Mentions of sexual assault, abuse and FGM in this spoken word.
Masha Allah is not a cat call, I don’t take it as a compliment
As you whistle at me as I walk by you in the street, do you not feel any embarrassment?
Because I do,
My skin gets hot and frustration begins to reside inside me,
My heartbeat quickens and pace hastens as you continue to shout behind me,
And when I finally reach a place that makes me feel safe, I am left with a question,
What exactly are you looking at?
Because there is nothing to see here
Every inch is covered, only my face and hands on show,
Yet you continue to lurch and leer?
Well, maybe I shouldn’t have worn skinny jeans,
Or knee high boots
Maybe I shouldn’t have worn so much makeup,
Or big gold hoops…
But then I remember, it isn’t about me, or her, or her, it’s about you.
For far too long, we have been socialised to accept this behaviour as normal
We have been sexualised and objectified, often against our own will
“Boys will be boys” they say, and “it’s a mans world”
“He does that because he likes you”, and “don’t be such a girl”
But, I am a girl?
And I am confused, because we draw our veils for protection, yet why are we treated this way?
And why do I feel unsafe walking around my streets? Well, it’s a man’s world, they say,
But 1400 years ago, it was a man’s world too
So perhaps, in this next story, there will be a lesson for you
Our Holy Prophet, peace be upon him, was once travelling with Al-Fadl, his cousin
When they were stopped by a woman, who had a simple question that she wanted to ask him
And this woman was beautiful, no doubt, and she caught this gaze of Al-Fadl
Which our Holy Prophet noticed, to which he did something incredible
He did not tell her to change
He did not tell her to cover,
He simply turned away the impolite gaze of his brother
Now, don’t get me wrong, as sexism is not from Islam, because my Lord gave me my rights before a white man ever did
But that does not mean that we should not be accountable,
For the equality that the patriarchy undid
But still, I hear you say “Muslim women don’t need feminism, Allah gave us equality!”
And that is somewhat true, but there is so much more to this ideology
For say that to the girl forced to marry a man twice her age
Or to the financially dependant and beaten housewife, with no where else to stay
Say that to those girls deprived of an education, forced to stay at home
Or to those shackled to the chains of cultural taboos, ignored and alone
Say that to those who are groped and grabbed as they complete the Hajj pilgrimage,
Or to the divorcees cast out, shamed and condemned by an entire village
Say that to the little ones told to keep it as “our little secret”
Or to those screaming in pain from having their private parts cut
Say that to the millions of survivors of assault and rape
Or to those simply left limp and lifeless, who couldn’t escape
For they are your friends, your sisters, your aunts and your mothers
And you are our friends, our sons, our uncles and our brothers
For Islam is perfect, but we are from it
And only with your help, is how we overcome this.
Masha Allah is not a cat call*