A dialogue with Fatima

Written by Editorial Board

Language / اللغة العربية

Eagerness and appetency were pushing me towards the countryside

How would life be like there?

And how much happy are those women living in there being surrounded by grass and water?

I wandered in a school where women were attending courses about illiteracy in a village in the countryside. Then, I met her on the outskirts of the city. She was wearing florid clothes with a scarf covering most of her lovely face. Her name was Fatima.


Then, we started a discussion. I asked her about the reason why she is learning?

She said: I was a diligent and a hard-working student and I was also among the first in my class. Whenever I watched TV and saw teachers, judges, doctors, and political experts, I would always ask myself why I would not be also one of them. My parents did not feel good about the idea of me being in a position like that, which led me into a state of despair since I was sure that  I would be prevented from going to school sooner or later. I realized the difference between being a man and a woman in my region; man had a priority and more advantages over us.


I asked her: Did you read the prophetic hadith that says, “Women are deficient in intelligence”?

She replied: One day, I watched a program during the month of Ramadan in which a Sheikh said that women are often deficient in intelligence when overwhelmed by emotions. And he continued that this is also the case in regards to some men who are also controlled by their emotions, which led them to take wrong decisions sometimes.


I asked her: So, do you think that Allah oppresses woman because He created her being more inclined to emotional things that reduce her intelligence?

She said, that’s absolutely false. My emotion help me in raising my children and taking care of my family, as well as making it easy for me during times of pregnancy.

I said, so, some men are convinced with that explanation.

Then, she laughed and said, even if the prophet himself explained the hadith to them, some of them would not be persuaded.

I asked her another question, with her head being bowed, you are a smart and an intelligent woman and it appears to me that you are interested in the issues of women, but why do you love studying and, at the same time, you want to quit it voluntarily?

She raised up her head, opened her eyes, and said, I quit it voluntarily?

What are you talking about teacher? My family does not know any term such as “voluntarily”.


Then, I said, could you read for me anything that you have learnt?

Then, her cheeks became red and laughed while saying, I am afraid that I commit a mistake while reading and my little brothers would laugh at me. They can read perfectly and I cannot do this.

I told her that all those people around her are just her brothers and relatives, but I was shocked when I knew that they were actually her children.

I then said, are you married?

She replied to me, I got married when I was a little girl that I was not even aware of my exact age at that time. I would milk our cows, bring them forages, and I would do all the housework.

I asked her, does your husband help you out with housework, in the field and taking care of your children?

She laughed as a result and then she told me : No, I do all the housework and work in the poultry farm every day.

So I told her, you are a submissive woman who does everything the husband wants.

She replied confidently: Yes, and I share his moments of sorrow and every details of his life. Moreover, I am always prepared to answer his questions and to draw a smile on his face during hard times. It is very difficult for my husband to break up with me and I am sure he will not forget about me, as I am attached to his memory and all moments of his life.

After that, I asked her if some of her wishes have been realized.


She replied, some inconsiderate wishes were realized, but my essential wish is the success of my sons and daughters in their studies. I do not want them to go through the same mistake I committed. I want to see them as successful and important figures that serve the people and the country.

Then she looked in the face of her young daughter and said: Professor, look, this is Reem. I will take care of her and help her to have a decent position in the future. She is clever, quick-witted and quick on the uptake.


After most of the women in that village gathered at the school, our conversation ended.

The question that remained in my mind was would love and mercy be a norm in the life of boys and girls residing in the countryside. And when do Fatima and other females have their rights as females?


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