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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Third Side of the Coin

Prologue :
The trend started 15 years ago, but at that time it was limited to very needy families whose women had to do manual, factory work in small industries. The more educated, but financially troubled ones opted for teaching. The upper class usually did their learning and job abroad. Just 10 years ago it was noticed that 50% of the girls bagged top positions in matric board exams. With each passing year the percentage increased. Gradually the same batch of matriculate girls became toppers in intermediate exams. Girls ruled education everywhere and high hopes were pinned on them to progress further- while being offered a freedom of choice by their families. And now, in this 21st century, from doctors to MBAs, door to door sellers to front desk officers, cultured bankers to pilots, hardly any field is left untouched!
On the front this seems like good progress, but if we look at the bigger picture, aren’t we missing something? A society full of female workers- will it be an Islamic society? Or a balanced one? Even the broad minded, completely accommodating West had reservations to the Feminist movement launched for equal rights of female folks esp. for the working women. In an Islamic country where a woman cannot head an organization, a female leader was elected PM twice and same goes for Bangladesh, but do we see such example in US or UK elected govt.?Let’s dive deep into the pool of emancipation surrounded by an Islamic state.
The Story ~!~

Most girls pass out of their Grad schools, studying in co-education, confident and focused about their careers and future life. Since a lot of money has been spent on their graduation expenses, they want to make it up to their parent’s financial efforts, at least before their marriage. They strive hard for a job and quickly land a reasonable one. With the first 3 salaries, comes a brand new mobile, a drastic change in wardrobe, from the push-cart stock to branded cotton, and the drawing room furniture goes on the verge of a make-over to invite office colleagues. After the firstyear the girl decides she can no longer wake up early for office van or come back late in taxis. A new 800CC car is brought on installments. 2 years pass by and the girl starts investing in bonds, certificates and plots etc., to rent or buy later. The fulfillment of her small dreams, keep egging her to pin hopes on higher ones.
2 more years down the road and she starts having status clash with the residents of her middle class locality. A flat in the posh district becomes her target. With the easy house-financing offered by banks and a bank balance of 4-5 lacs she could actually sell their house and start living in a flat. And then one day they move out, never to look back to their locality or neighbors - sometimes even relatives. Everything becomes a ‘story of the past’- a skeleton in the closet- that is securely looked with the key thrown away.

She is now 26. The proposals start flooding in and her mom starts getting conscious of her age factor. The girl however, had been dreaming of a grand living and a status uplift by marrying in a higher class, but their family was still shackled by their backgrounds and the posh proposals could sense the difference just by talking to her parents and eventually backed out. Soon she got married to an upper-middle family, against her wishes. The guy earned slightly above her pay-scale and owned a family car. From a flat that she owned with the master bedroom to herself she went into a joint family system with a double bedroom as her only property! Feeling claustrophobic and pressurized, she now applied for a better job. Backed by her experience, she started earning more than her husband. Their status difference became more conspicuous and so did her frustration for not getting her dream life. They could not yet afford a maid and she did not have time for household chores after her very demanding new job. She expected her husband to help her with it or at least look after his personal things himself.The joint family pressures were building up from all around as eyebrows got raised at the couple’s division of homework. They decided to move out. Another apartment bought on lease by her after selling out the property she had been investing in since the past 6 years. This meant total rule on her part. She owned the house and the bills were shared.
Five years down the road, 2 kids had bounced in their lives and life took an ugly turn when her husband lost his stable yet non-managerial job, as a result of downsizing. She was however progressing gradually, becoming the HR manager of her company, being offered a brand new 1000CC car and other fringe benefits. On the other hand, while going on job hunts through websites, her husband became a domestic father. In the absence of an all-time available mother, the children became more attached to the father and also spoilt to some extent. She considered herself almost free of child rearing duties as she was financially supporting the household and expected her husband to adjust to this role-reversal.
After 2 long years, he finally got the job. From then on, they never had a good night’s sleep. Who was to look after the children? Who would provide pick and drop? Look after their studies? Who to leave them to? She had become pretty dominating by then. The children grew up seeing a passive decision power of their father, which earned him their sympathy and little respect. While the dominating and alienating attitude of their mother earned her neither their respect nor sympathy- even though she toiled each day as a woman in a man’s world; only for them.
A woman who had to face office politics at work simply because she was hard-working and intelligent enough to take the managerial positions from right under the nose of senior colleagues;
A woman who compromised her femininity by choosing to be a daughter who supports her father and family;
A woman who traded her dreams by marrying below her expectations; A woman who lived in a joint family system, supporting her husband financially and still opting for motherhood.
Yet, a woman who only lapsed on the designated duties of a full-time mother? What went wrong?
Who was to lose and how much? What was there to lose in the heavy bargain?
A girl who compromised the best days of her to life to secure a bright future, got what in return? A domesticated husband, detached children and her own frustrated soul? Was this the future she dreamt of?
Post Script
As Muslims, we all claim to keep away from the forbidden boundaries of ‘haram’, but what about the ones that are not so clear? That are left on our discretion to draw and abide by? Man and woman were not created equal and are not designated with equal tasks by the Almighty. It is not forbidden for them to work shoulder to shoulder with men (as the wives of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) did help the Sahabas in gathering Ahadith and Sunnah). But at the same time it is not preferred. That boundary is left to us. Extending it, stretching it by emphasizing that Shariah does not forbid it “It’s not haram”, “It’s the need of the hour for a working couple to live in times of recession”- is actually playing with the boundaries given to us to accommodate our needs and wants.

Humans- male or females- are drawn towards the luxuries of life; grand living, freedom of choice. We are also prone to greed and corruption, mentally and monetarily. When Islam talks about or promotes a woman working safely in the boundaries of her home, it actually promulgates a satisfied female who is apt for this job more than man; a woman who is the Queen of her Empire- everyday, not getting disrespected by males in the ugly world outside.Islam talks about the woman’s whole life. It does not emphasize temporary pleasure, in this case, the facilities she enjoys as a happily earning female, working shoulder to shoulder with men and changing her future lifestyle to accommodate her aspirations.
One woman, 10 women and then 60% of the population is enough to bring about women revolution in the country that has promoted a hi-fi culture ranging from club memberships to mobile late night packages for women, lawn extravaganzas, shopping malls, face uplift treatments, brand culture, kitty parties etc. to flaunt your stuff at. It has also promoted freedom of youth in a negative way because of unattended upbringing and high media influence. One woman, one mother and one thought changes all!As Napoleon Bonaparte says, “Give me a good mother, I will give you a good nation” and “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world”. A mother plays a great role in shaping the future of a nation. It is also said that, ‘if you educate a mother, you educate the whole nation’.
I am not against an educated, working mother, but doing job for the sake of your careers and actually believing that focusing on child nurturing will rust away your talents; reasoning that quality time wins over quantity time while thinking your kids will be cared for by their nannies till you return home is sheer folly! The channels they switch on, the mobiles they have, the feelings they hide when moving towards adolescence can only be monitored with your undivided love. Remember, you give birth to your children not your products or services. Your parent company can fire you, but you can’t abandon your kids. Your job evaluation gives you an A+ rating, but your children judge you negatively in the long run. Is that all worth it?


-"I am a female writer and MBA from Karachi, Pakistan. Honestly just adding people to promote my blog and to listen to YOUR VIEWS. Don’t expect any nosy friendship. Kindly, just read my blog and FOLLOW /SUBSCRIBE to get regular updates. I really need genuine intelligent, literate people to talk to me on important issues. Thanks !!"




So, what do you think about this article? Do you think that having a career can be a bad thing? Do you think that women who are home makers or domestic engineers are wasting their time? do you think that women who have careers are wasting their time? Is it better for Muslim women to work or stay at home? Which one do you do?



Asalaamu alaikum
Najwa & Nadira


12 comments:

  1. oh..Thank u soooo much. it got published EXACTLY like my blog. i lovvvvvvvvve ur appreciation! i was having such an ODD day today. was feeling sooo down and depressed, complaining to ALLAH./.. n here HE showed me immense happiness... :-))))

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  2. i think a women should be able to hold a career as long as it dosent interfere in her household duties. because that is what is a priority. luxuries arent evrything and can cause more problems than solve them

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  3. I think a woman, especially a muslim woman, should have the right to choose what she wants to be. While I might prefer having a career, it's perfectly okay for another woman to be a stay at home mom. I don't think there should be a dichotomy of "working is bad for women/motherhood is the best" instead it should just be a woman's personal choice and that's that :D The hypothetical situation is a bit extreme.

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  4. i'm going to speak for myself, as many may not agree with me. This is Just an Opinion! :-D Anyway, i'm planning to stay at home, I know for sure that in the beginning me and my future husband(inshaAllah), we both will have to work, but he knows that as soon as it's possible i want to stay at home, and take care of the children. I believe that i can help the world more through educating my children, then working, i'm a kids lover, and i would love to see those small babies turn into good men and women. So inshaAllah, i will stay at home.. :-D

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  5. I'm def a career woman, however I thinks it's imperative to be home with your children, their first few years of life, it's great to find ways to be productive from the home,I was inspired to start a non-profit and now my son is going on to 4 years old, It's easy to set it up where he can go spend some hours wit family or daycare and i can run errands or work, but it all depends on the persons situation of course, but if u can enshaillah take time to raise and cultivate ur children. Sou!

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  6. I am def a career woman, but however i feel its imperative to be home with your children their first years of life. If your situation permits enshaillah, its great to be the one to cultivate your children and set them up for success enshaillah. I have to say one can be productive while a stay at home mom, I my self was inspired to start a non-profit that keeps me busy from home, and now my son old enough at 4yrs old, i can trust to leave him with family and/or daycare for a few to run errands, work, etc. peace sisters Salam

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  7. I think that staying at home with your children when they are young is something that shouldn't be taken for granted.But of course not all us can do that because we are divorced or hubby needs help. I'm career oriented now because I went through a marriage where I was forced to provide for myself.I was a second wife and was not taken care of( had eviction notices, had to live with my mom, minimum wage jobs) even though my husband's net worth was about 4 million subhan'Allah. But if i had a responsible husband I would stay home. I myself came from a single parent household and although my mother tried the best she could with what she had and knew, I suffered emotionally.

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  8. This article itsy-bitsy offended me.( I might be totally wrong ) but this article made it sound as though women who are in the work force are worst...mothers ? My mother left her job to become a stay-at-home mother and alhamdoullilah raised us very well. Similarly I know a sister who is a Gynecologist ( Mashaallah , we need MORE female GYN/OB ! Too many males. ) who balances work and family. Her children have grown up healthy and sane. It is the husband's role to help his wife in chores. The woman is not a baby-machine or a maid. I do though , strongly believe that a working mother should stay at home during her children's first years of life.

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  9. this makes no sense at all. so a woman who earns money will get spoiled and super-materialistic and generally snotty and forget all her values, but what about the men who earn money? what, they'll remain pious? so presumptuous and offensive. if women are doing well in school, maybe that means they're more responsible and disciplined compared to their male counterparts. your own logic defeats you.

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  10. This article reminds me of myself. I went from working full time and plenty of over time hrs to 30 hrs a week. I am now a married musliamh, and my family is first on the list. I work 3 days a week and 10 hrs a day. The rest of the week I am free to be a house wife and future mother. Everything in life is balance and the qur'an promotes being moderate. My husband makes a little more, but both our incomes are needed at the moment in order for us to survive. He even wanted to find a second job, but I advised him that it would be best if we lived below our means and spent our money carefully. Another thing, women need to find other things to focuse on. I have so many hobbies and loves that I don't worry about the 10 hrs a week that I missing from my check.I was once chasing wealth and a masters degree, but now I take the time to worry about the things that matter most, family!

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  11. I like the views that r still coming by even 3 months after this article got published.
    i m not against working women, but i say let it come in case of NEED not a want b/c wants can never be satisfied.
    Being at home in early yrs is important though . i agree wid the zimmie about here GC sis- we do need female docs. and the last anonymous lady too is right!

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    ReplyDelete

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