Tag Archives: Religion

How easy or difficult is it to type #MeToo?

She was skimming through different apps on her phone that night. She suddenly noticed that a lady accused someone on social media of sexually harassing her and she immediately supported the lady fully with all her conviction. All hashtags came out and even though the man accused (apparently) wanted his side of the story to be heard and/ or demanded the lady to at least prove her allegations, she wasn’t willing to let go of her (already formed) judgement about who’s guilty & who’s the victim. ‘These things can never be proved & therefore the lady is right’, she tweeted.

The next morning on breakfast, her parents broke the news to her that her father’s job was being terminated on the allegations of sexual harassment from a female colleague of his at work.

How can they terminate my father like this without any proof or evidence?’ was the first sentence that came out of her mouth. A thought hit her like a lightening bolt. Last night’s tweets were flashing in front of her eyes. She wanted to stick to her stance and started giving counter arguments to herself mentally. ‘But I know my father. He’s not that kinda person’, she said to herself. ‘Well, that guy must also be someone’s father, brother, husband or son. His loved ones would also trust that he’s innocent just like I trust my father’, the counter thought was stronger. ‘But women need to have the independence to speak their minds out and raise their voice’ she made a strong point this time to herself. But as soon as she looked at her distressed father, she thought, ‘But no woman or man for that case should be allowed to make accusations against someone publicly without proof or evidence merely in the name of empowerment.’ She was still confused though as she still wanted to not let go of the stance she had taken in defense of that lady last night on Twitter. ‘Why would a woman come out with such a huge allegation? I mean, what does a woman have to gain from this? She puts everything at risk with this, right?’ she asks herself and immediately realises something. ‘She can be professionally jealous of my father at work. My father’s a fairly handsome man, it could be anything’ she thought. Both cases had now started to mix in her mind and the more she thought the more confused she got.

But according to general public, 90% of the times, the woman is right’ she told herself. ‘My dad’s case though HAS to be from the other 10%’, she tried putting her feet in two boats at the same time through this thought.

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Mud slinging is different from having the courage and power to speak up and fight against oppression. #MeToo might be the need of the hour in the West, but frankly speaking, we live in a society where even if a woman’s dupatta gets stuck in the seat of the bus and she mistakes it for the man sitting behind her in the male compartment pulling it to grab her attention or to harass her, the whole male compartment is going to beat the crap out of the accused without even giving him a chance to speak ONLY because it’s about a woman’s honour.

Sexual harassment in Pakistan has generally been discussed in recent times from only one perspective: a man sexually harassing a woman. In reality, and as we all know already, men are also subjected to sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of other men and women as well. They also feel equally shy to admit when an incident has happened with them where they were harassed, molested or abused by an aunt, uncle, neighbour, friend, teacher, maid, boss, van driver or guard when they were too young or even after they had reached maturity.

So, coming out with experiences related to harassment isn’t only difficult for women, it requires equal (if not more) amount of courage from men. While coming out with such experiences and details of such incidents is considered to be a sign of strength for women, the same is considered to be a sign of weakness or lack of masculinity for men. Where there’s no denying of the fact that generally, women are victims of harassment on more occasions than men and in a lot of cases women do not find the courage or support to express what had happened to them, male victims also find it extremely difficult to put their manliness at risk while coming out with their experiences. Therefore, even though the overall ratio of incidents of sexual harassment (of men to women) would still not be balanced by any means, the percentage of cases NOT REPORTED by male victims would still be pretty much on a higher side.

Therefore, #MeToo, for me, isn’t just confined to a particular gender or a limited set of cases. It goes beyond them.

Keeping gazes down for men and observing the required parda for women as instructed by ALLAH (SWT) is the only way for societies to get rid of this otherwise incurable malady.

Showing as much skin as you like is not empowerment and treating every woman on the road like she’s only there to quench the thirst of your eyes and nafs is not a privilege.

Islam teaches men to keep their eyes off ‘naa-mehram’ women let alone touching or groping them. The only problem is that Islam instructs men to do it regardless of a naa-mehram woman’s permission to touch or watch her even if she invites you to it or ‘doesn’t mind it’ justifying it through phrases like ‘Mera Jism, Meri Marzi’.

So, with all due respect, the argument of ‘Even if I wear nothing, nobody has the right to stare at me‘ is as invalid as ‘Do not step out of your homes if you don’t wanna get leered at.‘ A balance needs to be there from both genders and a distance needs to be kept from both sides.

You know where the line is between a friendly touch and an unwanted grope? To be brutally honest, there is no line and even if there was, that line is drawn even before the ‘friendly’ touch.

Stay in your limits. Give respect to others. Maintain distance from those whom ALLAH (SWT) has instructed you to maintain distance from and always know that you have the right to raise your voice ‘responsibly’.

– Hammad A. Mateen

 

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Syria, I’m sorry!

Syria

If you are reading this, you’re lucky to be not one of those who aren’t

Think about your father, your brother, your son, your sister, your mother, your daughter, your grandchild, your uncle, your aunt, or any of the most closest relations that you may possibly have and consider close. Picture all of them in your mind with all the nicest memories you have of them till now. Recall all the moments where they’ve been there to comfort you- even if comforting meant to only have the knowledge that they’re there for you.

Say your brother’s name once… Now your sister’s name… Now your child’s.

What was the last thing you said to your brother? What did you tell your son when you saw him last? Come on! Try recalling. Even if it was minutes ago.

Now imagine if I tell you that all these loved ones of yours just passed away in an accident or an act of terror that just lasted for a few seconds. Yes! You no longer have your father, brothers, mother, wife, daughter or son. You’ve lost all of them together.

Now say all those names again and tell yourself that they are DEAD. Never to be seen walking around the house, talking to you, laughing with you, crying with you, teasing you, or comforting you ever again.

This is how it is to the surivors of those who pass away in incidents where the news goes like: “5 members of the same family killed in the incident.” News that hardly means anything to us as we casually move on to the next news item without feeling the slightest of compassion for the deceased or their survivors. Forget about compassion, we’re probably not even consciously thankful to God that it wasn’t us in their place.

We’ve belittled the value of human life in our minds so much that we only consider ourselves and those whom we consider our own as humans. We’re comfortable in leaving it to God to take care of the rest of mankind but that too after God takes care of us in a manner that we deem fit.

A few years back, a friend’s cousin met with a road accident and required blood urgently. Upon receiving the message from that friend of mine I quickly spread the word in my circle of influence in order to make an attempt to arrange the required blood type quickly. A mutual friend of ours texted me back asking who the blood was required for. When I gave him the details he was very quick to respond in a manner that boiled my own blood quite instantly. He highlighted the fact that our friend (and therefore his cousin by that connection) belonged to a different sect. He also questioned me whether I was sure about asking people to donate blood for someone from another background.

I was flabbergasted at his response to say the least. All I could come up with in response to this was a simple question: What would you do if you find someone bleeding on the road requiring urgent medical attention? Would you take him to the hospital immediately or run a background check first confirming which religion, sect or group the person belongs to before deciding your next course of action?

Although his response was far less offensive to my surprise but since that day every time I recall the same question, I end up questioning myself for asking that question in the first place. I mean, let’s be honest here with ourselves. How many of us would even stop at the sight of a bleeding person on the road? Not many. Fortunately enough, the time hasn’t come yet when I could sadly yet confidently state ‘none of us’ in response to this very difficult question. But still, the continuously deteriorating situation is not something to write home about as far as compassion is concerned in our society.

Why does it have to take someone who is our own to make us feel the pain? Why has empathy been reduced to merely a topic that corporate trainers & motivational speakers charge huge sums to lecture about in workshops & training sessions? Why does blood have to be treated as blood only when it comes out of us?

All lives have to end one day. Some later than others. If you are reading this, you’re lucky to be not one of those who aren’t. Not because they don’t like reading what I write, but because they’re simply not alive anymore to do so.

Value life, and not just yours but every other human being alive. For every man and woman no matter what religion, sect, caste, group or ethnicity they belong to, and no matter how irrelevant they may be to you, they are someone’s own. Just like your parents, siblings, spouse or any other loved one, the mere thought of whose separation till the life hereafter absolutely sends shivers down your spine.

Hammad A. Mateen

سانس لینے کی اجازت مل جایئگی ؟

beard

٭ داڑھی والا آدمی دین کی بات کرے ٭

“دنیا: “اوۓ! طالبان۔

٭ داڑھی والا آدمی دنیا کی بات کرے ٭

“دنیا: “اوۓ! ڈِسکو مولوی۔

“دنیا: “تم نے ڈاڑھی کیوں رکھی ہے؟

“داڑھی والا آدمی: “سنت کی محبت میں۔

“دنیا: “اوہو!!! ہمیں تو جیسے ہے ہی نہیں سنت سے محبت۔ ہم تو کافر ہیں نہ؟

                                                                                  “دنیا: “اوۓ! تھوڑی ٹرم کرلے اسے، انسان لگے گا

“دنیا: “اوۓ! مونچھ کہاں گئی تیری؟ تو تبلیغی ہے؟

                                                                               “دنیا: “اوۓ!! پہلے حرکتیں ٹھیک کرلیتا پھر داڑھی رکھتا

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کے جھوٹ بولتا ہے؟

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کر لڑکی سے بات کرتا ہے؟

“دنیا” “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کر لڑکے سے بات کرتا ہے؟

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ واش روم جاتا ہے؟

“دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ جینز پہنتا ہے؟

                                                                                             “دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ شادی کرتا ہے؟

                                                                                                         “دنیا: “اوۓ! داڑھی رکھ کہ سانس لیتا ہے

براۓ مہربانی داڑھی والے کو بھی اپنی طرح کا انسان سمجھیں اور اسکی غلطی پر خود مولوی بن کر اسکے لئے فتوے دینے سے اجتناب برتیں۔

!بہت شکریہ

اللہ پاک ہم سب کو ہدایت عطا فرمایئں۔۔۔ آمین

A Cracked Society

We live in a discriminated civilization and our ill fate is that discrimination is the foundation of our society. Religion, region, race, language, color, development, education, economics and a lot more form the slabs of segregation throughout this global civilization.

As far as religion is concerned, differentiation is understandable but it should still not be mistaken for discrimination. Christianity, Islam, Buddhism etc. all support individual rights of their followers and strictly discourage discrimination. Hinduism however has a caste system for which there certainly are issues where Dalits are considered untouchable by the Brahmans for which their justification is that all this is mentioned in their Shastras (Holy books). The Indian constitution discourages this attitude and protects individual rights.

Discrimination however does not end here, there’s a lot more to it. When I look around myself and carefully observe the society I am a part of, I can see many facets of discrimination.

For instance, when parents look for a bride for their son, they do not want a widow or a divorced woman as their daughter-in-law no matter how young the available option is. Their first and mostly the only choice is an unmarried- or as they call it an ‘untouched’ girl. Islam has no prohibition on a girl getting remarried after she has gotten a divorce or if her first husband dies, but our society has formed its own laws and prohibitions. They may however compromise if the widow or divorcee was to be a green card holder or the lone heiress of an empire.

Same is the case in academics and professions, engineers and doctors supersede all other professionals; that is what people know about these two professions, what they don’t know is that even within these two professions there is discrimination. There are good engineers & doctors and then there are the bad ones. In college, the ones who get better grades are good engineers, no matter what means they use to get those good grades. Conceptual learning is not really encouraged until it bears marks.

Professionally, the one who earns more is a good engineer. Same implies when people look for a son-in-law, the first choice is a doctor or engineer, and the second step is to choose an engineer or doctor who earns more than his contemporaries. I read a very interesting but true SMS a few days ago, which said: “He looks for a woman with a good past and she looks for a man with a good future.”

When we look at our family structure itself, we won’t be surprised to see discrimination there also. Most parents prefer and pray to have boys rather than girls whenever a new born is expected. When the result doesn’t match their expectation or liking, the poor girls have to bear the grudge for their very existence throughout their lives by being denied the independence and freedom of expression which their opposite gender may enjoy from their birth till the day they die.

Families more inclined towards religion exercise the discrimination in a way that the daughters have to strictly obey Islamic traditions by doing proper ‘parda’ (veil or abaya) and keep their lips sealed when it comes to making any choice, be it choosing a degree, friend or even a groom. The sons in the family however are free to make their choices. They are the ones who’ll be responsible for carrying the family name forward in the form of a new generation; they are the family’s pride. Unlike the strict obedience of Islamic laws, traditions and rituals which their sisters have to adhere to, they have a far more relaxed environment provided by the parents. They aren’t generally forced to grow beards or adhere to Islamic rituals like their sisters are compelled to do ‘parda’, they aren’t asked too much about what they do and who they hang out with, they are given the freedom to choose their degrees, professions and even life partners.

Parents get away by stating how naughty their son is when they’re told that he has several girlfriends. The situation is different however when they even hear a slight rumor about their daughter having a male friend.

I do not intend to challenge the true Islamic laws and traditions in any way but the same Islamic laws and traditions also do not allow men to live a life that is no-holds-barred.

I also understand that a lot is happening in our society in the name of equality and modernization that is totally unjustifiable and absurd. But still, the dilemma mentioned above is a reality which we must accept.

Now let’s come to those who use the term ‘equal rights’ in a completely different manner, the upper class and ultra-modern segment of our society.  They look down upon anyone and everyone who has a weaker monetary backbone than theirs. It’s a brand conscious segment of society where discrimination is based upon Ray ban, Gucci, Prada and Armani.

I’m not sure how to conclude this piece as there doesn’t seem to be an end to this discrimination in our society. The cracked society we are part of has so many pieces which I have failed to look upon this time. Maybe I’ll have to write more someday, maybe I’ll have to cry more.

Hammad A. Mateen