We have not yet met – you have not even been conceived – but I still wish to write this letter to you, so that from the moment you start your journey towards womanhood, you will know that you are loved; that I wrote these words for you, and that I’m here for you. For you, dear daughter, are unique. You are here to shine, to be empowered, and to live your life freely and independently – just as Allah (SWT) intended.
You are at the start of an incredible journey of discovery and insha’Allah a life of success and fulfilment. I have lived through things that I wish you never encounter. Your journey must not be cut short by deception, by the invisible chains of men, by the lies spun from the misinterpretation of faith which turn yes into no, cannot and why?
Dear daughter, you have much yet to learn: but so too does the world. Instead, you must seize every opportunity you get. Say yes to yourself, to your heart and to your soul. You are worthy of everything you desire. I am saying this, dear daughter, because we live in a man’s world: a world where women have to fight to be seen, to be heard and to speak. The great Emmeline Pankhurst said that we must act with deeds not words. Generations later, challenges still remain. But that doesn’t mean that you have to change to fit into their mould. You must simply be you. You are not defined by the colour of your skin, the sound of your accent, the letters of your chromosomes or the form of your body. You are you for the beauty of your soul, for the tenderness you express to others, for the deeds you perform. You are a beautiful soul. You are everything that you wish to be. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Many of the ‘brothers’ who come to you to seek your hand will of course talk the talk of female equality but they will not walk the walk. They’ll say yes to education, yes to work; but no to compromise, no to respect, no to mutual pleasure, no to sharing, no to love.
Equality is beyond the understanding of these men. As a dear friend of mine told me: patriarchy is a disease that rots the heart and mind, for which these men (and often many women) have not yet sought any remedy.
But do not be afraid. There is nothing to fear. I am not here to scare you. I’m here to tell you that you are you; and that you must be you and that you must be the best you that you can be. Follow your heart; follow your dreams; do not accept limits. Do not listen to empty promises, to rehearsed lines and sugar-coated lies. Instead, listen for honesty, truth, integrity – and look for actions. But above all, take time to listen to yourself first.
Your life is for you, my special beautiful dear daughter and no-one else. So my dear daughter, I hope that you will read, help the world, love and never allow any man to make you feel anything other than equal. Honour and shame; demands and obligations; oppression, misogyny, patriarchy and sexism have nothing to do with the mercy, wisdom, truth, justice and love of Allah.
Respect, patience, kindness and equal expectation do. So remember that Allah Almighty is with you dear daughter and so am I, now and forever insha’Allah. Shine, shine brightly as equal and as empowered as Allah Almighty intended.
All my love now and forever,
Your dear Mother xxx
Article written by Elizabeth Arif-Fear and first published by Sister-hood magazine (03/07/2018).