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Some Things Should Be Taboo (for the sisters)

4- 06- 2008

There are some things that are ranted about on a variety of different Muslim blogs on a regular basis. The issues seem to be the same things that were being ranted about when I first started blogging four or five years ago, so apparently the ranting has never created any significant change. So, here are my top “peeves” to see ranted about when it seems nothing is going to change. In the spirit in which so many rants are written, I have bulleted them for your reading ease…

  • Masjid Misbehavior - This is a long list of rants, from women chatting during the khutbah (how many sisters have to rant about this on their blog before chatty sister X takes the hint???), children running amok (the masjid is not a playground!), and being given “naseeha” on things like how you aren’t placing your hands “right”. This includes kids running between the rows during salat, kids getting into other sisters’ purses (yes, I’ve personally seen this), kids fighting over toys (and ineviteably it’s the mother of the child who was in the wrong who jumps in and gives the toy to her child while admonishing the other to share, subhanAllah), sisters who step on your feet to ensure there are no gaps in the salat line, sisters who pull away and put a big gap in the prayer line, sisters who do not greet sisters from certain countries, sisters who roll their stroller right into the front row of the salat lines, messy washrooms (ugh, really, some masjid washrooms are some of the worst I’ve ever seen. When I and my brother lived a couple blocks from the masjid, one brother used to stop over to my house just to make wudu before going to the masjid, LOL.), brothers who yell at the sisters to control the kids, brothers who oggle through the curtain to the women’s side and then ask every brother who you are (yes, I actually got a marriage proposal this way!), the parking situation (why is there never sufficient parking at a masjid, LOL?)… the list is really quite endless.

  • The Mommy Wars - Yes, Muslims are as bad as anyone else about debating whether women should work or stay home with their kids. Why can’t we just accept that it is an individual choice that is never made easily, and that every mother is trying to do her best with her situation (which we do not know all the particulars of to judge anyway)? If a sister works, sisters come down on her for neglecting her kids, not educating them the right way, not being able to keep her home, and being out of her place. If a sister stays home, other sisters mock her as lazy, make jokes about all the time on her hands and her assumed lack of intellectual depth, and still complain that her kids aren’t being educated right.

  • The Hijab Wars - If you wear colors, there are sisters quick to tell you that you are being immodest by doing so, no matter how covered you are, no matter that you don’t pluck your eyebrows or wear makeup or display jewelry. If you like black, there are sisters quick to tell you that you are scaring away non-Muslims, that you make things “hard” and that you must think you are better than everyone else. You know, sometimes there isn’t as much meaning in what we wear as we like to think. Sometimes it’s just personal taste, comfort, and finding what works with our lifestyle. What I wear now, I might not have worn when I had an infant clinging to me. And my color choice has less to say about my “hidden personality” or other “identity issues” than people think. It’s just a personal comfort thing… get over it.

My suggestion? Can we stop complaining about these things? Maybe even stop talking about them so much? Could these just be, like, taboo topics for a little while? By which I don’t mean don’t write about serious mosque issues with suggestions for improvement. Nor do I mean don’t feel free to write about your own personal decision to stay home or work, just please don’t go off on women who choose the opposite. And yes, please, do share what styles of hijab you enjoy and why, just stop writing about all the styles you hate, stop referring to your fellow sisters by mean names or claiming that they are lacking something* (whether iman because they don’t cover the way you like to or personality because they cover more than you like to) because they prefer a different style. Whaddya say???


*This is not meant to reflect on what hijab is, which does mean a minimal level of coverage that shows only face, hands and possibly the feet, and includes that covering is loose and opaque. The debate over whether covering the head is necessary will not be had here and is very clearly delineated within Islam. My point in this post is to address the styles of coverage available, including color choices and cultural preferences, as all being valid and a personal choice as long as they are meeting those minimum requirements.

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