Hello lovely souls! Welcome to Chai Time Wednesdays 🙂 This week’s theme is, ‘Stigmas of Our Society’. I am so excited to talk about this, as it is really close to my heart! For this blogpost we will specifically be talking about our thoughts on gender based roles at home.
Ever since I have gotten married, the most common question I have gotten is, “how is married life different from single life?” I can’t seem to answer it on the spot, as in somes ways it's different and in many ways it's the same. Simply put, all the things I used to do alone, I now have a companion doing them with me. So yes it is different, but much much better, because I now have someone to share my life with. Alhamdulillah. Umair if you are reading this, shall we watch the Good Doctor tonight? 😜
Haha jokes apart, but I think the main reason why I didn’t feel any difficulties in adjusting after getting married is because Alhamdulillah Umair has truly been trained well. My Father-in-law always says that both men and women should be competent in running the household. It truly fills my heart with gratitude, knowing that Umair has truly been raised so well, Mashallah! I never felt lost because Umair knew how to run the home, and he helped and guided me. Because no matter how trained you are as a woman, every household is different with their own way of doing things. So having a man, who plays an equal role in running the house, makes it so so easy for his wife.
You know, before writing this article, I was confused. I didn’t want this to come across as a feminist article. I really feel, there’s enough of that already. I want this to be for both men and women. This is not so much about the rights of the respective genders, it is more about helping and loving one another unconditionally and how we can do it in a better manner. That’s it.
Where Does the Stigma Stem From?
Before I start writing, I always have a discussion with Umair (I mean of course he is the other soul here haha), because he gives a perspective that opens up my mind and also challenges me. Something quite interesting Umair shared with me is that, actually, ironically, this is to do with a stigma around men (more than women) helping at home. Sadly, in our society, even if a man wants to help his wife at home, it is seen as something taboo, or less manly. Sadly, helping your wife with household chores is a neglected sunnah. This notion that helping your wife with running the house is somehow degrading is absolutely wrong!
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), was the busiest man! He was a leader, a preacher, a teacher, a warrior, a husband, a father and much much more. But it never ever stopped him (PBUH) from showing affection to his wives or helping them.
Aisha (R.A.) the wife of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), said,
“He did what one of you would do in his house. He mended sandals and patched garments and sewed.” (Adab Al-Mufrad graded sahih by Al-Albani)
In another tradition she reported,
“He milked his goat.” (Ahmad)
He never found such things too feminine for him to do. So it makes sense when he said,
“The best of you is the one who is best to his wife, and I am the best of you to my wives.” (Tirmidhi; Ibn Majah)
Reason why I am sharing this is that, if you as a husband are hesitant or fearful about the judgement of others, then remember, the best of men, the most beloved to Allah (SWT), did all this too, and it was pleasing to your Creator.
Establish a Balance:
Support one another to achieve goals as a team. For men, I understand not everyone is given the luxury to work from home and be more hands-on. I am aware that Umair and I are blessed to have such an arrangement. But little things like appreciating your wife when you come back home. Or taking care of the kids let’s say while she prepares your meal? And not to forget, there's the weekend too! Surprise your wife by making her breakfast on a Sunday morning? Honestly, it’s the simple things that truly bring joy in a marriage.
For women, take care of your home and your family out of love! And also, balance that by also allowing your growth. One day, out of nowhere Umair told me, “Rabail, I am grateful that you do all this for us, but I also want you to grow as a person. The house chores are a part of life that will keep happening but establish yourself too.” I absolutely love to cook and do the little things for my family..I think I am very homely in that sense ahaha, but what Umair said really pushed me to do more than that. That is when we started actively working on Two Souls One Chai.
I also know of couples, where the wife works, while the husband finishes his degree, after which they switch roles. So it is definitely possible.
Truth be told, we get so lost in the idea of who is more dominant, that we forget, we are a team! Pave the way for one another’s success. Did you know that muslim women held crucial roles in the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)? His wife, Aisha (R.A), was a scholar who used to express herself freely in the public sphere.
Help One Another Unconditionally
So to think about it, do we really need gender based roles at home? Can’t we just let go of the rigid roles, and help one another out of pure love for the sake of Allah?
I have seen both extremes. I have experienced them too. I have seen men who wouldn’t even pick up a glass of water. And now when I see my husband and father-in-law it warms my heart. I see that my Father-in-law makes sure that he helps cook or clear all the dishes just to take the load off my Mother-in-law. No other agenda, just pure love. Or how Umair let’s me sleep in, and only has breakfast once I get up. Just to ensure that we can have that quality time together.
Last night, when Umair and I were watching our show together haha, it made me realise how beautiful a marriage becomes when you realise that it's a partnership! You are companions, so walk shoulder to shoulder in this journey called life. And if the other gets left behind, stretch your arms and help them get back up. You’re a team, not competitors! And this love that you show one another, then sets a great example for your kids to follow and create a beautiful cycle.
To learn more on this theme, do check out Thori Chai Thori Baatein on our Youtube channel this Friday where we will share about preconceived notions about in-laws. Tune in to the Two Souls One Chai Podcast this coming Sunday where we discuss the stigmas around the mental health of young adults.
Till then, take care!
Rabail and Umair Khan