August 5, 2015

It hits me, hard.

I was at my friend's house for an Iftar, where several families are invited. About a dozen men sat in the lounge/dining room, while an equal number of women were either in the living room or kitchen, with their children were running around the house. We had finished eating and I was having an interesting discussion with three other guys sitting at the dining table. A young women then came and started to clear up the messy table of leftovers. That's when something hit me, causing me to feel some sort of guilt and lose interest on the discussion.

I began to think that a few women did all the cooking for about 30 pax while fasting. They had prepared and even set out the food on the table, now they were cleaning up while we men talked and gulped on our drinks.

I felt that I should help out, so I got up from my chair instinctively and picked up the dirty dishes on the table and sent them to the kitchen without thinking much about it. When I handed the dishes to the girl at the sink who was washing the dishes, she said thank you while giving a big, innocent smile. After a moment of awkwardness, I realised that she thanked me because I'm a man, the only man who had broken the cultural norms by helping out the women of the house, which was also a guest. I wondered how many men had thanked the women for the cooking, cleaning and house chores for hours and the girl had thanked me for just bringing in a couple of dishes. I continued to clear the table with three rounds of back and forth from the dining room to the kitchen, while ignoring all the stares. Finally, I wiped the table with a cloth, not giving a damn to anyone's thought.

Our society norms treat women as servants, which is totally wrong. My belief to assist the women with cleaning was reinforced by a Hadith that narrated a time when Muhammad s.a.w. visited his daughter named Fatima at her house. He commanded Ali r.a. to help her with the cooking. Real men don't get the women to do all the house chores for them, a real man helps the women out instead. A real man has balls to break the cultural norm to set out an example for the other guys.

Have these kind of men extinct?