Stories about gender

Is Islam the most feminist religion?

I’ve been reading about Australian youth activist Yassmin Abdel-Magied (we appeared on an Australian show once together) and her words to Jacqui Lambie on an Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) television show that Islam is (to her) the most feminist religion. Yassmin got pilloried in the Australian press for this statement. With the state of affairs for women in many Muslim countries today, it’s easy to see how it might not sit well with a cynical and non-Muslim-friendly audience. It would have gone down great with an audience full of Muslims, but we should probably unpack the statement a little bit to come somewhere between the optimism of Yassmin’s assertion and the rest of ...

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Series 6 Was I a threat? Part 3 The dead princess

Ma stared at Saira’s lifeless body, unable to believe her eyes. She pulled her feet from the grasp of the floor and walked towards her. All kinds of thoughts crossed her mind in those few steps, which seemed to be taking an eternity to cover; Saira’s first steps which she had taken in this house. Her laugh that always resonated through the house echoed in her ears. She thought about how Saira always used to run around the house wearing a self-made tiara, asking everyone to call her ‘Princess Saira’. And now, the image of her princess’s immobile body was etched in ...

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Series 6 Was I a threat? Part 2 ‘Red candies’

“May I come in, Taya Abba?” Saira had somehow dragged herself to his house. Her dislike for him had turned into hatred ever since he made her quit school. She even hated staying in the same room as him. Well, at least she wasn’t going to suffer alone; she had Afzal with her. “Have you revised your lesson?” he asked, staring at her intently. “Yes.” She started to recite yesterday’s lesson. All the while Taya Abba’s eyes kept surveying her. “Come on, Apa! You know Taya Abba doesn’t like it when we’re late.” Afzal was running ahead of her. “You go ahead. I’ll catch up.” She pretended to catch her breath. As ...

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Series 6 Was I a threat? Part 1 “Please don’t dishonour us by going out all the time.”

Life in a small town such as Mansehra is quiet and serene. The name it has been given is justified; it truly is paradise on earth. It is the beauty of the district and the simplicity of life that always attracted tourists to visit during it their vacations. But simplicity, even though it is quite pleasing, has some boundaries attached to it. Saira, a young girl of the district, had lived in Mansehra all her life. She hadn’t been out to visit much either and all the contact she ever had had with the outer world was through television. Girls in the village ...

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Dear Diary, maybe someday I will look back and wonder – if only

Present day The old man sat down on his chair and flipped opened the diary he had found in the storage room. It was dusty. He focused his gaze on the first page and started to read. January 3, 2000 Dear Diary, I woke up at 6:30 this morning, as I had planned. It was a little early, but this way I could leave for school while Abu was asleep. My new cricket kit is beautiful, although I do think I might have paid too much for it. It’s also pretty hard to disguise it from Ami’s CCTV eyes when I am leaving ...

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If I look like a boy and walk like a boy, why can’t I be a girl?

While I found private buses very easy on my pocket, I hadn’t travelled in one for over a year, even though I would travel in it all the time while I was in university. I had started noticing something strange. We all know what goes on in buses; but this was different. I realised that people were talking about my gender; they weren’t sure if I was a woman or a man. For instance, once when I was going back home from work and had to take a bus, the female compartment was almost empty so I availed the opportunity and hopped on the ...

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Punching like a girl: Boxing no longer a sport just for men

Being a dedicated fan of the sport for years, the growth and development of boxing in Pakistan always brings me immense joy. So, when I woke up one morning and switched my laptop on for my daily dose of news, I was absolutely buzzed when I stumbled upon the headline,  ‘Boxing is in our blood: Pakistani girls fighting for better life through sport.’ A boxing club in Lyari has now started girls-only classes and is competing in local tournaments! Ever since female amateur boxing was included in the Olympics, women’s boxing has been in the spotlight. Nicola Adams from the United Kingdom and Katie Taylor from the Republic ...

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“May God bless you with a son” – But what if I don’t want one?

When I was expecting my first child, the occurrence itself was immensely exciting, hence pondering over the gender of my baby didn’t seem important at that time. However, others were more concerned about the gender, thus I would come across common remarks such as, “Allah (SWT) beta hi dai ga.” (God will bless you with a son.) Nonetheless, I would ignore such comments and tell myself that sons are typically perceived to be more precious than daughters by such people, thus they wish accordingly for others. But they didn’t have to say it to my face as it put me under bizarre pressure of giving birth ...

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It is time to give back to the Ismaili community

“If people have made mistakes, forgive their mistakes. If people have harmed you, forget and forgive. Do not hold grudges, do not turn around and say, ‘he hurt me yesterday so I will hurt him today’. This is not the spirit of Islam” – The Aga Khan IV “I have lost friends. I don’t know how I should react. Words are not enough to define this tragedy. People who were part of our lives are no more with us but their memories will keep haunting us,” laments Shafiq*. He is a member of the Ismaili community – a community which lost 45 of its ...

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Maybe you are too linked in with LinkedIn

Are you receiving too many promotional messages lately? Is your email inbox being bombarded by all types of advertising emails? Are you concerned about how every other company has your contact details? How are you getting ads which are related to your age, gender or interests? How do advertising companies know so much about you when you never register or subscribe for any newsletter etc.? Are these questions bothering you? If yes, I have one more question for you: Are you searching for a job on LinkedIn? The advent of LinkedIn was welcomed with open arms by job seekers as well as employers. It provides a ...

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