Thursday, November 6


What it's like to be a Muslim woman?
What it's like to be a revert to Islam at the mature age of 35?
What it's like to wear a hijab?
What it's like to be married for the second time, this time to a Muslim man?
(I reserve another 'What it's like' question for a later article, insyaAllah. It's rather controversial and I won't talk about it now)

I am asked for so many times, by different people, some rather confrontational and others just curious. I entertained all.

Like most non-Muslim, I used to believe that strong, liberated educated Muslim women will not wear the tudung or the hijab. Those who don it are either forced to or talked into wearing it, and they are mostly uneducated and depended on the men for their survival. That's what I used to believe. But after reading good literature about the hijab, read the al-Quran and the hadith which state why Muslim women should wear the hijab, my perspective changed. I didn't learn from my Malay friends as some don't wear it, or don't wear it properly. I learned through my own research (thanks to the internet and the library). And through actual learning, I evolved.

I'm proud to be a Muslim woman. Real Muslim women who adhere to the teachings of Islam, are the most liberated women in the world. We do not need the propaganda of Feminists who are out to 'free' us and return us our rights. We are already freer than non-Muslim women who are still controlled by mass media and men on how they are supposed to behave, what they're supposed to wear to look pretty, sexy and acceptable, the latest fashionable colour of clothes and make-up, the latest fashionable hairstyle, etc.

We already have rights which were denied to other women in other societies from the time Islam was spread by prophet Muhammad (pbuh). We are protected in Islam. We already have our equal rights even before the Women Liberation Movement began in the West. Westerners have always believed that the feminist movement helps give equal rights to women in the world. Well, they're wrong.

Way back in time when the status of women are as low as mere objects of pleasure, Muslim women have been well-protected. While women in England were still treated as a commodity and women in India were burnt alive along with their death husbands, Muslim women were already given equal rights. The right to refuse to marry a man they don't like. The right to inheritance. The right to education. The right to divorce. The right for maintenance and the right to stay at the estranged husband's home for 3 month after the divorce. The right to voice their opinion. The right to own properties and wealth. The right to be called by her name even after marriage. It's all in black and white in the al-Quran and Hadith.

Muslim women have fought together with men in wars, and are proclaimed as warriors of Islam.
Verses in the al-Quran have been proclaimed due to Muslim women's prayers to Allah for justice.
A surah in the al-Quran has been written in praise of a woman called Mariam.
It was a woman, not a man, who kept the holy Quran after the death of Prophet Muhammad(pbuh) until it was reproduced for the mass during the rule of Khalifah Uthman bin Affan.
Women have equal rights as men in Islam. Mothers are honoured and are accorded a higher status than the fathers and the wives of Muslim men.
Islam instructs men that they are the best Muslim men if they are kind and good to their wives.
Tell me, which other religion has elevated the status of women to such glory, compared to Islam?

Oh, I know what the western critics say: "Look at the oppressed Muslim women. See what these escaped women reveal about their conditions."
Oh really? Out of 1000 Muslim women, how many are actually unhappy being Muslim? Why focus on the 1% who agree with you while ignoring the other 99% whose voice you refuse to hear?

Believing Muslim women who wear the hijab as being oppressed and 'unliberated' is shows how ignorant they actually are. I believe none of these critics have ever walked down the streets covered in a hijab before and experience the peace, tranquility and comfort a hijab gives the wearer who goes to a public place. Additonally, trying to influence Muslim women that wearing the hijab is a a compulsion not an obligation, and that they don't have to put it on if they don't want to is like telling a motorist that it's alright to ignore the traffic rules, that you'd still be safe if you don't get caught by the traffic cops. How silly.

Criticising the share of the inheritance wealth received by a woman (she inhertits half the share of that of a male counterpart) according to faraid also shows how ignorant they are. Compared to the civil law which does not specify how much a daughter can inherit from her parents (she might get nothing at all and nobody can complain) Islam is more merciful and fairier to the females.

Calling polygamy in Islam as an oppression of women also shows how ignorant these critics are. Islam limits a husband to only 4 wives, each should be legally married in syariah laws and the marriage announced to the public. Not all Muslim husbands want or need to marry 4 women to be happy. Polygamy for a Muslim is an added responsibility, not a privilege. Many Muslim men choose to remain monogamous and faithful to their wives. Yet some men, regardless of religion and faith, have secret affairs outside the home. While some parties condemn polygamy, these same people have kept silent about infidelity among husbands and wives. These same people have remained silent about husbands keeping mistresses, not daring to openly condemn because the civil law does not regard infidelity as a crime. Who loses in these cases? The wife, of course, for the husband exposes her to venereal diseases when he has affairs with multiple women, and the mistress for she will lead a disgraceful, unprotected life. Tell me, which is better, for a man to remain monogamous yet have multiple mistresses outside the home (mistresses who could have other men too), or a man who marries 4 wives, provides for them and remain faithful to these four? No wonder AIDS and venereal diseases have spread so fast, with many men having extra-marital affairs and the wife insisting on being the only legal wife?

So am I happy to be a Muslim woman? Of course.
Am I proud to be one? Definitely.
Am I oppressed? Of course not. I've been more liberated since I embraced Islam.
My message to all those 'freedom fighters out to liberate Muslim women', you're wasting your energy. Spend those energy to learn more about Islam and you might be surprised. Many people have started reading the Al-Quran with the aim of finding faults with its teaching, but eventually were convinced of the truth in its teachings and reverted to Islam instead.

My message to those Muslim feminist women out to 'save oppressed Muslim women' and declaring "It's not important whether the head's covered or not, but it's what's in heart that's important", I do feel sorry for you. While ignoring the symbol of hijab that binds all Muslim sisters together, you are following the beat of westernised thinking which may have diverted from true Islamic teachings. While the rest of us sisters are as happy as fresh apples in the refrigerator being covered temporarily in plastic covers, some have chosen to be like drying apples exposed to dirt and pollution, touched by unchaste hands.

If Islam is bad for women, why are more and more educated Western women embracing Islam today?

apples image:


  1. just a bit of a correction.
    it was khalifah usman bin affan a.s. who reproduced the quran to become rasm usmani as we know it today,not umar bin al-khattab.still i support your views quite a lot :)

  2. Ah yes, you're right. Khalifah Uthman bin Affan, who helped made the reading of the al-Quran consistent, with an al-Quran now known as Mushaf Uthmani. Thanks for the correction, and thanks for the support.

  3. Assalamualaikum

    Its been a while for me to stumble at your blog again. May you and your family in the best Iman and health. From what i can observed your blog has gathered strong follower strengh to strengh with His will. Lets pray that Allah reward you in hereafter for your effort to defend and explaind Islam to relatively much untouched target group in Malaysia.

    As matter concerned to Islamic law of inheritance it is easy for some people to condemn the fact that male heir inherited 2/3 and female ony 1/3 if they look with single glance.

    But before one can jump into the conclusion, consider these facts. First in Islam it is the male must produces the mahr or dowry when the couple are getting married. Not female as she is the benefactor. It is her legal right as she can rightly so refrained her husband from consumed the marriage until the man settle the dowry.

    Second it is the male, according to Islamic law, whom must provide the living to the family. This responsibility is exempted to female. Islam also forbidden the male for forcing from female their properties and wealth to support the family. Her wealth is her to be kept and she has every right to refuse.

    So lets us put these facts into simple and realistic calculation.

    FOR EXAMPLE the deceased have a son and a daughter. He left behind wealth worth of 30,000/-. His son get 2/3 that is 20,000/- and daughter 1/3 taht is 10,000. The son is getting married and dowry cost him 5,000 /-. Walimah or kenduri cost him 5,000/- more. He has balance 10,000 to provide for his family after marriage.

    The daughter also is getting married. she will recieved dowry worth 5,000/-. Everything else will be provided by the husband to be. Kenduri worth 5,000/- will be sponsored by her brother. Now she is at leased 10,000/- richer the her brother.

    Therefore before Islam to be blamed, try to find the reason behind each and every hukum revealed in Al Quran And As Sunnah.

    My hope that sister Aliya blessed with Istiqamah in dispelled the myth surrounding Islam among various communities in our country.

    Sorry for such a long comment. Bad habit dies hard (i read law, so your how lawyer behave).

    Im that chindian guy


  4. Waalaikumussalam azlan,
    Thanks for your prayer for me, and thanks for the long explanation. A long but relevant comment is fine with me :) I couldn't have explained as well as you did. It's true that people often jump to conclusion due to their own ignorance. Well, may Allah swt give all of us the will, strength and wisdom to do spread His true words on earth and bring people closer to Islam, insyaAllah.

  5. 2nd time commenting. Salam kak aliya. I once heard from a friend (don't really know how true it is, I have to admit)of a liberated muslim sisterhood that claims wearing hijab only suits the need of past arab women to cover their eyes from sands when living in the desert. (roll eyes). No brainers and so shallow. They should think of better excuses than that.Just say you're not ready and that sounds better.

  6. Waalaikumsalam jr,
    Oh, you mean Sisters In Islam? Hahaha,they don't represent all Muslim women in Malaysia. And their name for the organisation is a disgrace for they themselves don't adhere to all teachings of Islam. Dicarding the hijab and claiming that Muslimah are not obligated to wear it shows their own ignorance of the al-Quran.Problem is, some members of society look to this organisation as the representatives of Muslim women but they're not. Too bad no other Islamic organisation (ABIM, JIM etc) has been as prominent in highlighting Muslim women's rights (although some misguided). Ok, scold me SIS, I don't care.. hehehehe.. proof me wrong.

  7. this post is awesome. i have friends who support sisters in islam. they stood by 'tiada paksaan dalam islam' which is completely out of nowhere! sepatutnya 'tiada paksaan dlm memeluk islam', once you are, mana ada kompromi dah. semua yg wajib kena buat, semua larangan kena tinggal. ish, it bothers me that these people are so lost and they claim to be standing for the rest who aren't. *sweatdrop*

  8. We need a strong organisation of professionals representing Muslim women in hijab, giving a stronger voice to speak about what true Muslim women are, contrary to SIS's philosophy about not needing to wear hijab,move to ban polygamy, etc. May Allah swt give us the will and strength to build one some time in the near future, isyaAllag

  9. ""We need a strong organisation of professionals representing Muslim women in hijab, giving a stronger voice to speak about what true Muslim women are, contrary to SIS's philosophy about not needing to wear hijab,move to ban polygamy, etc. May Allah swt give us the will and strength to build one some time in the near future, isyaAllag""

    i will suggest to dewan muslimat pas to take this responsibility..i think if pas have many sub organization(more like NGO's but under pas)to solve any misunderstanding or any issue about islam(not only politics)..they may have more than one organisation under pas.. i think pas will be accept by malaysian people..
    n sorry my english is quite bad..hehe

  10. Salam malik,
    That's a good idea. We need to dispel general public's notion that Muslimah in hijab are less educated,oppressed and can't perform as well as those freehair women. We need a united organisation for Muslim women who can explain the true Islamic teachings, help Muslims sisters facing multiple problems, etc. Perhaps there already are such NGos other than SIS but they need to publicise themselves actively so that the public knows and realises from whom they can seek help and good religious advice. Actually the non Malays are not afraid of pas. People who are afraid of God's wrath are generally good people :)