I am SO over (The Muslim Edition)

I know that I recently posted what I am SO over but a conversation with a friend of mine got me to really thinking about what I am SO over as far as the Muslim community is concerned. Some of it is rather controversial but then again, when have I ever shied away from controversy? Let’s go…

I am SO over:

-Running to a sheikh or imam for every little issue in life. I mean, seriously, can some people tie their shoe without asking a scholar what the ruling is on it? I understand that people want to ensure that they are doing the correct thing but seriously, some of us are bordering on the idiotic. I’m sorry if that sounds arrogant but I’m fed up. What happened to logic, reason and being a grown up? What happened to consulting your own soul, as the Prophet (s.a.w.) said? Do you need a sheikh to tell you that it’s wrong to steal from someone even if they aren’t Muslim?

-Fiqh obsession. Yes, fiqh is necessary and useful but I’m also concerned about my spiritual connection to Allah. How am I connecting to Allah? Am I reviewing and analyzing my current spiritual condition and looking for ways to improve it? I believe in taking a holistic approach to Islam not a piecemeal approach.

-The lectures and kutbahs about the husband’s responsibility to “teach his wife”. Um, excuse me, we live in 2009. For many people it is no longer that case that the man goes out and learns something while the woman stays home and waits for him to impart his knowledge when he comes back. Maybe my lifestyle is different but what I see happening is an exchange of ideas. Couples are learning TOGETHER. Even for women who stay at home a similar thing is happening. Women are reading, attending classes (online or in the masjid) and listening to lectures. Couples may attend classes together or separately and come back to share what they’ve learned with each other. So, is it really the case that “the husband” is teaching “the wife”?

-Brothers lecturing about “proper hijab” and the woman’s position in Islam. (I realize I said this already but I think it needs to be said again). I don’t want to attend another interfaith dialogue where a man is discussing this issue. Personally, I find it disempowering when a man decides to speak for me and how I navigate the world as a Muslim woman.

-Interfaith dialogues to the neglect of intrafaith dialogues. When are we going to discuss the issues that Muslims have between one another? When are going to work on communication, relationship building and repairing between Muslims? Better yet, will I ever live to see a Muslim community or group (on a large scale) seek cross cultural communication and team building training? Seriously, we need to bring in a third party facilitate these discussions. We can no longer pretend that everything’s fine. Just think about how many conflicts you’ve seen (between Muslims) that were the result of cultural misunderstandings. Or think about how many groups of Muslims you’ve seen who’ve tried to run a program or organization and failed because of personality conflicts, power struggles, disorganization etc.

-Lectures on marriage and family in Islam that don’t address the contemporary, current state of the community and world we live in. When I think about it I realize that different cultural communities have issues that need to be addressed within those communities. We can no longer pretend that all Muslim families and marriages wrestle with the EXACT SAME issues. For instance, there are particular issues that African-American Muslim families face that differ from those that an Arab-American Muslim family face. The point really hit home after I attended the first MANA conference.

-People from predominately Muslim countries or those who were “born Muslim” expecting me to defer to them. I don’t have a problem learning from others. I think everyone is a teacher. However, I don’t believe that a person’s country of origin or their being born into a Muslim family automatically makes them my spiritual guide.

-Muslims who deny the existence of racism, sexism, classism, and privilege in the Muslim community. Even as I experience mistreatment because of race and gender, I am still aware of other ways that I am privileged. I realize I must also work hard to prevent myself from invalidating the experiences and perspectives that differ from my own. For example, I was speaking with a friend of mine about the pressure she faces from her cultural community. She was frustrated because she felt like they were “always watching her” and would report back to her family about any perceived indiscretion on her part. It would’ve been easy for me to tell her that she shouldn’t care and that this is “her life”, forget them. But that is my perspective. I don’t come from a community that places such pressure on me. I can pretty much do what I want and it won’t jeopardize my family’s standing in the community.

What are you SO over?

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35 responses to “I am SO over (The Muslim Edition)

  1. Pretty much all that you listed… Also, piggybacking off of what you said, I’m EXTREMELY tired of people (MEN!) who keep insisting on telling sisters that it’s “not necessary” for them to go to the masjid, attend jumaa, etc. and that it’s “better” for sisters to stay and pray at home. Regardless of that, in a place like the US (the South in particular) where Muslims may be few and far between, I think it’s better for Muslim women to be at the masjid or fellowshipping with other Muslim sisters as much as possible. Sisters need that support and reassurance as well as the constant exposure to other sisters who can help them feel like they’re not alone.

    As far as your last one, I agree wholeheartedly. I have many Desi (S. Asian) friends who are Muslim and I feel sad that they’re constantly having to worry about maintaining or avoiding a certain “reputation” and keeping up a “front” of sorts in front of aunties, uncles, etc. It’s such a huge thing in their community, especially amongst those in this city. I consider myself in some ways lucky that I don’t have to really worry about that. That bothers me too, though, I guess… That people even have to feel obligated to be a different person so that they don’t look bad. The whole “guilt by association” thing in the Muslim community sort of irritates me too. I’ve known people who refuse to be around a certain sisters because they have deemed her a bad person. I fail to understand how completely avoiding her helps make her a better person… Grrr… We’re supposed to be supportive of each other.

  2. Amin to all of that girlfriend!

    Definitely sick of hijab lectures by men, or worse lectures on being a good muslim woman/wife while NOTHING is ever given to the men on how they need to be more like the Prophet (pbuh). Where’s there standard for Islamic dress when I see tight dress shirts and jeans, and the only identifying factor is a kufi… They’re not helping with household duties, get offended about working for their wives, playing with their wives, not beating them, etc. Stop holding me up next to Aishah when you aren’t holding yourself up to the Prophet!

    And if I hear one more “they’re not really Muslim”… against other Muslims. I though we weren’t supposed to have sects. We all have the same basic belief, I don’t need you trying to tell me this mosque/that person/that way of covering is haram. I’m supposed to love the Ummah!

    • I am not Muslim but this annoys “me” to no end. I am Christian, but I have run across the advice about being a good Christian woman in reference to a male partner but I hear very little about it going the other way.I am tired of it here. I have not come to compare situations or talk about Christians,I’m so sorry, I just get tired of women getting all of this advice on how to treat a man but men getting less advice on how to treat women. I’m sorry, I’m out.

  3. I’m just gonna say it: I’m also over the whole Salafi Dawah bit.

  4. So over the professional (upper/middle class) muslims looking down/treating us working class muslims like we are ignorant, worthless muslims not even worth the time to get to know or even talk to. I know I get largely ignored because I’m a university educated (though from the working class) convert who married “below” me (to a working class immigrant now naturalized citizen). I don’t believe in marrying “above or below”; we are all equals period. And no, it wasn’t a green card wedding; he was naturalized before we got married. So we pretty much keep to ourselves.

  5. Oh, I forgot about this, and maybe it’s more my taste than anything, but I’m so over the auction style fundraising or fundraising dinners that cost a fortune. It doesn’t allow for those who can’t contribute much to contribute at all.

  6. I know that I am SO IN LOVE with this post. 😀

  7. LOL…I am with you on that last point! Being muslim does not erase societal ills!!!

  8. I’m so over:

    *Muslim women princess complex. Statements that claim that non-Muslim women are somehow less chaste or inherently degraded because they don’t wear long sleeves, long skirts or scarves.

    *The refusal to acknowledge working Muslim women -both those who choose to work or those of us who HAVE To work. That’s right some of us need the dinero. This is similar to your ideas about not acknowledging class.

    *Marriage rhetoric with no real strategies. For those Muslims who believe in the man taking care of everything yet seem to think its going to happen by magic. Um, if someone can not maintain an apartment of his own for a year or so prior to marriage how in the world is he going to support a wife?

    *Ok, I’m going to say it-white girl honorary Arabs (through marriage) who become overnight Islamic experts and call those women of color (mainly those of African, African-American and Caribbean descent) racists when they talk about race?

    *Lectures on the dangers of raising Muslim children in the West by people who were born & bred here.

    *Homeschooling

    *Muslim isolationism & political opportunism.

  9. Wow, you sisters are really over a lot.. haha.

    @ Samira…

    IKR! Oh, that “dangers of the West” thing sounds so convincing coming from someone who moved to the US 20-something years ago when he was in his early or mid-twenties in order to have a “better life” for himself and his family and has been chilling here ever since. GET OVER IT. Something about this place must be attractive. It’s not like they’re hurrying to get back to Pakistan, Lebanon, Egypt, India, etc…

    And OMG, yes. Piggybacking off of the white honorary Arab thing… So over Muslim men (of all ethnicities) who don’t look WITHIN the Muslim community for a wife and instead choose non-Muslim women. Especially here in the US when they SHOULD know how hard it is for sisters to find good Muslim guys..

    And I mentioned it on a MySpace blog I commented on as well, I am also over nominally Muslim guys (who drink alcohol, smoke, use drugs, etc.) who date and eventually marry non-Muslim women who they’ve made feel obliged to revert to Islam. How are you gonna try to convince someone of Islam’s merit or value when you’re acting silly with it? And then expect the woman to stay in/with Islam when you’re being a jackass? (pardon the language).

  10. Ohh you guys are on fire! Thanks for the compliments and the thoughts. I’m with you on all that you have posted.

    xey is right, I’m over a lot of stuff.

  11. I am so over

    – People seeking leadership and guidance from outsiders who know nothing of their history, culture, environment, social problems etc.

    – Hijab…… whether its by men or women, muslims or non muslims. Not interested.

    – Working class Muslims moaning about middle classes being secular and not as “religious as me”. Majority of them are just bitter and envious and use religiousity to feel good about themselves.

    – Lectures and articles that do not reflect reality. I do not read anything that starts with “Islam gave women rights 1400 years ago” or ” you will stay home for the rest of your life and be treated like a queen”. Muslim women are fighting for their rights to be recognised in Muslim countries and millions of them go out to work everyday because that is what it will take to live a decent standard of living.

    – Female converts who go on and on about being mistreated by “cultural muslims” who do not practice “pure” Islam like them. Crap. There is no community or group of people without a culture or one version of Islam that is “pure”.

    I have many more things to say, next time inshallah.

  12. salaam and yes to all of the above.

    a few more

    **telling a sister to stay in an abusive marriage, especially the emotionally abused, because “it isn’t like he hit you” and Allah will make it better for you when your dead. Had a good friend go through that and she had to avoid our community like the plague, going to a non-muslim shelter to get away from the jerk. One sister called and chewed her out – like it was her fault and if she tried harder. The poor woman is already a fragile shell who thinks she is totally worthless because no matter what she did their was no pleasing her man or getting more than scraps of affection from him.
    **Telling women it is best in their homes – period. People look down at me for working or shopping or what not. Sisters who push this idea and act like it is the taming of their selfish desires (to get fresh air?) to stay all the time! Meanwhile they practically brag about their Vitamin D defieciencies from staying in like that as a badge of honor – creepy!
    **telling women they should be blindly obediant to their spouse – without a caveat that there should be shura in the family – really bugs me. Again with the abuse – doing as your told all the time, regardless of what you desire, because of fear of the repurcussions is classified as abuse in the USA.
    **Men who act like I am a fitna and can’t be seen at all in a Mosque who spend their weekends at the bar with their Buddhist girlfriend.

    That is it for now!

  13. Ok my ‘overs’ have to do with marriage..
    I’m so over
    1)people trying to push me into polygny,
    2)people trying to get me to marry a brother who I will have to support and maintain
    3)people who are married gushing on and on about their ‘perfect’ husband
    4)brothers insisting on niqab (like that makes a perfect wife)
    5)people feeling ‘sorry’ for me because I am not married ,and trying to hook me up with ANYBODY just because he is Muslim
    6)Racism, Classism, and all the isms
    If I sound bitter….yes i am (well a little bit)

  14. I’m so over:

    Muslims rushing to befriend/marry white converts and not others.

    Converts who completely lose their own identity upon marriage, and when the marriage dissolves, become bitter and blame Islam for this loss of self.

    The fact that wanting a man with an income is considered being “too picky”

    Lectures/Khutbahs on issues that affect Muslims overseas

    Envy/Jealousy among Muslim women

    “Expiration dates” for women

    The fact that divorced women are considered “used goods”

    The assumption that all converts have shady pasts, no morals and come from broken homes.

  15. Salaams:

    I am so over going to the masjid on “family night” and sitting with the kids because they’re the only ones speaking English.

    I am so over people asking me where my husband’s from. Hello! There are a lot of Muslim FROM America.

  16. How about: your “where they come from” widget telling me someone has arrived from New Malden when I’m reading your blog in Kingston, but showing London when I’m actually at home in New Malden.

    (Off topic, I know, but it never ceases to amuse me.)

  17. I too am so over the abuse that women have to go through, and while we are the victims, instead we’re treated like horrible people for speaking up about the abuse and the abusers are rewarded by other victims to victimize.

    I’m so over and tired of people saying, no proof.
    even if we were to take a lie detector test they’d say it’s still lies.
    even as we stand before Allah and all is revealed, what will we say?
    that we didn’t know?
    and we’re so sorry for not seeing the truth, because you’re so easily fooled.

    I too am so tired, and so over with keeping it quiet and sweeping it under the rug.
    I too am so sick, disgusted with people saying that we “deserved it”, “we were asking for it”, ‘We’re to blame”
    “it’s our fault.”

    No matter what anyone tells you, abuse is no one’s fault but the abuser that does it.
    no matter what anyone says, no women, or children deserve to get sodomized, or relations during their menses, or after they give childbirth. no matter what anyone says about a man’s needs/wants and such.

    no woman deserves to have ben gay /pain ointment rubbed down there.
    no woman deserves to have her skin scratched to a point that the flesh is torn off.
    no woman deserves to be told, that they can’t help themselves, it’s beyond their control, that they’re so beautiful, irrestible to make up the excuses for doing wha they do, cuz they love you, care for you, and just can’t help it because they were asleep.
    they won’t get help for it, to stop it so it continues
    the sister tells someone so it can stop, and it gets only worse and worse and the children see it, get effected and remember.
    and it’s sad.

    • “no woman deserves to have ben gay /pain ointment rubbed down there.
      no woman deserves to have her skin scratched to a point that the flesh is torn off.”

      I’m confused, but what are you talking about? Is this an Islamic thing? Why would this be done to a woman? I am really not understanding this at all.

  18. Salaam Alaikum,

    I’m pretty much over everything you said and I would like to add that I’m over the “Honorary Arab” types for giving the rest of us married to Arabs a bad name.

    Ladies, don’t be an “Honarary X”, be an Honourable Person!

    I’m also over victim blaming and people letting someone’s status blind them to that person’s nature.

  19. @ joonbugjune…. mmmm-hmmm! especially the first and third ones.

    I was thinking in the car about this one… I’m so over Muslims thinking that non-Muslims have no morals or values whatsoever. I’ve heard Muslims say things like “If I was born Christian, I would be doing….” and go on to name a lot of awful things. As if Christians are allowed to just do whatever they want and there are no rules. Ridiculous. Just as some Christians don’t follow their faith, some Muslims don’t either. So don’t attribute negative behaviors to Christianity. Generally speaking, many of our values are ideally the same.

    Also, Muslims who say things like, “But he’s Muslim, he can’t do that…” etc. Uh, yes he CAN. People can do whatever they want. Muslims aren’t ever exempt from all “bad” things.

  20. as salamu ‘alaykum

    I’m over negativity. We’re here in life and we have one of two choices – we either live life to its fullest or we don’t. Ya Rabb!

  21. Oh, I just started my Fiqh obsession again. But the reason that my fiqh obsession is present is because I need it in order to move up properly spiritually. I love fiqh!

  22. I am so over seeing African American and Hispanic muslimat get hood-winked by brothers who have two or three other wives on the welfare roll while they sit at home studying the Qur’an and the Ahadith-

    So over not getting a salaam back because I don’t belong to a particular ethnic group.

    so over after 25 years this coming June, Insha’ Allah, of people saying “are you crazy, married to a Yemeni, he could have other wives and kids back home!: oy vey!

    I am so over black and white- what ever happened to the shades of gray in between?!

    And just about everything everyone has stated before me.

    • I am so over seeing African American and Hispanic muslimat get hood-winked by brothers who have two or three other wives on the welfare roll while they sit at home studying the Qur’an and the Ahadith-

      THANK YOU FOR SAYING THIS, INAL!!!!! ME TOO!!!!!

  23. Intra dilogue instead of this fony interfaith non-sense I’m with that all the way.Yes ,muslims need to be real with each other.But on real side ain’t knowbody really care what is happening with BAM.It is time that we go back to nation time amongst ourselves.That does not mean we will exclude others from our places of worship.But we need to get focus on building for ourselves.

  24. A-salam a-laiqum

    Wow….

    I am glad to see free-thinking and advocacy; I certainly am learning quite a bit.

    If nothing else, a recurring theme I see among many of the posts above is captured a famous teaching of Isa (pbuh, too). You know the one, don’t talk mess about the splinter in someone else’s eye and pretend like you don’t have a log in yours.

    But what do I know? I am a Cuban “convert” still trying to work on my own din.

    I have more I would to share but I have a bunch of work to do so maybe I can come back and share some more insha-Allah.

    Salams y abrazos.

  25. OMG! I LOVE THE BLOG! I LOVE THE COMMENTS! WE SHOULD SO VIBE :-p OH GAWD! LOL

  26. i totally just shared ur blog with my twitter fam. many are in agreement with this post especially 🙂 go head sis

  27. Asalaamu Alaikum

    I am so over muslim people at the mosque telling me I should stop having kids. So over them isolating me because I don’t speak their language. So over them putting food before religion. So over them telling me not to watch my kids. So over them telling me I’m an extremist because I don’t eat food with pork. And most of all I’m so over them accusing me of being a spy! (hello I can’t even speak your languages!)

    • Subhanallah! You’ve had muslims pester you for not eating pork?? I’ve only been muslim for a year, so i’m very naive…but astaghfirullah!

  28. I mean food with pork by-products..they can’t be bothered reading the ingredients or even hearing that the food they are eating has pork in it.

  29. Assalaamu alaikum.

    Some of the things you mentioned are dangerous.

    Lectures about a husband’s responsibility to teach his wife are not completely off base. Yes people learn from one another men from women and women from men. There are numerous ahadith wherein this is illustrated one of which was when the prophet (saw) himself took advice from one of his wives but we cannot forget that men have more of a responsibility to teach their families and guide them and correct them when they do something wrong. Everyone should make an effort but each person has their own things which they are responsible for and to a certain degree depending on their role (as mother, father, son, daughter, husband, wife, etc) We can’t change the Qur’an and Sunnah we have to recall and recognize the laws which Islam has while acknowledging that things change with time and of course addressing that as well. In short, we cannot change specific rulings with the passage of time only implied or general rulings because those may be reinterpreted.

    About proper hijab – Technically there is nothing wrong with a man or woman speaking on the subject and personally I’ve seen way more women speak on the issue. In either case – it shouldn’t feel disempowering to see other Muslims enjoining good and forbidding evil (by speaking on hijab). This is a result of feminist propaganda (the feeling of being degraded by this.) I also felt this way until I really read about these feminist movements and noticed how we are brought up on certain ideas which are sometimes in contrast with Islamic morality. As you know, Islam is not a religion whose laws are anything but just to women as well as men and really it (Islam) should be our measuring stick above and beyond our own personal whims and feelings and whatever we were raised on and whatever any society says is the height of civility. Part of being Muslim is submitting and part of that is (accoridng to the Quran) making Muhammad (saw) the arbitrator in all our disputes and affairs (ie following the sunnah.)

    About interfaith dialogues – I am not against them however I am against people uniting upon falsehood. We can properly discuss or debate issues with the appropriate manners and with the appropriate people (ie people of knowledge who can clearly disect and break down issues not just random people fighting and getting all worked up without really knowing why they defend a certain manhaj or group or practice etc.) But we should be clear and careful not to unite upon falsehood because that is the opposite of enjoining good and forbidding evil.

    As for your other points – I agree.

  30. ASA — i had my mom reading this and she was ROFL. im about to add you on facebook!

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