Accountability and Standards for Women: Straightforward Answers Become Controversial

Some examples of questions that used to be pretty straightforward but now, for some reason, have become controversial:

1. “Is it better for children to be raised in a home with both their mother and father; or for them to be raised in a single-parent household?”

2. “Is it better for a baby to be breastfed; or for it to be given baby formula?”

3. “Is it better for a mother to stay at home and raise her own children; or for the children to be raised by strangers outside of the home?”

Modern “answers” to these questions that are actually non-answers:

1. “It depends.”

2. “Everything is different for everyone. There is no right or wrong.”

3. “Everything you are doing is good and right! All choices are equally valid!”

The answers to these kinds of questions used to be a simple yes-or-no binary. Despite the existence of some gray areas, some things used to be plain black and white. This was before the modern obsession with rendering everything into a gray issue; the incessant fixation on feelings; fragile hyper-sensitivity; and the “feels before reals,” “don’t judge” culture.

It used to be understood that there are two levels: the level of the principle or rule that applies to the general public or to most cases; and the level of the various lived realities on the ground pertaining to each individual’s own particular, unique situation.

The ideal versus the real. The rule versus the exception. The general versus the specific.

People used to understand that the rule is the rule, even if I myself cannot adhere to and follow it due to my own personal situation. It used to be common knowledge that the standards of good and bad continue to exist and apply, even if I can’t uphold them due to my own personal circumstances.

But now, as modern people, we’ve reached a state where we can no longer provide simple answers to simple questions, for fear of offending someone.

We hesitate to state, very clearly, that any one thing is the ideal or the best course of action, when we know it to be the case. We refrain from asserting, in a simple and straightforward manner, that something is objectively better than the alternative, when it most certainly is.


To spare people’s feelings.

So, now, we find ourselves in a situation where nobody ever feels bad about anything they do or don’t do. The modern demand is:

“I need to feel good regardless of what I do!”

If there is no clear distinction between right and wrong, then nothing you do (or don’t do) can ever be wrong, immoral or unethical.

If there is no definitive and clear line, distinguishing what is good from what is bad, then nothing you do can ever be deemed bad!

RELATED: Masculinity in Islam: Masculine Assertiveness and Authority

People are, of course, different from one another. Everyone, of course, has a different set of circumstances and life situations. Everyone, of course, has things transpire in their lives that are unforeseen and which are not within their control. Of course. These are realities. And in these cases, we do what we have to in order to make things work.

Some marriages fall apart and end in divorce, out of necessity.

Some mothers must leave the home to work at a paid job, out of necessity.

Some mothers have problems producing breastmilk or have supply issues, so they are forced to give formula milk to their baby, out of necessity.

Yes, all of these things can and do happen. This is life.

BUT this does not mean that there is no archetype, no ideal scenario and no standard.

The general rule is not negated by exceptions to the rule.

For various reasons, some people cannot meet the standard of the ideal.

In the past, people would most certainly sympathize with such individuals, yet the bar still remained in its place, even if some people were unable to meet it.

Now, however, we’ve moved the bar so unbelievably low or we’ve chosen to discard it altogether, just so that nobody has to even worry about ever trying to meet any kind of standard.

Now, what people want everyone to say is:

“Since you can’t personally follow the rule, for whatever personal circumstance you happen to have, there IS no longer any need for the rule!”

In our modern times, where the feelings of some are prioritized over objective reality, we find ourselves using exceptions to eradicate the rule entirely. We pretend that all things are equally good, equally right and equally valid.

If all choices are equally valid, then it’s not possible for you to make a bad choice!

The right thing to do is now a mere “choice” that has been placed on an equal footing with all other choices.

This is a childish, immature way to frame things—an inability to handle any sort of pressure and to have no accountability. It is a juvenile rejection of any responsibility that rests on our delicate, fragile little shoulders just so there’s no need for us to feel bad if we make poor or selfish decisions.

RELATED: Feminism Is Female Narcissism

As mature, sane adults, it is entirely possible for us to simultaneously acknowledge the existence of the objective archetype AND also admit that we have diverged from it due to circumstance outside our control.

So we can say things such as:

“The ideal would be for the mother to stay home to raise her children, but unfortunately I cannot personally do so myself due to X, Y or Z necessity.”


“The ideal would be for children to live with both parents, but unfortunately, in my personal case, my children are being raised in a single-parent household due to A, B or C necessity.”

Instead though, we simply disregard and withhold all the data, research and statistics pertaining to the outcomes faced by children hailing from single-mother households; the benefits of breastmilk versus formula milk for babies; and the effects on children raised at home by their mothers versus those raised elsewhere by paid strangers. Instead, we go to great and exaggerated lengths to create ridiculous loopholes; to render all options as somehow being equally valid; to praise and celebrate any and all possible choices as wonderful; and to ultimately erase the rule:

“But what if the mother is a psychopath who should not be around children?? Should she stay at home in order to raise her children then? No! See, there is NO defined answer to this question!”

“But what if the mother is a drunk, a pothead or an addict of crack, cocaine, heroine, meth and other drugs? Should she breastfeed her baby then? Ha! So breastfeeding is NOT always the better option!”

“But what if both parents are violent criminals who try to maim each other when they’re together in a marriage? Or what if the father is an abusive murderer? You see? The children would be better off after divorce and living in a single-parent household! See, living with the mother and the father ISN’T always better!”

RELATED: Kick Feminism to the Curb! Contentment in Marriage and Motherhood

It’s time we collectively matured; abandoned these elaborate verbal gymnastics; and simply accepted the reality of things. Not everyone gets to live out their dream life. We all experience different tests and trials in this dunya (worldly life).

But this does not, in any way, mean that we get to do away with all the rules based on our own exceptional circumstances. This doesn’t at all mean that we can go around pretending that there is no objective good or bad.

I mean, if enough of us keep doing this for long enough, there will be people who grow up not knowing the difference between the ideal goal which we ought to aim for and the less-than-ideal scenarios that life sometimes reveals. And these people will be confused in their very aspirations, not even knowing what they should be aiming for.

Due to a lack of awareness, they will not be able to make the correct decisions even when it is fully within their capacity to actually do so.

I understand wanting to encourage and support individual moms about their own unfortunate situations, but it’s also important for us not to delude ourselves or others regarding what is best for children, families and society as a whole.

Nobody is blaming individuals for things that are outside their control. But people most certainly SHOULD be accountable for the things that they CAN control.

Final point:

“We relativize everything so that there is no pressure on women and so that there’s no set standard for women to meet as wives or mothers.”

But we don’t seem to do this for men though.

Questions like, “Is it better for a man to be a provider?” still have a straightforward answer which isn’t relative. It’s a resounding “Yes!”

We still know how to have set standards, baseline expectations and objective archetypes. It’s just that these are reserved only for men and not for women.

Women’s feelings are the new standard, the current bar, the modern goal. The objective must become subjective, the truth must be relativized, and we as a society must pretend that all the choices women make are good ones, just to safeguard their feelings. Babies and children will just have to put up with getting worse care, but grown women cannot handle or endure feeling the burden of the slightest amount of pressure.

And I, as a woman, am simply tired of it.

RELATED: Why Muslim Women Tend to Fall for the “All Men Are Evil” Myth


Kick Feminism to the Curb! Contentment in Marriage and Motherhood

I am happy to be a traditional housewife.

I’m content with being a homemaker, a wife who plays a supporting role to my husband’s lead role. I’m busy enough in my position as a stay-at-home, as a mother homeschooling five children, alhamdulillah, that I do not wish for any further responsibilities to be placed upon my shoulders.

I feel completely fulfilled and at peace within my feminine frame, alhamdulillah. Thus, I have no desire to warp my essence or defy my fitrah (natural innate disposition) by trying to assume a masculine frame; or by competing with my husband; or by becoming independent of him.

I’m perfectly fine with being dependent on my husband—financially, emotionally, physically and so on.

Yet strangely enough, in today’s world, many people would consider my position in life to be precarious, perhaps even downright stupid.

“Why would you put yourself in this vulnerable position, so utterly dependent on a man?”

“Why don’t you want to go out there and get a job so you can make money just for yourself, independent of your husband’s income? You know, just in case…”

And, that’s when all the what-ifs start:

“What if he leaves you?”

“What if he cheats on you?”

“What if he abuses you?”

“What if he decides to go and marry a second wife?”

“What if he dies and leaves you behind as a widow with five children and then, you and your kids starve and become homeless?”

“What if you get bored with him; stop loving him; or drift apart, growing distant in your marriage? You’ll be trapped in a loveless marriage!”

Sorry, but I don’t want to live my life consumed by fear about potential disasters. I simply refuse to make decisions borne of pessimism. I will not allow my life choices to come from a place of manufactured anxiety and dread.

This fear is a fake fear. It is a fear that is artificially induced and pumped into the hearts and minds of women by the secularized modern world. It is intentionally manufactured by deliberate agents, much like fake designer handbags or shoes that are made in China.

The truth is, marriage has always been like this, endowed with a certain degree of risk. And that goes for both the man and the woman. There is a level of inherent uncertainty when it comes to marriage. If they allowed it to, these what-ifs could scare both the husband and the wife into actually destroying their marriage rather than doing their best to live happily together in harmony.

RELATED: A Message for Muslim Males: Traditional Muslim Women Are Counting on You…

But, for some reason, we seem to forget that marriage is not the only endeavor in life that involves risk. Everything does!

What if you lose your iman (faith) at school and become an atheist?

What if you spend decades of your life obtaining degrees but can’t find a job in this economy?

What if you get a job that you hate?

What if your manager at work is an abusive narcissist?

What if you devote all your time, effort, energy and ideas to a company and, one day, they decide to fire you for absolutely no reason whatsoever, only to replace you the very next day with someone younger, smarter or more physically capable?

What if you remain loyal to a company and work for them for years, allowing them to them make millions of dollars off your hard work and they make you redundant after having robbed you of your best years, then you find yourself all alone, without a husband or children or a family and, at this point, it’s just too late for you to be able to get all of those things?

What if you die alone and miserable, as a lonely retired career woman?

I mean, we could keep playing the what-if game all day long.

Only Allah knows the ghayb (the realm of the unseen). We have no knowledge or certainty regarding what is going to happen tomorrow; or how the decisions we make will end up affecting us; or how our choices will play out in the future.

وَعِندَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ ۚ وَمَا تَسْقُطُ مِن وَرَقَةٍ إِلَّا يَعْلَمُهَا وَلَا حَبَّةٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا رَطْبٍ وَلَا يَابِسٍ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

Moreover, with Him are the keys of the [realms of the] unseen. No one knows [of] them but Him. And He knows, [as well,] all that is in the land and the sea. Not even a leaf falls but He knows it. Nor is there a [single] grain [hidden] within [the veils of] the darkness of the earth — nor anything moist [therein] nor anything withered — but that it is [recorded] in a clear Book [preserved in Heaven]. (Surat al-An’am, verse 59)

إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عِندَهُۥ عِلْمُ ٱلسَّاعَةِ وَيُنَزِّلُ ٱلْغَيْثَ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِى ٱلْأَرْحَامِ ۖ وَمَا تَدْرِى نَفْسٌۭ مَّاذَا تَكْسِبُ غَدًۭا ۖ وَمَا تَدْرِى نَفْسٌۢ بِأَىِّ أَرْضٍۢ تَمُوتُ ۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌۢ

Indeed, with Allah, Himself, [alone] is knowledge of [when] the Hour [of Judgment shall come]. And it is He [alone] who sends down the rain. And it is He [alone] who knows [everything about] all that is in the wombs. And no soul apprehends [its destiny as to] what it will earn tomorrow. And no soul apprehends [its destiny as to] the land in which it will die. Indeed, Allah is all-knowing, all-aware. (Surah Luqman, verse 34)

Therefore, the best we can do is simply follow our naturally feminine fitrah as women and surrender to our human nature to pair bond with a spouse and create a family. Then, once we’ve made the decision to do that, we can use the means that we have at our disposal to vet our options thoroughly and move forward accordingly with full tawakkul (reliance) on Allah.

Risk is inescapable in this dunya (temporal, worldly abode). We must be capable of accepting this fact as reality.

Getting a higher education won’t erase risk.

Having a successful career won’t erase risk.

Possessing our own personal wealth won’t erase risk.

Life involves risk. Yes, getting married and relying on your husband carries some degree of risk. But so does accumulating lots of educational degrees and having a high-profile career.

RELATED: No, Muslim Women Don’t Need Careers To Be Empowered

However, in the modern feminist liberal world, we have been trained to zero in like an eagle on certain specific kinds of risk and to completely ignore others. We have developed a massive blind spot.

The only thing we’ve been brainwashed to identify (and hyper-focus on) are the risks of getting married, having children and working cooperatively with the husband. Yet these are the very things that most of us women yearn for within the deepest depths of our hearts. We dream about this stuff from when we’re little girls.

At the same time, we’ve been brainwashed to NOT recognize the risks of spending decades pursuing a secular, liberal western education and sacrificing our best years for an employer to whom we are just another faceless number. This path supposedly makes us “safe” somehow, but it leaves us miserable and full of regret.

This brainwashing is a long, subtle, delicate process, and it relies heavily on manufacturing fear and peddling it to the female masses. It entails sowing seeds of mistrust towards men, inducing suspicion against marriage and an all-consuming dread of motherhood.

The best way to fight this fear is to have fear only of Allah and to have full tawakkul on Him and the system that He has designed for us.

وَخَلَقْنَاكُمْ أَزْوَاجًا

[Have We not] created you in pairs [as males and females]? (Surat al-Naba’, verse 8)

Under the tafsir (explanation) of this ayah (verse), Ibn Kathir writes:

يعني : ذكرا وأنثى ، يستمتع كل منهما بالآخر ، ويحصل التناسل بذلك.

Meaning: as males and females, each of them enjoying the other, and procreation results therefrom.

What a beautiful and simple way of looking at things. We are meant to enjoy ourselves and one another! Imagine being open, trusting and vulnerable enough to actually enjoy your spouse! Not to be bogged down by fear; or suspicion; or mistrust. But just to enjoy and relish one another!

So have trust in Allah. Have trust in His system. Have trust in the fitrah upon which He has created us. Allow yourself to trust your husband and enjoy his company, affection, generosity, care, etc. Allow yourself to commit fully to your marriage and to motherhood, and take comfort in knowing that you are living a life with purpose, surrounded by loved ones.

Do not allow others to push you into avenues that go against your nature as a woman. Do not be dragged away from your natural source of happiness and fulfillment. Especially when what they are luring you towards will neither make you happy nor will it save you from risk.

Want to learn about traditional Islamic wifehood in depth? Enroll in Umm Khalid’s Extended Online Course at Alasna Institute.