Let’s talk about the notion of Freedom, what it connotes and how it poses a real challenge for Muslimahs nowadays, same way it can be an opportune opportunity if well analyzed and pursued. Dear Brothers and Sisters, Assalamu alikum, The reason I’m addressing you Brothers and Sisters at the beginning of this article even though, as the title reads, it’s a female-oriented subject, is actually two fold. On the outer crust, it’s to stress the fact that what involves one gender involves the other, and this what makes a holistic society where the notion of brotherhood is enacted to the fullest and respected as it should be. On a bit deeper level, it’s because I do believe that points raised in this particular episode of Contemporary Muslimahs, Challenges and Opportunities, cannot and would never make it to reality without the help of Men! Read on… In Part I and II of the Series, I tackled a set of responsibilities befalling Modern Muslimahs, ranging from Creedal Responsibilities, Spiritual Responsibilities Societal Responsibilities, among others. We also talked through a number of challenges and opportunities that require wise comprehension of every Muslim woman living through the so-called ‘Modern Age’. In this episode I shall put special focus on a particular challenge that is also an opportunity if analyzed well by every Muslimah. I’m talking about the challenges and opportunities of Freedom, which we enjoy quite a good share of, especially lately, and I won’t give a specific time frame  for their development lest it signifies amiss connotation if tied to the circumstances prevalent in a specific time or place. In Arabia, and before the advent of Islam, women suffered big time indeed, partially due to barbaric set of practices that looked down on every woman as a mere object of pleasure for man, and sometimes a source of disgrace- and partially due to the backward patriarchal culture that imprisoned the woman in the shade of her man, let him be her enslaver, assumed husband, or her Papa- And you may recall all classical scenes of baby girls buried alive, women being suppressed, multiple marriages, and by multiple marriages I mean hundreds and not four, as set by Islam, which came to limit the number of wives permitted to each man not give license for having more as some mistakenly or purposely like to think and claim. Nations all over the world started embracing the spirit of ”freedom for all” in latest years, and perhaps for some, specifically Western nations, that was in previous centuries, and that in an attempt to break free from the overbearing authority of the Church and Ruling Kings. This translated into different sets of practices and cultures, some granted justice to all, and some exaggerated the freedom given to certain section of the society over the other. Similarly some granted women equal share of freedom like men, whereas some exaggerated the notion of freedom and began asserting a new cultural code that actually rid women of their rights under the guise of gender equality. Islam stipulates that men and women and equal but not similar. And in the so-called Freedom Resurrection that nations embraced one after the other, women began gaining more freedoms, that for some countries has no limits, same way they started losing their rights as being supported by their societies, families and husbands. “Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. “- Quran (4:34) I cannot deny that now the platform, especially with the political ebb and flow Arab and Muslim countries lived over the past year and what came along, is set and readied to receive any kind of social, religious or political reform. The sky has become the limit. And this is where Freedom poses a challenge same way it can be a real opportunity for contemporary Muslimahs. What I’m saying is that it’s become Muslim Women’s Right and Obligation at the same time to be represented and reshape the Muslim belief of freedom and right. To reintroduce the Islamic Notion of Freedom. Also to help women re-discover their true status in Islam and claim their rights, beyond the hassle-like debates raging between secular lawyers on one side and human rights activists on the other, who define freedom according to borrowed cultures and quite narrow minded understanding of women Rights that’s largely affected by the Western culture, and thus views women as similar to men, obliged to work relentlessly as them, usurping them their right to be supported if they wish to or raise children efficiently when there’s darn need for proper education of balanced and skilled Muslim generations. Such view also feels no remorse in exposing women to all sorts of social, mental and spiritual harm, mistakenly believing it’s part of women’s claimed right to live Fully as men. But First, I urge every Muslimah to go back to the law of Allah and read through its different articles that comprise the all-encompassing Shariah. With the platform set, take the chance and step in, as others of ill intentions and misguided psyches, to reform cultures, re-explore your chances, combat modern challenges, and speak up your Islamic Identity. Claim the rights Islam has given you and spread awareness about them, help your fellow Muslim women re-chose their faith, culture and set of belief, help them revert to Islam, holistically. And this I see a Chance same way I see it a Challenge! Dear Muslimahs, be smart and know, that earning your freedom does not and should not pertain that you give up your rights, those Allah has given you. Wassalaam, Maha Youssuf maha@muslimtribune.org Posted on: May 12, 2012 Check Previous Episodes Here *   Contemporary Muslimahs: Challenges and Opportunities – Part I   Contemporary Muslimahs: Challenges and Opportunities – Part II   Contemporary Muslimahs: Challenges and Opportunities – Part II I