Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Life and the chase

What is it that pursues me, chases; consumes me. That leaves me feeling bereft and alone. I'm not this person, this angst ridden tortured soul; finding solace in the chase.

What does it mean, where does it take me. Why can't I face the truth, what happened to honesty; i'm totally bereft of it.

I wish I knew, wish I understood what tormented me. Why do I feel so alone even when i'm surrounded by people. I'm going no-where here ... that much I can realise!

Let me try to explain, a few weeks ago I was overcome with feelings of sadness; waves of depression almost. i wanted to curl up in a corner and cry.
I don't know why, no idea what caused it; although I have a hypothesis. The only thing that staved it off was that, I was at work; and there just wasn't enough time for me to go and sit in the corner.

I hope it's tiredness; just time catching up with my current frenetic lifestyle. I really pray that's all it is. That's easy to fix; a few days off and good as new!
But I really don't believe that, that it's that easy or simple. It's some form of cognitive dissonance; mind and heart not truly aligned.

There will be a heavy price to pay - soon enough. I just hope that I have a pillar to lean on by the time the wave breaks

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Of men and women

I seem to have rediscovered my need to express myself .. possibly inspired by Bb-Aisha .. her debate with Shak on the nature of relationships made me want to throw in my 2 cents worth.

I think I have a different perspective on marriage and relationships; on the roles and responsibilities of a married couple.
My perspective is mainly driven by having grown-up and experienced a household not entirely in-line with the mainstream Muslim experience.

I grew-up in a household where both my parents worked full-time from a very young age. My mum stopped working for two years after having me (the eldest) and then returned to work. When my brothers were born she stopped working for much shorter periods of time, 3 and 2 months respectively.

And to tell you the truth, I think we all turned out pretty fine :-)
The reason this worked was that there was a full-time commitment from both my parents to making this work, to sharing the responsibilities of parenthood and keeping a house as equally as possible.

Now, this is often a concept spoken about by couples, normally in a "we'll both participate .." but quite frankly most of the time one side falls down on their obligation, unfortunately normally the man!

So what does this mean for me, what does this non-traditional experience actually result in. How does this shape my thinking into a slightly less mainstream viewpoint - and what does that viewpoint look like in real life?

For me the concept is clear, that of a true union of equality between parties. In practice, one would expect both parties to be at the same level, both in terms of education, but also drive and desire to succeed.
I would strongly disagree therefore with the idea that a women would need to be "allowed to travel to conferences" indeed the very idea is non-negotiable; of course a women should do the travelling. It forms a part of her duty and responsibility as a breadwinner.
I even more strongly abhor the idea that "(Women) who have had freedom .. should want it post (marriage)". Perhaps my perspective is skewed and I should be appropriately lambasted but for me the idea of The Husband, the king /tyrant who rules over a relationship .. dictating freedoms as he sees fit is completely alien to me. I think it has very little if any place in a modern relationship.

So to be clear, I advocate freedom, absolute freedom for both parties. However, in line with freedoms must come responsibilities. And it is respect for these responsibilities that governs our freedoms and ensures we don't degenerate into anarchy.
In much the same way as an individual can not play loud music at night (disturbing the peace) nor can they sing "kill the Boer" (hate speech) so the freedoms of the couple to pursue their ambitions and objectives both individually and together must be balanced with the rights of others.
Allah says clearly in the Quran "you have right's over them and they have rights over you" (referring to men and women). So your right's or freedoms must be balanced by the rights of other's over you .. namely that of the spouse, the family and the household.

What does this mean practically?
That the couple should as they see fit, divide and delegate responsibilities and obligations in line with the strengths, interests and development goals of both parties. If the wife is a great cook then let her cook and the husband clean. And if the husband wants to learn how to cook, let them both cook together and both clean.
The concept is simple, one of total equity (not equality) between the parties in an attempt to create a relationship, a family and a society that is more just and fair