Home Women's Issues Modern to Modest Going Against the Grain

Going Against the Grain

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They would often call me a straight A-student, an over achiever, a walking brain, a genius; but it was not too long before the tides changed and I became rather low in their eyes, a waste of space and talent, an overall let-down and an absolute disappointment, merely because I went against the grain of society.

As I strode along the path of my schooling career, I considered various possibilities of furthering my studies... the opportunities were endless: engineering, medicine, architecture, teaching, etc. Like most students my age, I was still uncertain and awaited until my matric year to decide.

It was during my final year of high school when my young brother’s influence upon me intensified. With his persuasive nature, he would challenge my mind-set and criticize my exertions in this vain quest. Until one day, Allah Ta‘ala had opened the reality upon my heart and I came to a realization of the years wasted in these futile pursuits. Soon, by the will of Allah Ta‘ala, I began to amplify the same sentiments as my brother, who was a mountain of determination, despite the encounter that was yet to come.

It was a critical decision to make, battling against the expectations of my parents and family, the pressure of my teachers, and the influence of my classmates. When the word had gone around that I had not enrolled at any institution, I knew I was in for an admonishment from everyone. As an uproar broke-out, even those who I considered esteemed and revered, ridiculed my decision and attempted to plant fear in my heart. They would also rebuke my brother, accusing him of brainwashing me.

My modern-minded, extended family bombarded me with absurd taunts: “Who will provide for you when your husband divorces you? How will you make ends meet? How are you going to give your children the education that they need? What will happen when your husband decides to get a second wife? We need female doctors! You have to give back to your community! Only when you’re forty years old will you regret your decision!”

Nevertheless, as the release date of my matric results dawned upon us, my anxiety grew further. In the interim, Allah Ta‘ala  had granted me the taufeeq (ability) to don the niqaab, which was a stepping stone to what was yet to come. The elation of my distinctions was coupled with an overwhelming eagerness as my decision to tread the path of Deeni education ensued. A sense of fulfillment overflowed my heart, something that I was not able to grasp in twelve years of schooling, as I began to discover the immensity and vastness of this Deen.

It all came down to simply overlooking the dictates of a western society and complying with the injunctions set out by Allah Ta‘ala and Nabi (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). The same people who were encouraging me to embark on such a faith-detrimental journey were not going to intercede on my behalf on the Day of Qiyaamah.  Moreover, I was not going to sell my hayaa in exchange for a university degree…

So my dear sisters, ignore the standard of success defined by society! If we only knew the honour and respect that Allah Ta‘ala has afforded us Muslimahs, we would not search for it anywhere else. Society encourages female advancement and gender equality – but behind this drive is a foolish, ulterior motive to break down and extinguish the light of every home. It is better to die in Allah Ta‘ala's obedience than to live in His disobedience.

Liberation is not about following your ambitions and fulfilling your bucket-list; true liberation is when you are free from the deceptive way of thinking of the western society. Success is not a university qualification or a well-paid job; true success is pleasing Allah Ta‘ala and being in His obedience until your dying moments.

May Allah Ta‘ala guide all our hearts and allow us to serve His Deen in a manner which is pleasing to Him until our last breath, aameen.