Why it is hard for a Muslim to be a feminist.

Haiii,

so here i am trying to figure out another things in my life by writing it out. This time i wanna talk about my passion on empowering girls right and its relation to feminism.

I have heard someone said in internet that it is impossible to care about women’s right without calling yourself a feminist. Since then, i tried to identify myself as a feminist because I love the idea of being in the same group of people that are passionate on the same thing like me. I got sucked up to that idea for a while, thinking that the definition of feminist is a person who fight for female empowerment. In fact, it is not that simple. Nowadays Feminism has become a pop culture that bring bunch of contradictory issue to my belief as a practicing Muslim.

Here’s why:

Feminism assert the absolute equality of women and men without perceiving it’s nature. From it’s first wave the main goal of feminism has been shifted from standing up for women’s right to break gender roles, which include promoting homosexuality and oppose any social roles being determined by sex.

I am a person who belief that gender and all other natural difference that human have is a hint from God to nurture the nature as the way it is supposed to be. Man can’t become a woman as much as white people can’t just turn themselves black. One just can’t easily accepted Kylie’s decision to fill her lips and use cornrow, right? And you still remember Michael Jackson for this case, right? I project that genderless world would be unbalanced world because we need difference in life so that life could stay in it’s tranquility. I believe, difference is not the obstacle, but hating the differences is.

God clearly stated the reason behind His Creation of varied human being in Surah Al-Hujurah Ayah 13.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ إِنَّا خَلَقْنَاكُم مِّن ذَكَرٍ وَأُنثَىٰ وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

O men! Behold, We have created you all out of a male and a female, and have made you into nations and tribes, so that you might come to know one another. Verily, the noblest of you in the sight of God is the one who is most deeply conscious of Him. Behold, God is all-knowing, all-aware.

Muhammad Asad explains that through this ayah (verse) God want human being to know that all human are belong to one human family without any inherent superiority of one over another. This ayah (verse) even connects with the exhortation in the preceding two verses, to respect and safeguard each other’s dignity. The differences that human have are meant to foster their mutual desire to understand and appreciate the essential human oneness.

In the last part of the ayah (verse) God even already acknowledge and pointing out equity for men and women in almost every aspect of one life, whether it is in front of God and in front of other human being, whether it is about politics or economy. God will reward both sexes equally for the value of their work, though it may not necessarily be the same activity. In Islam, it is always about your intention and the process of doing good deed itself.

On the other hand, Islam also recognizes the natural differences between men and women despite their equity in life. For that, Islam guide its followers to the obligation and rights in the social role that may differ to one another.

Stated in Surah An-Nisa ayat 34, Allah explained the social role of men and women. I recommend you so much to hear Nouman Ali Khan interpretation of this ayah in the video below.

Men get the role to be the care taker of the family while women in the position to keep everything in balance. Lots of people think those are unequal and those roles make women oppressed from the men. But then think again, isn’t being a good ‘balancer’ is as hard as being a good leader?  (I mean if you watch Scandal you’ll get the idea whose running the White House right?)

I think the ideas of gender roles exist to underline the importance of focus in a family as the miniature of the society. Islam sees family as the first line of making a balance to the world, that’s why it is very carefully construct the chart of organization. I think God just want to make everything easier for human being by guiding us to fulfill the maximum potential in our nature. He points out that the main task of a men are to earn money, fulfill his wife needs and guard his family and He ask the women to take care of their children and being a good wife.

From what I know, Islam isn’t a religion that full of restriction, so once you can fulfill your obligation, you can do whatever you want with your dream and wish. I am woman who believe that all women should speak up their mind and pursue their dreams no matter what, but that doesn’t mean i believe that woman shouldn’t be cooking and taking care of their children.

Equality isn’t the answer for what women needs. Women needs equity cause equity provide them the chance and opportunity –not status. In my mind, equity for women is when women got respected for all difference that they have, when women can achieved their dream without forgetting their duties because the circumstance supporting it.

Writing this article give me an ease to understand that as much as I want to belong to the group of strong women, I just can’t. Too many contradiction for me to oppose to. As I search Muslim Feminist in google, I found a lot of website that is really disturbing for me. I found a lot of queer, homosexual muslim and women hating men in those pages. It’s not that i am homophobic, it’s just the idea of them identifying something as it is not supposed to be bothers me. But then from them, i also learn more about respecting many interpretation in Islam, i constantly remind myself that they are not less Muslim than i am, they are still my brothers and my sisters even though we don’t share the same thought.

So, I am not a feminist. But i will listen to their ideas that it’s not opposing my belief, i would love to be surrounded by them to get some inspiration and atmosphere to support achieving women equity. Hopefully, we all can get along together. 🙂

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In Need to Love Writing

my writing table

my writing table

As you can see from my previous post, you know that I never doing well with productivity or routine. Last July, I did most of things that I planned, except blogging, learning Arabic and watching TED video. This July was the month where I got stuck to rewrite my novel. At first, i thought that I will just edit it fast and voila my novel is finished, but infact the story that I wrote years ago doesn’t resonate me anymore. The words in my head change as I read more and my belief went to a long searching journey. I put all my efforts to rewrite the voice of my character. I cut almost half of each chapter, and write it again. A that time i really wonder whether this rewriting idea is a noob trial or an act of professionalism, but my mind got stuck on the first one. I am a total amateur.

I thought I could start blogging again on August, but then my German course take five of my productive hours, i was too overwhelmed with the new routine and i still hadn’t finished my re-writing process, so yeah, I found another excuse to not blogging. And let’s talk about September, the most productive time of my life ever (in terms of writing). I finally edited my 200 pages novel for like three times until I didn’t realize that month is already change. Editing process brought me up to the whole new layer of writing-reading experience that I never know before. I even didn’t know when to stop editing, i enjoy it so much so my productivity stucked in putting detail and thinking about the relevancy of my story. Somehow around that month, I also manage to get the whole concept of my second book, which is a non-fiction pile of essay kinda book. Huff can’t wait to finish the first chapter and show it to my first reader.

I also manage to read a ton of new book. I ordered five new Indonesian book and a friend of mine crazily throw me three books to read since last month. There are just much of it.

the first one is just a pencil case y'all

the first one is just a pencil case y’all

I try so much to engage within books on October, so i pushed my self to go to a one day trip to Frankfurt Book Festival, thinking that i need some recharge from this bibpliophile’s heaven. But not really, Frankfurt Buch Messe isn’t for bibliophile and definitely not to be visited for one day. It’s just tons of book end up together in one enormous place. From that i know, bibliophile’s heaven is in the little sofa nearby their book rack.

If one thing that i got from Frankfurt Buch Messe is the chance to have 10 minutes sitting with Tere Liye. There he reminded me of one thing that i really need to learn. He told me to love writing.

Tere Liye offers all comfort book that i need, his books are the books that i will go read whenever i am tired reading too thick book or too complicated one. He gives a good amount of excitement in every book he writes, and man he writes a lot. His writing won’t give you crazy chill or five hours sobbing but it touches, tickles and break your heart in a distinct motion separately. So when i got the chance to talk to him, of course i asked him about his writing style. But surprisingly, he is so pragmatic, he asked me to turn the table, tear down all the theories that i know and to just write. Oh isn’t it what something that someone who always over thinking everything need to hear?

He pointed out that i haven’t love writing yet after i uttered my problem with continuity of writing (yeah he is a pretty straightforward person! kind of shock of that but i should have guessed from his facebook posts tho!). I know that he is right, in fact i love the brainstorming process more than the writing process itself. I have pages of writing ideas that never got executed. Damn girl, i told my self at that time, i have to learn how to love writing!

For him, there is no excuse to not writing everyday for someone who loves writing. Writing for him is also a healing process of cracked soul, that’s why it is so powerful to love it and to do it everyday. I couldn’t agree more, i’ve heard this word before, long ago from 2012 when i heard Asma Nadia giving presentation in Malaysia. I experienced writing as a healing process whenever i feel so low, most of the time i write poetry, because it doesn’t have boundary to utter my deepest dark feeling. But often i don’t write and just  prefer to read books so i can forget my sad mind.

I love reading that’s i know for sure, and since i have a current donatur (a.k.a B) to buy me every book that i want my love is grow crazier. Everyday i read, everywhere, i just can’t not holding a book in a day. And oh man, i want to experience the same feeling with writing, i want to get addicted to writing. Tere Liye said, “Azmi listen to me, write everyday 1000 words for 180 days, never stop and try to always achieve your goal, write anything, everything and once you skipped repeat again from day 1. After 6 months, insha Allah you’ll find your love in writing and feel healed.”

After i met him, the book fair isn’t really important any more, there is no book in Bahasa Indonesia to buy and there is no other author that i want to talk to. Actually, Eka Kurniawan was there but he was going around seeing the booth around, and i don’t want to creep him out to asking him sitting with me (but now when i think about it, i should have just creep him out anyway, duh! like if John Green was disguised in there somewhere i totally will creep him out by buying him a coffee for a 10 minutes talk with him). The thing is, i already hear what i need to hear. So, i spent the rest of the day, laying down in the middle of Indonesia Pavillion, reading Pram’s book about Calon Arang, since that’s the thinnest book from Pram, that i thought i could finish reading it before my train is coming. As i lay down in the children section and looking at the fantastic artificial garden on the ceiling, i can’t stop thinking about the smell of free rendang whether or not i could ever complete my #180daysofwriting or should i call it #1000wordsfor180days #amwriting #noob #amateurwriter #aspringwriter.

For at least 40 days, i already have plan. Nanowrimo or National Novel Writing Month starts next month and a friend of mine (who are an author of 5 books) challenged me to do #30DWC (30 Days Writing Challange) since three days ago! I don’t know what will happen to the other 140 days though, but all i know i will fight for my love for writing. Wish me luck guys, if you also want to challange yourself in writing go check out Rezky’s challange and Nanowrimo.

wpid-c360_2015-10-23-11-12-34-977.jpg

I must… I must also listen to the muttered voice telling me of the past the days to come…. Kartini

With Love,

Azmi

Slow Motion

As Millennial, i felt a great burden to be someone great in early age. I spend the last four years to tell myself that i could be someone great soon, but until now i am not. I realized that for those years, i spend more of my time dreaming rather than building the dreams. I created ideas, i searched for possibilities without having focus on finishing it, i made myself busy with too many things. And then two years ago comes as the year of regrets, i question myself with a full realization that i am lost. But again my approach on having my dream comes true was wrong; i was back to multitasking, doing anything in order to achieve everything. Maybe i was in denial for losing my self, not knowing what to do to achieve the dream.

I am a person who strongly believes in altruism ; according to my prophet SAW, the best human being is the most useful one. So for me being alone wasn’t a choice, doing nothing was prohibited.It scared me so much until the idea of knowing that i am not useful and not inspire anyone make me depressed. It took me a lot of time to understand and to finally see the silver lining behind it. Solitude bring peace to me so that i can finally enjoy building my dream, without no one pushing it, without any deadline.

It is the process that counts, not the result.

I feel so stupid when i realize this, i know about this idea since i was in high school.

It is even stated in Quran Surah At-Taubah ayah 105. And say, “Do [as you will], for Allah will see your deeds, and [so, will] His Messenger and the believers. And you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you of what you used to do.

How can i forget?

Either i published my book when i was 15 or i published it when i am 50; it’s all gonna be the same as long as i keep working on it at my best. The beauty indeed lies in the process, I wrote my (not yet published) book since three years ago; if i would finished it instantly the book will be so raw since i didn’t have chance to meet the character and the setting that is so similiar to what i write. Putting aside this book for a year or two in fact is a great bless, i got a chance to see how bad the chapter 1 is before the editor sees it.

Their process to succeed is to fail

The process is the one who make JK Rowling tough; all the rejection that she got is the thing that make sure Harry Potgiter end up to the right publisher. When i find out that Sofia Coppola just have five movies, i was shocked, at first at thought that hey she isn’t that productive but then i realize that those five movies are great! She took her time to make high quality movies rather produce often but its shitty. Julia Child was a boring house wife in a foreign country before she could create a recipe book of all time. It took Oprah a tough childhood and 10 years of working experiences before she could make a show that last for 25 years. And i always have to remember that Emily Dickinson works was not praised until she is dead.

I come to understand that there is no instant process. Time is the one who differ and who inspire. Process doesn’t have to always be a marathon. Doing our process in slow motion could give us chance to savor the small detail and further the infinite. So far, i feel that taking long process for building a dream is equal to living in magical world.

Ok, now i am going back to my magical world, hope you got one too.

Love, Azmi

PS: Lynn Monahan, a fellow American blogger writes her interpretation about this post here. Her experience on taking it slow is way cooler than mine.

Wife, Husband

Husband:
Verily, you are part of my ribs
Clothes for my body
Guide and guard you, I shall wit

Wife:
Truly, I was incomplete just like you
Before we meet in the midst of lack
Trust you and remind you, i shall do

Husband:
I couldn’t do all your wish
I couldn’t always keep what I promise
Forgive and forget, we better be

Wife:
I will try to be enough even in drought
Thankful for presence and past
For that, smile and please you better are

Husband:
I will

Wife:
But why?

Husband:
It is you and me believing in each other

Wife:
It’s us, striving for the better

Husband&Wife:
I love you

14th prompt of Napowrimo: Dialogue in Poetry

Pavlova

Waiting the bell rings, open the door to
His hugs and after work smells
Arm and arm on the sofa until
The oven clink

I eat, he eats the frikasse
Soupy, creamy, zesty German style

On the table after dinner
Using egg white and sugar in the mixer
Raspberry sauce and walnut

Delish whipped cream on top
Empty filling in the centre
So much like marshmallow
So much sweetness
Entirely white without
Resting for some minutes it becomes cold
To pour the sauce

Finally write poetry again after few days   absence. It’s a riddle for napowrimo prompt thirteen. My thirteenth poetry this month, fuih. 17 more poetry to write. 🙂

No Needle for No one

Arya let her rage out
     Smashed the stones in front of her with her bare hand
She finds out Needle isn’t there

Pretty sure about the location
     Can’t be wrong about
Two stacks of stones around the House of Black and White

One North, one South
She choosed one nearby the river
     The one with a hole in the front

“It shouldn’t be found!”
She screams hopelessly
     To the Faceless God whom she serves

She checks again the hole on the back
     Then run to the stacks in the south
Back and forth, seven times north to south

Dig the hole deeper and deeper
Till she finds out a letter
     Opens it, only to find Valar Morghulis

Written on the death scented black paper.
     “Valar Dohaeris”
She murmurs back to the letter.

“Are you looking for me?”
A man behind her whispers
     She knew it’s Jaqen H’ghar.

“I am looking for the sender of this letter!”
Arya replies without looking back.
      “Valar Morghulis”

“Valar Dohaeris”
      She turns to face the Faceless Man.
No one should not looking for Arya Stark’s sword”

Jaqen H’ghar look deep to Arya’s eyes
      Tries to find the truth.
No one miss Arya Stark”

      She can’t look back to him.
No one must not miss anyone”
His eyes as sharp as her sword

No one understand, no one must go back to scrub the floor then.”
She gives him her cold eyes
      “Sorry, Jon” her heart whines.

After binge-ing on four episodes of Game of Thrones I can’t help myself to not write about them. I feel like super cheating in this post, because I mix Napowrimo twelfth prompt with Writing 101 fifth prompt. What I do is getting the idea of “Brief” to write it in form of flash fan fiction,  before I turn it into a poetry by cutting the paragraph into lines and swipe down useless words.

image

Before I turn it into poetry

Took me one hour (plus brainstorming and procrastinating) writing this. Quite fast tho (for me). This poetry is totally fanfiction, no spoiler at all unless you don’t know anything at all about Game of Thrones.

Thanks for reading.

Come Back

Once upon a Sunday, the petite girl walks
Direction to forest which colour is red
Goes with new sneakers, warm jacket, full backpack
She wants peaceful rest

After lousy weekdays and busy Saturday
Studying theories for the sake of good grades
Faking happiness to stay completely sane
She takes the first bus

To the red forest, far north in the outskirts
Where mushroom grows under the pines that line up
On the damp grounds, surrounded by rainy scent
She greets the rapeseed

Warm breeze swept some petals through her face, she knew
She get her breach within tranquillity of
Sound and step every second count as a help
When universe

let

Can’t believe that I’m in poem 11 already (I always amaze of me being consistent)! 11th prompt should be a sapphic, but it goes too complicated. So instead of following the rule by using trochee and dactyl, I just go with the structure; quatrains whose first three lines have eleven syllables, and the fourth, just five.

I am talking about forest today since I am going to forest in few minutes.

Gotta go!