Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Muslim wife vs American woman

I was thinking about how I sometimes feel this dichotomy, this weird war that I have to mediate inside my head between the Muslim wife and the American woman. Most of the time the Muslim wife wins... But I am just wondering if anyone else ever feels this?

The Muslim wife says, just listen to your husband... The American woman says, you're an adult and you have your own way of doing things. The Muslim wife says have patience with him... The American woman says, screw him, you can do it on your own. UmmAbdulrahman made a comment on someone's blog the other day that Muslim women forget that they have the right to be happy... Yes we do. So I wonder sometimes how do I draw the line between being accommodating and being a doormat? It seems that the Muslim wife in me is always pushing for patience no matter what, but maybe that is wrong... Maybe we are better Muslim wives by taking a stand when it is needed. Maybe there is a moment where the American side should be giving us the backbone to stand up for the deen, our children, and ourselves. Is there a way to meld the two into an ideal one? Allah knows I am trying.

14 comments:

Surviving said...

If there is a way to make both work together, I want to know!!!

Sketched Soul said...

As-salaamu'alaykum wa Rahmatu Llahi wa Barakatuhu my dear sister,

Humm.. well, I'm not a wife..so I don't know how much I can help.

But..I'm just wondering, maybe if 'we' change our intention it would make things easier. For example, we only feel like a doormat if we are constantly trying to please someone (and pleasing people is a like a hamster on a wheel) but if we make the intention (and constantly keep it in mind) to please Allah (which is sometime we forget at times) and Him alone, there is no feeling like a doormat or like we have to fight between two lifestyles (ie: Muslim wife vs American woman), and everything seems easy and a pleasure to fulfill.

Just my take on things.

Ma'salaama
Farhana

Surviving said...

I was thinking about this again today. I think part of my problem is that my husband also wavers between wanting the muslim wife and american woman. It feels like he wants to pick and chose the things that benefit him the most, without considering how I might feel about things.

umm yehiya said...

Assalaamu alaikum, sister.

Yep, I'm familiar with this mental/emotional dichotemy...how to resolve this? This involves a lot of deep thinking that I don't have time at the moment to write about...but maybe I'll try to rassle up some wisdom for us, insha'allah ;) ...in the meantime, it's an interesting question...food for thought.

UmmLayla said...

Farhana, I hear you... And in the things that I have the most trouble with I feel like I am at odds because DH and I have different interpretations of the deen. Something that I may fight for because I think it is pleasing to Allah, DH will say, (astagfurallah) Allah doesn't care. Which is an entirly different dimension of our conflict really. In general... You are right that we should always seek to please Allah, it's just hard to know how to do that sometimes.

Surviving, You are so right about the wanting the best of both thing. And I have given DH some pretty graphic examples of that sometimes. One that I could actually share is when he see a scantily clad woman on the street...

EH Hey, do you see her? WOW. Why can't you dress like that sometimes? Why do you always have to dress like a mom?

UL Uhhh, I wear hijab?

EH Well, in the house?

UL Do you really think that woman wears that at home? No, at home she is in sweats.

EH I want a wife who dresses like that.

UL Well, a wife who dresses like that DOESN'T dress like that for her husband. So, good luck with that.

Ugh. So yes, be submissive and do my will at home. But fight like a lion with everyone outside and go make some money while you are at it. Sure, why not?

Anonymous said...

Salam alaikum! This is such a wonderful blog. I came across another blog of a Muslim Working Woman that you might be interested in http://workingmuslimwoman.wordpress.com

Keep up the good work!
Sara

umm yehiya said...

Umm Layla,
I'm with you on that last comment.
This sounds so stupid, but believe it or not, this is really a difficult and sometimes stressful situation - especially when my husband goes through phases of bringing it up: how I dress at home.

Thing is, I can see his point; he wants me to "look nice" (which is well-dressed, in his opinion - but I MUST admit that he's relaxed his standards a lot since we first got married) when I'm at home. But...I'm AT HOME! You know? At home is where everybody is most relaxed! And I find it SO annoying to do all the mom-stuff and constant cleaning that I do if I'm wearing jeans and a button-down shirt or even a sweater. Give me sweats and a soft, worn, tissue-thin t-shirt and hoodie any day. One of my good muslimah friends has the same story going on with her husband, and that has been a good source of comfort to me - 'cause my husband thinks I'm some sort of freak for always wanting to wear the same thing. LOL.

Mayberry Family said...

That applies to the Christian woman as well. I believe that if you have a husband that is faithful in spirit than he too will make it easier to have patience with him. Basically what I'm saying is that I can understand the conflict of being that "American woman" and that "submissive wife". The two CAN coexist.

But it also relies on part of having an understanding and faithful husband, he too must do his part as a Christian or Muslim man.

Romer!can said...

Maybe we are better Muslim wives by taking a stand when it is needed.

This idea made a lot reasonable sense to me as I tried to see your point of view.

UmmLayla said...

Romerican, There is this war between Islam and the culture that goes with it. One of the struggles I have as a convert is knowing the difference. I know that there is a saying of the prophet that "If I were to order anyone to bow for another person, I would order the wife to bow for her husband." But, you have to know that behind that statement were some really level headed husbands. True to the deen, thier family, and full of good intentions and wisdom. Are the men of today these men? I think there are times that we have to struggle to surrender our will, our pride. But we have to have the good sense to know when that means standing up and fighting instead of just being passive to keep the peace. After all, the one we should really surrender to is Allah. If the reason you are surrendering to your husband is cultural, rethink it.

Romer!can said...

As an outsider, I find your assessment very wise and to the benefit of those who believe (should they but listen).

Drama Queen said...

well u can be in between cant u?its not that hard u jst set boundries..but wht do i knw am still a daughter!

Anonymous said...

I think its wrong to tell the husband that basicaly 'be patient cuz i'm at home and i'm not dressing like that cuz i have stuff to do'. Just like there's certain things women like in men, men like their wives to look stunning for them, at least SOME DAYS of the week when they walk in the door. I don't think that's too much to ask for. That's a huge part of why they got married!?

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.