Mera Jism Meri Merzi--Negative Feminism

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  • Author Shahid Abbasi
  • Published April 3, 2020
  • Word count 2,044

Mera Jism Meri Merzi--Negative Feminism

by Shahid Ali Abbasi

The all-pervasive notion of Mera Jism Meri Merzi in Pakistan needs a deep and careful analysis. On the surface. it looks simple and gives an easy opportunity to anyone to give an opinionated comment. But in reality it’s deep and old, as old as human race itself. And I would not perhaps be fully wrong to say that it was one of the most fundamental, and strongest, arguments put forward by Satan in paradise while poisoning Eve's mind. Did Eve not practice Mera Jism Meri Merzi ideology when she ate of the fruit, against the Divine Decree? It demands a deep thinking. In this short article, I would endeavour to present to you the arguments in this regard from religious and social perspectives.

To start with the religious perspective, I would briefly say that in Islam our body (jism) is not ours: it's Allah’s; it’s a sacred trust given to us by Allah that is why why we are not allowed to self harm ourselves (suicide), or even modify our body (tattoos, etc). So from Islamic perspective neither our body nor our merzi (will) is fully ours. Rather we have to use our will to understand The Divine Will and then dissolve our will into the Will of God; that’s the optimum level of will or free will (merzi) we have. Is it not outrageously blasphemous that we say it's ‘my body’ when Allah categorically says everything on the Earth, in the Heavens and in-between belongs to Him?:

"And blessed is He to whom belongs the dominion of the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them and with whom is knowledge of the Hour and to whom you will be returned." Quran (Surah Zukhruf, 84-85)

"To Him Belongs all that is in the heavens and all that is on the earth, and all that is between them, and all that is under the soil." Quran (Surah Taha, 6)

"And to Him belongs whoever is in the heavens and the earth; and those who are with Him are not proud to worship Him, nor do they get weary." Quran (Surah Al Ambiya, 19)

These are just a few but there are numerous other occasions in the Quran where Allah clearly and categorically claims the ownership of everything in the universe and beyond.

Please beware of those who twist the interpretation to serve their purpose. It's as evident as it is. Everything, every single particle in the whole cosmic order, is Allah's Ownership, and whosoever else "has" anything, it is given for a certain time and thus has associated roles and responsibilities which have to be fulfilled as long as one keeps that sacred trust. This interpretation can also guide us towards the essential purpose behind creation, because the purpose can only be assigned by the owner. You change the owner, the purpose changes. If I own something then why would I let someone else allocate the purpose to it? It's like I build a beautiful house and then ask my neighbour if I should make it an orphanage, a shop, a school, a hospital or a pub! Verily, as long as the house belongs to me, it’s ‘I’ who will give it the purpose and none else. Now here comes the trick. The moment we claim the ownership of our body, we actually take the ownership of its purpose as well, and that purpose may or may not be Divine. In fact, in that case there may or may not be any intervention or inclusion of Divine whatsoever because it's ‘my’ body. This will completely displace us from the path and purpose assigned to us by our actual Creator and Owner. So the claim Mera Jism Meri Merzi is outrageously blasphemous in Islam.

Let’s not confine the argument to Islam only. The relationship between the Creator and the creation is more or less similar in all religions around the globe. You name any religion, the most fundamental belief system that you will find there is that of the creation and the Creator and the subsequent relationship between the two, which then defines the roles and responsibilities of the creation towards the Creator. Now when we claim our bodies to be solely and wholly ours, we in fact split apart the whole Cosmic Order (caps mine). We separate the actual Creator and Owner from the creation and with that the creation from the purpose of the creation. It's deep isn't it?

According to all religions, the Creator created the creation to serve His Divine Purpose. I would say even the social purpose coincides with and correlates to the Divine Purpose. In other words, all the social purposes, roles and responsibilities given to us and things are there so that we could more conveniently accomplish the Divine Purpose allocated to us. As for Islam is concerned, Allah made it clear at numerous occasions in the Quran and the Hdith. Allah says, "I created the jinn and humankind only that they might worship Me." Surah ad-Dhariyaat, verse 56. Now those who say the body is fully there's are actually revolting against the Creator and are deviating from the purpose of the creation. So from religious perspective, Mera Jism Meri Merzi is the most Satanic belief of negating the Creator and claiming the ownership of something that is not ours. It was absolutely this very ideology preached to Eve by Satan in Paradise, causing our fall. The campaigners of this notion might give various explanations saying it's not like that but it is what it is and it is what it explicitly says on the surface and in the deep.

Now the second aspect of Mera Jism Meri Merzi is sociological one. As human beings, we live together in societies, so there must be certain rules and regulations to be followed so as to peacefully coexist. But this social existence does not have any purpose exclusively of its own; it actually correlates with and facilitates the fulfillment of the very same Divine Purpose of creation. In other words, the Creator created us to fulfill a Purpose and in order to fulfill that purpose collectively and individually there has to be a certain code of life, regulations, norms, traditions, morals, ethics, etc. all of which come under the same broad principle of peaceful coexistence. The moment we shatter the Cosmic Order of the relationship between the Creator and the creation, we compromise the terms of the individual and collective behaviour. If I own my body then I will give it my personalised purpose, and that purpose can be anything. If I'm poor, I will give my body a purpose to be rich; if I am powerless, I will give my body the purpose of gaining more and more power, so on and so forth. I will in that case follow my instincts. And that will determine my overall behaviour and dealing with the people and things around me. To put it simple, suppose I buy a gun. Once I paid for the gun and bullets, it's mine and I own it, and there's no doubt about it legally, socially and religiously. But does this ownership give me the entitlement to start shooting others? After all, it's my gun so ‘I’ will give it a purpose as per my will (merzi), and why not!? No society will allow me, will it? You see how personal motif clashes with the collective one!? Now because, according to this notion, I own my body and I have the purpose to it, I will use every available resource/part/capability in it ,my hands, my legs, my mind to achieve that purpose. Where is human morality gone then? So, the ideology of Mera Jism Meri Merzi is not only Satanic and blasphemous but also socially impracticable and detrimental to a society.

Somehow Mera Jism Meri Merzi is often (and wrongly) associated with women, and more particularly a very very few in Pakistan. Why is that such slogans are usually raised by a few, and ironically privileged, women only? Even the most liberal societies will put a check on individual freedom and will not allow indecency. Even the societies which are secular will say yes it is your body and your resources but there are others as well and we cannot allow you to use your personal belongings (Jism) in such a way that they cause harm, disruption, indecency or moral perversion to others (Arabic word عَوْرَة is related with things to cover). Call it Law or Common Decency. If any champion of Mera Jism Meri Merzi, campaigns were living in a cave, completely and absolutely isolated from other things and humans, it could perhaps be possible to practice Mera Jism Meri Merzi philosophy there, but NOT in a society (and by society I do not mean humans only but other animals, birds, plants, the whole environment, everything). But it was told to us by Islam 1400 years ago. So I would say to all these campaigners of Mera Jism Meri Merzi that you could be right but you are at least 1400 years late because the issues that you raise have been comprehensively and once for all addressed by Islam 1400 years ago. The slogan of equal rights is irrelevant not only in Islamic society but any society in the world. You can only give equal rights when there are two things equal, whereas there are no two things equal in the whole universe. So instead of ‘equal’ they should say ‘just’ and that is what Islam is founded on: not ‘equal’ but ‘just’, hence justice. Here the subtle difference between rights and privileges should be kept in mind (briefly, a privilege is much higher than a right). Islam gives more privileges to women than men so I do not understand why the so-called women rights campaigners do not understand that if they get ‘equal’ rights to men, they will actually lose many they already have.

Also, they confuse rights with social status. A child will have more rights if weighed against his parents’ rights but that doesn't give the child a status higher than parents. The child will still be under parents’ control. Similarly, a woman has more rights than a man but she has a status subservient to man: Allah says, "Men are in charge of women, as Allah has made one of them superior to the other, and because men spend their wealth for the women; so virtuous women are the reverent ones, guarding behind their husbands the way Allah has decreed guarding; and the women from whom you fear disobedience, (at first) advise them and (then) do not cohabit with them, and (lastly) beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek to do injustice to them; indeed Allah is Supreme, Great." (Surah Nisa, verse 34). Also, please explore women and Satan, auret aur sheitan….

So, such women should deeply read the status of women in Islam. Islam not only gives rights to women but rather gives privileges to them. The idea of equality is the most absurd one (not today’s topic though). Nature does not run on the principle of equality but on the principle of justice because there are no two thing equal in the whole cosmos. And that justice can only be assessed and then dispensed according to the purpose of the Creation. You name anything under the sun that does not fit in the Cosmic Divine Order dictated by Allah. Everything has a purpose and all things collectively have one Purpose, and that is what Allah the Creator has set, not us. So even sociologically, the philosophy of Mera Jism Meri Merzi threatens and undermines the very existence of life on this planet.

So, to conclude, I would humbly suggest you all to think deep and relate the creation with the Creator according to whatever religion or philosophy you follow. That will clarify your understanding of the purpose of creation of the things, and their roles and responsibilities thereafter. Once we have that clear understanding, we will then be able to interpret an combat this Satanic philosophy and many others like this.

Wama aleina illal balagh ul mubeen

In need of your prayers,

Shahid Ali Abbasi

Teacher, activist and a student of philosophy, theology and politics.

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Article comments

SU REHMAN · 1 month ago
I have read your article. It is very inspirational & based on reality. I appreciate your effort by MR Shahid Ali Abbasi. I am hoping you will provide us more knowledge about such kind of an important issue. Regards , SU REHMAN