With regret, we see that many men are not truly men. Rather they are something close to being men or imitating men, but not true men.
In a constant bid to counteract Islamophobia and myths about women in Islam, the discourse in Islamic circles has sidelined and neglected tarbiyyah of Muslim men. In that vacuum, Muslim boys learn what it means to be a man from their outside environment.
Go to Imam Rabi’ah and learn his adab before you learn his knowledge.
The mother of Imam Malik
Those characteristics which once defined what it meant to be a man are increasingly being lost. One view of masculinity reduces men to boys who are emotionally stunted, physically aggressive, and sexually unbridled. A man’s worth is measured by how many notches have been inscribed into his bedpost, how quick he is to resort to violence when encountering conflict, and how dry his eyes remain when touched with sadness.
Rising as a counterbalance to this view is the view that the entire concept of manhood is misogynist. Teaching boys to be men is backwards and patriarchal. Telling a boy to act like a man is an insult.
Hassan al-Banna was once asked why someone of his caliber had not authored many books. He replied, “I spent my time authoring men.”
Throughout Islamic history, men and women put a strong emphasis on the tarbiyyah of future generations. Sitting with a scholar entailed learning his adab and character before embarking on a study of books. Today, a gap exists between book knowledge and practical application of that knowledge in our everyday life.