Guest Author - Linda Heywood
Since I started writing for this website I have had many emails from readers. I have had one nice email telling me that my work is interesting. That was from a woman. The rest of the emails have been from, dare I say this, men who have written to simply insult me.
They tell me I have no right to speak on Islam. They tell me that because I am not an Arabic speaker I cannot possibly hope to understand what God is saying in the Quran, and if I need their help they would be most happy to oblige. One man even suggested I let him take over the website so he could write ‘the truth’! When I reply declining their offers and remind them that God is the Teacher of Islam, this seems to inflame them more and the insults flow freely.
I have often come across this misogynistic attitude towards women over the years. Some men seem to think that God gives knowledge only to them. This is not what the Quran states. Each and every one of us is responsible for seeking out our own faith, our own way to the Creator. No matter where that path leads or which religion is chosen. That is why God sent scriptures for us to read.
Men do not have the monopoly on religion. Men in fact go against many of God’s laws. ‘Do not kill yourselves or each other’ is the first commandment that comes to mind. Men start wars. Men are responsible for the deaths of all the men, women, children and animals killed in these wars they start.
Why do they start wars? They think it gives them power. They think that by controlling a certain piece of land, an oil flow, a diamond mine or people they can fulfil this wish of power. What they seem to forget is that God can take that power away from them at any given moment. Only God has ultimate power, men are weak and helpless without Him.
This is not to say that women are perfect. If I discuss the so called Islamic dress code with women, I can be sure that many will say I am wrong for not wearing hijab or clothes that cover me completely. They too will insult me over this subject.
The dress code is laid out in the Quran and there is no requirement for women to cover their heads or faces. There is no requirement in the Quran for men to make up imaginary rules to control how women dress. Again this is something that we all decide for ourselves. It is what makes up our personality.
If during a conversation people find out that I follow the Islamic faith the usual response is, ‘But you don’t look like a Muslim’. As if by following a particular faith I have to be stereotyped. We all know a tree is a tree, but a human is just a human no matter which faith they follow. How we dress does not necessarily mean we follow a particular faith. I know non-Muslim women who wear a head cover. They will certainly say it is only a custom from their homeland and nothing to do with their faith.
I understand that other people will disagree with some of my ideas concerning Islam. That does not mean I am wrong and they are right. I just have a different perspective on the religion. Sharing knowledge is how we learn from each other.
When I discuss Islam or write about Islam my only source of information is the Quran. God says the Quran is all we need but the Sunni Muslim men who write to me tell me that is not so. That I must follow other sources written by other men. They feel they have the right to tell me that I am not the right kind of person to be writing about Islam. They tell me I do not understand what I read and that what they tell me is correct.
I have not written this article to put down men in general. It is and article written to let those men who think it is all right to email me and abuse me know that it is not. I will never accept their insults as help and maybe if they worry about their own soul as much as they seem to be worrying about mine, they will feel happier about themselves and their faith.
I apologise in advance if any man feels offended by my comments but I think it is time that some men realised that they do not control religion or women. I am going to continue to write articles on Islam and I suggest if they do not like what I write, they do not read what I write. It would be so much better for the blood pressure.
Their Lord responded to them: "I never fail to reward any worker among you for any work you do, be you male or female - you are equal to one another... (3.195)