Assalamu alaikum, as the title implies, this is an update on the incident that happened to me the other night when I was on a walk with my son. My husband had left the house for
Fajr prayer and briefly came back afterwords to get something he’d forgotten. I’d already prayed and was laying down trying to get some additional rest, as the baby’d gone back to sleep and he didn’t have a good night last night waking up quite a few times (I’d lost count how many), which of course meant I was up multiple times myself to get him back to sleep.
So anyway, as he was leaving he mentioned that he’d seen the particular brother that had admonished me not to be taking my son on this particularly busy street, and said brother had mentioned to my husband that he’d seen me. I’d said yes, I saw him, and yes he’d told me not to walk down this street, however, I was nervous about walking down this street myself, and by the time he’d seen me, I had already started back the way I’d come, and didn’t want to be walking along that street myself.
My husband then said that the brother’d told him that there had been quite a few people who’d recently been killed or injured on this stretch of sidewalk and thus we shouldn’t use it, and my husband further mentioned that he’d not be walking down this stretch of road himself. I then felt a bit incredulous, as I’d not heard of any recent accidents on this road, and I asked how “recent” this was, as I’d have thought that if there were a spate of recent fatal accidents on this road that I’d have heard of them. My husband then said something like “well, they didn’t happen that recently but the brother’s grown up in this neighborhood and there ahve been a lot of fatal accidents on that road in the past”.
And then I thought, well, if that was the issue, why didn’t he tell me that the other night? I mean, I felt like he made it sound like I was this irresponsible parent who’d darn near walked my baby out into the street. It sure didn’t sound like he was doing it “because the street was unsafe”. It sounded like to me he was acting like I just had no idea how busy that street was, and thus I had no business walking down it with my son. It sure didn’t seem to be about “fatal accidents” at the time.
Maybe that was what it was about and the communication just wasn’t that good all around. Allah knows best, but I sure didn’t feel that way, and I’m wondering if he knew how ticked off I was (I’m sure it showed all over my face as I am not able to hide my emotions very well), so in talking to my husband (’cause you know us Muslim women any time we get in trouble our husbands have to be told about it so we get the proper talking to/discipline” (and I don’t even want to get in to that)) was just a way of pacifying me, like he had to think of a “good reason” for calling me out in the middle of the street like I was a bad child, instead of a mature, discerning adult.
And as I’m thinking about it, why did he even have to tell my husband about it anyway? That just reenforces my perception that Muslim women are a lot of the times treated like perverbial children, and our husbands have to be “notified” of our bad behavior, instead of us being equal adults. And I sure didn’t feel like he was approaching me like I was just an unaware adult who just didn’t realize how dangerous that street was, no, it wasn’t like that at all. I felt like I was a child being punished, not an adult being notified of a dangerous situation for the safety of myself and my family.
Which then gets me to thinking that for many Muslims all of this talk of “respect” and “equality” of men and women, is just that, talk. I mean, how can you be “equal” with a whole group of people that, because you’re not “realted” to them, you’re not supposed to talk to them “unless there is a need”, and then when they do talk to you, they’re scolding you, or otherwise making you feel like a little child. Bu then again I’m digressing.
Gender interaction between Muslims is another issue I have, and I don’t want to get started on that. Suffice it to say that if you don’t feel like you can talk to me because I’m an unrelated woman, and you’re afraid of the possibility of zina or whatever, at least talk to me like an adult and not like I’m some kinda child who constantly needs “scolding” or “advice” or “nasiha”.
And let me say this before I finish with this topic. I probably will not walk down that street because it’s a bit scary with all of the cars and trucks coming by so close to where I’m walking. I realized that when I started walking down said street the other day. That it was probably not safe for me to be walking down this street carrying a baby. And I don’t mind so much being advised not to walk down this street. However, I didn’t like the way I was approached. I’m not a child, either because I’m blind or because I’m a woman. And I expect to be treated like the adult that I am.