It really kills me how Muslims can be so judgmental. And I’m not saying that ‘other’ people aren’t. Trust me, they are, but because I’m very much so Muslim, we’re going to speak about that demographic right now.
Do you know how I know that the “haram police” is so judgy? I used to be on its payroll. I was the girl who still maintained her virginity past the age of 13, never took off my hijab, never dated…smoked weed. Ha! Heck no. Weed was wack. And, if you smoked it you clearly were destined to dwell within the fiery pits of hell.
We grew up in a family where my mother only fed us halal meats, read the Holy Book to us when we woke up and right before we went to sleep (yup, the devil had to be creeping somewhere in the closet), and disbarred watching anything over a PG-13 rating–even that was pushing it. We had to close our eyes if there were kissing scenes, and she’d fast forward any music with curse words in it. A man dressed in women’s clothing on TV? She’d turn it off completely. Magazines with Britney Spears in short-shorts were a no-no. She bought us magazines like National Geographic instead, stating they were more “educational.”
When I turned 19, I moved out. Her world had become overbearing and controlling.
Society had quickly let me know that the world was not as it was back at home and that judgmental shit had to be tossed immediately if I were to make it.
Although I was out of Mom’s house, I still hung around a lot of Muslims and their parents. Their parents were judgmental in the wrong kinds of ways. Most of the parents were hypercritical when it came to other people’s kids, specifically their daughters. If they had a son, they could basically be spotted in a strip club making it rain on someone’s ass and it’d be given 99 excuses plus one. But, let it be a daughter and she’s damned to hell forever.
Of course, this mindset trickled down to the Muslim children. They ranged from middle-grade judgy to Muslim-parent judgy.
Shortly after moving out on my own, I went to the doctor and requested birth control. I knew for a fact that I didn’t want to have a trillion kids like a lot of the Muslim women had in the community. Most of those women hadn’t held a job, were overly-dependent on their cheating ass husbands to pay the bills, hadn’t had anything past a high-school diploma (if that). They weren’t traveling to faraway lands or experiencing the wonders of life. Many of them became career mothers, usually pregnant every other year.
Cheers to people who loooooooove having buckets of kids…but that just wasn’t me.
My friends and I were chatting on the couch and pregnancy came up. Someone had gotten pregnant. Again.
“I’m 99.9 percent sure that I’m covered,” I joked.
“What do you mean?” Someone asked.
“Well, I’m on birth control now.”
By the facial expressions, you’d think I just tossed a cat out the window.
I got everything from “That’s not permissible in Islam” and ‘That’s unnatural” to “You won’t ever be able to have a child” and “That’s what women are made for.”
I sat there and took the verbal abuse because that’s exactly what it was. Why was I selfish because I wanted to take control of my body? I mean, God gave me MY body. It wasn’t theirs or my then-husband’s to control. So why were they so adamant on policing my reproductive system in the name of Islam?
Years passed and I was still unwaveringly on birth control. I’d get asked, “Why don’t you have any kids yet?”
My usual responses: because I don’t want to be a mom or I have no money or I’m pursuing an education.
None of which were the correct answers for men and women alike. Every time the topic came up, I’d get shunned, be told that it wasn’t Islamic and that I was poisoning my body. I’d go to my gynecologist in fear of infertility. And every time, she’d assure me that I’d be fine.
There was one time, in particular, when this older Muslim lady asked my husband (ex) why we hadn’t had kids. He said something clever as to not expose me.
“Because I’m on birth control and when God wants us to have one, we’ll have one,” I said loudly.
She cut her eyes at me and pulled him away. I was shocked when I heard her telling him that she could help find him a wife that’d give him a child.
The last straw was when an old friend told me that I was selfish for being on birth control because of how many women were infertile.
“Those pills are poison,” she huffed.
At that point, I’d had it. “So, the prescribed painkillers that you asked me for yesterday aren’t poison?”
Vicodin is okay but birth control is not… Things that make you go hmmm.
Over the years, I’ve gotten shit from both sides for my responsible decision to protect my body from multiple foreign invaders. Babies. I can barely afford rent or my car note. Ugh? How much does a kid cost again? *Counts loose change*
The very people that sit around shaming women for utilizing birth control are men who have multiple kids that they barely take care of, women who have used abortion as their form of birth control instead of just getting on actual birth control and closed-minded individuals who like to hear themselves talk. Everybody wants to be a Google Gynecologist instead of focusing on themselves.
You are not selfish for wanting to be on birth control. Or not to be on it. You are not less than another Muslim. It’s your body, your choice.
And, I really believe that this is a topic that should be more openly discussed in the Muslim community and not just written off as something forbidden. And, no, I don’t mean a panel of Muslim men ‘man-splaining’ it, but women talking to other women and discussing the choices that Muslim women and girls have the right to have and make.
I can’t sit here and tell you that it’s permissible in Islam. But, Muslims like to pick and choose what they go against. They like to pick and choose which sin is worse than the other. Which sin is more “acceptable.” That’s not how this works.
As a Muslim my goal is to please Allah (SWT), not mankind.
So, I’m sorry but not really sorry. I’m a firm believer in birth control as well as my right to make that decision, and I’ll stay on it until I feel the time is right to have (or not have) children.
Photo: Jessica Gail Photography