children, gender, Islam, spiritual

Prayer of a feminist

God, grant me the strength to live in a world that does not acknowledge me as a full human being and yet to know, with fullest unshakeable conviction, that I am.

Beloved, protect me from grasping hands that seek to draw themselves upon my canvas.

12308578_925649800815371_9090960282421319286_nCherisher, grant me the strength to make it through puberty. Let me escape becoming an object in my own sight as soon as my breasts appear.

Friend, enable me not to be erased by the desire to be desired. Let me not build myself on foundations of water. Help me not fill myself with the emptiness of men’s desire.

Sustainer, as I grow to maturity, give me the courage to see beyond the imperfect world of injustice that human beings have created, and give me the vision to see the dream of beauty and justice that saints and visionaries have dreamed.

Omnipotent over tyrants, enable me to sustain my spirituality as I traverse the spaces of a world that tramples on my dreams – tramples them like a crazed elephant that knows not what it does.

Compassionate One, come to my aid when I meet love and injustice together. For in my world love rarely comes unaccompanied by the other. And if I want love from a man, it usually means encountering rejection of part of me.

Creator, grant me the strength to channel Your Attribute of Creation when I give birth. Support me through nine months of creation, and through hours of labor that rip my body apart.

Sustain me when a helpless infant is placed into my hands before I am even recovered from labor and blood loss.

Keep me from coming apart when an infant’s unending needs become my responsibility alone, and the father is responsible for playtime. Support me through nights of lost sleep and days of endless work. Help me be patient and eloquent when I’m told “This is what all mothers do, day in and day out. Mothers enjoy it. What’s wrong with you? Why are you depressed?”

Strengthen my heart when I am obliged to hand over my baby to strangers for care so I can go to work. And Creator, create a world where childcare does not have to mean abuse, neglect, and bottles propped on pillows.

Give me many times the focus and strength of a mere man so I can make a home habitable and a child happy and healthy, while I also work fulltime.
Give me the creativity to excel in sales, academia, cleaning, engineering, … even while my supervisors do not acknowledge when I excel.

Give me the strength to complete a day of work, before I hurry home to plunge into preparing a meal. And then give me the fortitude not to collapse inwardly upon myself when I deal with the man who buries himself in a TV show while I feed the children and tidy the house.

Originator, give me the fortitude to not smack them when they sneer and call me the weaker sex.

And Beloved, let the eyes of others see my dream. Let the minds of others see the possibilities of equality. Let men and women see full humanity shared by both, without either losing any part of it.

Compassionate and Just One, let my daughters see the world I dream of – in reality.

11 thoughts on “Prayer of a feminist”

  1. MashAllah this was really wonderful. Sending you a big hug of support 🙂 I suspect you are not alone in these thoughts….

  2. The post was meant as a generalized prayer rather than a specifically autobiographical one, but thank you anyway. I’m glad it spoke to you.

  3. you made me cry lots.
    i can’t appreciate the beauty because it shook me, sorry, at least not now…

    this line broke my heart and someone, i think my own self stepped on the pieces too.
    ‘Friend, enable me not to be erased by the desire to be desired.’


    but let me send you a hug. to write this you don’t need words and courage alone, you need a whole lot of painful experience…
    i love you Koonj

  4. Sorry, didn’t mean to assume it was autobiographical, just goes to show how personalized it seemed (a sign of a really great writer I think) and I had simply wanted to give a bit of support if it had been needed. Take care.

  5. Dear Shabana/Koonj,
    Thank you for writing this. This is not the first time a post of yours has made me cry. I have been meaning to write to you for quite some time and let you know how much I appreciate this little place you have created on the web. I have been procrastinating, probably because it is not easy to articulate (at least for me) how much somebody’s word’s touch you, the sense of peace they bring and how they seem to bring you closer to what’s important in yourself. Thanks for speaking from the heart (I hope it’s not presumptuous for me to say that). Take care

  6. Pari Jaan, you are absolutely right — this is an experience we all live. Whether each portion of it is experienced by each one of us or not, we still experience it empathetically via each other, just as you experienced it with me. Much love.

    taronbhariraat and Nandini, thank you – as I said to Pari Jaan, thank you for reaching out to tell me these words spoke to you.

  7. “Cherisher, grant me the strength to make it through puberty. Let me escape becoming an object in my own sight as soon as my breasts appear.”

    Sis, I couldn’t make sense of it. Can you clarify pls?

  8. “Give me many times the focus and strength of a mere man so I can make a home habitable and a child happy and healthy, while I also work full time.”….

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!! A really lovely post.

  9. The finest written words in such a beautiful and thought provoking phrases yet to come from anyone yet.My God bless you now and forever.

  10. Goodness, I’m not the only one who cried. I’ve been in so many of these spots. Thank God for the friends who get us through them. Thank you, thank you. barak Allahu fiki.


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