There are 195 countries in the world and I live in my little corner of the world known as Tanzania. Boasting diverse wildlife, sandy beaches, the roof of Africa and the stories of its people both old and new. I like my corner, I like people learning about us and visiting us, whether we be just a token country they picked from the rooster for an “African” experience or a carefully deliberated choice. Continue reading
There are 195 countries in the world and I live in my little corner of the world known as Tanzania. Boasting diverse wildlife, sandy beaches, the roof of Africa and the stories of its people both old and new. I like my corner, I like people learning about us and visiting us, whether we be just a token country they picked from the rooster for an “African” experience or a carefully deliberated choice.
Today’s topic is on what I don’t like and it’s a bit of a geography lesson on the place I call home. Tanzania is a country located in Africa, which is a CONTINENT in this huge world of ours. A continent which comprises of 54 countries both mainland and islands, countries which may share similarities but are yet diversely different, countries that just can’t be mashed together as one entity at the whims of ignorant people.
I’m talking about every single individual, media outlet, company whoever just collectively groups African countries together as if the specification doesn’t matter; it’s all just one giant blob.
“Oh, I was holidaying in Africa “,
“I was volunteering at an orphanage in Africa”
“ Our company has a branch in Africa”.
Pray tell what is this country of Africa I keep hearing about and how do I get there?
It’s honestly angering that this beautiful continent of mine is being disregarded in such a way, will it kill you to mention the exact country you were in? It’s as if you were magically shipped there and had no idea where you were for the entirety of the trip. You rarely ever see this happen to other continents, people will specifically mention the exact country they were in down to the city, even if they visited 10 of them. So why is this decency and respect not allocated to African countries?
You have your beautiful and awesome vacation; credit the country you were in, you did some volunteer work; mention where, someone else might be interested in the same. This has a negative impact in cases of TV programs where they mention Africa in a negative light, as this remote disease infested area in dire conditions. Such areas do exist and are in great need of help but where exactly? To the audience that watches the message that is conveyed is that ALL of Africa is in such a state which is definitely NOT the case as I type away on my laptop, connected to the Wi-Fi in my air-conditioned room. I don’t necessarily mind when Africa is used in such a scenario (though it’s getting overrated) what I do mind is when the writers are too lazy to do their research and give a location its name.
Disregarding whether it be negative or positive, recognition is important, I’m tired of being grouped together with everyone else like we don’t individually matter. I found it funny that during my little skit in China I had to go around introducing my self as so and so from Tanzania, East Africa while that one guy from U.S.A just mentions Chicago, like that, explains it all. That assurance that the whole world is supposed to know of your country, city, down to the street that you live in must be nice, frankly, I find that a tad bit arrogant but that’s another story (one of many). I don’t expect you to know which city I’m from or to even care, what I do expect is for my continent to be given the respect it deserves, the same respect you give to your continents, countries down to your villages.
Interestingly this collective grouping is usually given to “Black” Africa with our brothers and sisters on the north getting their own spotlight, curious, isn’t it? What makes them Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia e.t.c and what makes us “Africa”?
Africa and Africans are not just a token that you can add to your list of experiences or use to fill your necessary plot holes. we are a vibrant continent of countries thriving to make a name for themselves. This may seem minor to some but it speaks volumes on what the world thinks of us and our beloved continent and it’s not pretty.
You come here calling it the motherland we live here and we call it home, so please respect our home.
One of the many arguments people use when they are trying to discredit Islam is the “role of women” and the “oppressive” nature the religion has towards them and more. As Muslims, we all know this isn’t true. We know how Islam puts women on a pedestal, promotes respect for them, protects them and values them. This knowledge isn’t for us to possess alone but to promulgate it since, as the so-called oppressed females it’s up to us to speak for it. Because frankly who are the masses going to believe, the male muftis and Imams or the Muslim females themselves.
Social media is sometimes painted as an enemy of faith, where people spend endless amounts of time doing nothing of value but truthfully, this is where I go for that spiritual enlightenment. Nouman Ali Khan; one of the best Muslim speakers among a number I’ve come across – disseminates lectures that are not only entertaining but also applicable for this day and age. After all, religion never changes though times do. Therefore, one has to know how to address the people of his time, relating to what they are facing, and this man does this and more, admirably.
So back to the role of women, did you know that the next biggest punishment in the Quran after the 100 lashes for adulterers is 80 lashes? And for whom are these 80 lashes? It’s for those who throw words in the direction of women.
“Indeed, those who [falsely] accuse chaste, unaware and believing women are cursed in this world and the Hereafter; and they will have a great punishment” – Quran, Surah An-Nur 24:23
Any single word uttered questioning the integrity and honour of any woman, without any proof i.e. four witnesses, warranties this punishment. Let’s say you are walking at the mall and you see a guy and girl you know talking….alone. Immediately your imagination takes hold of and you choose to think the worst of them. The next time you meet a friend of yours, you immediately decide to recount what you witnessed adding your two cents into it. That right there is all it takes folks. You have hitherto put both the guy and girl under scrutiny, whether you meant to or not. You threw words in their direction. Whether there are or they aren’t it’s not for you to discuss.
The seriousness of talking about a woman is up to the point that the Quran tells us not to ever accept their (the slanderer) testimony.
“And those who accuse chaste women and do not bring four witnesses, flog them (giving) eighty stripes, and do not admit any evidence from them ever; and these it is that are the transgressors. Except those who repent after this and act aright, for surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful” –Quran, Surah An-Nur 24:4-5
On the other hand, if you compare it with the case of adulterers, all hope isn’t lost for them for Allah tells us to feel compassion for them. Whilst they are being whipped, mature Muslims were allowed to watch; not as a deterrence but to pray for them to Allah.
Why is it that this crime deserves such a punishment? It is because it takes away the girl and her family’s dignity, which damages the society. It’s said that Allah only punishes in this life crimes against society. He has given every single creation dignity, and it’s not for anyone else to take it away.
WHO can tell me now that Islam doesn’t value women, protect them and guard them? Knowing the amount of love God has for us just makes me love him more. Women are oppressed till today, but there’s a difference between culture and religion. My religion doesn’t teach that.
“Part of the perfection of a person’s Islam is his leaving that which is of no concern to him” – Hadith