Tammy Peterson Podcast – Why Society Is Suffering From Changing Gender Roles

Fatima Barkatulla


Channel: Fatima Barkatulla

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The speakers discuss their experiences with sexual liberation and writing books, as well as finding female models. They also talk about the negative impact of double roles and the social and political dynamics of their roles, as well as the difficulty of traveling outside of marriage and the potential risks of post nerosian depression. They also discuss the concept of free love, which is not just about breastfeeding, but about touch, including body language, and women named Victoria Woodhall. They also talk about the idea of "medicals-only" spaces in homes where women and men can dance together at work or at a public wedding, and the segregation of school systems in Canada where boys and girls are segregated. They also discuss the "immature" notion of "less than perfect" in the religious system, where women are seen as an alternative to perfect.

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Women have been in this role since the beginning of time to support our children and to support our husbands. And it's not as if she didn't go along with him. You know, she was she was a part of what he was doing because in modern times, people have basically done everything before they got married, and they have their wedding. They suffer from the depression afterwards, because it's like an anticlimax. She in this documentary, she said, Well, liberation didn't happen. And she said sexual liberation didn't happen. She said what happened was commercial pornography was liberated Fantasy was liberated but people weren't liberated.

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Hello, everyone. Thanks for tuning into the Tammy Peterson Podcast. Today I'm speaking with Sheikha Fatima Baraka Tula. Sheikha Fatima Baraka Tula is an Islamic scholar and director of Muslim womanhood an organization set up to educate and build resilience in Muslim women in the West. Fatima was born and grew up in London, where she lives with her husband and four children. She studied classic arabic in Egypt, and completed her Islamic education at seminaries in the UK. She went on to complete her master's degree in Islamic law, and was awarded the Doreen Hinchcliffe Memorial Prize for Best Performance in her year. Fatima and I had a good conversation. It was very kind of her to

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come on my podcast. I hope that you enjoy today's conversation. Thank you so much for tuning in.

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Hello, Fatima. Nice to see you again. Thank you for coming on my podcast. Hi, Tammy. It's lovely to see you again. So we met in London. How long ago was that? Do you remember? It's just a few months ago? Yeah. I think wasn't it November? November? I believe that? Yes. Yeah. So we came in and visited your mosque? Yeah. Your your new mosque a beautiful mosque in London. And we talked and you agreed to come on my podcast. And since then, I read your book. Oh, wow. Great. And I don't know if I'll pronounce it properly, but kinda Yeah. Is that how you say her name? Khadija cat god? Yeah. Khadija Khadija Mother, mother of history's greatest nation. And so you wrote that book and I read

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it. And I read when I was reading it, I thought, Oh, this is about Muhammad's life. But then once I read the whole book, I realized oh, no, this is about Muhammad's wife's life. Yes. And so maybe you could

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tell the people who are listening the guests

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of my podcast, why you wrote this book and what it's about what what were you? What were you? What point were you trying to make when you wrote it? And how long ago you wrote it? What inspired you? You know, all of that? Yeah. Okay. Well, thank you, Tommy, first of all, it was really nice to meet you. And Professor Peterson in London. And we really appreciated, you know, the opportunity to, to actually just have some just get together really. So thank you for reading my book. Yes. So the book deja is about

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the wife of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, the she's his first wife. And essentially, I wrote it, because there's actually very few books in the English language about some of the great like, women, the female figures from Islamic history. And one of the things I think a lot of parents especially were feeling was that they'd love for their daughters in particular, you know, to be able to read about the women, not just their daughters, actually their sons as well, just to be able to read about some of the women from our history. And I think growing up my dad, he used to, like, he used to try and get as many books as he could in the English language, about Islamic history and

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things like that, you know, just so that we would get to know our own

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history, our past, you know, et cetera. But often it was a translation, you know, so it wasn't really a very good It wasn't in very good English wasn't very inspiring in the way it was written simply because it was a translation usually. So I think I really wanted to bring the life of this great lady, especially to younger people. But what I found is that a lot of women, you know, Muslim and non Muslim women are reading the book as well.

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And finding out about her. The thing is that the

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research I had to do was in Arabic as well. So because I've studied Arabic, I went to Egypt and I learned Arabic, classical Arabic.

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It meant that I could delve into those, you know, historical books and sources and bring out little stories and things like that. Tell us as far back as you can. Were you born in, in the UK? Yeah, yeah. So my raised in the UK, my parents, originally from India,

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they came to the UK in the 70s. And I was born, like, just before the 80s, basically, just on the cusp of 80s. And

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in London, yep. So I'm in London, I've been to London all my life.

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And I think

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at that time, though, you know, we were just, I didn't know any better. You know, I was I grew up in two different areas of London. Half of my childhood, I was in quite an impoverished area of London.

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very multicultural, in a sort of estate, what we call an estate, like a council estate, which is probably like the projects, something that in America.

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But then we moved when I was about 10, or 11, to quite an affluent part of London, which was like the complete opposite. And so I grew up in an area where there were a lot of middle class people.

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Very few ethnic minorities. And I went to secondary school there to a girl School,

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which was, you know, very mixed girls of all backgrounds. So, yeah, I had a very happy childhood in London.

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But yeah, the reason why I wrote the book was, I often looked for female role models, you know, and the only role models that we were always given were,

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you know, a certain type, there was always a certain type. And I think we've had the job. She was such an pivotal part of the Prophet Muhammad's journey, and his life.

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Maybe I can tell you tell your listeners a little bit about her. Yes, because I don't think a lot of people realize. So.

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She, she was a wealthy lady.

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So maybe I should go back a little bit more, if you don't mind.

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The Prophet Abraham, he came to Mecca, with his son Ishmael. Obviously, there was no Mecca at that time, it was just a desert. And what he brought his son Ishmael

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there with his mother, Hagar, I think that's how you pronounce in English. We call her her daughter. And he, God had commanded him to leave them there in the middle of the desert. So Hagar and Ishmael were left in the desert. And they're, they looked for water. They couldn't find it. Hagar went from one hill to another. There are these two hills, called Safa. And Marwa and she went from one hill to another, looking desperately for water for herself, because her milk had dried up for her little baby. And yeah, he was a baby. And

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what happened was that suddenly an angel appeared and struck the ground near the feet of the baby, Ishmael. And water began gushing forth. And Hagar she saw this water and she started to gather it together, she started she was afraid it's all going to flow away into the desert. So she said the word ZamZam, which means stop, stop.

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And that well, is still exists today. It's called the well of zamzam

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was the foundation of the city of Mecca.

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Because now there was water there. And so some some traveling Arabs

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were passing by. And they asked, Hey, get if they could settle there, because there was water. And she said, Yes. And so that's really how the city of Mecca

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came about, you know, like literally, oh, that's a great story. Yeah. It's a really beautiful story. And

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so, centuries later,

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the Prophet Muhammad was born from the same family of Ishmael. So he was a descendant of Ishmael, direct descendant of Ishmael and he his clan who

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his tribe were known as the Quraysh. The Quraysh are direct descendants of Abraham through Ishmael. And so he was like they were the most prominent and noble family in Arabia. And Khadija was also from that same family from that same tribe.

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So they were known, they were wealthy they were they were like celebrities almost, in a very celebrated for their nobility for their status for their truthfulness, especially the Prophet Muhammad, he was known as a very truthful man. He was an orphan who grew up as an orphan. His mother passed away when he was

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six years old, and his father passed away while she was pregnant. So he was an orphan, he was brought up by his grandfather.

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So he lived, you know, even though he was from a noble family, because he was an orphan. I think he was a very sensitive person. He had a very sensitive personality,

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looked after by the father figures in his family. And when he came of age, when he was about 25 years old, he

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was looking for work. And as as young men do, and Khadija she owned one of the largest caravans in Mecca.

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Okay, a caravan is basically not a caravan like we, you know, when I, when I used to home with a caravan as a kid, I used to think, as to imagine these like things on wheels. But no, a caravan is obviously a train of camels that are carrying lots of goods. And what the Arabs used to do is they used to take goods from Damascus, and

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you know, the Eastern Roman Empire.

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And they used to travel through the desert, bring those goods to Mecca.

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For pilgrimage, there was a pilgrimage, even at that time. And they used to take all the goods to Yemen, buy things from Yemen, that probably came from India and all over the world, and then travel back. So they had this annual kind of journey that they would make winter and summer. And that's how they kind of used to trade and make their money. And Khadija and every noble family in that city had

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a caravan, you know, anyone who wanted to make money, anyone who had any kind of business they they wanted a stake in, in that kind of summer and winter journey to Damascus and Yemen. So, so she had a very big caravan. But she didn't want to be the one who's obviously traveling back and forth. She wanted to hire young men to do that for her. And so, but but the young men who usually worked for her, they were always kind of swindling her. So she couldn't find like a really honest young man. And she had heard about

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Muhammad, and he was known as El Amin, which, you know, the Arabs they used to have different titles for people, they would call people by different titles based on the attributes. So, because he was always known for his very fair business dealings and truthfulness.

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And also because he was quite known for not taking part in the worship of idols, idols, yes. Okay. He was very much

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he wanted to follow the, the way of Abraham, you know,

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which was, you know, to worship the Creator alone. So, because he was known for these things, he was known as El Amin, which means the trustworthy

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the, the honest and trustworthy. So she heard about this. So she thought, well, that's what I need, you know, somebody who's honest and trustworthy. And so she asked him, if he would go into business with her, and take her caravan, all the way to Damascus, and then, you know, etc. And so he did. And when he did, he made a lot of money for her.

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You know, he was obviously very good at it. And she was so pleased she, and I think that's when

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she started having feelings for him. You know, she started thinking.

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She was a widow, by the way, she was a widow, and she was older than him.

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In the history books, he says that she was about 40.

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And he was about 25.

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But, you know, she was really

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she sent a proposal for him, basically. She sent somebody to kind of ask, and then he came with his uncle with a proposal. He thought, why would anyone want to marry me? You know, I'm just, I'm quite poor.

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Compared to other people, because, you know, he was an orphan, grown up an orphan, etc, but for the job was looking for his qualities, and she obviously really liked him. And so they got married. And that's how they got married.

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And later on, you know, they went on to have four children, they had more than four children, but two of them passed away.

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And for the teacher was very pivotal. On that day, when Muhammad for the first time, well,

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the Prophet Muhammad, even before he became a prophet, he was very troubled by what was going on in his society.

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You know, there was a real kind of class system, the weak were always treated very badly. The, you know,

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there were different levels of people in society, and then strong would take advantage of the week, the rich would swindle the poor, you know, there was all that kind of thing going on. Plus it, it really troubled him that

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the Kaabah, which is, you know, people will see that big, the, usually it's a black box that you see, in Makkah.

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This was essentially a building, it's just a building, a cube building that was built by Abraham and Ishmael, originally,

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for the worship of the one God.

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But over time, what had happened is, people you know, because this is like Abraham was like, 1000s of years ago, people had brought idols from different cities and different places, and had filled the Kaaba, the cube building, which was meant to be a place of worship for only for God alone. They had filled it with idols.

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And so the Arabs had become people who, who worship these idols. So we're like 300 idols, believe it or not, either surrounding the Kaaba and inside the Kaaba. And this troubled him as well, you know, because though there were some Arabs, even at that time, who believed that, you know, they that we should be on the religion of Abraham, you know, that the religion of Abraham was the religion

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from God, you know, that God has sent messengers, throughout time, Moses, Jesus, Noah, Abraham, all of these prophets, they came essentially with the same message, which was Worship God alone, you know, devote your life to God on His terms.

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And that's how you can live a good life and be successful in the hereafter. So there were a core number of people who believed that even amongst the Arabs, and the Prophet Muhammad was one of them. And because he felt so troubled,

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he used to go to a mountain,

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near Mecca, still there, you can actually visit it.

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And this mountain now it's called the Mountain of Light, double nor he used to go there, just to sit alone and meditate. You know, he really

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wanted to reach out to God. And he was troubled by what's happening in his society. And he just felt some kind of solace from going there.

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And Khadija used to help him she used to deliver food to him. She kind of really understood him. And his need for this meditation, which is quite amazing. Like, you can see that they had a real love real connection.

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And one day,

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he comes home, and there's a knock on the door and a phobia is, you know, she, she's like, what's happening? It's nighttime. And she has been worried about him. He's been gone for like two or three days.

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And he comes into the house. And he says, He's shivering, He's shivering. And this is this is also mentioned in the Quran. He's shivering. And he says, wrap me up, wrap me up. And she says, okay, she just brings blankets for him, and she wrapped him up. And she's just like, waiting to hear, you know, what's happened. And she said to him, what's happened? And she's, he says to her.

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I was sitting in the cave, there's a cave there in the mountain. And an angel came to me

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in the form of a man, a man came, basically. And they held me and said to me, read,

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read a Quran in Arabic, Accra. And I said to him, I can't read it.

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Because in those times, they didn't learn to read or write only some people knew how to read and write. So the Prophet Muhammad he, he was

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unlettered, he was an unlettered person he didn't know how to read. So he's thinking, Why is this person asking me to read, and the person repeated again read. And he said, I can't read. He said, Read. But then the Prophet Muhammad realized he meant recite, recite after me, read in the Name of your Lord who created, who created man from a clot.

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And this is one of the first revelation from the in the Quran,

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the word of God, and the Prophet Muhammad, memorize these words, and he repeated after the angel, the angel said to him, I am the angel Gabriel.

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but the Prophet Muhammad was very dazed, he was very shocked at this experience, because the angels then held him very close. And, like, squeezed him very hard. And then let him go.

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And the Prophet Muhammad started to head back home.

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And as he was going, he looked behind him, and he saw Gabriel, in His original form, filling the horizon, he said, he filled the horizon.

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you know, he, he just kept telling him that I'm Gabrielle, and You are the messenger of God. And so when, when the Prophet Muhammad told her, these are this story,

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she said, Let's go to my uncle. Let's go to my uncle, what I call, who is an expert in the scriptures in the Christian scriptures, and the Jewish Scriptures,

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the Torah and the Injeel. That's what we call them in Arabic. He was another one of those people who were known as the Hanif the people who followed the way of Abraham was so and he was very wise. And yet he was he had read a lot. So they went to him, to ask him, you know, what's going on? What is this? How should we interpret this?

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And what I said,

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If only I was a young man, I wish I was a young man. So I could help you when your people throw you out.

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And they were like, shocked. What do you mean that when our people throw us out when our people persecute us,

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he said, This is the same

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angel that came to the prophets before.

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anyone who has this message is always persecuted by the people. That's what he said. And I think in that moment for the jet and Mohammed realized that their status would, and their lives are going to change profoundly. So that's just the beginning of the story, you know, just to give everyone a taster.

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But you can see that then, obviously, when the Prophet Muhammad started to preach this message, you know, the return to the worship of God alone, the creator,

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away from the worship of idols, away from, you know, enslavement to anything, but God.

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His people did persecute him, you know, he was

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not only persecuted, verbally, but also physically.

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Anyone who followed him did so in secret initially, you know, they would have secret meetings in Makkah.

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And people would have to do it in hiding until a few of the more upper class

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started to accept his message.

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Then, you know, the leaders in Mecca they became very upset, very angry. They took the through the prophet Muhammad and his family out of their homes.

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And they had to live in these tents in in the part of the desert and they were boycotted, nobody was allowed to buy and sell from them. Nobody was allowed to marry into them. Nobody was allowed to give them anything. Of course, some people secretly did used to do that, you know, but they went through these years of starvation and hardship.

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and really it was, after that time of starvation and hardship that Khadija actually passed away.

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But of course, she had been very pivotal in the journey because she being a wealthy lady, and being Muhammad's greatest champion.

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Your greatest cheerleader, she was the one who funded and supported his message. You know, when he was trying to invite people, he would have feasts and banquets just to kind of invite the people and be kind to them and

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convey the message to them.

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Also, he would free slaves. So at that time, there was slavery, and he would free them. And, you know, because he was trying to change the social order, as well, you know, of the society.

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And all of that, but a lot of that was funded by people like for Deja. And so when she passed away, he he named that year, the year of sadness, year of grief.

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And, you know, they say, he was never really the same again, he, she, she was very important to him.

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So, yeah, I wanted to encapsulate her story, you know, and as well, I see her from, from my point of view, I see her as,

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like, you said that she was a champion of his

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ideas. And in her place as his wife, she supported him, she supported him,

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she made sure that he had what he needed to go forward with go further in his work. And, you know, this is this is a,

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this is the same sort of

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this is actually the same sort of thing that is cherished in tradition in our traditional society is that the mother, the mother and wife, is in a supportive role. And, you know, he's not going to your husband isn't going to

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be as successful if you're not in support of his effort to go in a direction that is inspired, hopefully, by, by the good by God. And so, you know, the, and as you know, women have been in this role since the beginning of time, to support our children and to support our husbands. And it's not as if she didn't go along with him. You know, she was she was a part of what he was doing while she was alive.

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Yeah, absolutely. I think we've forgotten in our society, largely, we've forgotten that that is a good place to be or that place to be.

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I think, sadly, in our society now, women and men are pitted against each other. Yeah. So we're in competition. It's like we're competing with each other rather than being on the same team. And rather than see seeing ourselves as being complementary to one another, right? Because that that idea that a woman support her husband, and vice versa, that idea doesn't diminish her status. Do you know what I mean? No, in fact, doesn't tend to tell what what improves her status. Other than that, really? Oh, you know, because men, men, their status, they find their status among other men. So there, there will be a man who's who's put to the shop, by the other men, but women? How do we find

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our status? Or how have we found our status? And that's what that's a curious question. Of, of

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something that we need to meditate on? is definitely where does Where does our status come from? And historically, we've been wives and mothers. And our status comes from our place in our families and in our societies, in our communities. Yeah, absolutely. And it's, it's an honored position. You know, that's a that's a place of honor. That's a place where we were always valued. And unfortunately, I think we've lost that now, you know, like, the idea that your success has to be something that is all about yourself, you know,

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right, you know, and we're always in that supportive role. We knew how to support so we definitely know how to support ourselves. But if we're supporting ourselves, and we're not supporting our husband, and what happens to our husbands, if they're not having that support anymore, you because it's not easy to go out in into the world and to make a difference all on your own.

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It's better to have the help.

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Yeah, what's ended up happening is we're both doing double shifts, right, like, I think that's what's ended up happening. Like, yeah, because we are pitting we are trying to compete with one another and trying to

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fulfill each other's roles almost.

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It means we have we end up doing double the work or ends up meaning that there's sometimes resentment, there's sometimes

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lack of clarity, I think, yeah, well, when you're going to be art, if you're going to be in a competition, there's those kinds of things are going to come on. Exactly.

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Yeah, I think I think that embracing our role as the backbone of the family, you know, yes, will, I think when women stopped doing that, I think that's when

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families started to fall apart. Epson.

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The Next Generation didn't expect it anymore. I mean, I think it's probably also down to this kind of individualism, you know, this, this idea that the individual is the most important

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you unit of society, rather than the family or rather than, you know, community. So yeah, and that makes me think that if, if it's all individual, between men and women, then that leaves children to be individuals as well. And then yeah, who is going to be there to protect those children and to guide them forward in time, if everyone is only in it for themselves?

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Well, I think that's where, like, I do really value, some of the aspects of the Muslim teachings that

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I think are still very much present, you know, very much preserved even in Muslim communities who are in the in Western countries, you know, the idea that you,

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you are committed to your parents even like for life, you know, you have a certain commitment to your parents for life.

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The idea that children are to be looked after, you know, that, by the whole family, they it takes a village to raise a child, you know.

00:32:02--> 00:32:04

I mean, my parents, they don't live very far away.

00:32:06--> 00:32:26

When I am older, I expect. And I think I've brought up my children to be the sort of children who will always be there for me, you know, just as I was there for them. And that's not something that wider society, necessarily teachers, you know, I think

00:32:28--> 00:32:30

I think I heard you discussing.

00:32:31--> 00:32:33

I think it was with Louise Perry.

00:32:35--> 00:32:39

The idea of kinship, support, you know,

00:32:41--> 00:32:43

how women used to have this kind of real,

00:32:44--> 00:33:03

there were there were always men basically, who had their back, you know, and, unfortunately, now, so many girls, and I think this, this is one of the reasons why, you know, I set up my organization, Muslim womanhood, I wanted to share

00:33:04--> 00:33:32

the Islamic ideals of about womanhood about, you know, community and society with not just Muslim women, to help them feel more kind of resilient and more committed, but also with the wider society, because, to me, I grew up in a school, where I saw a lot of things that troubled me, you know, I mean, I went to school, mostly with white girls.

00:33:33--> 00:33:48

I'm just mentioning that just so you can kind of picture picture it. I did wear a scarf at school, just to headscarf. So, I did come from a religious family, you know, and I, I was I chose to wear the hijab.

00:33:49--> 00:33:51

So I did stand out a little bit, you know,

00:33:52--> 00:33:55

in, especially in the 80s, and 90s. But,

00:33:56--> 00:34:02

and what did that what was it like to stand out like that? Did it make any changes for you in the school?

00:34:05--> 00:34:21

You know, my teachers were wonderful. My teachers were always really wonderful. And in my school, my parents just think we just talked to them and said, you know, is it okay, if Fatima wears a scarf, you know, at school with the uniform, we all had uniforms as well.

00:34:22--> 00:34:34

I had the longest skirt. You know, everyone used to, like, roll up the skirts, that was the thing to do, right? You see the school photos, it's like, everyone's skirts are like, and then mines like, right on the bottom.

00:34:35--> 00:34:54

But, so I stood out in that way, you know, but I think people were curious, you know, like, my teachers would sometimes ask me, and I think I was a really good student. So like, straight A student, so I think everyone was like, always cheering me on and I had a really good experience at school.

00:34:56--> 00:34:59

The only thing is, I think, sometimes you know, like

00:35:00--> 00:35:05

One of my friends, one one girl in my class, she told me once that her mom saw me once and said, You know,

00:35:07--> 00:35:38

I don't think you should hang out with girls like her. Okay? There was this there was that, a bit of that. But then conversely, I had friends who, whose parents were so happy when they saw that they were going out with me because because they knew, Okay, they don't drink, you know, she's probably not going to go to a pub, she's not going to, there's certain types of places that I will I will probably not go to being a practicing Muslim. So they felt really safe that they're, you know, if I was with them,

00:35:39--> 00:35:44

because I wasn't really part of that. Certain elements of the wider culture.

00:35:45--> 00:35:51

So yeah, I had a very good experience at school, overall. But the things that troubled me were things like,

00:35:52--> 00:35:59

tell me I remember a day when one of my best friends, I'll change her name, Lucy, I'll call her Lucy. She,

00:36:00--> 00:36:09

she took me aside, and she said, Fatima, I really want to talk to you. And I said, Okay, should we went into one of the classrooms and she's, she started crying.

00:36:10--> 00:36:14

And I was like, what was what's going on what's happening? And she said,

00:36:16--> 00:36:35

everyday after school, that the girls would go up to a boys school, there's a boy school up the road. And she said, we're all expected to do basically to, you know, do certain sexual favors for the boys.

00:36:36--> 00:36:37

And I'm,

00:36:38--> 00:36:51

I don't want to do it. I don't want to do it. And she said, they're spreading rumors about me. They're calling me and I had never heard of this word, at that time, not used in this context, which is that they're calling me frigid.

00:36:52--> 00:36:56

And they're spreading rumors about me, because I don't want to take part, you know?

00:36:57--> 00:36:59

And I remember that was the first time because

00:37:00--> 00:37:05

it sounds a bit strange, but I wasn't part of that culture. Do you know what I mean? I wasn't.

00:37:06--> 00:37:34

And I think that's one of the things that, like, when you're when you're wearing a hijab, obviously, I didn't have my face covered. But when you're dressed in a modest way, right, and dressed in the way that I think women of God have dressed through the centuries, it tends to send a certain message, doesn't it? Like yes, to society, and to people, you know, they, they treat you with actually a lot of respect as well, because they kind of recognize that you're giving a certain signal, right?

00:37:35--> 00:37:37

So I wasn't part of that kind of

00:37:38--> 00:37:41

culture of boys. And, you know,

00:37:42--> 00:37:57

but also, I didn't have an insight into it until that day. And I think what she opened my eyes up to was that although society kept telling us that women have never had it, so good, right.

00:37:58--> 00:38:07

There was this pressure, you know, this hidden pressure, that was still there actually was probably worse than it had ever been.

00:38:08--> 00:38:10

To basically,

00:38:11--> 00:38:22

take part be sexually active at a very young age, we're talking teenagers here, you know, 13. And plus, to be very sexually active, very, very, to always put across this image of

00:38:24--> 00:38:31

that you're not a virgin, for example, you know, that you're, you're fully like, available and willing, you know, ready and willing.

00:38:33--> 00:39:18

And my poor friend who she was just a lovely girl, you know, she wasn't particularly religious. She was, you know, she was just a normal English girl. And she just wanted to be a girl. She just wanted to go to school and just wanted to live her life. You know, and when she was ready, she'd find a partner, whatever. But what was happening is these girls, they had, I realized they had a competition, you know, they were there was this competitive thing going on between the girls, the girls who were the most promiscuous, or the most kind of sexually advocate seen? Yeah, but also seem to have done more. Do you know what I mean? Like, might have gone footbaths Yeah, right. Yes. Or

00:39:18--> 00:39:26

experienced, I guess it would be yes. Something like that. They were kind of they had a certain status, you know? Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

00:39:28--> 00:39:40

And some, I mean, this was at a time in London in UK when teen pregnancies was Britain was the country in Europe that had the highest teen pregnancies.

00:39:43--> 00:39:56

And by the way, I got married when I was like, 19. So I remember when I got married, I thought, it's not teen pregnancies. That's a problem. It's pregnancies outside of marriage. Where there's no there's no kind of

00:39:58--> 00:39:59

there's no prospect

00:40:00--> 00:40:20

Have any child that's born, etc, of being looked after properly? You know, where people are prepared for this giving me the best chance possible? Yes, yeah. And so because teen pregnancies were such a big topic in those days, another thing that the teachers were doing at school,

00:40:21--> 00:40:46

which was trying to put us off motherhood, which is interesting. Yeah. I'll tell you something. I mean, this is like, this sounds like a bit of a scary social experiment. But I remember, we used to have this class once a week that was like to do with, you know, sex and relationships and things like that. Right. And in one of the classes, the teacher gave each of us an egg.

00:40:48--> 00:41:29

A raw egg to look after for the wheat. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I think we had to do this experiment too. Yeah. Okay. Did you? Well, yeah. I thought whenever I tell people about it, they look at me like what, what kind of social experiment was your school doing? You know, but we had to carry this egg for the whole week. So we had to wrap it up in cotton wool, and we were supposed to keep it in our backpacks, right? The boys and girls right, or just the grass? Well, it was a girl school. So Oh, yeah, that's right. I don't know. Sylvia was in the boys and the girls. Right? Yeah. And so we were supposed to carry it all weekend, you know. And I remember at the time thinking, what is this all

00:41:29--> 00:41:36

about? But I guess the whole point of it was to say, you know, it's not easy being a mother. It's not easy.

00:41:37--> 00:41:51

Apparently, the egg is supposed to represent a baby. Yeah. And you know, that responsibility? Right, putting something else before ourselves. Yeah. And so the whole idea was to kind of put everyone off, you know,

00:41:52--> 00:42:07

so, oh, you think so? Yeah. Because Because teen pregnancies like I said, teen pregnancies was such a big problem. Oh, I see what you mean. Not putting themselves off motherhood, but putting them putting them off of promiscuity? Yes.

00:42:09--> 00:42:53

Well, I remember there was a class where they discuss we had a discussion about that. And the teacher stopped short of saying, well, there's always abstinence, you know, like, she, she couldn't quite say that, you know, like, because it was kind of like, that would be so prudish, or whatever. Right. But I remember sitting there thinking, well, there is the option of not having a relationship, you know, but they were all know, that time, I think it was all about safe sex. You know, that's sort of that's the matrix, right? That was being given. Right. But this particular thing, I think, the idea was for girls not to idealize motherhood, like,

00:42:55--> 00:43:18

you know, think of motherhood is like, something, you know, I didn't know, there was this thing I remember, we watched a video where girls who think they're having a baby, you know, they'll get love from that. And they're not thinking about the long term consequences. And so, anyway, this whole thing gave me it gave me an insight into like, another world. And I think

00:43:19--> 00:43:25

there was there were some Christian girls at the school as well, actually, you know, some religious Christian girls who

00:43:26--> 00:43:30

like Vicar's daughter. And I remember, one of my friends was a Methodist.

00:43:32--> 00:43:33


00:43:34--> 00:43:37

were always drawn, we've always drawn to each other, I think.

00:43:39--> 00:43:50

Because I think they really respected the fact that I was willing to externally show my religiosity, you know what I mean, right.

00:43:52--> 00:43:55

And I think sometimes they felt that they couldn't do that.

00:43:58--> 00:44:01

Simply because they would be made fun off, quite simply, you know?

00:44:03--> 00:44:04


00:44:06--> 00:44:13

Whereas I, it's something we have to deal with if we're going to be different, or if we're going to stand for

00:44:15--> 00:44:17

stand for an ethical

00:44:18--> 00:44:20

standard that

00:44:21--> 00:44:25

other people aren't even actually thinking about.

00:44:26--> 00:44:32

Not even, it's not even on the radar as important anymore, which is,

00:44:33--> 00:44:35

well, that's a last place.

00:44:36--> 00:44:53

So I answered. I think, like one of my friends, she took me to her church as well, her dad's church. And, yeah, we just had this real affinity because, you know, yeah, we knew that we cared about the same sorts of things. Exactly.

00:44:54--> 00:44:59

But I do think even they found it quite hard to navigate, like this.

00:45:00--> 00:45:15

I place in society, you know, because on the outside, they looked and could want to be treated just like everyone else. But actually they, they will try to live by a different set of values.

00:45:18--> 00:45:22

And unfortunately, in Britain, I don't know if you know, the famous

00:45:23--> 00:45:30

quote one of the spin doctors of Tony Blair, and because we grew up in the time of Tony Blair, right?

00:45:31--> 00:45:44

He said to him, you know, we don't do God. This is like, a thing in Britain, you know, don't talk about God, don't mention God and don't do God. Right. It's a very British thing, unfortunately.

00:45:46--> 00:46:00

It's always really surprising to Brits, I think when they see Americans like how, how much they actually willing to even talk about God, you know, in God, we trust and even just verbalize it. So, yeah, that's the kind of

00:46:02--> 00:46:11

atmosphere we grew up in. And I just, I just felt really sad, actually, you know, like, when Lucy when my friend when, when that happened to her, and

00:46:12--> 00:46:19

I got this insight into this world where they felt very pressured, and very, you know, before they were ready

00:46:21--> 00:46:25

to basically give such a precious part of themselves away, you know, yeah.

00:46:26--> 00:46:38

And so when I got married, I got married, and I was 19. So, I mean, I was engaged when I was 18, Married 19. And I remember one of my friends saying to me, you know,

00:46:39--> 00:46:52

so how do you get married? Like, it was, there was no kind of mechanism. You know, it felt like she felt there was no, for somebody for a girl who just wants to get married. You know, he just wants to find a way to get married.

00:46:54--> 00:47:04

She didn't know how she could even do that. You know? And what do you think was was missing that they lost their way? What did it seem to you that was missing?

00:47:07--> 00:47:08

I think

00:47:10--> 00:47:14

I think her parents expected her to go to clubs to go to,

00:47:15--> 00:47:17

you know, parties

00:47:18--> 00:47:24

to go to university. meet somebody. Yeah. And

00:47:25--> 00:47:35

trial and error through trial and error. Find somebody, you know, how did you find somebody? If you don't mind me asking? Yeah, yeah. So this is the thing that I think is missing.

00:47:36--> 00:47:42

A community that facilitates it? Do you know what I mean? So

00:47:43--> 00:47:50

I lived in Egypt for a couple of years. What took you to Egypt? What, how did you get there?

00:47:51--> 00:47:55

Well, after high school, I said to my dad, I really,

00:47:56--> 00:47:59

I want to become an Islamic scholar, I want to study Arabic.

00:48:00--> 00:48:05

I just wanted to understand the Quran in its original language, you know, because

00:48:07--> 00:48:20

you know, as the word of God, you you want to hear it directly, like, right as it was revealed, not through translations. So I wanted to taste that. And so my dad helped me to go that he took me there

00:48:21--> 00:48:25

was a bit of like, going into the unknown a little bit, you know,

00:48:27--> 00:48:29

but I lived there for two years.

00:48:32--> 00:48:43

And I think during that time, I felt I would like to get married, you know, I felt quite lonely at times. And I also met somebody there, who I considered, I wanted to marry.

00:48:46--> 00:48:49

But I think it was more hormones, and stuff like that.

00:48:51--> 00:48:52

But there was always an understanding that

00:48:54--> 00:49:04

marriage is the way forward, you know, there wasn't any kind of extramarital relationship or anything like that. Just maybe talking, talking about marriage.

00:49:05--> 00:49:26

And that didn't really work out, or I kind of lost interest in that. But my parents realized from that, but it was probably good for them to help me to get married. You know, I felt I could just tell my parents and my mom is especially. And so when I came back to London,

00:49:28--> 00:49:37

they had a bunch of suitors lined up for me, basically, I mean, you know, sounds really old fashioned sounds like a Jane Austen novel or something. Right? But

00:49:39--> 00:49:51

essentially, there was an lady who, she, she's an author, she's quite well connected in the community. And she knew

00:49:52--> 00:49:53

my mother in law

00:49:54--> 00:50:00

to be right. She knew my mother in law and she knew that she had two signs that she was had, she had

00:50:00--> 00:50:12

to sign and she was looking to get married. So I think what happens is you kind of let people know that right? You're looking for your, for your daughter or son. And then

00:50:13--> 00:50:34

yet my mom, she just arranged like a meeting outside one day, we happen to be somewhere. So she invited my mother in law to be and my prospective husband at the time to come and just just have like a passing meeting, you know what I mean? So we met like that.

00:50:35--> 00:50:47

And then, because we were both interested, we had a proper sit down meeting at home, you know, and then we visited their house, it was always with my dad. Yeah, or with with family members.

00:50:48--> 00:50:50

So chaperoned in that sense.

00:50:53--> 00:50:56

And I guess, in the course of those meetings, we

00:50:58--> 00:51:09

talked about things we We thrashed out the important things, you know, right. Right. Sounds very, it's very sensible. It's very practical. What kind of typical things would you think like where you want to live? And?

00:51:12--> 00:51:12


00:51:13--> 00:51:17

Champney kids you wanted? I don't know, what were you talking about?

00:51:19--> 00:51:25

We didn't discuss how many kids we wanted. I think we we had an understanding that.

00:51:26--> 00:51:27

I think

00:51:28--> 00:51:33

if you're religious Muslim, you want to have lots of kids.

00:51:35--> 00:51:39

Get any kids? Yeah. So I think I think it's more like

00:51:40--> 00:52:02

you're trying to see if you're both on the same wavelength, you know, in terms of your religious kind of icy practice, and you're, because if you are, you're kind of going to click, you know, a lot of things are going to click, probably. So, yeah, we talked about other, you know, whatever. For example, I wanted to carry on studying.

00:52:03--> 00:52:07

So my, my dad was like, Yeah, let's put that let's, let's talk about that. That's.

00:52:08--> 00:52:22

And, you know, there was obviously an attraction there. We had a bit of a back and forth, but quite quickly, if, since we were happy with it, and, you know, we prayed on it cetera.

00:52:24--> 00:52:24


00:52:26--> 00:52:30

yeah, my husband sent a proposal, an official proposal. And then,

00:52:31--> 00:52:39

yeah, accepted. So it sounds really kind of, I don't know, it's probably the way people used to get married. You know, I think so.

00:52:40--> 00:52:45

That's, I mean, I think the beautiful part of it was,

00:52:47--> 00:52:52

you're kind of attracted to one another. And in love ish.

00:52:54--> 00:53:00

You know, but the best part of the being in love happens after you get married. Right? Do you know what I mean? Like, right.

00:53:01--> 00:53:08

Because that's when you really can just be free with one another. And, you know,

00:53:09--> 00:53:10

so I think,

00:53:11--> 00:53:27

I don't know if you've heard of this idea of post nuptial Depression, depression, there was an article about it in the newspaper. No, I haven't read a button. They said that. Because in modern times, people have basically done everything before they got married. Right.

00:53:29--> 00:53:30

When, when they have their wedding,

00:53:32--> 00:53:35

they suffer from the depression afterwards? Because

00:53:37--> 00:53:42

it it's like an anticlimax? You know, right. Right. Right. So

00:53:44--> 00:53:51

in that sense, I know that people when they look at this the way I've just described somebody getting married, they think of that as a huge risk, or they think,

00:53:52--> 00:53:53

oh, you know, like,

00:53:55--> 00:53:57

they don't think they could do that. Maybe.

00:53:59--> 00:54:02

But actually, I think there's a real beauty in it. Because

00:54:04--> 00:54:10

first of all, we were we were each other's first partners, you know, read. So

00:54:12--> 00:54:49

the chances of you clicking is are very high, you know, because you're very this is your first experience with the opposite sex, you know, so you're going to learn together. Yeah. And you're going to fall in love slowly within marriage. So the best of your relationship will happen after the wedding, you know, right. And it hasn't been that long in Western society that that, that that's the way it was, I mean, my father and mother would be not in their 90s Now, and

00:54:51--> 00:54:57

how did they find it on another day where they were married young, they were married young, just out of high school.

00:54:58--> 00:55:00

As far as I know, that was

00:55:00--> 00:55:01

My mother's first

00:55:03--> 00:55:15

first boyfriend was was my father. And so you know, you know, that's not that long ago that it was like that in our society as well. So things have changed very quickly. And

00:55:17--> 00:55:23

I don't think people realize just how far we've come away from our traditional

00:55:24--> 00:55:36

practices. And yeah, they're not very far away. It's not been that long. It's not been that long, but the change has happened so quickly. And so

00:55:37--> 00:55:45

I just feel like a gun like doors locks was opened. Yeah, yes. The message was given that

00:55:47--> 00:56:05

marriage wasn't, wasn't something that was formed that women, you know, they actually supported women or protected women. When actually it did, you know? Yeah, it was, like, for me, I just remember my wedding night and just my early nights, you know, days with my husband.

00:56:07--> 00:56:16

There was like this complete safety in that. Do you know what I mean? Like, when I remember Lucy, describing to me how she lost her virginity.

00:56:18--> 00:56:49

It sounded scary. It Right. Right. It was really scary. It was I think she, I mean, the way she described it, she wanted to like, it was like, she wanted to just rub it out, you know? Right. Right. Right. It was at university, somebody, you know, probably alcohol involved, probably, probably, and he is and probably sort of, like, unclear as well as to what was going on, and then that would happen, and then, but you're kind of going along with it, and

00:56:51--> 00:56:56

and then you have to meet that person the next day, and there's no connection, you're supposed to have no connection.

00:56:57--> 00:56:58


00:57:00--> 00:57:08

my experience of that same thing, was the complete opposite. You know, I'm in a secure home,

00:57:09--> 00:57:25

that my husband has provided for me, we are surrounded by gifts where, you know, we're just, we're just committed to one another. There's safety, you know, that can't convey that feeling of safety that was there.

00:57:26--> 00:57:38

And I think from that same possibility and possibility, right, not just safety, but possibility because of the of this new union. And with a common

00:57:40--> 00:57:50

a common direction, you're married, and you have a common direction that you're sharing. That's, that that's got to be a feeling of safety.

00:57:52--> 00:57:58

Definitely, but but even like, Phoebe, just take it from a from the physical side of it, you know, the sexual side of it.

00:57:59--> 00:58:07

Even their, their safety, do you know what I mean? Like the safety to just express to fully express yourself, without any fear.

00:58:08--> 00:58:16

There have been some left, you're gonna be left, or that that thing will be used against you in any way. Right? You know, because it's like,

00:58:18--> 00:58:27

now, nowadays, you know, revenge porn. And, I mean, there's some, there's so many risks that a girl is taking when she

00:58:29--> 00:58:31

indulges in that kind of behavior.

00:58:34--> 00:58:39

But if you're married to the person, you know, they see you as part of them, you know, like, You're

00:58:41--> 00:58:59

the son. So they won't compromise you in that way. You know, right. But I think because we've divorced, that we've separated the feelings from the, from the sexual side of things. And we've we've separated that kind of sanctity, we remove the sanctity, you know?

00:59:01--> 00:59:02

And because of that,

00:59:03--> 00:59:20

men also don't see it as something sacred, right? Yes, that's right. And that's quite sad. Is it is it's a very, it's a huge loss. And it isn't just between the man and the woman, it has to do with their children.

00:59:23--> 00:59:29

Because the children are the outcome of their love, and

00:59:31--> 00:59:35

born in the safety of a family of a mother and a father.

00:59:37--> 00:59:39

Then did you know that who knows what profound

00:59:42--> 00:59:45

who knows what profound changes

00:59:47--> 00:59:59

occur when there isn't that safety? For a child? Who knows? That we get, you know, genetically, who knows? I'm sure it's deep. I'm sure it's very deep. You know, there's a

01:00:00--> 01:00:21

There's a statistical, this organization called Matson in the UK, they said that a million a million children in the UK have no male figure in their lives. You know, 80% of at all kids now in the, in the black community in the states are born are born out of wedlock. 80%.

01:00:22--> 01:00:25

So marriages, you know,

01:00:26--> 01:00:36

even in the UK, I think they said this this year, there was an article that this is the first year when I believe it was that there were more children

01:00:37--> 01:00:51

born outside of marriage than inside. Yeah. Yeah. And now and you know, and many less and many fewer children, many fewer children are born. Right? Because a woman will do that.

01:00:52--> 01:01:11

What woman what, what women is, as a single woman is going to have six children, that that's just not going to happen. Very, you know, I can't I imagine that a very small percentage of women who would have more than one or two kids if it's out of wedlock?

01:01:12--> 01:01:30

Yeah, if they're having to worry about the financial side of things, if they're, if they don't have somebody else supporting them as well. Right. I think it takes faith to have children, you know, takes faith. It takes faith that children Yeah, that have, like Faith in the Future faith in God faith that you'll you'll be all right.

01:01:33--> 01:01:37

And I remember when I, when I was expecting my first child,

01:01:38--> 01:01:58

there was a magazine, you know, mom's magazine, I was reading and it was like, You should go and make an appointment with your bank manager, you know, and I was kind of laughing at that thinking, bank manager, because I'm having a child, you know, so there's this kind of constant connection with the material and

01:01:59--> 01:02:14

the lack of material, you know, belongings or provision and children and people fear. That's also what I mean by you need to have faith? Like, do you know what I mean? You need to have faith that God will provide the

01:02:16--> 01:02:16


01:02:18--> 01:02:23

Yeah, and that's why I think you do tend to see people from faith communities do have more children in general.

01:02:25--> 01:02:41

In the UK, I think I was looking at a statistic that in Europe, Muslim parents have all Muslim women have double the number of children that the average woman has, so right.

01:02:42--> 01:03:03

So that's the thing, like, with the Muslim community with, there's still quite a lot of traditional values that have still been preserved. And, but that's not to say that they're not under attack, you know, because whatever's happening in wider society is also kind of, obviously, affecting faith communities as well. Right.

01:03:05--> 01:03:21

And so I think it's really important to, I think the book by Louise Perry is very important, you know, yes, refreshing. It's very refreshing that she wrote that, because it was kind of a taboo thing to say, right? Like,

01:03:22--> 01:03:33

yeah, well, it's time for, it's time for us to all talk about these things, in a candid way, and realize the truth of the reality.

01:03:35--> 01:03:57

Yeah, because there was a whole campaign, I think, in the 60s and 70s, which was not only about the sexual revolution, you know, telling people that basically, free love was going to be good for them, but also very anti motherhood, you know, equating motherhood with slavery equating

01:03:58--> 01:04:00

asking for, like,

01:04:01--> 01:04:19

this narrative that anyone can look after your kids. Do you know what I mean? Yeah, right. There's that too. There's a book by a psychologist called Steve Biddulph. It's called raising babies. And he talks about, I mean, you know, it's quite controversial in the sense that he's saying that, look,

01:04:21--> 01:04:27

babies need their parents, babies need people who love them naturally, you know,

01:04:28--> 01:04:40

if you pay somebody the minimum wage, and they don't have natural love for your child, and they're looking after them from morning till night, you cannot equate that to

01:04:41--> 01:04:46

the love and what's going on between a mother and a child or even a grandparent and the child you know,

01:04:47--> 01:04:58

well, you know what babies babies don't speak. So you have to be with them, to understand them. Because they, their sort of their their, their communication is very subtle.

01:05:00--> 01:05:15

You know, they cry that that's not so subtle, but everything, but their cries are also varied and the different cries mean different things. And if you're not spending time with your baby, then you don't get to know them.

01:05:16--> 01:05:31

Yeah, because I say to them on, yes, yes, that's right. In fact, that's another piece of advice that he gives. In his book. He says, if, for example, a mother, for some reason can't breastfeed, or isn't breastfeeding.

01:05:32--> 01:05:35

He says that she should bear her breast

01:05:36--> 01:05:48

and hold the baby against her breast as she bought who feeds it? Yeah, there's something about skin to skin because it isn't just very important food. It's not just about food, you know? No, it's about touch, you know,

01:05:50--> 01:06:11

orphaned, orphaned babies used to die in the orphanages. And there was a lack of touch. Yeah, there was an a nurse who used to be in one of the orphanages, I can't remember if it was in Germany. I can't remember if it was in England, it was in Europe somewhere. And she used to carry the babies around on her hip.

01:06:13--> 01:06:48

That's just that's just what she did. And her and her babies lived. And they realized, oh, yeah, it has to do more. It's more to do with touch than anything, you know, little baby rats, if they're not licked, and touch they also die. So we carrying them and just, yeah, you know, being held being that safety, that feeling of somebody is there for you somebody's the world is a safe place. Right? Right. That message, right? Yeah, that has to be the message at the beginning. And you know, this idea of free love. I interviewed a

01:06:49--> 01:07:40

a women's studies professor, who we talked about a woman named Victoria Woodhall, who was around in the 1700s. And, and she put forth the idea of free love way back then. So this has been brewing, this idea of free love has been brewing for centuries, and been infiltrating our society for a very long time. It really blossomed in the 60s. But that wasn't when it began, it definitely has been here for a long time. So we have to be I mean, I've been going back through the feminist literature, I never studied feminism, but I decided that it was time time for me to understand it all. And to look at the motivations of the people that we call the mothers of feminism, and find out exactly

01:07:40--> 01:07:51

what it was that they were up to, and where we are now in relationship to what they were looking for way back then. And realize that

01:07:52--> 01:08:36

what we say what we write down what we the messages, we tell each other, they have consequences, lasting consequences, we have to be very, very careful. So you know, when when people are listening to God and getting their answers from getting they're getting their inspiration from from God, that's one thing, but when you're reading books, and these books were written in the spirit of resentment, or this, you know, then then that's the direction that things are gonna go. So we have to be super careful. When we read books to find out who these people are, what their lives were, like, what their motivations were, who they were getting their information from, you know, it's

01:08:36--> 01:09:20

complicated and, and without a family without a mother and a father to be guiding you to be guiding you and what books you're reading as a child. That that's super important. It's all just so important. Well, I think also some of these some of the ladies who were like spearheading, you know, women's movement, etc. I don't think they really knew what, what they were doing themselves. You know what I mean? No, no, I don't think it's necessarily because they had this big master plan. It wasn't really like that it was more like it was, I think, another another manifestation of individualism by gendered one, you know, yeah, right agenda. I mean, I remember read hearing

01:09:20--> 01:09:59

Germaine Greer, she's one of the kind of big sort of second wave feminists. Yeah, she in this documentary. She said, Well, liberation didn't happen. I mean, I think a lot of them are kind of realizing and admitting that, you know, and she said sexual liberation didn't happen. She said, what happened was, commercial pornography was liberated. Fantasy was liberated but people weren't liberated. So she, even people like her, admit that. Things have gotten worse for women. That's literally what she was saying. Right, right. And there's a book by a feminist called, kept Boneyard.

01:10:00--> 01:10:14

and she says in it that, yeah, it's called the equality illusion. Okay, the equality illusion. And she says, Today women's and girls bodies are denigrated as inanimate objects

01:10:15--> 01:10:29

to be scrutinized, judged, manipulated, maintained, for the benefit of others. And she says women have become like shared public property. Well, you know, women, women evaluate each other's

01:10:32--> 01:10:53

appearance, whereas men evaluate what other men do. Women evaluate what other women look like. And so the idea that we've been, you know, the scroot, the scrutinizing of appearance and manipulation of appearance

01:10:55--> 01:10:59

has come from, it looks like it has come from

01:11:01--> 01:11:02

a natural

01:11:05--> 01:11:06

a natural

01:11:09--> 01:11:10

interest in

01:11:12--> 01:11:17

who you are, how you carry yourself

01:11:19--> 01:11:41

the gracefulness of a woman even you know, that, it's, it's all to be seen, it's all to be seen. And this has become complicated. It's become complicated in our complicated world. Yeah, so in our community, for example, like, although I'm dressed, like, there's some when I met you, I wasn't wearing a face Phil,

01:11:43--> 01:11:54

I don't usually wear a face well, on, on the streets cetera, I just prefer it on camera, like, just as an extra privacy, I guess, like just to preserve my.

01:11:56--> 01:11:57

But even,

01:11:58--> 01:12:17

even so, it's only really, when we're on the public, or when we are in the presence of certain men who are not related to us, that Muslim women, you know, cover in a certain way, and even Muslim men have rules for, you know, guidelines for dress as well, like,

01:12:18--> 01:12:19

in front of the opposite sex.

01:12:20--> 01:12:47

And then, but when we're in our homes, if you were to come and visit me at home, or if we were in the ladies only gathering and we tend to have those, you know, quite a lot of like, ladies only spaces and men's only spaces as well. Right? Then I think you'd be quite surprised, you know, because we wear makeup, we dress, you know, in

01:12:49--> 01:12:53

if in western clothes, or in Indian clothes, you know, depending on your culture.

01:12:55--> 01:13:36

And we, we enjoy the set similar things, you know, right, but we just have a particular space for it. Right. So it's, it's within a very confined community. It's not so widespread. So it can be widespread. Yes. So if it was like women's only we have women's only parties, for example, or, yeah, we'll have like, a space for the women and a space for the men. And in those spaces were quite free. You know, like, it's not uncommon to go to a wedding where people are dancing, women are dancing together. And, you know, that's quite

01:13:38--> 01:14:06

people who haven't seen us they assume that we dress like this every all the time, you know, like, but no, it's just in the public space. It's just in some ways you could see it as a uniform. You know, so when you go to a wedding, just when you go to a wedding, so you would dress in a more I guess I would say a western style but I don't know how you would describe it but without putting on your his job.

01:14:08--> 01:14:12

And when you dance, do you dance men and women together at a wedding?

01:14:14--> 01:14:38

So what I would wait there dancing, I would wear clothes, nice clothes, like wedding clothes for a wedding. Yeah, where's he goes? Yeah, most of the weddings. I go to Asian weddings, you know, Indian Pakistani wedding. So you know we have very ornate clothes, very ornate clothes with bangles and jewelry and makeup and everything.

01:14:39--> 01:14:52

But I would wear that underneath some kind of over coat like not a thick coat but just like almost like a cloth almost. And even like my hijab, and then when I get to the venue,

01:14:53--> 01:14:59

I would remove the outer. That's what women Muslim women do. They'll remove their outer

01:15:00--> 01:15:04

outer garments. And so I guess there's like,

01:15:05--> 01:15:09

a private world and a public world in that sense.

01:15:12--> 01:15:20

And it's, it's, it's very nice. I mean, I personally didn't grow up in a culture where dancing was much of a thing, you know.

01:15:22--> 01:15:34

But a lot of my Arab friends, they definitely did. So, when you go to an Arab wedding, they're definitely dancing. And they'll, they'll encourage you to join. So you know,

01:15:36--> 01:15:37

but yeah,

01:15:38--> 01:15:39

it's just,

01:15:41--> 01:15:58

I remember even like, some of my friends at school would be quite surprised that oh, so, you know, it's there, like these two worlds. You know, if you ever get to one of my friends, she, she became a Muslim. And it was Lauren. And she

01:16:02--> 01:16:24

she said that, initially, when she came to women's only settings, she thought, Oh, this is going to be boring, right? That was like her initial reaction, because she was so used to MC settings. But one of the things she told me was, for the first time, she really enjoyed female company, you know.

01:16:25--> 01:16:30

And she felt like there was the sisterhood. And they weren't competing

01:16:31--> 01:16:35

for any kind of male attention. So there was this kind of?

01:16:37--> 01:16:48

Well, it was very relaxed, you know? Yeah, I do. More and more. And I talked a little bit about this with Louise Perry, when we spoke about

01:16:49--> 01:16:55

it, schools, not just schools, but schools in particular, girls, schools and boys schools.

01:16:56--> 01:17:44

And I've talked to other people since, and some of the people have said, well, what about girls classrooms, and boys classrooms, and then the boys and girls play together at recess. And so the thing is, you know, people used to have large families, right, so boys and girls could play together as sisters and brothers. And so then girls and boys would understand one another within the family. But now that that families have got so small, that if sometimes the only chat, there'll be an only child in a family. And if they don't, if they can't play with kids of the opposite sex, then they don't understand the opposite sex at all. They don't know how to how to play with them. So that's

01:17:44--> 01:17:45

been another consequence of,

01:17:47--> 01:17:53

of the birth rate going down so much to is that the idea of having

01:17:55--> 01:18:20

segregated school is awkward, I guess, more awkward than it than it used to be. I think it's a great idea that wherever I've worked that have been only women, it's much more relaxed. It's much more carefree. The humor is much more flowing. It's but when as soon as there's one person of the opposite sex, the whole dynamics of the of the

01:18:21--> 01:18:33

situation change. And it became kind of do you still sorry, do you still have girls schools and boy schools in Canada? Yeah. There are girls schools and boy schools. Yeah. Okay. Yeah.

01:18:34--> 01:19:01

Often, not often. Yeah. It's changing slowly, like, some girls schools are becoming what they call COVID. Yes, but But what's interesting is even the CO Ed schools, the schools with the boys and the girls, the secondary one, so high school, they're actually segregating maths and science, which is quite depressing. Yeah, yeah. It's actually a thing now in Britain,

01:19:02--> 01:19:30

for maths, and I believe science as well. Well, PE, naturally, people tend to think yeah, you know, p will have it separate. Yeah. Physical Education. But with, even with maths and science, because what they're finding is this, I don't know how to explain this. But they're saying that girls tend to downplay the ability in maths and science when they're in mixed settings.

01:19:31--> 01:19:46

Which I don't really understand. Yeah. So in order to encourage girls in the STEM subjects, they're actually saying that having separate classes, makes both sexes actually

01:19:47--> 01:19:57

strive and perform better for some reason. I don't know why, but Well, I think it's quite interesting to visit and maths and sciences. Maybe it's just more

01:19:59--> 01:19:59


01:20:00--> 01:20:34

it's more obvious detriment to the kids concentration in those concentration. Yeah, that could be in those subjects. Because the subjects take a lot of concentration, you have to, you have to be on point to figure out the problem. And so distracted and not be distracted. Yeah, that's right, because it is very distracting to have boys and girls together. And everybody knows that if they think for a minute about the time that they spent in school as little kids

01:20:36--> 01:20:37


01:20:39--> 01:20:54

Well, anytime, I don't know, if boys had still have boys hockey teams, and they have only boys in the dressing room. And so everybody everybody has, I would think I would hope that everybody has

01:20:55--> 01:21:15

something that they can remember, that is from a time where it was only women or only men, and how and how the dynamics are different than then when there's both sexes together, because it is complicated. It complicates the situation. And I think that I'm hoping that

01:21:16--> 01:21:22

we can recognize that because it gives girls and boys much better chance of

01:21:24--> 01:21:30

understanding what they're doing if they're not distracted by each other.

01:21:31--> 01:21:36

Yeah, absolutely. And I think you're absolutely right. About that.

01:21:38--> 01:21:46

One of my, my research, I just finished my master's research, it was into

01:21:47--> 01:21:56

female converts to Islam in the UK. And that was very interesting, because I was interested to hear from them.

01:21:58--> 01:22:05

You know, like in the current climate, and then in the past decade, I would say, since 911.

01:22:06--> 01:22:14

Islam has had such a bad, such bad press right? Like, right to, to put it mildly. So you would think,

01:22:15--> 01:22:34

like, why would these women be attracted to Islam? You know, like, because people have a lot of misconceptions about it. I think a lot of people don't even realize how, you know, Muslims believe in the prophets of from the Bible, and they, you know, there's so much similarity and so, so much congruent to that.

01:22:37--> 01:22:40

Because there's so many kinds of

01:22:41--> 01:22:47

false narratives as well, that are out there. Because, you know, of the actions of some Muslims.

01:22:48--> 01:22:50

Yes, you know, people tend to

01:22:51--> 01:23:05

Muslims tend to get demonized. So, I was interested to hear from these people who basically had embraced Islam since 911. Since that whole period, and to hear from especially the women like, what were some of the reasons what,

01:23:07--> 01:23:08

what was their journey?

01:23:09--> 01:23:22

And I was looking at a particular legal element, which is quite complicated, but, but just from hearing from them, I think it made it very clear to me that I really wanted to share

01:23:25--> 01:23:38

the Islamic worldview, with women in the wider society as an alternative, you know, because a lot of the women who are interviewed and they were all like, British.

01:23:39--> 01:23:43

I think all of them were white, one of them was mixed race,

01:23:45--> 01:23:48

Italian and Jamaican, I think, yeah.

01:23:50--> 01:24:07

But all of the women are interviewed, there were certain themes that kept coming up, you know, as to what attracted them. One of the things was definitely the kind of direct relationship with God that was that featured quite a lot, especially with Catholics.

01:24:08--> 01:24:20

I mean, people who had been Catholics, I think they appreciated that kind of not having an intermediary, and just being able to talk to God and access God.

01:24:23--> 01:24:35

Also, there was another theme that kept coming up, and that was the gender roles. And that was really interesting to me. Because some of the women were saying,

01:24:36--> 01:24:40

you know, I just wanted clarity about

01:24:41--> 01:24:55

how to be a woman, you know, like, in in modern times, and I appreciated the clarity, you know, that Islam gave in terms of like, you know, roles and responsibilities and responsibilities. Yeah. Yeah.

01:24:56--> 01:24:59

Some of the women I think

01:25:01--> 01:25:02

Their journey was very

01:25:04--> 01:25:08

fraught as well, you know, like, sometimes the families were not happy about it.

01:25:11--> 01:25:26

Often, they discovered Islam through other Muslims, you know, who they had either worked with or even taught at school, which was interesting. There were a few of a couple of them were teachers who had taught Muslim kids and,

01:25:28--> 01:25:36

and, and there was another group of women who had had quite traumatic lives, you know,

01:25:38--> 01:25:49

for example, a lot of alcohol abuse in their parents, you know, so growing up, they had seen a lot of alcohol abuse.

01:25:51--> 01:26:03

And they had also fallen into either they went into care, or they had fallen into like, very unhealthy relationships with men, in their early lives.

01:26:04--> 01:26:11

Even had been sexually assaulted or, you know, had some kind of traumatic thing happened to them.

01:26:13--> 01:26:23

And what was interesting to me was, so when they either came across a Muslim who introduced Islam to them, or they visited a Muslim home,

01:26:25--> 01:26:28

like one one girl in particular, remember, she,

01:26:29--> 01:26:46

her parents were alcoholics. And they basically, she got taken into care, because of it. Because one day she had, she was wandering outdoors. And she got hit by a car. Oh, yeah. As a as a kid, you know.

01:26:48--> 01:26:51

I mean, that was, it was really like,

01:26:52--> 01:27:17

shocking story. But she ended up in care. And she was basically when you're in Cannes, Britain, you know, I don't know if it's like that in Canada, but it basically means nobody's looking after you, in a way because, because then she was, you know, in and out. Nobody knew where she was, she ended up pregnant, she had a baby.

01:27:18--> 01:27:25

So she was she went through quite a lot in her personal life. And there were a few people like that.

01:27:26--> 01:27:30

Who then when they discovered Islam,

01:27:31--> 01:27:39

either through a Muslim and they went to their home, and they saw, like, what they said, you know, family could be like, right?

01:27:40--> 01:27:45

Or they met Muslims, and they are Muslim men. And they

01:27:46--> 01:27:47

are surprised by this. But

01:27:49--> 01:27:54

they said that they didn't. They treated them differently, you know,

01:27:56--> 01:28:17

in their particular situations, you know, they'd always experienced men who either took advantage of them or onto the relationship, when they saw that, you know, the gender roles and things like that. It really attracted them to Islam, and they would access, you know, the Muslim community some way and,

01:28:18--> 01:28:22

and what was interesting is, some of them had very supportive families.

01:28:24--> 01:28:26

But often, you know,

01:28:27--> 01:28:33

they would they were faced with rejection from their families for adopting Islam.

01:28:36--> 01:28:44

So, yeah, it was really interesting hearing the women's stories and it's quite moving. It was quite

01:28:46--> 01:29:02

Yeah. And, and in a strange way, many of them had written off religion. Do you know what I mean? Like, right. They didn't see any religion as an option. You know, they've gotten to that point. So they need to become atheists or just disenchanted and

01:29:05--> 01:29:08

and so for them to then do like a

01:29:09--> 01:29:10

180 Re and

01:29:12--> 01:29:13


01:29:14--> 01:29:20

you know, that, okay, something that they could embrace? I think it was.

01:29:22--> 01:29:35

I thought they were very brave, actually. Because many of them they're treated like traitors by by their own words, you know, shared by people who don't understand

01:29:36--> 01:29:40

or who think of Islam as being very different. The other

01:29:42--> 01:29:45

So, they went through a lot, but

01:29:47--> 01:29:53

almost, in fact, all of them when I asked them, you know, was it worth it? You know, because some of them

01:29:55--> 01:29:56

they had to leave marriages because

01:29:57--> 01:29:59

their husbands