The Meaning of Man
August 7, 2011 3 Comments
A few weeks ago, my dear friend Hashi sent out a link to an episode of TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin. This episode’s discussion was focused on “the Meaning of Man” (YouTube video after the break). The blurb on TVO’s website read, “From head of the household to the butt of jokes, men have gone from the top of the world to underachieving drop outs. Is it finally time to feel sorry for the man?” As usual, with the short mailing list of close friends that he sent it to, we didn’t take Hashi’s request for thoughts and discussion seriously and poked fun at various things mentioned during the program. But for whatever reason, I remembered this video this morning and thought I’d post it up to my blog. Now, my intent is not to start some pity party for men, but with gender roles changing somewhat–or at least getting blurred–in Western society (in some Eastern societies the traditional roles as we know it are completely reversed), I thought this discussion would be good to post, as there were some points mentioned in the discussion that I found pretty interesting.
Now, as should be well known, the issue of gender roles is something that’s well defined in Islam; the husband is the protector and provider of his family, the wife the nurturer and maintainer of her husband’s household, as Allah says in the Qur’an, «The men are responsible over the women because Allah preferred some of them over others and because they spend from their wealth [to maintain them]. So the righteous [women] are obedient, guarders for [their husbands’] absence with what Allah guarded» (4:34). In the discussion, the panelists discuss the traditional roles (man the provider, woman the nurturer) changing and the effects this change is having on society.
Among the interesting points raised I thought I’d mention here was their talk of “the price of sex”. It’s not often that I’ve found non-Muslims (or even Muslims for that matter) talking about sex as a commodity with respect to actual relationships (i.e., dating and marriage). Usually you hear this type of talk when the topic of prostitution comes up. I found this particularly interesting as several years ago, I had begun writing a post for my blog (that I didn’t end up finishing) titled, The Bridal Money & Its Role In the Islamic Marriage. I started it after I had read a post on the issue of the dowry written by a sister named Sumera and had participated in the discussion that followed. In this unfinished article, I quoted a number of Qur’anic exegetes regarding the dower/dowry where they basically explained that it was paid to the bride in exchange for the “enjoyment” she gave the groom–what that means exactly, I guess I’ll leave that up to you guys to discuss.
In any case, I’ll stop babbling on about what other things were mentioned and let you guys watch and listen for yourselves. It’s an interesting discussion overall with some pretty interesting points raised throughout. Have a watch and if you want, you can discuss it below in the comments section.