In the Shadows of Men:Rule is: Protection of Society



The fundamental rule is the protection of the society. I have to adhere to this and repeat it.

“You ask questions you don’t need to ask, my dear.”

The teacher stares at me with a friendly look, and continues. “Stop it. Calm down and let us finish this lesson.” My questions incite sedition.

I cut my questions short. I shut down, and locked my head.

How exhausted my head has made me. Too much thinking.

I was not allowed to question and scrutinize; my job was to accept and obey. The rules are there to keep the man at the highest level of the social structure. No matter what. Rules are aligned for his benefit, to ensure that his word carries the most authority. The woman, of course, has the right to return to the duties the jurisdiction- sharia–  asks her to perform.

The jurist man, of course, knows more than me—that my pregnancy might last years. And that I can endure all but dependency. The jurisdiction gave me—as a woman—alimony rights, as long as I am “imprisoned” and not disobedient. A woman can endure everything except hunger, according to jurists. Hunger can make her commit bad deeds… God forbid… We don’t want her to become an adulteress…

Unless the man chooses that for her. She can hide her pregnancy for four years and remain virtuous, but she cannot endure the absence of food. So, jurisdiction gave her the right to alimony—under certain conditions, of course.

Legislative arrangements insist on her subordination. No matter how hard she tries, how independent she becomes, how old she grows. No matter how much she understands. She remains, no matter what she does, “Incompetent in her mind and her religion,” according to hadith.

She remains a hostage to jurisdictions sold as the word of God. Obedience to God. Fear from punishment. Threat of torture. All are under the rule of man. Through a man she enters heaven, and because of a man we are burned at the bottom of hell. In our life and after death.

And we women continue to contrive stories in which we hand over the starring role to men.

He grants permission. He thinks for us. He tells us what we like to hear. And what our hearts soften to. We know ourselves through him and for him. We live our lives through attraction to him and distraction from him.

This is our destiny. His heaven and his hell. We are destined to live in his shadow if we want to live at all. Our life is sheltered by the man who begins as a father and ends as a husband, with shadows of other men in between—a brother, an uncle, a son, a lover, a friend, a sheikh, a mufti, and a mawla(guru). If they suddenly all disappear, and the burning rays of the sun invade our hearts, we must remember that God is “masculine.” Above us, there is always a male.


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