have her hair cut off or to be shaved, she should wear a veil. For a man ought not to have his head veiled, since he is the image and glory of God; but woman is the glory of man” (Corinthians 11:6, Holy Bible) 

 

…”then, that head or hair covering was law for the daughters of Israel” (Sifrei Bamidbar 11)

 

Do We Need To Be Rescued?

I once read this meme that cracked me up for a whole week. (They’re called ‘memes’ right?)

* Hijabi woman breathes *

The rest of the world goes crazy: “You are OPPRESSED, LET US SAVE YOU!”

 

We’ve been brainwashed into thinking Muslims are brainwashed. But now try forcing a proud Hijabi to take her veil off and you’ll be the one in need of saving, you know, before ending up in a wheel chair that you’ll be steering with your tongue LOL.

The truth is, despite the commotion, and the whole ‘Islam-is-violent-and-isn’t-compatible-with-modern-civilization’ shebang, people all over the globe are converting to Islam left and right. Freedom loses its meaning amidst the chaos. When you don’t have a map, some guidelines and a clear destination, you’re just lost. And that’s the point; so many of us are finally eager for logical answers, finally ready to make sense of this confusion we live in. So many of us are tired of feeling lost. We need a stable, ‘unchangeable’ solid ground to stand on; a doctrine that keeps us focused and doesn’t crumble under social pressure.

Islamic rules might seem firm, what with the dress code, the ‘no-drinking’, ‘no gambling’ and ‘no pigs on the dinner table’ thing. Yet the core of every single one of those rules is based on love, the same way devoted parents, who care about your success, will watch you like a hawk and stop you from ruining the life you’re so eager to start living. Because they love you, they won’t always give you what you think you want, but they’ll make sure you strive for what you need. And because they know you so well, and know your weaknesses, they’ll put you on straight path to try and eliminate your struggles as much as possible because they know the following is true…

“To abstain from the enjoyment which is in our power, or to seek distant rather than immediate results, are among the most painful exertions of the human will” N.W. Senior 1836

 

Take that night with my friends for example; do you know how desperately I wanted a piece of that molten cake? I was practically drooling all over it, with my eyes popping out of my head like a cartoon character in love. Do you know how difficult it was to resist the temptation? Probably just as difficult as it is for you to invest in your ‘future self’, whether it is in your health, wealth, career or physical appearance. It’s SO hard, but you do it. You exercise, eat healthy, study and pull an all-nighter to prep for a test or an important meeting. You find the stamina, perseverance and passion to stick to your plan and reach your goals. Psychologists call it ‘Grit’. It’s a choice to progress and succeed and that’s the most liberating choice anyone can make.

Again, it all boils down to how it looks from where you’re standing.

If you see life on this earth similar to the one of gold fish, ‘live, die, flush, new one’, nothing Muslims do or believe in would make sense to you or anyone else for the matter. No amount of ‘grit’ or ‘achievements’ will count as significant anyway, right? And like duh, of course they’d seem ‘oppressed’ to say the least (I’d use more colorful language but you know LOL). Except Muslims see a life beyond this life, for they believe in Allah’s promise of a huge reward. They believe in justice and let’s face it, what’s happening in this world is nothing but.

So we resist the pulls and lures of this life and keep our eyes on the goal of attaining paradise in the Hereafter. We persevere with this inner battle between our ‘present self’ and our ‘future self’. We ponder on the amazing words in the Holy Qur’an and revel in its truths no matter how many people try to distort it with lies.

 

Once you approach the Holy Qur’an with the humility to learn and understand, you won’t be able to ‘un-see’ what you see.
You’ll find the truth that will purify and free your soul.
You’ll find the answers you need to reach that ‘inner peace’ you’re yearning for.

Once you believe in something so much that it runs in your veins, you won’t really care what other people think.

You’ll stand up for what you believe in, even if you have to do it alone.

If that’s not the ultimate liberation, well….
I don’t know what is….

 

 

All my love,
Lilly S. Mohsen

Advertisements

Behind The Scenes: Podcast Interview with Lilly S. Mohsen

 

I must say I was truly honored and very humbled to be featured….

 

 

Okay, I’m sorry, I don’t know how to do the formal cliche speeches looool. I guess I just don’t have it in my DNA or something. You’ll believe it once you hear that podcast.

But before you do that, let me take you behind the scenes very quickly…

So here I am, snuggled in my beige recliner on a Friday night, waiting eagerly for Mifrah, the lovely host and producer, to start the video call.
I was nervous, to be perfectly honest. Yes I was very excited, but I was also very nervous, because  I suddenly figured my casual style in my writing might come off as ‘tolerably cute’, but in real life, with me giggling out loud and everything, well…. mmmmm… not so much looool.

Anyways, Mifrah is such a natural, she eased me into it, and before I knew it, I was being me, talking about my imaginary friends, my favorite therapy success stories, how people can turn their lives around, and the secrets to finding what makes you ‘special’….

I had plans to go into more details with the ‘behind the scenes’ thing but I just can’t wait this long for you guys to hear the Podcast loool.

I really hope you guys enjoy it….

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

P.S.: Opps which reminds me, in the original interview, Mifrah introduces me to the audience, and I make this whole big deal about her forgetting to mention the ‘S’ in Lilly S. Mohsen. I guess she figured how much important it was, so she later went back and corrected it, saying my whole name in the edited version, which makes my whole ‘S’ drama in the recorded portion completely meaningless looool.

Just thought I’d clear that part out, before you think I’m THAT much of a drama queen!

Anyways, without further ado, here it is ….

Enjoy…

 

https://productivemuslim.com/interview-with-lilly-mohsen/

 

Day 26: 30 Good Deeds In Ramadan

DAY TWENTY-SIX: Help Her Out

 

You don’t know how much gets done until someone doesn’t do it.

 

Like when you throw your sweatpants on the floor, you’re not aware of the logistics involved to make them magically end up in your closet, washed and folded.

 

Your food is ‘shopped’, washed, peeled, cut, shredded, diced, fried, baked, cooked, and served hot, delicious and right on time.

 

Bills are paid.
Broken things are suddenly fixed (including hems!)

Bathrooms and windows are cleaned.
Lunch boxes are packed.

Oh the list goes on….

And usually the superhero behind all the action is the woman of the house, a.k.a not just ‘Mom’ but ‘Mom, mom, mommmmmmmm, mommy, mom, mommmmm’

 

Now don’t get me wrong…

Oh my God we love unloading the dishwasher 20 times a day coz you guys do it all wrong. It’s one of life’s special treats.

 

And it’s hilariously fun to vacuum and mop for hours, only to have you all stomp in with your dirty shoes. It’s like the highlight of our day, we relive it in our heads all night and smile with satisfaction loool.

 

And spending 95% of our time putting things back where they belong, ohhhh that’s just icing on the cake! It’s not tedious it’s actually the meaning of joy.

 

Of course dads help out too. They take out the trash twice a year. And you know, we beg them not to. We grab onto the trash bags and plead with them not to steal this happy job away from us, but they just won’t listen loool

 

Don’t even ask about ironing, folding, clearing away the dinner table, sweeping and cleaning inside the microwave every time someone uses it, because we both know it’s just another day in paradise!

 

And yes, before I forget, can you guys please ask us to run more errands? Pretty please with a cherry on top!

It’s the best feeling ever to drop every thing you’re doing, no matter how urgent it is, just to drive your teen daughter across the city because she ‘forgot’ her cellphone with her friend.

 

Oops, that’s my alert. I’ve reached my allowed sarcasm limit for the day loool.

 

Beginners Level:

 

This is mostly for teens:
Guys seriously, help out!

Helping your parents in the house (and by that I mean your moms loool) is a neglected Sunnah, don’t you think?

The Prophet himself (may peace and blessings be upon him) kept himself busy serving his family. He milked his goats, patched up and sewed garments and mended his own sandals.

And he taught us, “The best of you is the one who is best to his family” (Tirmidhi)

 

And you know he was busy spreading the word of Allah, with a mission that would last till the end of time, not busy with ‘which-snap-chat-filter-looks-better-on-me-today’

 

Okay that was uncalled for.

 

All I’m trying to say is out of all the days in the year, this is the best time to help with chores around the house. Help you parents, your siblings and help the help if you have any.

They’re definitely exhausted by now.

You’ll be reaping a lot of good rewards if you show them some kindness.

And hey, I’m sure you guys look great with any filter : )

 

Advanced Level:

 

This is strictly for parents.
I know you love your kids and they’re fasting and stuff, but if you really love them, you’ll give them chores and responsibilities.
It’s not your job to prepare life for them
It’s your job to prepare them for life and all its tough blows.

Let them share the housework.

Let them feel the value of time and effort.

Let them learn to appreciate the little things and build their self confidence.

It’s really the best act of kindness you can do…. Raise them right in a world where ‘wrong’ is synonymous with ‘normal’

 

Good luck (we all need it)

 

Ramadan Kareem everyone

See you tomorrow inshAllah

 

Lilly S. Mohsen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So You Think You Can Write?

Published on 11th April, 2015
On Productive Muslim
This is the original version

 

So You Think You Can Write?
The Secrets No One Will Dare Share!

 

Writer1

 

Sing it with me…
♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬

Let’s start at the very beginning….
A very good place to start…
When you read you begin with…?
A, B, C
When you write you begin with…
O.M.G!

You’ll have to cut me some slack people! Formally teaching practical tips on how to write effectively has never been my thing for three reasons:

1- I’m anything but formal
2- I’m anything but practical
3- Yeah I don’t really have a third, I just know there must be three reasons for everything that’s all.

The most important lesson I learnt when studying how to write articles was actually learning how NOT to write! It’s a constant battle trying to convey professional and practical information in a way that doesn’t sound too academic or downright boring! (Yes, I just voiced out every editor’s worst nightmare too!). One of my professors once said, “If it sounds like a writing then you have to re-write it!”

Confused? Okay let’s think of a way to make this a little bit easier….

Hmmmmmm

Think of writing like baking a delicious cake. First you get all the ingredients ready with exact measurements and everything, you mix them up and put the batter in the oven, and when the cake is ready that’s where you decorate it and serve it to your lovely guests, who make all the yummy noises you just love to hear!

In my head, writing is a similar process. Your brain is needed to gather information on the topic you’re intending to write about, mix them up so all the points blend together, then put your writing away for a couple of hours or even a couple of days before you read it again with a fresh mind. Finally, polish your writing up with new thoughts; as you become your own critic. Decorate it with titles, comments, and spelling checks, then serve it to your audience on a platter of casual humor and enjoy their wonderful feedback.

(I’m fighting the urge to delete these last two sentences because they’re obviously beyond cheesy! That’s another crucial point to consider. When whisking in your imagination with your informative article, don’t overdo it, and know when to STOP!)

There is no such thing as a good writer or a bad writer. If you follow the rules and instructions, you’ll get it right. But that’s not the point. That cake you baked will be just as good as any other cake, unless it’s baked with love; an extra ingredient that some writers tend to overlook. Writing with passion transforms scientific or theoretical information into pure art and that’s where the heart comes in….

 

Ready. Set. Relate!

Know your audience my lovely fellow writers!
When telling a story to a child for example, you’ll probably simplify it as much as you can, add some funny facial expressions and use different vocal tones to capture their short-spanned attention.

When speaking to the Imam of a mosque, you’ll probably lower your voice out of respect, avoid sarcastic jokes and keep your conversation within the realms of Islamic knowledge.

You get the gist of it, right?

Your readers have very limited time, and you can’t expect them to will themselves into forcefully reading your article if it doesn’t strike their interest or curiosity. I mean, why would they? If the question we all ask of ‘what is in it for me?’ isn’t answered in your first paragraph, then it’s ‘good luck and bye bye Charlie!’.

Close your eyes before you start writing and imagine a room full of readers. What are they here for? What do they need from you? And how can you keep them interested till the end of your writing?

The answer is: Know your audience and RELATE to them. Don’t obsess about sounding smart and sophisticated. Keep it simple. And most importantly, keep it real.

 

Too Much Is Just What It Sounds Like: Too Much!

Dear readers. If you’re interested in learning how to use your free time wisely, then you’ll definitely find this article beneficial. There are 7 rules to apply; each rule is broken down to 15 major points. Of course each point is categorized into 24 aspects and each aspect has 8 goals to aim for. Each of the 8 goals has a list of 36 points to check and each of these points is explained in 9 different sub-categories that spread out into 124 topics you’re definitely not interested in. Enjoy!

It’s out of delightful excitement that writers cram in too much information and I get that. We each have an enthusiastic teacher living inside of us, waiting to be discovered and goes overboard when that opportunity presents itself. But let’s face it; we live in a fast-paced world with too many distractions to start with. You’re probably reading this article while making a sandwich, listening to another lecture, watching a video your friend sent you and talking on the phone, all at the same time! Our eyes turn to scanning devices and simply skim through the article instead of actually reading it, and I bet that’s the last thing you want your readers to do. Get to the point and avoid all the excruciating details because sometimes TMI equals to zero.

(For those who don’t have teenagers at home, TMI means ‘Too Much Information’, but apparently using whole sentences isn’t ‘cool’ anymore LOL)

 

Titles, Tiles, Tiles

Don’t judge a book by its cover?
Well if the cover is a snooze fest you probably won’t even get to the judging part because you’ll be too busy sleeping!

Your title is readers’ first impression of your work, and we never get a second chance to make first impressions now do we?

A title must be intriguing, controversial, or at least arouses the curiosity to find out more. That’s all there is to say to here.
Next!

 

Oh Yes You’ll Fail

I can’t remember how many articles I wrote and saved in a file on my computer named “BORINGGGGGG!’. They can’t all be gems, but my advice is to keep writing anyway. Write, write and write some more, but don’t expect every single word to get published. Editors will turn you down. A LOT! Trust me! My work has been rejected so many times I had to put in a special order for new thicker skin because I was on the verge of quitting. My best friend can tell you horror stories about how I almost gave up on becoming a writer all together, and I owe it to her support that I’m still here now, writing about how to write effectively.

A wise man once said, “Everything in this world is wasted once used up except for talent; the more you use it the better it gets!”

I will not pretend I only depended on a talent though. I actually took all kinds of courses and read numerous books about the art of writing. That’s another piece of cherished advice; be humble enough to know there’s still a lot more to learn even when you start thinking you know it all.

 

No One Is Better At Being You Than YOU!

“I only have one Lulls!” My best friend always says. (That’s my nickname in case you’re wondering!) And she’s right. There’s only one of me, one of her and one of you. We are all very unique and special in very different ways. If you want to take one thing out of this article to be the golden rule of writing it’s definitely this: BE YOURSELF. Talk to us through your articles the same way you would talk to us in person, or the same way you talk to your friends. Unless you’re writing a progress report or an assignment for a college professor, don’t feel like you have anything to prove. Be casual, funny or even a little bit silly, that’s okay. If it’s from your heart it will surely reach our hearts… That’s the one language we all have in common.

Finally, make sure you end your article with a note of hope… Give us that serenity we all desperately need and promise us that everything will be okay. Let your final words embrace your readers and leave them feeling encouraged to be better. Be an inspiration to those who trust you with their precious time. Be grateful for even the slightest chance to touch hearts and enlighten other people’s worlds. It’s a humbling gift from Allah… use it and share it and don’t be scared to let your imagination run wild. If I sit and tell you how many times I fell and got up again you’ll probably laugh and cry at the same time. But you know what? If I could do it so can you. If I was able to become ‘me’ you can surely find a way to be ‘you’… Give us a glimpse of how remarkable you are and how your words can bring out the amazing powers we have hidden inside of us… in the end, that’s all we truly need…

 

Lilly S. Mohsen