We had a few relatives over during this Eid and post lunch discussion veered towards eid khutbas that my relatives attended. Someone I know was singing praises of a certain maulana sahib who delivered an awesome khutba during the Eid namaz. As a rule, I have not seen people getting this excited over a khutba so I asked my cousin what it was all about. I was quite taken aback when I heard what the topic was.
Considering we have had that awful incident where Shiaswere taken off the bus and brutally killed just a week before the Eid, I thought the khutba must have denounced that heinous act and had something about Muslim unity and how shedding the blood of another brother would earn the killers a spot in hell. Turned out that the khutba was about women’s place in the society, how important a woman’s piety is to the fabric of society, how important it is for future generations that they are raised by stay at home moms and how important purdah is to avoid fitna and fasad (chaos) in this society. He also said that women should be kept busy (by keeping them pregnant or lactating) so that they would not stray. There was a lot more to it but I don’t want to repeat it here. I want this blog to be a misogyny free space.
Not only was I flabbergasted that my vilayat educated cousin was mesmerized by the profundity of an obviously misogynist khutba which doubted women’s ability to either earn or make any independent decisions or remain faithful to their husbands but I was also lost in the peculiarity of it all.
For starters, a khutba like this on Eid!!! It was Eid, not a bloody women’s day when men feel threatened! Secondly, it was unnecessary because I have not seen any women leaving their husbands and children and running away with hot lovers who look like Abercrombie and Fitch models and last but most important point to be pondered was why the maulvi was giving a khutba about women when he had none in his audience? Women are not allowed to attend prayers in the mosques and their absence makes it impossible for them question any such pearls of wisdom which basically deny their right to movement, education, employment and family planning. Looks like misogyny is so rampant that women are not even worth preaching directly, they are given sermons indirectly through their sons, husbands, fathers and brothers about the virtues of a pious Muslim woman. There is no public space for women to speak out in any case, looks like it will soon shrink into nothing.
PS: Everyone who is sending me threatening messages, leaving abusive comments here (I moderate them so they will never be published here, this blog is PG 13) and on twitter saying that there are some mosques in Pakistan where women are “allowed” to attend prayers, I just want to say that yes, there are exceptions to the rule but that does not mean that we stop questioning the questionable norms because of those few exceptions.