Remona AlyThursday 08 March 2018 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2
What if God were a woman?
It’s not often that I suffer from delusions of grandeur. But my photograph was once used for a panel event entitled, ‘What if God was a woman’.
It’s a question that has prompted some real corkers in the past. One writer responded: ‘She would not have taken six days over the Creation, but multi-tasked and got it done in three.’ Another said, ‘A female God would make it mandatory for husbands to stop the car and ask someone, anyone, for directions.’ And my favourite, ‘She would engineer a more equal society – around his 20th birthday, every human male would find himself temporarily transformed into a woman.’ Empathy really is the best policy.
I used to think the Almighty was more of a patriarch than a matriarch. At primary school, I remember drawing a picture of God looking like the Asian version of Father Christmas. But I later learnt that the medieval Muslim scholar, Ibn Arabi, said he sometimes used the feminine pronoun when addressing Allah, keeping in mind God’s divine feminine attributes. Hmm, my Father Christmas deity was looking less and less like Mr Khan.
It’s true that many religions, many attitudes, many societies have been pretty much male dominated, but the landscape of our his-stories, are incomplete without the legacy of our her-stories.
From my own Islamic vantage point, I see women like Lubna of Cordoba, the 10th century mathematician and poet, who created a library filled with half a million books. And I see Noor Inayat Khan, Britain’s first Muslim war heroine.
Today we’re making our own stories, and none of them have been achieved without struggle, sweat and courage. To me, the grit of a single mother is as glorious as the tenacity of a female leader.
My wish for the 104th year of International Women’s Day – which is today – is for balance to be brought to a world that currently wobbles on inequality. When women and men together, cherish the divine feminine as well as the divine masculine. And I wish that the quip, ‘You’re being such a girl,’ will be the biggest compliment you could ever give.
If Prophet Muhammad’s revolutionary words, ‘Women are the twin halves of men’ have taught me anything, it’s that we can only reach justice if we’re in it together.