THE AGE OF WOMEN
By: Talal S.
Perhaps the longest gestating stage in the history of a Muslim student association is the Age of Women. It is that time period when the sisters have taken charge of the organization. They are the ones planning, organizing, contacting, speaking, bonding, learning, teaching, and all other manners of earning for their futures. It is this time which many present and future lecturers, chaplains, teachers, and guest speakers will think of when making statements showing the might and stature of the sisters (usually much to the chagrin of the brothers). Things can be amazing for the sisters’ community during this time; sisterhood is not just a word, but a practice for them. Cliques dissolve away, and education of the Deen is fostered through constant meetings which occur for reasons besides simply social.
At the same time, the brothers are in a uselessly shameful state. They spend hours sharing their brotherly love, but always around a plate of buffalo wings too hot to enjoy, but a must for impressing potential candidates of betrothal, or just a regular old plate of fries so oily they double as moisturizer. The brothers at this stage have no guts, but the gut of each keeps growing.
The poor sisters are at a loss as to who they should marry. The prospects are thin (metaphorically), to say the least, so competitions are often waged over who gets who. This is the time of games that were once long forgotten: Cooking, sewing, and the ability to tie a baby’s pamper were all tested by the mothers of these Men. Competition lead to constant practice, which only made the mothers of the Women quite pleased. Sisters had to settle for the presidents of these Muslim organizations; “At least they’re something, right?”, they comforted themselves.
To sum up this stage…
and Brothers drool (at the sisters).
THE AGE OF MEN
Sometime during the The Age of Women, a group of men decide to stop studying – err, studying with – sisters, and start invigorating their own sense of self. For a normal man, having the attention of a woman ranks high on the list of things called “feel good”. Helping them with homework, doing what they tell you to (“She asked ME to pick up that garbage. Must. Mean. Something.”), and basically being a slave to this desire to feel good is the most common culprit that causes men to rot their character away.
The men who rise out of the Age of Women have climbed out of this cocoon of desire. They look to the past, to men who made taking civilization to its greatest heights a daily part of their lives. By looking to such examples, they understand that first they must look into a mirror. They begin by occupying themselves with knowledge, and action based upon that knowledge. It starts off with individual men, who then look to each other to build a congregation. Prayer after prayer, they realize that once the bond of standing in prayer with another is established, they can work with these brothers – no longer just anonymous men – to begin the desired result of taking the community to new heights.
The community is made up of both men and women. Women, the origin of their past troubles, now presents themselves as a vital part of their future success. The answer is simple, because they aren’t the first group of men in history to deal with women. The men once again look to the past, and find that the women too are engaged in the very same search for knowledge and desire to act upon that knowledge. It was suggested by some of the men that it would be fine to shun their existence; let them be content with a status of window dressing. The brothers in charge sat down these men, and explained to them that we all have our roles, and denying someone their role in building the future of their community is an injustice that hits straight to the heart. Since none of the men wanted to be held to this burden, they heeded the advice and looked again to the brothers for further advice. The brothers simply shone a light to the past, when a community stood strong maintaining the highest standards of morality, etiquette, and above all, submission to their Creator.
“They did it then, and we will inshaAllaah ta’ala do it now”.
To sum up this stage…
Brothers rock the House
Except when they scream at the sight of a mouse
LET THE AGES END
Once the community finds itself working together, the Ages will become a page in their history. They were a necessary time, but once passed, devolving back would only make the road back that much harder to bear. Once this community is established, the leaders must pass on their wisdom, effort, and knowledge to the others. They must do this not only when their leadership is at death’s bed, but early and often, watching out for lights that are flickering, but merely need a nudge to brighten into a blinding force. As much as the community will want their leaders to continue, and as much as the leaders would want to continue, the community’s future lies in its ability to sustain itself without those pioneering individuals.
However, if those leaders fail in passing the baton, then they will be witness to the failure in front of their own eyes. They will have passed the baton too late, and they will see their community wilt into regression. They will see the undoing of knowledge, and action based upon that knowledge. They will see bonds shatter. Most heart-achingly, though, they will see men and women turn into boys and girls.
So leaders breed leaders
and end their toil
Or they do not grow into seeders
and sit watching their community uncoil.
THE POSITIVELY INVIGORATING LIFE AHEAD, INSHA’ALLAAH
To sum up…
Never lose FAITH.
And when My servants ask you concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be guided. (Surah AlBaqarah, Verse 186)