Women: Stop the Jealousy, Control the Flaunting - Alya Khan
Posted on May 22, 2013
This week's guest blog comes from Alya Khan, who is a physician and mom from sunny California with a passion for writing. She has always taken an interest in how we as Muslims can build a stronger ummah, specifically amongst our sisters. Read below for her thoughts on how we can all get a little bit closer.
We (women) are our worst enemies. Not chauvinistic men, the media, and not even obsolete cultural “norms,” but rather, us. Take for example the reality TV show, “The Real Housewives.” These women seemingly have it all; wealth, husbands, children, some have careers, but they are reduced to middle school drama due to their innate jealousy. All of us at some point in our lives have been jealous of other women. It’s nothing to be proud of and it should be considered a disease. Just like any other disease, it needs to be treated. The reason I find it more than just a bad habit is because jealousy among women is one of the reasons we lack unity in our ummah. As women, we are the foundations of our families, the basic building block of our ummah. Discord between fellow Muslim women further divides our community. Without a solid sisterhood we are left vulnerable to attacks on our religion. However, with a stronger sisterhood we can direct our attention to much needed causes. We can stand united and let the world know that we are independent and capable women which would demystify the most common misconceptions of women in Islam.
I believe the heart of this disease lays in our own self-esteem or rather lack thereof. We are jealous because we are insecure. All of us are insecure at some level and it can be a constant struggle. However, I also believe that in order to increase our self-esteem the jealousy in itself needs to stop. Comparing ourselves to anyone but the Prophet Muhammad (S) is sure to bring us down about ourselves.
One of the factors that fuel jealousy amongst women is bragging about our fortunes. Maybe we can try to stop being jealous of others but we need to think twice about our words and actions and question how it would make others feel. Since jealousy is a disease, more specifically an infectious disease, flaunting is a route of transmission. Flaunting is also a means of competition amongst women, but another topic in and of itself. Since the advent of social media, this has been an ever increasing problem that I witness on a daily basis. We now have the ability to let everyone know (literally everyone if your profile is public) how we have the most romantic husbands, went on extravagant trips, and have the flashiest materialistic possessions complete with pictures to prove how great we have it. I’m glad we all have things to be happy with but not everyone feels happy for you. A woman may question why her husband doesn’t surprise her with dinner or why her family can’t afford to go on a 3 week expedition to some remote island in the Pacific. Not only is that ruining some woman’s self-esteem but also possibly creating difficulty and unwarranted conflict with her family. Let’s reserve our bragging, if at all, to those who we know wish us well and won’t be jealous of our new diamond necklace from Tiffany’s. This makes me reflect on the purpose of hijab. Hijab is a method to cover and conceal what is valuable and precious to us and to reserve our beauty for one lucky man. That’s what makes the hijab beautiful, its modesty. Just as we do not flaunt our beauty to anyone and everyone, we must try not to flaunt anything else for that matter.
Jealousy in itself is an unworthy attribute but it also leads to other habits that will inevitably lead us down an unscrupulous path. Women are notorious for backbiting and unfortunately this brings upon a severe punishment in the hereafter. In Surah al- Hujurāt (49:12), it states, “…nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it…” That would explain why it is called “backbiting” in the first place.
We gossip because it makes us feel better about ourselves. But gossiping is fun and so delicious right? Is that how far we have come? Have we not become educated, successful, and independent thinkers? Is there really nothing else we can talk about? I am guilty just as anyone out there of gossiping. Yet, I never felt better after gossiping or participating in a conversation that involved gossip. It’s like that piece of cheesecake you've wanted to eat while on a diet only to feel worse after consuming the whole thing. Gossiping to our husbands is also no exception. So I have taken it upon myself to embark on a rather difficult but much needed challenge, to stop gossiping. It’s tough but I feel that it has only strengthened my spirituality and has begun to cleanse my conscience.
Therefore, I ask my fellow sisters out there to reflect upon ourselves and our intentions. Let us stop judging each other and put an end to being “green” and instead let us just provide support. After all, we are not all that different for we share the same struggles as Muslim women, as mothers, as wives, as daughters, as sisters, as co-workers, and last but not least, as friends.
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