Maria Akbar argues that new Muslim Andrew Tate is already more in step with Islam than many “Muslim feminists.”
The recent conversion of Andrew Tate to Islam has stirred conversation amongst many. As Muslims, we of course welcome him with open arms into this perfect way of life. Islam truly is salvation – we are all equal in the sight of Allah SWT and only exceed one another through our level of God consciousness and in good deeds.
Initially, there were conversations around why does Andrew Tate even need to be mentioned? There are many people coming to Islam daily, yet they are not mentioned in the public sphere.
But as it stands, the acceptance of Islam by someone who is well-known is excellent for the da’wah for this very reason, as the message of Islam is spread to those they are acquainted with. We know in Islamic history, the Prophet Muhammad (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed that one of the two Umars would become Muslim. This was because of their high status in society which meant more people would be likely to listen to them and thus could be influenced positively.
Andrew Tate came to the scene as a British-American kickboxer and beyond that, more notably, he can be described as a person inspiring masculinity in men in a society where men are becoming emasculated.
However, he comes with an ideology that many find controversial. He is labelled as a misogynist, toxic and has been “cancelled” on social media, in particular regarding his views surrounding women. He holds, what some would describe as “traditional” views regarding gender roles.
The Muslim space on social media has seen women who hold feminist views particularly upset and angry by his conversion to Islam. They have spoken with negativity regarding his conversion, making a mention of his past shortcomings and his “misogynistic views.”
As for his past shortcomings, we know that Islam erases everything that came before it. So it is senseless to hold him to his past. Regardless of this, there is no sin that is worse than disbelief and Islam does not demand perfection. In fact, it is likely that there are Muslims who commit many sins but we find solace in that we have a Merciful and Loving Lord.
Being listed as one of the most googled people, it is likely that many men are lending an ear to what he has to say. So these women feel threatened by his ideology as he is an influential figure amongst men. It is safe to assume some of the questions on their minds involve what if the men in their lives adopted his ideology? What would that mean for them and the way they wish to live their lives?
In my view, feminists want to have their cake and eat it too. They want their husbands to take lead roles and responsibilities that they would like to selectively pick and choose according to their own narrative. But then they will equally call out men if they fall short in any of these duties. Women want a traditional man but don’t want to be traditional women. This is problematic.
A few of the beliefs Tate is known to hold include that when a woman is married, her father hands her over to her new husband and she then “belongs” to him. He also speaks of women having “obedience” to their husbands. These are triggering statements for feminists to say the least. Some of the statements he has made have been part of bigger conversations with context, however social media excels in taking snippets of recordings and misrepresenting individuals.
He has recently clarified in his recent discussion with YouTuber, Muhammad Hijab, that by “belong” he refers to the woman now being her new husband’s responsibility to protect, look after and provide for. But feminists see this as him objectifying them.
Tate also feels women should listen to their husbands and be obedient to them (when their husbands are acting responsibly) in order to fulfil the duty of protecting and caring for them. If the man is willing to go to all lengths to protect his wife, then she should listen to what he asks of her. For example, if he is her protector and he asks her not to go out at night, then she shouldn’t.
I feel his ideology in inspiring masculinity into men is more aligned with what Islam and the wider community needs. In general, there has been an emasculation of men with the advent of feminism.
Irrespective of the feminist narrative that the West is shoving down our throats in an attempt to “empower” us, we have lost sight of the roles and responsibilities that Islam gave us. The thought of femininity is far from feminine. I view a feminist as a woman who is bold and angry, demanding her rights be given to her. Almost like a baby whose toys have been thrown out of its pram. But far less cute.
Islam teaches us to seek validation only from God, the Most High. Feminism teaches us to attain validation through what society tells us, which is always changing. Hence women who fall into the trap of feminism, waste their lives trying to do everything that was ordained for the man to do, to prove it to society. Yet society is still never pleased, and she never succeeds in it. A Muslim woman, however, does that which Islam teaches are the roles of women, for the sake of God alone, and she finds great pleasure and satisfaction in that.
I believe satisfaction in one’s life is only felt doing that which we are created to do. Ultimately that is worshipping Allah SWT through the roles and responsibilities he has placed upon us – men and women alike. There’s no denying men and women were created entirely differently, and capabilities differ. When they come together, they work perfectly in unison.
Men were created to be the providers, protectors, care takers of their families. Men thrive when they succeed in doing what they were created too. Likewise, women were created to have children, raise their families, nurture their homes. However, more recently women are working, being independent and less dependent on men.
As a woman who worked as a pharmacist for the most part of my twenties, I can tell you that nothing is as fulfilling as raising children and creating a loving home. This is because doing this is part of the essence of a woman. It is society that has told us we need to do anything different and sadly those very things don’t bring us any more peace and in fact make us feel unfulfilled as we are acting further from our purpose and natural predisposition.
I feel that dipping between gender roles, that Islam provides a framework for is a contributing factor for the break down in marriages and family homes. When women start doing the roles and responsibilities of men, men become emasculated, lose their purpose almost. When women stay within their roles and responsibilities, this inspires masculinity into their men folk and they thrive of providing and caring for their families.
Women need to stop fighting against how they were created and instead work with what Allah SWT has blessed them with of feminine traits and excel in those. This will inspire the masculinity within their husbands who will then excel in their roles.