Quite too often, Muslim men and women love to play this game of putting the responsibility of acting right on the other gender. Especially when it comes to issues related to hayaa and marriage.
Men say that our generation of women need to be more like Khadijah (ra), the Prophet (ﷺ)’s beloved wife. As history tells us, she was humble, submissive, respectful and with absolutely every trait desirable in a woman.
Even in a hadith narrated by Ali, The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “The best of the world’s women is Mary (at her lifetime), and the best of the world’s women is Khadija (at her lifetime). (Bukhari)
On the other side, women expect the men to be like the Prophet (ﷺ) – the best human to be created. Of course, many women would say they don’t exactly expect men to be just like him, just that they should emulate his character.
But, in this back and forth of who should be like who, I feel like we miss the point. We miss the major message from the lives of these two people.
Being “submissive and humble despite how rich she was” were not the first characteristics of Khadijah (RA) that we knew, rather, it was her consciousness of Allah (ta’ala) and her good nature.
Likewise, “helping around the house and fixing his own sandals” were not the first characteristics of the Prophet (ﷺ) that we were told. It was his consciousness of Allah (ta’ala) and his perfect character.
The major message from the lives of the two great people is their fear of Allah (ta’ala) and their obedience to Him. It is also their truthfulness, loyalty and good nature as individuals.
These traits are part of what both of them are known for regardless of who they were married to.
As we have been told, Khadijah (RA) asked the Prophet (ﷺ) to marry her while he was her employee.
Why did she ask him instead of asking any other man, say, Abu Lahab? What did she see in the holy Prophet (ﷺ)?
In the same vein, why did the Prophet (ﷺ) accept her proposal? What did he see in her?
The answer to these questions should be our focus, both Muslim men and women.
Instead of focusing on what the other gender needs to do better, why don’t we focus on emulating the personalities of the Prophet (ﷺ) and his wife in our own personal lives?
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t encourage the other gender to do better, I’m saying that you should do better by your own self, so that before we know it, we will all move closer to becoming like those who we seek to emulate, in sha’a Allah.
The battle of genders will never be won by any of us. It will only distract us from more important things and cause animosity.
And rather than spending our time arguing about which gender is worse, let’s focus on our own souls and be better from within.