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

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. 🙂

Kitchen Romance

image

“Can you bring me ketchup?” he shouts at her.

“What?” she shouts back from the kitchen counter.

“Ketchup!”

This time she hears what he’s saying, she then stop stirring her Bechamel sauce rouge, tiptoed her way to surprise him in their living room.

“You can’t shout at me like that.” She gives him a slight glare, her hands fold at her waist.

With his head still clings on the laptop screen, he says his apology.

“And you forget to say please.”

This time he turns his head toward her, he takes her glare and gives away his beautiful smile that he knows she cant resist.

“Please bring me the very delicious Heinz ketchup, my Queen.” He kisses her hand right after he finishes his sentence. She steps back to the kitchen, mumbling that a Queen shouldn’t bring him a ketchup, he follows her.

“What for do you need the ketchup anyway, i make white sauce for the fish?”

“Maybe i would like some extra taste in our food, just to see if it’s fit you know,” he caresses her hair. “Do you think it will fit to the fish?”

“Nope, that’s why i make Bechamel sauce,” she smiles and raise one of her eyebrow at him, “nutmeg, please”

He hands her the nutmeg, “are you sure? i somehow think it would be fit, ” he replied.

The oven clinks. He take out the fish, without her asking.

“Thank you,” she utters, “but I still think the fish with this sauce will not fit with that Heinz ketchup.”

“Can i just try a little?” His hand holds a spoon, ready to take a big chunk on the fish.

She take his spoon away, “Not at all,” she smirks. “You know that we have to respect each other cooking, right?”

“Yes, but…”

“You also will not like if I just put some sambal on your food” she turns off the stove and whisking the sauce at the same time.

“If it fits, why not?”

“Exactly! And this time, Heinz ketchup will not fit with Bechamel sauce.” She gives him a taste of her sauce. “If you want a tomato sauce with your fish, you should tell me earlier so I can make tomato sauce instead a white one. Can you understand that?”

“Is the flavor okay already?” she asks again.

“A little bit more salt and I still think the Heinz ketchup will bring a good balance for your food, so can we just agree to disagree?”

She spoon the sauce to him again, “like always?”

He kisses her forehead and then mess her hair before going to living room with the fish and ketchup on his hand.

I write this for going on with Writing101 theme.

Do i show you enough contrast in this dialogue?

“Can we just agree to disagree?”

Getting ready for April!

Finally I have a strategy to my post uni-wife life status.

As an overactive girl, I will be sick all the time if don’t have anything to do. It has been three weeks since I arrive and I still haven’t found a challenging activity for me. For that I got terrible headache and flu! I thought my online university study time could spare my boredom a little, but in fact it couldn’t. Because the courses are so relatable, I could finish a week courses in a day. I really feel an urge to join organisation or a club or something. But in fact there is no English book club in aachen and I haven’t found any org nearby (most of the organisation are around Berlin).

I also realize that I can’t do much in here, since my German is still very basic. My language course will start somewhen in June (I am in the waiting list!). So I have two empty months, and I spend most of my time alone since B is busy with his study and working life.

B encouraged me to go to the gym, but somehow I feel like gym isn’t my kind of sports. I told him I will search for yoga class or thai boxing class around, when I am ready to do sport 😝

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Found it in new apartment. A sign for me to write more

Upon my boredom, I found these online writing projects for my ultimate boredom in April:

1. Writing 101 initiated by The Daily Post

I need this so bad, as an undisciplined  person I need to be reminded all the time to do a routine. I need an extra motivation that will make me move myself on. So the idea of having a daily email that will provide you prompts and themes are the best for me. I believe blogging daily will nurture my writing habit, I really hope I can succeed this time.

WRITING 101 will start on 6th April.  The great thing is this project is not only  provide theme and prompts daily but there is also community site where participants are able to share and connect with each other. Daily Post staff and Happiness Engineers will also be on hand in the comments to answer your questions and offer guidance and resources.

If you are interested to join you can register here.

2. NAPOWRIMO
This project will oblige me to write poetry every day in April. YAY me! Yay National Poetry Writing Month!

I think two years ago, my blog turned into a poetry blog for some months because I was in a confusing state of love. Was it three years ago? Hm… I post poetry everytime I blog (which was so rare but still more often than I used to post). Since then, poetry become my escape goat, if I am too lazy to write I push my self to write a poetry. Whether the poetry is finished or not, it doesn’t really matter. I also use poetry to trigger inspiration, before I continue to write my (unfinished) novel. For that the poetry should be finished, so I got the nice feeling of finishing something.

Check their website for more info.

3. Applying to become contributor for MuslimGirl.com

Yeah, being married doesn’t stop me to embrace my girly side. I am not even 21, I don’t have kids yet, so I guess people still could look at me as something that could represent a girl. Some kids that I met on the street even thought that I am the new student in their school. They thought I am 14 😱. So there is this cool muslimah website, (for me it’s like Rookie but talking about muslim girl life) that I can really relate to some of the article, so my thought was I can be contributor in this website.

I feel like there is not much representative from South East Asian muslim girls (most are American) in that website, I feel an urge to tell my story for living in two big muslim countries. Plus, right now I become the minority in Germany, so I have stories to be majority muslim and minority muslim. 🙂 One of the qualification is to have a good grammar, I am kinda worry about that. But then, let’s just try!

I will send them my resume tomorrow. Let’s see how it turns out!?!

4. Editing my novel and start another one with support of Camp NANOWRIMO.

Only IF I could finish my first novel project, before April begins. Four more days, nine more pages.

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Those are projects that I believe will do so much good for my writing skill, turn me to become productive and hopefully disciplined myself.

Ofcourse other than those projects I still have to study German everyday via duolingo, make easy cute DIY for my new apartment, finish some books and go out in the sun.

I still dunno what to treat myself if this project finished perfectly. Do you have some ideas?

What is your online projects for April? Tell me, maybe I will join them too!

:):):)