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Serenity – 1 17 11mythstruthsmanwomanhood

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Yasmin Mogahed

Channel: Yasmin Mogahed

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Episode Notes

Episode Transcript

© No part of this transcript may be copied or referenced or transmitted in any way whatsoever. Transcripts are auto-generated and thus will be be inaccurate. We are working on a system to allow volunteers to edit transcripts in a controlled system.


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Santa Monica, this is Yasmin Mujahid and you're listening to serenity streaming on one legacy radio.com serenity is a new show that we decided to begin to talk about issues, that we all deal with issues of relationships, issues having to do with love having to do with God having to do with things that we're dealing with in our life. But what we wanted to do is something different on the show. And that is, first we wanted to take your real issues, issues that you are actually dealing with. And so we wanted you to write in to serenity at one legacy radio.com. And share these issues with us, so that we can take them and discuss them on the show, of course, keeping you completely

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anonymous, but discuss them in a very unique and special way. And that's the other thing that makes this show unique. And that is that we want to take these issues, issues, mundane issues, issues, problems, that we're dealing with difficulties and take them and look for spiritual answers to these issues to these problems that we're dealing with. And so what I wanted to do, actually, today is begin with an issue that we A lot of us struggle with as men and women living in this society. And that has to do with what does it mean to be a woman? And what does it mean to be a man? What is the definition of what a woman is? And what is the definition of what a man is? Now, I really love this

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topic, because it lets me kind of begin with a story which I really loved growing up. And that's the story where there's this mother duck, and she, she gives birth to these to these new ducklings. And when she's looking at the ducklings, she notices that there's one duckling that is totally different than the rest, it's a lot larger, and it's very awkward, it looks just completely different. And it gets to be known as the ugly duckling and that that's the name that that comes to be known of this stuck. Now what happens though, is that we find out that this ugly duckling is actually a swan. And the lesson that, you know that that one can learn from this, this, you know, this story that we hear

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growing up, is that beauty doesn't have to do with being just like the rest, that sometimes beauty comes in our uniqueness, and not in our sameness to everyone else. And so when you think about God, when he made humanity, we know that God made men, and you know, men are a certain way. And then there was this other creation that God made, and they are women. But see, as women, I think we live in this society. And we wonder, sometimes, are we just bad copies of this standard, which is men. And I think in society, a lot of times that is the message that is given to women, where men are the standard. What do I mean by that? Well, the nature of a man is different than the nature of a woman.

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And yet this nature of a man is often considered to be superior to the nature of a woman, what's a good example of that? Well, when you when you really want to insult somebody, you call them emotional, right? You say that they're being, you know, they're being emotional, or they're being sensitive. And so this, this is an example of something which, which has come to be known as almost a degradation. And the question is, why, why is that? Why do we accept these definitions? Why do we as women accept that whatever a man does naturally, or whatever a man tends to do more is somehow superior to what a woman does by nature, or what a woman has by nature? And so this question is

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really important, because it comes and it leads us back to the question of standards, it leads us back to the question of what is our criteria? What is our criteria of what is a woman? And what is a man? What, even more importantly, what is our criteria for self esteem and self worth? and honor? What makes me feel that I am honored? And that question leads us to the fact that honor comes only and self esteem should come only from our relationship with our Creator. And it should not come from any anything else. It should not come from my relationship with anything else. So that kind of brings us to the idea of how if you look at the idea of how women are judged in the society,

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unfortunately, you'll see that a woman is very much judged for how she looks. She's very much judged for how attractive she can be for men how sexy she can be. And it's almost as if women were put on this earth to be, as you know, alluring to a man as possible, and that her success is defined

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by how much she can succeed in that department. And so you see, you know, women all over the, you know, the cover of magazines, displaying, you know, their beauty. And there's this competition. And there's this idea that you're only successful so much as you can be attractive for a man. And actually, if you look at examples in our society, about accomplished women, it's really interesting. And one example I like to use is, for example, female athletes. So you'll see like, the way that a male athlete is depicted in the media is very, very different than how a female athlete is depicted in the media. And what you'll find is that went up when, when the media talks about female athletes,

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they don't talk about, you know, how how much they accomplished in their sport. They don't talk about how talented they are. But usually what they focus on is the looks is the looks of the athlete. And you don't find this with male athletes, the male athlete is very much judged on his accomplishments and his talent in his sport, and it's very irrelevant, what he looks like. But that is not the case with women. And one good example of this was Anna Kournikova, she wasn't very good at tennis at all, and yet, she was the most highly endorsed female athlete. So the question comes is why is she the most highly endorsed female athlete, and actually, there was a website askmen.com

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that talks about this. And what they talk about is that the reason why she has made, you know, female, you know, women's tennis, interesting, again, is because of her great looks. And this again, this is the message that we're told is that a woman in the society is judged on her looks, and a man is judged on his accomplishments. And and so this, this message, and this, this idea of women being the sex objects, these, you know, that that their success is only related to their looks, is so prevalent, that there are actually people who start to come and challenge this. And that brings us to the idea of, you know, feminism, now feminism came along, Western feminism came along and said,

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you know, we don't, we don't want this anymore. We don't want to be objects anymore. We're more than that. But the problem and there was a, there's a significant missing ingredient here, and that is God, that is God as a standard. And so what I think happened with even Western feminism is that what happened is that the standard, ironically, became men themselves. And so what happened is women started to want to be liberated, but their liberation was somehow connected to how much they could do what a man does. But the question is, why is why should a man be the standard of success? A man is not the standard of success, the standard of success is how strong our relationship is with our

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Creator. And so this really brings us back to the issue of purpose. Why are we created? What is it that gives us honor, and Allah tells us in the Quran very clearly, that I have not created gin and ins except to worship me. And so it's through this worship, that we fulfill our purpose. So right now we are you're listening to serenity. And we're talking about what it means to be a man what it means to be a woman. What are these definitions in our society versus what are these definitions that were given by God. But we'll take a short break. And when we come back, we'll continue on the issue of manhood and womanhood.

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Assalamualaikum Welcome back, you're listening to serenity. And we're talking about what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman. Now, we've been talking a little bit about the idea of what it means to be a woman, and what are the standards that society puts for us as women that we tried to chase after, and we use these standards to try to measure our success. Now, I want to talk a little bit about that. And then I want to get into what it means to be a man. Now talking about, you know, the issue of women, and how we, you know, we run after first, these standards that are set for us, where it's a huge emphasis put on our looks, and women are taught from very young, that

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their level of success is intimately related to how attractive they can be for men. Now, the beautiful thing about realizing that our purpose in life is to be a slave to God and nothing else is that it liberates us from that, that we as as women, we realize that our place in this world and our purpose is something much, much loftier and something much higher than just being sexy for men, or just appearing on a cover of a magazine. And so what we as women, what we

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You have to realize, is again, our self esteem. And our honor comes from our character from our relationship to God from our morality, and not from our looks. And similarly, we break out of this idea that we need to be like men in order to be validated. You know, I, as a woman, I don't accept that somehow, it is better to be unemotional, and stoic than it is to be compassionate and merciful. I don't accept that that is better, it may be different, but it is not better. And it's interesting to know, actually, that a lot of our standards that we have in society, actually are completely diametrically opposed to the standards that were given to us by the prophet sallallahu wasallam. And

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I'm going to give a couple examples of that. And that'll lead us into the idea of manhood as well. And one of those standards that you'll find is that when a man when a boy is being raised, usually what he's taught in this society, is that it is not proper or manly to show emotion. And rather, a man is told from very young, that there's only one acceptable emotion to show as a man, and that is anger. And so it's interesting, and this is what they find is that men will be feeling a lot of different things, but what it comes out as is just anger, and what's actually under that anger is may be something very different. It may be sadness, it may be a feeling of rejection, and and, and

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yet, it just comes out in terms of anger. And the reason is, that that's what society teaches boys. But what's really ironic is that when you know, when when someone is being called emotional, like, if a woman is crying, she's crying too much, right? Then she's called emotional, but if a man is blowing up, and he's cannot control his his anger, this isn't called emotional, although anger is also an emotion. And so when somebody is not able to control their anger, that's also being emotional. But look at how our standards are very much, you know, men centered in the sense that this is the, you know, this is considered okay, because it's what you know, maybe men tend to do

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more in terms of expressing that emotion. But that brings me to the Hadith of the Prophet sallallahu sallam, which actually talks about these two. So let's take the example of showing anger versus crying. Now, if you look at what the prophets I said, Lim said, about crying, one time when the Prophet and his thoughts was sent him was, you know, he was after the death of his child, he was crying, and one of the companions, or one of the, the, the men at that time, you know, also had similar definitions as we do now, he was taken aback, you know, like, how is this man crying this this, this seemed to him like it wasn't manly, and the prophets, I send them explained at that time,

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that that, that his tears were actually in an expression of mercy. And so he explained that this, that this, this is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of mercy. And Mercy is such a beautiful quality. And in fact, it's a quality that, you know, describes God Himself. And in fact, it's the, it's the quality and its perfection, of course, that describes God. That's most emphasized in the Quran, and in the Hadith. And so, this is how he explained, crying. Now let's look at how the prophets I send them talked about anger, when the prophets I send them set, and he asked his companions, who is the strong person who is the one who's most strong, and his companions also, you

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know, thinking similarly to how we do said, it's the one who can wrestle the best. So they they thought about anger, as being, you know, physical strength, and the prophets, I send them explained to him, to them, that actually the strong person is the one who could control themselves in the fit of anger. So now look at this, the prophets I send them is actually saying that strength is in controlling one's anger. And that actually, the expression of anger without control is what is weakness, and not the expression of sadness through tears. So it's very ironic again, that our definitions are very much opposite to what the definitions were given by the Prophet salallahu

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alayhi wasallam. So, when you see somebody who's crying, unfortunately, society will say that's an act of weakness. And yet when you see someone who can't control their anger, that is seen as strength and ironically, again, it's very much the opposite. Now another issue when it comes to manhood, and what does it mean to be a man and masculinity? Another aspect that's usually in that definition, is somebody who doesn't show affection. So part of you know, not showing emotion not expressing sadness is also in not showing affection. And this also happened at the time of the Prophet side. I send them and

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What had happened was, the prophet SAW Selim was showing, you know, affection to his child. And one of the the men at that time came. And he, I guess, he was trying to boast about his own manlihood in his eyes. And he said, You know, I have all these children and I have never hugged or kissed them, you know, I never showed affection to them. And the prophets, I send them, you know, responded to this man and said, Well, you know, what can I do if, if, you know, mercy has been taken out of your heart. And this was the response to someone who said that they had never shown affection. So it wasn't a sign of man manhood. In fact, it was the opposite it was shown as it was expressed as a

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sign of a lack of mercy. So again, here's another, you know, definition of that we have in our society of what it means to be a man, which completely goes against the definition given to us by the prophet sallallahu alayhi wa sallam. Okay, we'll take a short break now. And you're listening to serenity. And when we get back, we will continue on the subject of what it means to be a man.

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Santa Monica, welcome back. This is Yes, me Mujahid. And you're listening to serenity. We're talking today about the meaning of manhood and womanhood. And, you know, on this show, we want you to write in and send your questions where we can talk about these issues that are actually affecting us. And you can write in at Serenity at one legacy radio.com, please write in, we want your questions. So we've been talking about the definitions of what it means to be a man and what it means to be a woman, and how those definitions that we have in our society actually, are very much opposed to the definitions given to us by Allah and His messenger. Now, we finished talking about, you know,

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masculinity and what it means to be a man. And, and one of the things I find really beautiful, is that the example of the Prophet so I send them, because if you actually study his life, and you look at his character, you find that the characteristics that he have, he had, are really, really the, you know, they're the characteristics of such a beautiful man where, you know, it's like, if you think about your ideal guy, he had those characteristics, you know, somebody who is loving somebody who is tolerant, somebody who is patient, someone who does, you know, who does show those, you know, his, his, his emotions, in the sense of giving that, that support and that love and that patience.

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And that, you know, that also, you know, it teaches us that we really need to reject the definitions that were given in, you know, in society in Hollywood and on TV of what it what it means to be a man, or what it means to be a woman, because a lot of these definitions go completely opposed, are completely opposed to the definitions given by the prophet. So I send them and you know, this whole, like, tough guy, macho man type type picture that we see, of what it means to be a man, you know, a lot of times, you know, that, that is not what the prophets I send them, you know, that's not the kind of character that he had. And, you know, there was, there's no, obviously greater man than then

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he was, he was very loving to his children and to his wife. And in he was very, you know, his patient, and he didn't, you know, he didn't fear showing sadness, for example, when he cried at the death of his, his child. And so these, you know, this is really where we should be getting our standards. And similarly, as women, you know, a lot of times we get, the idea is that we, we, we fall into this, the standard of, we have to be the most attractive, and that's where we're gonna find our validation, if we can attract a man, we can be beautiful for a man. And we have to understand that beauty is not about how much we can attract a man and the beauty is not about our

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body. Because our body is, you know, it's wasting away our body is is is something that is just a container for our actual self, which is our soul, which is our heart, which is our character. And the condition of that soul in that heart is what really should matter. And what really should make us feel that sense of self worth. And that sense of, of dignity. It has nothing to do with this container, which is you know, it's changing. It's it's passing away. And 10 years from now, it isn't going to be what it is now. And so we can't hold on to these things which are temporary, we need to hold on to the things which are lasting and the things that really do matter in the end when we

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stand in front of Allah subhanaw taala. Now, one of the things I want to you know, end with before we end the show, is talking about now the interaction between men and women, and how that interaction sometimes gets strained by these false definitions. Now, one of the things that researchers have found is that there is

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This the conflict that happens between men and women, it basically follows a typical pattern. And that typical pattern has to do with our ultimate kind of our our primary needs, as men and as women. Now what they find is that the primary need of a man is to be respected. Now, that doesn't mean that a man doesn't care about being loved, but rather the primary need is to feel respected. And for a woman, the primary need is to feel loved. Again, that does not mean that a woman doesn't want to be respected, but her primary need is to feel loved. And so what happens when there's conflict between a man and a woman, it usually follows this pattern. And that is that something that a man does, for

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example, will make a woman feel unloved. So he does something that she perceives as unloving, or uncaring. Now, usually what a woman does, kind of like a knee jerk reaction to feeling unloved is she reacts with disrespect. So we as women, we tend to if we feel like someone's being insensitive, or being unloving, or uncaring, we kind of react with attitude, right. And this is a reaction to feeling unloved, essentially. But the problem now is that we did not get our essential need. And so now what we're doing is we're depriving the man have his essential need. And so by act reacting with, with attitude, essentially, we are now disrespecting the man. And by disrespecting the man, he

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then responds by actually being even more unloving. And this then creates what is called by by these, these researchers, the something called the crazy cycle. And so when you get stuck in that crazy cycle, it's very difficult to break out of it. Because when a man feels disrespected, he reacts by being even more unloving and harsh. And when a woman feels unloved, she reacts by being even more disrespectful. And so what they say is that the way to break out of this cycle, and this is in any relationship, really you can, you can find this, the way to break out of this cycle is by something called unconditional love, and unconditional respect. So what that means for a man is

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that, regardless of how his wife is making him feel disrespected, he continues to be loving. And similarly with a woman, even if she feels that the man is being unloving, she continues to be respectful. Now what that does is it breaks the cycle. So it's interesting to look at the advice of the prophets, I send them because if you look at the advice that's given to men, it's usually love your wives, be kind to your wives, you know, be tolerant of your wives, and their and yet the advice given to women, it's not love your husbands, be kind to your husbands because we as women, you know, it's kind of natural, we love our husbands. But our problem is usually in respect. And so the advice

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that's given to the women by the prophets I send them is respect your husband's, you know, listen to your husbands. And and, and so the idea here again, is have that respect, regardless, and have that love regardless. And when you do that, you will actually motivate the other person to be more loving, in the case of women, and motivate the other person to be more respectful in the case of men. Now, I want to kind of end with a story because I think it's a really beautiful illustration of what it means to have this unconditional love. And this is the example of the one of the companions, who is you know, if you look at his story, you look at his life, he was, you know, the most manly of

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men, and that's almost the law on now, when Omar was the hook, the halifa he was he had a man there was another man from from the community who was coming to him to complain about his wife. And when the man came close to hammers home, he actually heard almost wife raising her voice, and, you know, arguing with with Omar, so he turned around to go back. And when Omar came, came out and to to ask him, you know, you know what he did, he had wanted, he said, You know, I actually came to complain about the same problem that you have. And so, at that time, oh my god, Lyons said something very, very wise. And what he said is that my wife, she takes care of me, she takes care of my home, she

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takes care of my children. Can I not be tolerant and overlook when she raises her voice? And why is this is such a deep lesson because this is a lesson of unconditional love, that even when his wife was being disrespectful, he continued to show her love. And this is the man who is you know, no

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Nobody can say that he is you know he's not a man right because this is all model of Milan right the toughest guy and but he understood the meaning the true meaning of strength. And that is like the prophets I seldom said that the truly strong person is not the one who wrestles is not the tough guy is not the one with the muscles, right? It's the one who can control himself in the fit of anger. And that's really what Omar Dylan understood and actualized so thank you for listening to serenity this show will be available for podcast on the serenity Show page on one legacy radio.com please remember to tune in next week at 3pm pacific standard time and very, very important please submit

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your questions at Serenity at one legacy radio.com we want to hear about what you're dealing with issues that you have questions with and you know you will be completely anonymous and we hope to help you and others you know as we get through this, this you know this this path of life inshallah, and end up at in front of Allah in the best state as cinema Alaykum warahmatullahi wa barakato