Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Response to Segregation at SQU Post by Sultanate Social

I just finished reading Sultanate Social's disappointed opinion on how Sultan Qaboos University is laid out, and on banning the face veil (aka niqab) in educational institutions.

I disagreed entirely. I didn't want to hijack her comments section so I am writing my own blog post in response.

Blogger Victoria states she was "surprised" that "there are two revolving doors… and on one it says 'Male' and on the other 'Female'" and "that the lifts have the same thing." Also "the library study areas" have "one side… for males and one for females. And the same thing in the cafeteria."

I don't exactly understand the surprise though perhaps our shared non-muslim expat readers might or women commonly confounded by the weight of Dhofari/Omani culture?

Before you disagree with me on how you think things should be according to what you would want for yourself…

No. 1: dear non-muslim readers, please, Muslim women are in general, very tired of you trying and tell them how they should live and what is right for them. Even the most suppressed of women already know how they want to live… that is usually NOT their problem.

No. 2: dear Dhofari women (or Omani woman---but usually from those I have spoken to, women immersed in Dhofari culture) oppressed by your patriarchal family society. Live according to Islam not your tribe's ways or culture alone, ect. Stick up for yourselves! Do not, because you are unable to fight your own father to take off your niqab, have it banned for Omani girls who fight their tribe to be allowed to wear it. Indeed, where my Omani in laws are from, niqab/facial veiling is not part of the culture, and we have to be brave still to wear it.

If you family is so wrong in Islam, and so backwards, go forwards without them. Sultan Qaboos' government does support you in this. This could be your time.

[and before anyone says, you don't know what you're talking about: I personally left my family and what was bad in my culture behind and suffered for it but won myself a life I feel proud of, and freedom to live according to what I believe is right. My husband, Omani, is doing the same. Until you are willing to change yourself, and then, where you live and come from, that means, from the home, before the street… You're simply not able to comprehend a change anywhere more significant without taking others backwards or being ill-equipped to speak for the rest].

Now that's dealt with…

As one blog commentator, Rebecca, aptly responded on Victoria's post, SQU is an institution built for Omanis, to accommodate Omani students in their studies, and to be thus accommodating, takes their culture into consideration. Whether agree with Islamic culture or not, Omanis, on the overwhelming majority, do.

Rebecca: "When SQU was being planned in the early 1980s it was the sultan's wish that girls from all over Oman should have equal access to the nation's first university. In the 1970s it was not unheard of for families from more conservative areas to refuse to allow their daughters even to attend single sex schools, let alone entertain the idea of them leaving home to attend a co-ed university. It was therefore decided that by designing SQU in such a way that the sexes could be taught together but move around the university completely separately was the best way of reassuring conservative families that it was 'safe' to send their daughters to university in Muscat. That is why the university has walkways on two levels, two lots of lifts, etc."

I do want to add one thing to Rebecca's comment. It was NOT JUST OMANI PARENTS, but also quite a few intelligent Omani girls of more religious backgrounds, who desired an institution that would also include them.

There are STILL girls at SQU, who qualify for study abroad in Western Universities with scholarships WHO PREFER to stay at SQU, because they do not want to leave the more Islamic environment of SQU. It is a simple fact. Should these girls, who often become the teachers in Omani girl's primary and secondary schools and doctors for Omani women, as well as designers and even civil servants, be excluded despite their academic and future employment potential simply because Oman must cater to a Western idea of what an "enlightened institution" is?

I say no. Victoria sounds to say YES, reasoning, "[SQU is] teaching young adults to be incapable of being in the same space together. So what's going to happen when they have to get a job and actually have to?!"

Well, if you exclude Islamic women (who DO believe men and women should refrain from socializing together for anything other than work and learning) you are in turn relegating them to suppression and ignorance, and the career of sitting at home all day wasting their potential, not they, who desire an academic background so long as it does not compromise their beliefs and principles.

I am not saying that girls who don't believe socializing without a real purpose behind it with men would not be able to ignore the boys as they walk down a shared corridor in SQU. Not at all. What I am saying is, TAKING AWAY THEIR PREFERRED OPTION OF HAVING A SEPARATE AND MORE PRIVATE SPACE OPTION IS POINTLESS. The religious of them would not socialize or walk with the male students ANYWAYS, as they DO, intelligently, but still productively, in their workplaces upon graduation.

My sister in law is one such woman. She is not friends with men. She does not socialize with them. But is she is very professional in her career with male coworkers, gets her job done effectively, communicates what needs to get done effectively and in a friendly but not overt way to male coworkers, and even feel comfortable delegating tasks and being the boss of men. She learnt this at SQU, in a classroom that men and women learn together, but don't necessarily have to sit together.

So in her example, and many such female graduates of SQU, I find Victoria's argument of the SQU layout hindering Omani women from being able to function in a work environment, moot. Besides, women who don't desire to work with men at all, WILL choose a profession, a private at home business, female teacher, female doctor, where they don't have to so much.

I guess Victoria is offended that the students "can't be trusted to go through a door together" that the layout is kind of like "treating is as a sin… encouraging people to be unable to act normally among members of the opposite sex, or if they can riddle them with guilt about doing so."

Actually, the layout has nothing to DO with not trusting the students. Afterall, they sit in the same classrooms and lecture halls together, are allowed to share notes, and debate eachother. Male teachers have female students and likewise. SQU IS NOT segregated. And she does fail to understand the concept of how the Islamic female students use the corridor.

Islamically, female students will NOT allow male students to overhear their private conversations or them laughing, while they will not hesitate to share in the learning process or share notes from lectures, ect. They do not believe it is necessary for the betterment of themselves or society to share these things with strangers who are not part of their personal advancement, so they keep their personal lives separate from their academic and work lives.

And in the more public areas of SQU? There ARE shared corriders, SQU teaching Hospital for one was MANY. Guess what? Religious Omani med students won't be chatting and laughing with the boys in this mixed hall ANYWAYS.

This is not treating any kind of personal mixing as a sin… discouraging these young women from being themselves among men of the opposite sex AT ALL. These women would ISLAMICALLY and PERSONALLY consider it inappropriate behavior for themselves whether you have the separate walkways or not. What these occasional private areas allow the girls to do is have the freedom to be young and themselves where they believe it is okay to, maybe rearrange their headscarf or show their girlfriend her new jeans under her abaya, sing a song, laugh, tell a funny joke.

Let a Muslim woman have her comfort zone and privacy. This is something that we actually desire. The religious Omani male students too. They don't want to overhear about Fatimah's period and Bedriyah's hot new outfit to wear to Fatoum's wedding ;;; (note, I said the RELIGIOUS Omani guysJ).

And to be honest, I've walked all over SQU this last year 2010 and if I was on a boy's corridor or happened to speak to a male student (I occasionally got lost) nobody at ALL tried to tell me "the girl's side is over there". Really. I didn't feel separate at all.

For Omani students… Their Islamic beliefs and principles are part and par of making them comfortable.

SQU was designed with that in mind.

Blog commentator Balquis De Cesare says of social separation of the genders [not educational, or professional environments] is an Islamic principle that "aims to protect both genders" to which Victoria, no Islamic scholar of women's role Islamic history, responded " Which Islamic rule is that? Because I have no knowledge of it. And in what way does it [separation of informal personal lives for SQU sexes] protect both genders?"

Well, I am no Islamic scholar either, but ask ANY OF THE FEMALE ISLAMIC STUDIES STUDENTS at SQU if they want you to get rid of their private corridors, I dare you. THESE WOMEN are studying WHAT the women of their religion would do, and they support having their own private spaces.

For those unaware, I will give you a little Islamic education from the history of the men and women of the Prophet Mohamed's time. Saudi Arabia's gender segregation and enforcement of such is severe and beyond what is called for and exampled in our Muslim histories. I would never want that for Oman or call for it as a Muslim woman who knows the history of the Islamic female nation.


In our Muslim Islamic beliefs, the mixing of men and women is generally for the benefit of society, such as in education, and work. Women in the Prophet Mohamed's time held shop next to the men in the market selling. They attended educational events together at the same time. They lectured eachother educationally, sharing knowledge. Women taught men. Women were taught by men, and this was okay. Women and men debated eachother, they were also allowed to speak to encourage eachother to any good thing, inform eachother, ect.

For example, the most Islamic of ALL teaching institutions and the teaching institution ie university of the Prophet Mohamed's example: the Mosque. It was here that men and women learned to read and write and their histories, and sciences. Women asked questions, women told men things they knew better than the men, or remembered more of [Yay, go Um Salamah aka Hind, one of the Prophet Mohamed's wives, totally AWESOME woman that you were:D].

They mixed in this way, very common to how SQU universities lectures and classrooms are arranged.

But the mixing wasn't them sitting in between eachother, girl boy girl boy boy girl. The women had a section and the men had a section. They started out together but the Prophet Mohamed saw that the men were distracted by a few beautiful women and so he then forever since appointed men and women in these gatherings, that they should stay in groups, men with men, and women with women. So it IS actually an Islamic rule, for anyone who previously had "no knowledge of it".

Additionally, the women didn't laugh or talk or their personal matters in front of the men, nor did the men a great deal, in front of the women, outside of family members and husbands and wives, in such communal spaces. They talked of things that would benefit both sexes, things they could learn from.

Actually, I find SQU to be a very commendable institution in how it is set up according to Shariah without excluding men OR women and giving them the ability to learn and teach eachother.

Apartheid is based on the principle of excluding a social set, or of a party of persons being lesser than another part of persons. SQU does neither.

P.S. Women who wear the face veil for religious reasons should have the right to wear it ANYWHERE there are male students or teachers if that is what they believe in. What one wears does not limit their academic potential. If cheating is the true AND sincere problem, female students should be ID'ed by having to lift their veil for a female teacher or exam attendee before being allowed to take the test. Shariah law in fact DOES allow, in fact, makes necessary, the removal of the veil for identification purposes even by a male during testament in a court of law (but after identified the woman must be allowed to put it back on) so for a legal (such as borders, customs, driver's lisence ect), or academic (for identification before an exam) I do not see why the fatwa (religious ruling) would be any different. GIVE WOMEN THE FREEDOM TO CHOOSE WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN AND WHAT THEY WEAR!!!!!!!!!! The only thing about the veil that is inappropriate is peoples ignorance on how to deal with it under Islamic law, which would certainly satisfy U.S border customs, as much as it would the Montreal Driver's Licenses Board in Canada, the passport office in the U.K., or any concern of educational officials about cheating in Oman.

Some students wear earpieces or tape recorders under their turbans and hijabs as well. You don't make those banned from the University do you? And I taught English here in Oman before. Those were always good hiding places for cheaters.

No… what you do is…. Check 'em!

Why is it always women who veil their faces are always the terrorists hiding the bombs or the only most-likely cheating culprits, hmmm??? Prejudiced much [not Victoria, of Sultanate Social, I mean the perception of the majority in general]. BTW, veiled SQU speaker and rolemodel of mine late Saudi blogger (pictured in the niqab above post) Hadeel Alhodaif [google her] PROVES that niqab/face veil that doesn't stop of a woman from being useful OR genuine in an accademic environment, or lessen her ability to speak her mind and say what must be said.

Sultanate Social's article:

Alternative Apartheid

I went to Sultan Qaboos University recently, a friend took me on a tour around the library. So as we were going in there are two revolving doors...and on one it says 'Male' and on the other 'Female', which surprised me. Then, I saw that the lifts have the same thing. Then again in the library study areas one side is for males and one for females. And the same thing in the cafeteria. I find this ridiculous. This is supposed to be an enlightened institution, with some of the brightest people in the country...and they can't be trusted to go through a door together?! So you are teaching young adults to be incapable of being in the same space together. So what's going to happen when they have to get a job and actually have to ?! Treating it as a sin is just encouraging people to be unable to act normally among members of the opposite sex, or if they can, riddle them with guilt about doing so. It reminded me of something I heard about some people protesting to allow the burqa back at Dhofar University. I hope they don't succumb to this demand, it would be a HUGE step backwards. Really, if you want to wear the burqa at university, perhaps you shouldn't even be going to university. And its false to blame it on the way men treat women, that is just a weak person's excuse. Wearing the burqa is only going to augment sexist attitudes (for many reasons which I'm not getting into now). Rather than accept bad behaviour because "thats the way men are", they should be trying to change it. (And in actual fact from what I've heard, girl's behaviour is often every bit as bad as boy's, if not worse!) Don't get me wrong, I'm not necessarily anti-burqa. I believe in choice. But its inappropriate in certain places, and is unfortunately often surrounded by this damaging mentality about gender. What does everyone else think?


Olga K. said...

Wow, I've never noticed that about SQU. Yet, their staff facilities are not divided into girl-boy swimming pools or basketball courts, so I guess as long as they are "mingling" in their own time-its acceptable? Keeping in mind the spotlight that is being put on empowering women in Oman, I agree with you it is rather pointless to separate the genders in university as women should be encouraged to socialize and to work together with men in this society. That is the only way they will be comfortable, confident and respected in the long run. It works vice-versa as well.

March 29, 2011 10:13 PM

Balqis De Cesare said...

it is an islamic rule which aims to protect them both genders and has nothing to do with enlightenement why one wearing burqa shouldnt go to uni ?

March 30, 2011 2:26 AM

Susan said...

Hi... I've been to SQU a few times and I was surprised as well. What really got me were the male and female 'hallways' (we can't walk down the same hall?!). And when I visited in 2003, there was a 'rule' that males and females couldn't talk to each other in the halls. I was with a group of colleagues (men and women) and an employee at SQU approached me and said 'Don't you know the rules? no standing with men in the halls'. I looked at her blankly and told her I was a visitor. She still insisted! You'll be glad to know it's not the same at private colleges and universties (including Dhofar Uni) that support a more relaxed approach. At Dhofar Uni, it was normal for guys and girls to talk/exchange notes/ and even study together.

March 30, 2011 2:36 AM

Victoria said...

Balqis: Which Islamic rule is that? Because I have no knowledge of it. And in what way does it protect both genders? I will just name one of the many reasons I think the burqa shouldn't be allowed at uni, and that is the reason they banned it at Dhofar uni in the first place; because girls were cheating in their exams by sending someone else in their place. Susan: Strange, I would have expected the government ones to be more relaxed than the private.

March 30, 2011 3:52 AM

Rebecca said...

When SQU was being planned in the early 1980s it was the sultan's wish that girls from all over Oman should have equal access to the nation's first university. In the 1970s it was not unheard of for families from more conservative areas to refuse to allow their daughters even to attend single sex schools, let alone entertain the idea of them leaving home to attend a co-ed university. It was therefore decided that by designing SQU in such a way that the sexes could be taught together but move around the university completely separately was the best way of reassuring conservative families that it was 'safe' to send their daughters to university in Muscat. That is why the university has walkways on two levels, two lots of lifts, etc. It the 1990s the rules were gradually relaxed, but it sounds as though they are being tightened up again.

March 30, 2011 4:40 AM

Balqis De Cesare said...

well cheating is also more unislamic :p If not necessary, mixing with non maharam men is not permissible as it can encourage sin It can but not necessarily I find it strange that they have these rules anyway, as I dont consider Oman as a Muslim country, rather a sort of Islamic secular

March 30, 2011 5:25 AM

Anonymous said...

their country, their rules, to be respected and abided by without complaint as a passing guest in their culture ....

March 30, 2011 6:47 AM


ahmed panty said...

your post is too long. maybe you're insecure sexually. but this system simply results in social retardation. which may be what islam wants, but still.

Boxie said...

That was a long post, mushallah. I was unnerved by the women in niqabs should not go to Uni. Now that sounds a bit backwards to me. All I really have to say is, If you don't like the country, religion, or customs and not Omani,don't stay. Its simple. For Omanis, it is up to them to decide what is right for them, not an outside force. How would you fell if people where saying your actions where not good? Cuz I could say so many things about western culture that are no good, and backwards, And I am western, So I am trying to change it. People need to step back and look at the larger picture, we are all human, but we do things differently, it's not a bad thing at all. It is good. We can learn from one another, not impose our views onto others. We all get a choice, and no one should take that away though ignorance.

saddened said...

SQU is different from most other institutes in Oman the rest are either mixed or woman only.

Veils are not allowed in HE institutions.

The only other segregation of entrances etc I have seen is in photographs of countries practicing apartheid so I am bemused that people would think this was acceptable.

I worked in Kuwait where we had a number of veiled students who freely admitted they veiled because their husbands insisted. We also had to check unveiled identities on exam days as it was not unknown for sisters and cousins to turn up for exams. I believe that only women who consider themselves extremely beautiful are required to be veiled and veiling actually attracts more attention (especially with lashings of eye make up).

OPNO - I usually admire your blog but you stand out from the others as you seem to carry a ton of baggage that isn't good.

I think we have to be open minded but I believe that SQU either has to develop into two divisions - one male and the other female with no connection or to treat males and females as adults who can interact safely. As for the females who aren't comfortable with males, then there are female only colleges for them.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

ahmed panty: Nice screen name:D

No, lol, I assure you, my sexuality is quite secure and where it needs to be thank you.

I don't have a word limit like a newspaper and wanted to clarify all my points like I would if I were defending my opinion accedemically. If you don't want to read it, you certainly don't have to.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Saddened: seperate entrances, like I explained, were something the Prophet Mohamed suggested for men and women, so it is Islamic. In this case, it is not to make any less than the other. The entrances are of the same quality, and lead to the same place.

If you believe women only who are extremely beautiful must be veiled, your opinion is not based on the women who wear it because the Prophet's wives did, or because the Qu'ran said to the Prophets wives "it is better for you" and obviously, if something was purer for their hearts, how could it not be so also for other women? Other Sahabi (early Muslim women) such as Asma bint Abu Bakr (not one of the Prophet's wives) also practiced it so it was never for the wives exclusively alone, only the condition of it being fard.

As for hijab in general, it is for Allah, so any woman does it for her husband and not her own belief, wrongs her own act of wearing it. If she does not believe in it and had educated herself on it, stand up to her husband and ask for her rights. I do to my own husband all the time. Women have to stop letting their culture dictate to them, thet are part of their own problem.

The school is responsible to check for all manner of cheating, whether it is headpieces under headscarves or men's headwraps or a woman pretending to be another woman in order to cheat on an exam. Why ban one woman's belief, and not anothers, when both can use their belief to cheat? It simply is unjust and not fair.

To be honest, I love SQU and think it is a unique institution that does enforce its Islamic shariah and yet allows men and women to teach and learn from eachother.

About baggage, since there are more than one OPNO author (though not at this time) can I ask what specificially that baggage is because that part was a little vague to me.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

And I did want to add, I do not support the segregation of Omani children at younger ages and nothing in Islam does either. At least primary students up until 8 or 9 should be together.

Actually I have no problem AT ALL with mixed schools (Islamically) so long as you lay them out with private areas like SQU.

WHAT DOES INHIBIT Omanis learning to be able to work with the opposite sex effectively is the fact that they have to be able to share intellectual thoughts and compare ideas. They don't have to HANG OUT on a social basis to do this.

The COMPLETELY segregated universities where men and women don't even have the same classroom, and no man can teach a woman or vice versa? THOSE ARE EXTREME. And BEYOND what Islam calls for.

So why tell us if we want to practice our religion we have to be "extreme" about it Saudi-style? Oman is the beautiful country of CHOICE.

I know, saying my opinion makes me "have some baggage" or I "must be sexually insecure" to anyone who cares less about doing what the Prophet Mohamed did, but really, anyone who knows me, how I live my life, my success at work, how I interact with people, knows those are just attempts to try and discredit or dismiss what I am saying without any real use of logic.

Visitor said...

As someone who has just popped in via another blog, the writers who mentioned 'baggage' are probably commenting on how angry and defensive you seem.

I don't think they were commenting on Islam.

Aliyah said...

very interesting article and the subject is something i wanted to discuss too. i perfectly understood u OPNO and for that victoria whom i didnt really understand who she is, i have one thing to say to her. go to ur country and resolve ur problems there. in oman people do whatever they want to do. its their country, their culture. and one more thing if this is bothering her, let's not take it from the religion point of view. i dont here anything about sexual harasement in arab countries but in western schools i do see a lot of sexual harasement. i am from europe and over here in high school for example the guys like to slap the women on their ass. sorry if im so direct but this is the truth. so what is it wrong in being dressed acording to islam rules??? actually its nothing wrong. there are so many statistics showing that the islamic countries are waaaay better than the western ones. so to miss victoria i would advice her to get her luggage and leave oman. for sure omani people dont need u.

as for mister ahmed if his real name is ahmed which i dont really think so...i would recommend him to read one more time ur article cause i think he didnt get correctly ur point of view.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Visitor: I am not angry about anything but ONE THING: the fact that alot of women misdirect the real issue. Almost ALL suppression and backwardness comes from families and villages in Oman and their limited mindsets, nothing in the government or religion.

And that people can "claim" cheating is the issue for banning the niqab in the school but that's just the excuse for it, not the real reason, nor does it solve the real thing people are concerned about.

How the school is laid out does not inhibit Omani women whatsoever and I want people to understand it more from their perspective. I have alot of friends who attend there, studied there, and teach/or lecture there.

Other than that, I'm not mad about anything, but maybe people misunderstand my tone?

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Aliyah: There IS sexual harassment here, don't fool yourself, we haven't eliminated it either, cuz not everyone is an ideal Muslim. But I haven't seen it in the university.

As for Victoria, she is a Muslim, though I don't believe she has studied in depth on Shariah regarding mixing of men and women ect or hijab/niqab but she does have a right to be here in Oman, and her husband is Omani so I am sure she wants the best for this country as her children will grow up here ect. And I'm sure she wants the best for Muslims too:)

As for Ahmedpanty, er, I think he was pretty clear that he doesn't like reading lol. Though THAT leads to social/intellectual retardation more surely than attending Uni :D

Mimi said...


"though I don't believe she has studied in depth on Shariah regarding mixing of men and women ect or hijab/niqab"

Shariah? I was born a muslim and I used to be very interested in knowing more and more about Islamic laws, yet now I don't mind going against some things the so-called Shariah thing calls for. Shariah sounds like a human-made product to me. It's been formed by men, not Allah.

I was wondering why you don't try to prove some common sharia laws wrong here, just like what you did about the FGM thing. If we could rethink about FGM, why don't we do the same about a few other things?

Being a muslim for 21 years, living in a muslim country for 21 years, I think the way we percieve Islam today is not going to let us move forward no matter what we do. Maybe you're holding on to those beliefs because you're a convert, from another culture, and you just fell in love with these beliefs that were new to you and everything concerning our cultures? I don't know, but I fell in love with Shariah once upon a time.

And by the way, do you know FGM is MUSTAHAB in Saudi Arabia even if it's not practiced widely there?

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Mimi: Hi:)

I don't believe Shariah law is Saudi Arabia, or Al Ahzhar, or even the Grand Mufti.So typical Shariah is not necessarily what I mean by Shariah. I mean the laws given to us in the Qu'ran and Prophet Mohamed S.A.W.

I rebel against men dictating laws and religious ruling without daleel (evidence for it). Like FGM, and so-called Islamic circumcision.

For a fatwa, you need ALL the sahih ahadith on the subject, IN CONTEXT, not just one sentance bent to make a man's will over a woman. If I find something hard to except in Islam like seperation of the sexes or FGM I do my damndest to read ALL the evidence to see if some man has got it all selfishly wrong.

Like how Saudi can say women can't drive when we know Aicha steered her camel, the transportation of the day, just fine?

I remember being given fatwas by some of the Sheikhs how have been my teachers (lol, I think I bothered them tooooooooo much with the fact I could logically nullify their arguments in front of other students so they'd take me aside later and be like, yes, that could also be so but then they'd NEVER say that in front of the guys studying right?) that women shouldn't work. Because that meant working with men.

That's bogus in Shariah.

Because look at Khadijah R.A, and the woman sahabi who the went to sell her wares in the Jewish market in Madinah. Men were there. But she knew how to dress, how to talk, ect, according to what the Prophet told women to do.

Shariah is what the Prophet S.A.W did. Camels can be adapted to cars (shariah is flexible) but it does not eliminate itself. Except according to Saudi Arabia. Apparently camels DO NOT equal cars, alas.

The Prophet felt is was best for when women and men get together to learn and teach, they should have their sections AND entrances.

He never said men and women can never teach eachother or work together, that is some idiot making a fatwa to make haraam what Rasoolulah never did.

But you can't deny what he DID say for us. Which was women and men have sections in social gatherings, and their own entrances. Which I respect SQU for greatly. It maintains the religion but doesn't go extreme.

While I admit, converts can go extreme, even Muslims born as Muslims, it is usually from a lack of knowledge, or only having one source of knowledge. People for forget, if you get all your fatwas from one Shiekh, how can one man know everything there is to know?

I love Oman because I was here as a child before I was Muslim so it is home to me in many ways. As a Muslim, there are some things in Omani culture I abhor. I don't love everything. But I try to love everything that my Prophet said was good for me, or that Allah says is good for one (including niqab and avoiding social contact with men that is not necessary). Believe me, if this wasn't truly part of Islam, I would fight it, because as a Westerner even in Oman among Omanis, I grew up with many male friends. While I reject entirely the people who seperate prepubescent boy and girl children, or that no man or woman is allowed to teach the opposite sex, or that women shouldn't work like so so-called shariah Sheikhs would say, I support Rasoolulah in anything that he said. Honestly, if Rasoolulah and respected Sahabi say something and DID something different than a Sheikh (or a government) (or pressure of less-Islamic minded people) who am I going to follow? My Prophet of course.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

Of circumcision for girls, Saudi Arabia says it is mustahaab, same with Egypt, but have noooooooo daleel for that whatsoever. The Prophet never said it was a good thing to do. Nor the Qu'ran. Nobody was ever praised for doing it, only admonished for doing it brutally.

Same with saying niqab is fard rather than mustahaab. Saudi only claims to be the Shariah authority but it can't be cuz it certainly isn't a Caliphate and many Sheikhs who have NO experience authenticating ahadeeth give fatwas in KSA sadly from one peice of daleel, even when there's mountains of daleel contradicting what they've just said.Niqab is just one example. Even a completely new convert is capable of reading all the hadeeth mentioning niqab and women who went with faces uncovered and are described in hadith. UNLESS YOU ARGUE THAT THE ORIGINAL jilbab covered the face, niqab being fard simply doesn't hold up as an argument becuase it has no clear proof. Because the Qu'ran only says that jilbab and khimar are fard, while of facial covering, it is fard for the Prophet's wives specifically with the reason of pureness of heart. For them it was fard, but because of the mentioned quality of pureness of heart, I agree that one can rule it mustahaab. But not fard until someone can give me one sahih hadith about Sahabi whose jilbabs DID cover their faces.

Believe me, I'm not exactly a blind follower.

I believe the conditions for men and women in an educational environment is clear from how men and women studied together with Rasoolulah.

[And I like that you rebel against alot of things that you are simply told is Islam Mimi;)] I think you are one of the women who will change her own circumstances from her own self first before the world, and then, the community around you. That's why I like to sneak over and read your blog.

You said "I was wondering why you don't try to prove some common sharia laws wrong here"

Which ones would you like?

I did FGM, and how it should not be a weird thing for a woman to walk into a Mosque and pray even if there is no women's section for her. And how Omani men seem to blame women when it is their immodest behaviour...

I'm sure I'll come up with more. Married now, I see a worse side of Omani culture sometimes. I see roles that women get stuck in not because of Islam, but because of lack of following the sunnah, and people trying to do more (or less) than what Rasoolulah told us to do.

For example, the Prophet told us to learn how to ride horses, swim, and shoot arrows. How many Omani girls can just go swimming in any old wadi or beach? Hmmm. Will their famillies let them? If Omani guys see a girl swimming and less modest then usual, why don't they give her privacy, and lower their gaze like Islam instructs? Because nobody is teaching THEM their haraam actions, they're too busy turning our halal into haraam.

This is one place women have to collectively start on insisting on just being able to do the halal things, because if they don't, their culture begins to make those halal things haraam for them.

Omani Princess (not Omani LOL) said...

I know I am ranting now, lol, forgive me.

I can hijack my own comments post on an isanely long post right;D?

I think, instead of moving away from things that are clear, I mean, the Prophet litterally said "do this" and "it's good for you" like men and women having their own sections and doors, we should focus discrediting those fatwas that have no evidence behind them [fgm], and to start insisting on being able to do all those halal things for women that are seen as "shame" in the culture, when in the religion, they're not.

If that was done in the Arab world, there wouldn't be a non-muslim out ther anymore, believe me, who could say you gals [and even me back in the West by association] are suppressed. Cuz they'd see that we'd kept our Islam intact [what they'd want us to get rid of like niqab and way of women being in society] but that our men were truly respectible in how they treat us, that we are allowed to have fun and make choices, and actually advise in leading our nation. Islam truly give women freedom. It is cultures or ignorance of Islam's true message that take it away.

Sorry, I feel passionate about this subject.

And Mimi, nothing wrong with informing people about what they have percieved wrong about your religion, even expats;D

As long as you don't get preachy, you know. Like, you have to convert or something. We westerners HATE that.

I'm glad Omanis and Saudis told me about what I'd gotten wrong about Islam, because what my mother told me and what I'd read scared the heck out of me lol.

I thought every Arab Muslim girl longed for death lol, cuz her life must be so awful.

Now I meet ladies who think that about me, and I giggle. I am really one of the happiest and luckiest women in the world, alhamdulilah. Really;D no baggage, wallah.

Ahlam said...

I agree with all you've said Omani Princess. I just have a few points, one totally unrelated. Sister, the black background with the light font makes it a strain on some blog used to have that...just something to think about..didn't know where to put it lol.
@ Saddened- I despise hearing that only extremely beautiful women should wear niqab. I beg to differ, to what standards? If you were a father would you tell your daughter, "Oh, habibti no need to veil and worry about fitnah, you're just not thaat pretty?!"
The Quran speaks about covering awrah, which I believe every woman has. Rules are across the board
Hijab is not only for those with "NICE"'s for those with a head!