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7th century A.D. Islam gave women the right to be involved in politics, the right to earn and keep her own money. Islam gave women the right to work outside of the home, Islam gave women the right to own property, Islam gave women the right to divorce, Islam gave women the right to choose who she marries. Islam gave women a whole bunch of rights that Western women acquired later in the 19th and 20th centuries and we’ve had these rights since the 7th century A.D. and it’s just not acknowledged worldwide.

As muslim women we get a lot stick for our beliefs and practises. Often portrayed as subjugated women in need of saving from a patriarchal coup. And this really saddens me. But then I see the Muslim women around me, who perfectly juxtapose these lurid misconceptions. Women who are both ambitious and humble. Both hilarious and gracious. Both intelligent and unaffected. They embody quite inspirationally the principles of Islam, striving to strike a balance between the worldly and the spiritual.

All night, a man called “Allah”
Until his lips were bleeding.
Then the Devil said, “Hey! Mr Gullible!
How comes you’ve been calling all night
And never once heard Allah say, “Here, I am”?
You call out so earnestly and, in reply, what?
I’ll tell you what. Nothing!”

The man suddenly felt empty and abandoned.
Depressed, he threw himself on the ground
And fell into a deep sleep.
In a dream, he met Abraham, who asked,
“Why are you regretting praising Allah?”

The man said, “ I called and called
But Allah never replied, “Here I am.”
Abraham explained, “Allah has said,
“Your calling my name is My reply.
Your longing for Me is My message to you.
All your attempts to reach Me
Are in reality My attempts to reach you.
Your fear and love are a noose to catch Me.
In the silence surrounding every call of “Allah”
Waits a thousand replies of “Here I am.”