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This Nurse Shares Why Muslim Women Working In Healthcare Is Vital

This Nurse Shares Why Muslim Women Working In Healthcare Is Vital

Muslim Girl would like to send our sincere thanks to our nation’s healthcare workers at this time, who are risking their lives to save lives in the battle against COVID-19. Please continue to wear a mask, social distance, and stay home so you can stay safe.

In this time of mass chaos and worldwide healthcare shortage, I can’t help but think back to when my nursing journey first began. 

It was my freshman year of college, when all I could hear was the “When are you getting married?” questions or the “You’re going to be too old when you decide to have kids” statements. Another top contender was the dismissive “She’ll probably quit anyway” assumptions, which I guess in some cultures is a substitute for the half-hearted, semi-sarcastic “Good luck.”

No matter how you spin it, the comments are driven by the underlying belief that they don’t think school is a place for women. Rather her place is behind her husband — probably in the kitchen somewhere. 

Islam never taught them that. The Quran never taught them that and the Prophet (pbuh) definitely never taught them that. The women who helped spread the message of Islam were strong, smart, and resilient women. Why should we strive to be anything less than that?

After I graduated and started my career, new questions and scenarios started to drown out the old ones: A struggling son pleading with hospital staff for a female nurse to place a new catheter for his mother in an attempt to preserve whatever sense of modesty she had left. 

A new husband watching his wife give birth in front of five-plus strange men they had never met before despite them hoping for an intimate natural birth before complications began arising. 

A nervous father asking if there was any way his teenage daughter fresh out of surgery could be helped to the bathroom by a female healthcare worker instead of a male. 

It’s a shame that some of the men asking for female doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, techs and so many others to help the women in their family are the ones who stopped their own daughters from bringing that same comfort to someone else. 

These questions and scenarios became a lot louder. And the “When are you getting married?/ You’re going to be too old to have kids,” ones became a lot quieter. 

Just to make things extremely clear, this is not to say that men who work in healthcare are not incredible at what they do, because they are. Rather the intention is to address the point that as a woman myself who observes the hijab and the importance of modesty, having a female healthcare worker does allow me a certain sense of comfort that a male does not. 

It’s a shame that some of the men asking for female doctors, nurses, nursing assistants, therapists, techs and so many others to help the women in their family are the ones who stopped their own daughters from bringing that same comfort to someone else. 

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It’s an even bigger shame that those same fathers didn’t realize their daughter’s value wasn’t attached to how well she could cook or clean, or how good a wife she could be to some man who treated her more like his property and less like a companion through life. 

These thoughts don’t come from the Quran; rather they come from male-dominated cultures that thrive off the idea that a woman was only created to please a man and therefore she does not have the right to be educated. Instead, her goals should revolve around planning his dinners and making sure his socks are ironed. 

Non-Muslims see this, and they think this is Islam. 

This is not Islam. 

Islam teaches the respect of every individual’s rights regardless of gender. Islam teaches the beauty of marriage and creating a life long partnership. Islam encourages women — and Muslims in general — to seek an education. Islam emphasizes the importance of helping others. Helping people has never been exclusive to men only. Nor has knowledge. 

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