Founder and Editor: TMWT https://www.themuslimwomentimes.com I write about Gender, Culture, Equality and Islam | Visit my Website at https://www.themango.com.ng
Image for post
Image for post

I am climbing up the stairs that lead to our apartment, tiptoeing into my mother’s colossal dressing room to hide from the other kids. Rather than hide, I stand by the door and stare at my mother. She is wrapped in a cream cotton towel, water dripping from her face and body. I watch her rub blue seal Vaseline on her wet skin, comb out her shea butter infused hair and slip into a big pair of trousers under large boubou blouse.

My mother had a kind of understated beauty; one that could have graced any billboard or magazine cover. But she never used expensive skincare products and except for the ponds oil-control face powder she dabbed on her face, she did not wear any makeup. I thought it was because she was so disarmingly unaware of her own striking beauty. When she smiled, I couldn’t help but smile along too. To be around her was to feel that I too was someone, that I had been warmed in the golden rays of the sun even on a hazy harmattan morning. …


This Is Us

A soul is a soul, be it a cat’s or a human’s

Kitten pop art, vibrant colors.
Kitten pop art, vibrant colors.
Photo: jhillphotography/Getty Images

One late September evening, my husband and I were chatting at the dining table in my father’s home. Our conversation was interrupted by a high-pitched meow from the window. It was the tomcat that had fathered Coco’s kittens.

I heard pain in his voice. He had shrunk in size from the last time I saw him, months before my mother moved out and took Coco and the kittens with her. He appeared to have not recovered from the agony of the sudden separation, a tortured soul wandering the neighborhood in grief. The sight of him changed the mood.

That night, I wept. I never could have imagined that I, a cat-phobic, would grieve the separation of two cats I had never touched. …


Image for post
Image for post

It’s July. 32 degrees celsius outside as I begin to write this review inside our small well-ventilated house in the suburbs of the city. I’m indoors, trembling lightly, with the windows closed, blinds drawn, listening to wails of the whirlwind. I flip through Yewande Adebowale’s second poetry collection and I find my mind connecting my body to the weather and the environment, evoking strong emotions that sweep through my mind as I contemplate the transience of the world.


The Muslim Tradition of Mind-Body Therapy

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

I am sitting under the shelter of bright fluorescent light, my legs folded in a meditative position, my hands twirling the beads of my tasbih rosary as my lips work the words soundlessly. I let my mind travel far away. It wanders into the spiritual realm, then it reunites with my body once again, going and coming in a never-ending cycle. I feel so much peace, calm and serenity. I experience a spiritual high that transcends the physical. Finally, I’m done. And there’s so much clarity; so much headspace. I feel a bright light envelope me; a renewed sense of beauty. I am joyful and positive in my affairs and in their outcomes. …


Past Is Prologue

Agency is not men’s to give, it’s women’s to have

A woman wearing a red head wrap looks at the camera.
A woman wearing a red head wrap looks at the camera.
Photo: Delmaine Donson/Getty Images

I was distracted by the beep from my phone as I settled down to nap. I stretched forward to turn off the ringer but ended up sneaking a peek: two direct messages and four mentions. A sister on Twitter called my attention to an article written in response to one of my essays on the mutual inclusivity of feminism and Islam. I read it and wasn’t surprised.

The writer tactfully excommunicated me from my faith, arguing that Muslim women need to be extricated from the religion entirely before anything close to equality can be achieved. …


This Is Us

I believe God designed us to experience pleasure

A photo of a woman’s calves lying on a bed.
A photo of a woman’s calves lying on a bed.
Photo: Karrie Nodalo/Flickr

I furrowed my brows and turned around as I ladled the last batter of bean cake into the deep fryer, taking a few seconds to process what my husband had just said.

“So many women have never had the big O,” he said as he poured boiling water over the black Lipton tea bags in our teacups. “Many even believe that they’re not supposed to.”

“How do you know this?” I asked curiously, leaping up to sit beside him on the cabinet. This was the beginning of a very long conversation that started in our kitchen and rolled into bedtime.

My husband had joined a conversation about sex at his workplace, and he found out that none of the women knew what an orgasm felt like. …


Image for post
Image for post
Credit; Vibrant West African Cuisines

On the eve of her daughter’s wedding in Kwara State, Nigeria, 60-year-old Rinu Yusuf is up at 5:00 am arranging the gifts presented by each member of the family to the soon-to-be bride. I can hear the crackling sound of expensive silver-ware, aluminium pots and pans and all of today’s latest kitchen appliances. I can also perceive the tickling aroma of fresh, tropical garden spices and the sensational fragrance of North-African Bukhoor. But that’s not all; neatly put together were an ordered set of ancient cooking tools, making me wonder if they would ever be of need to the bride.

Upon a lengthy conversation with Rinu, I discovered that many older West-African women practically have two sets of kitchen tools; the modern ones which are basically for “show” and the rough, almost rarely modified “ancient” ones with which the real cooking is done. …


We need to close the domestic gender gap.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo credit: Mum’s the word

In the middle of a conversation with a friend a few weeks ago, I listened to her complain about how she was beginning to feel like a slave in her marriage and how her husband rarely offers to “help” with childcare and household chores. She confessed to me that cleaning up after her husband every day was not something she had wished to do with her life. I drew in a deep breath and took a sip from my teacup before getting back to what appeared to be a very delicate topic.

As much as we’ve made significant progress on gender equality, we haven’t given the domestic gender gap the attention it deserves and women are increasingly at the receiving end. …


Ladies beware!

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Karl Fredrickson on Unsplash

When you met Jim, he told you “you’re not like other girls”. You asked him what made you different and he couldn’t point at it. Despite this, you felt special, extraordinary and content with being “the chosen one”.

He felt overly impressed by your mediocre achievements as if he hadn’t imagined that you would be able to fix a light bulb, lift weights or win a video game. He zeroed in on you, putting on his best behaviour, mesmerizing you with his charismatic appearance, and drawing you in with his exaggerated sense of accomplishment until you felt like the luckiest girl in the world. …


Equality is inherent in Islam

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by mostafa meraji on Unsplash

I placed my teacup on the kitchen cabinet as I scrolled through my twitter feed a few days ago, curiously taking in the responses to the Republic article titled “Between Feminism and Islam”. It had aroused the curiosity of lots of Muslim men and they had celebrated the writer as their “hero”.

The article, which selectively based its findings on two extremely contrasting views, had challenged Muslim feminism on the ground that it is incompatible with Islam, drawing on a unitary narrative, rejecting the plurality of views on what feminism means to diverse Muslim women and wrapping all Muslim women under one umbrella. …

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store