Islamic Studies

"The brothers are intimidated by you"…

Building Men

“The brothers are intimidated by you,” she told me. SubhanAllah. This is not the first time I’ve heard that. “Why?” I inquired. She explained, “He [the unnamed, anonymous brother-commentator] said that brothers are intimidated by sisters in leadership positions.”

This is the second year I am the president of our campus Muslim Student Association. Why am I the president? And why for two years in a row?

Let’s check off the reasons:

– My great love of fame [auothobillah]: not quite.

– My passionate desire to lead: guess again.

– No brothers to step up to the plate: you got it!

Brothers are intimidated by me because I am in a position where no brothers would step up to take on?

Allah musta’aan

Another sister tried to comfort me in this plight of brothers not stepping it up, and yet being intimidated by sisters who are put in the position to fully take on trying to carry the Deen of Allah ‘Azza wa Jal on an organizational level.

She told me, “SubhanAllah… we need to change… the brothers to be exact… if they can’t handle you… then imagine them, they couldn’t handle Aisha radiAllahu anha and Khadija radiAllahu anha AT ALL!”

Obviously there is no comparison to this pathetic sinner and the great and noble Ummahatul Mu’mineen, radi Allahu anhuma, but I think her point is clear:

Step up brothers! Our ummah is lacking MEN.

We live in a society which perpetuates boyhood. Just look at the hype over the new release of GTA! Are you seriously playing that game as a young male adult? As a teenage brother who is the future of this ummah?? Are you kidding me?

Our men [and women- why is dressing like Katie Bell so much more beautiful to our sisters than dressing like Fatima radi Allahu anha? We seek Allah’s help and refuge! And we’ll save that topic for later insha’Allah…] are being pumped with the glamorization of pornography, violence and theft, and it’s creating a cycle of boyhood which is leaving sisters who are ready to move forward and ready to take on contributing back to society, as single souls waiting for just ONE brother who show up who is actually a MAN.

What can you, dear brother reader, do about it?

1- Seek Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and strive to reform yourself. Seriously work to build a relationship with the Qur’an and read it in a language you understand on a daily basis. Can’t you spare only 15 minutes of your day for the Qur’an? Bi’idnillah, let us stop making excuses and start reaping ajr, begin cultivating tazkiyya, and engage consistently in tarbiyya through knowing the Qur’an!

2- Increase your thikr in the morning and in the late afternoon- after ‘asr- (see for duaas the Prophet sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallama would make during those times). Take advantage of what the ultimate man, Rasul Allah, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did on a daily basis to be like him, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

For those who aren’t taking advantage of this yet, just take a look at only two benefits of only two duaas (and there are a ton more subhanAllah!):

حَسْبِيَ اللهُ لَآ إِلَهَ إِلَّا هُوَ عَلَيْهِ تَوَكَّلْتُ وَهُوَ رَبُّ الْعَرْشِ الْعَظِيمِ

Hasbiyallaahu laa ‘ilaaha ‘illaa Huwa ‘alayhi tawakkaltu wa Huwa Rabbul-‘Arshil-‘Adheem

Allah is sufficient for me. There is none worthy of worship but Him. I have placed my trust in Him, He is Lord of the Majestic Throne. (Recite seven times in Arabic.)

Allah will grant whoever recites this seven times in the morning or evening whatever he desires from this world or the next.

[Ibn As-Sunni, Abu Dawud]

And also:

رَضِيتُ باللهِ رَبَّاً، وَبِالْإِسْلَامِ دِيناً، وَبِمُحَمَّدٍ صَلَى اللهُ عَلِيهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَبِيَّا

Radheetu billaahi Rabban, wa bil-‘Islaami deenan, wa bi-Muhammadin (sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallama) Nabiyyan.

I am pleased with Allah as my Lord, with Islam as my religion and with Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) as my Prophet.

(Recite three times in Arabic)

“Allah has promised that anyone who says this three times every morning or evening will be pleased on the Day of Resurrection.” [Ahmed]

4- and take the responsibility of leading this ummah seriously.

There is a reason Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has described you as “…quwamona ‘alan Nisaa” (an Nisaa: 34). And notice: the verse did not say that BOYS are quwamona ‘alan Nisaa. The verse says, “AR RIJAAL…”- MEN.

Learn about what that means and act upon it. Here’s a great resource for you:

But you know what an even greater resource is? The Qur’an itself! So make it your close companion, and may Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala elevate you and make you a modern day Usamah ibn Zayd, Sa’ad ibn Abi Waqqas, Mus’aab ibn Umayr and Muadh ibn Jabal radi Allahu anhum…these companions who took on this message as YOUTH, but carried it as strong men.

Bismillah- go for it!

Obviously the above advice does not pertain specifically to our brothers, but I felt that it would be more beneficial to include some naseeha instead of going off on a rant against brothers and leaving them hanging. And what would inshaAllah benefit me greatly is to hear advice from all of you as to how we can improve our state as an ummah, and how we can go back to following the blessed examples of those men and women who were molded through the greatest teacher, Rasul Allah, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.

I ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to make all of us a means of benefiting our societies, a means of carrying the responsibility of this heavy message with wisdom and sincerity, and a means of being a blessing wherever we are.

Please forgive me, and alHamdullilah- by Allah’s Mercy- this isn’t a perpetual plague. We’ll be having a brother as our MSA president this upcoming year, inshaAllah.

Wa Allahu ‘alam

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  • Asalaam alaykum wa rahmatullah

    Good points and naseeha give there. It made me think of the “good old Islamic Society days” where the select few brothers who are allocated positions of Head Brother/Treasurer/Vice Chair have somewhat good communication with the active sisters; the select few active sisters get most of the planning and organisation on its way; whilst the inactive brothers just watch on and think the sisters are being too bossy without realising it’s the Head Brother who sent them a task to do; and the other sisters who aren’t active just look on and spread gossip about the active sisters talking to the active brothers.

    May Allah make us use the sense that He’s Given us and be better ambassadors of Islam. Allahumma Ameen.

    [By the way, side note if you don’t mind me asking: is it meant to be intimated or intimidated?]

    Take care, keep smiling, and wasalaam alaykum wa rahmatullah

  • wa alaikum as salam warahmat Allahe wa barakatahu,

    AlHamdullilah you caught that! Don’t know why I kept writing intimated. Yes, it is INTIMIDATED

  • Bismillah.
    As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh . . .

    Some good points here, and a real reality that is certainly out there. May Allah reward you (whoever you are)…

    Shifting gears though: I would like the sisters to “step up” as well. Where are the female scholars of deep insight and knowledge and what has become of the female callers to Islam of high calibre?

    May Allah help us and the ummah… Amin.

  • Assalamu Alaikum,

    This is the second or third time I’ve read on the blog about how the brothers need to step up and there aren’t any “rijaal” left in the community. It’s excellent nasihah (the brothers DEFINITELY need to step up), but with regards to the comment (which was posted by another sister before as well):

    “and it’s creating a cycle of boyhood which is leaving sisters who are ready to move forward and ready to take on contributing back to society, as single souls waiting for just ONE brother who show up who is actually a MAN.”

    I have a few things to say about that comment (assuming I’m not misunderstanding what the author is trying to say). First of all, there are MANY “men” out there who are trying to stay on the straight path and work for the sake of Allah (swt). Every time one of these “men” tries to propose to a pious sister, he gets shot down by her parents because of very unislamic reasons (“oh, he’s not the same race as us or even from the same town as us!”, he doesn’t look like brad pitt, etc). It is exactly that phenomenon which causes the “rijaal” to lose hope of finding a pious sister, and to get married to somebody their parents find them or to just another “Muslim girl” (who has no interest in Islamic work or studying the deen of Allah).

    It’s a perpetual cycle and unfortunately will persist unless we uproot the racism within our families and be more open-minded. There’s a lot of nasihah for the brothers in this article (and it’s great, wallahi… jazakallahu khair), but here’s some nasihah for the sisters: when a pious “rajul” does approach you for marriage, DON’T let your parents shut him down because he’s Arab/Indian/Pakistani/Black/Bengali/etc… Stand up to them (politely and with adab) and tell them that that is not what matters to you; what matters to you is how his relationship with Allah (swt) is. Otherwise if you play the game by your parents’ rules, you’ll never find that “rajul” (who is also from the same town as your parents back home!).

    Sorry about the rant (and a very off-topic comment), and the nasihah is not meant for anybody specific, but sisters in general. Please forgive me if I’ve offended anyone, as this was not my intention.

    Also I would like to hear other people’s opinions on this matter (including Imam Suhaib!)

    – Brother Man

  • WM i agree with you.

    If we dont have a real men in ummah that is because the first madrassa (mom) didnt produce real men. So where are the real womens.

    anyway great reminder sis. keep up the good the good work, but be careful about mixing with men a lot.

  • wa alaykum as salam wa rahmatuAllahe wa barakataho,

    “Shifting gears though: I would like the sisters to “step up” as well. Where are the female scholars of deep insight and knowledge and what has become of the female callers to Islam of high calibre?”

    ALLAHU AKBAR! Make duaa for us sisters to step up and be given the sound knowledge and understanding, implementation and ability to pass on scholarship.

    Brother man- completely agree, jezak Allahu khayrin for the important naseeha.

  • Assalamu Alaikum,

    Honestly, this is very well received nasihah. I think it is necessary and important that our brothers understand these points. At the same time, I would remind everyone from a wise quote, full of hikmah and wisdom for men (and women) of understanding 🙂

    From the movie 300: (yes, it was just as haram a movie as you’re all thinking)

    Messenger: What makes this woman think she can speak among men?
    Queen Gorgo: Because only Spartan women give birth to real men.”

    So although I agree with everything in this article, I think we forget that this entire discussion is a discussion which requires balance and understanding that this whole thing is a cyclical problem.

    You will not get real Muslim men, until their mothers build them, train them, teach them, and educate them, and until their fathers show them how to actualize what was taught to them.

    Thus, we can go on all day asking “Where are the rijaal, where are the rijaal. I want the rijaal so we can go study Islam and move the Deen forward.” and so on and so forth, etcetera etcetera etcetera (yes, I spelled it out for effect). This is not going to solve anything.

    Acting like this is a one-sided problem and that we have a bunch of boyish immature men and an army of educated, pious, disciplined women is inaccurate. We have sisters who are lost in the world of clothes, makeup, daydreams, backbiting, slander, CK hijab styling, and plain wasting their time frequenting the shopping malls and watching tv.

    And YES, we have the boys who are checking out their hair in the reflection of their rims (while the rims are spinning), playing GTA4 and smoking hookah while pretending that because the music is middle eastern, this somehow has something to do with their Islamic roots.

    Our problem is on BOTH sides. We have a youth community that is lost and needs some serious guidance.

    So although I DO AGREE with your article, it is important to understand that this is a two-sided problem which consolidates into a general problem with ALL OUR YOUTH.

    Asking “Where are the rijaal where are the rijaal” will not solve anything. The rijaal are around and they are looking for the followers of the path of Khadija (ra) so they can fulfill their mission before Allah and before Mankind. Unfortunately these women are very hard to find.

  • As-salamu Alaikum – Masha’Allah, what a wonderful post!

    As a student and onetime member of MSA as a vice president, the president being a very wonderful and capable sister, I was quite intimidated by the sisters who made up the majority of the Shura – not in the sense of jealousy or knowledge, but the sisters Masha’Allah were the most enthusiastic and hard-workers. I’m always impressed by how terrific the sisters are when it comes to working for the deen and as a Muslim man, it makes me sad that some of us brothers are not as enthusiastic as the sister are for Islam.

    To Brother Man: The other day I attended a lecture at the masjid in which the imam mentioned a story about him giving a lecture about marriage in Islam in California and after the talk he said an older brother approached him with a portfolio of his daughter’s and asked him to find a “suitable” husband for her but the imam said he knew what this brother was looking for his daughter was a brother from India or Pakistan who is a DOCTOR because his daughter was a doctor!

    So the point the imam was making was that a lot of parents want their children to get double degrees or Phds instead of encouraging them to study their deen but then when their children get double degrees or become doctors, they want to find an espouse for their children that is someone exactly like them in terms of #s of degrees and ethnicity – not how close the brother or sister is to their Creator, so as you mentioned, it becomes a cycle that parents pass on to their children unIslamic beliefs and traditions as Islam, then the children continue that to their children so after a while, a tradition or cultural belief back home becomes Islam.

    Sorry my post is too long but I hope you can comment on it and perhaps suggest what ought to be done when cultural baggages are being legitimized and solidified as Islam when it clear is not?

    Wa Salaamu Alaikum,

  • Assalamualaikum

    Excellent excellent excellent article MashAllah. And I’m a brother btw lol. I’ve seen so many times that sisters seem to be more enthusiastic about so many things, like ilm and enjoining the good/forbidding the evil, more so than most brothers. The brothers who do this are far and few in between and I take myself under this umbrella.

    And I agree with the above post that while we do need to address this issue we shouldn’t forget the sister either.

    So… how can I link this article to my own blog? lol.

    Jazakallahu Khairan.

  • As salamu ‘alaikum,

    I agree with this post Alhamdullilah. I have talked to brothers about this issue. Brother duck, dodge and run from responsibility all the while we are engaged in our nafs. If it tough on us, so what! We need the admonition. We have a world to reform and it will take men from every place to do the job. We need men!

  • We aren’t supposed to seek leadership foir ourselves. I know a lot of brothers who refuse to get involved for that reason.

  • well you dont need to be president to be active in the MSA. thats the prob a lot of MSA’s have today – all the work is left to shura and ‘regular members’ are left to do nothing, or they think they CANT DO anything

  • Asalamualaikum wrt,

    All praise be to Allah. Isn’t there a hadith about men being few and women increasing towards the end of time?

    Perhaps one reason is that many young brothers are forced to repress their manhood due to society preventing early marriage, or making it difficult. Few brothers can successfully go through college without marriage, and at the same time sit in a room next to sisters and talk about Islam. College campuses are full of fitnah. For Islam to develop, we need environment.

    Whenever Islam makes something haram, it provides a halal alternative. However, due to financial concerns, we as a community prevent early marriage. Most parents delay marriage of their children until after college. Unfortunately, this is too late for many brothers. They lose their Iman.

    May Allah guide us to follow the Sunnah.

    One other point, I think each MSA needs to have an Imam or people of knowledge direct their activities. A lot of MSA’s emphasize the social aspect, and they neglect the knowledge and character building. They might emphasize political activism, but ignore praying 5 salat together.

    Perhaps one last point on identity…I think sisters wearing hijab helps them create an Islamic identity that makes them proud of Islam. Brothers tend to blend in, and lose this identity. I know a brother who used to wear a Kufi in college, all the time, and I think it helped him alot, not to get drawn into the party crowd. Imagine, a guy wearing a kufi going to parties 🙂

    May Allah bless the MSA’s and all those working for the deen.

  • Assalaamu `alaykum wa rahmatulahy wa barakatuh

    I was hoping that you talked more about being a man in social aspects as well.

    Of course being president is very important, but it seems that socially myself and other brothers depict the role of “boys” instead of “men” in our society. It seems that in our community brothers are not men until we are married and having children.

    I’m saying this because we insult one another and don’t take our religion seriously. We feel that, and this goes for myself first and foremost, we are fine the way we are and without changing ourselves we are on the path to paradise.

    If you could address this topic that would be very beneficial.

    Jazak Allahu Khayr

  • Asalamu alaykum,

    I’m preparing for exams and was just able to read this today. Really great reminder.

    Br. Man this is what I have to say:

    The Best Hood Is Parenthood.


  • Very enlightening article mashallah.

    The lack of Muslim men stepping up the plate in leadership positions is foreign to me as our MSA has a good number of both males and females involved almost equally (alhamdulillah).

    However, I definitely agree with some of the comments of how it takes great women to build great men, and how this is a cycle which is multi-facted and all it’s aspects need to be targeted before the issue in this article will begin to cease.

    The cycle needs to be broken somewhere, and I believe it can start with educating our mothers and fathers first so that they can lay the foundation for Muslim children EARLY ON. I’m a firm believer in getting our children to develop an internalized Muslim identity from a very young age, because this will shape who they will become when they grow older. It is much easier to prevent things from happening than trying to fix them later, so this is something I think we all should be striving for within our communities, through the use of knowledge dissemination, halaqas, parent workshops etc.

  • wa ‘alaykum as salam wa rahmatuAllahi wa barakatahu,

    Jezakum Allahu khayrin for your responses, they were of great benefit for me alHamdullilah.

    Just a note: I think a lot of us missed the point of this article, and it’s probably my fault in not making it clear. My plea was not for brothers to step up and become MSA presidents, it was to step and up and take serious responsibility for this ummah in all realms, not just leadership.

    I began with my personal story as having to take on being MSA president two years in a row, and having the brothers being intimidated by that (I still don’t understand this- how you gonna be intimidated by someone who took up what you refused to take on?) to highlight the desperate need for brothers to just STEP UP in general- in the social realm, emotional and psychological realm, family realm [why do we have domestic abuse in our communities?! Is that manly? auothobillah!], etc. And that’s great that brothers don’t want to seek leadership positions, alHamdullilah! But there is a big difference between actively seeking a position, and taking one when you are needed.

    I ended mentioning our MSA president being a brother this upcoming year, inshaAllah, in order to show that Alhamdullilah, men are there, and I personally can think of a number of brothers who have really shown amazing deen and character in the way they conduct themselves and the way they step up and take on responsibility, alHamdullilah. but we need a lot more of them. those brothers, in my personal experience, just like such sisters, are scarce. and that’s scary, because we need them enormously.

    Of course I agree that we need followers of Khadija radi Allahu anha- may Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala make our sisters like her! ameen! and I specifically mentioned that the discussion of women is another topic because I know it is a needed one.

    But here is my concern, and this is what I heard Imam Suhaib say once in a talk [not exactly like this]: Brothers say, “I want an Aisha [radiAllahu anha], I want a Khadija [radiAllahu anha]”, but they do not realize who the HUSBAND of these amazing women were, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallama.

    So brothers, yes, sisters do need to step up as well. It would be great if someone could write an article on how we can do that inshaAllah. But that does not make the reality of our lack of brothers who are willing to take it on- in all aspects where they are needed to be serious and step it up- any less. It’s not fair to fling the responsibility of the lack of men onto the lack of women, as if the problem will just go away or equal out. I know women, amazing sisters with all 4 of the qualities, who are in their late twenties and still can’t find a brother to marry. And they aren’t looking for Super Muslim. They just want a brother who will lead them and be serious about having strong character and deen. This post was not supposed to revolve around marriage, but I’m just mentioning it to point out the reality we face in our communities- sisters who are taking it on and brothers who are chillin, sisters who are trying to move forward, and finding too many brothers who are melting from chillin for so long.

    Again, the reminder: If you’re looking for our ummah to be filled with women like Khadija radi Allahu anha, then brothers, you’ve got to start trying to be like the teacher of Khadija radi Allahu anha, the best man, sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallama.

    Please forgive me, as my intention was not to offend anyone. I was just hoping to highlight a serious problem, and trying to suggest a few small ways which we can work to try and fix these problems through our revamping our connection with Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala through individual efforts.

    Please keep me and my family in your dua’, wa Allahu ‘alam

    ps- True Virtues, to link this to your blog, just copy and paste the entire thing, including the title, and insha’Allah it should link.

  • salaam Author,

    No argument there. I think you tied up all the loose ends with that last comment and alhamdulillah balanced out your article such that you leave us with no choice but to act on your advice and call to it, inshAllah.

    jazak-illah khair

  • oh yea, and ps: in the slight chance anyone does recognize my tone, to acquit the brothers from my MSA: Alhamdullilah they’ve really, really stepped up this past year, so this isn’t a rant against them in particular. I really wanted to clarify that just in case.

  • Yep, very true, very few brothers step up and do anything. Even among the religiously oriented, lots of talkers, few walkers. And once they get married, say goodbye gracie.


  • Subhanallah!!
    Br. Siraaj…. you have spoken some serious words of truth (at least to my knowledge).
    We do have a lot of talkers in our community, even when they are the religious oriented, its like baba Ali’s video, we seem to have a lot of complients but at the end of the day we never seem to stand up and do it [ includes me, half the things i complain about i dont do 🙁 ]

    As i was listening to the this GREAT lecture it emphasized how the first madrasa is the mothers lap and before even before that too. Alhamdulilah i look at this as a good thing, inshAllah since we seem to have A LOT of good, educated sisters this will mean A LOT MORE pious active leaders of our ummah brothers are going to come up!! That is one thing i will do inshAllah. I will have my own little Abu Bakr siddiq and Ibn Abass’s and of course Khadijas and Nusybahs (RA) INSHALLAH.
    Their is not much we can do about todays world lets just make sure with Allah SWT guiding us we change the future of our Rasools SAW ummah!!

    Great Article everything sounds familiar 😉

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