Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Monday, February 4, 2008

Making Nice With the Joneses

I'm getting a little bit tired of this situation with my hijab. Not with wearing the hijab, but with other people having a problem with me wearing the hijab.

As my grandmother once informed me, I am pushing my beliefs onto other people by covering my own head.

Seriously, how does that work exactly?

Three separate incidences this past weekend:

On Friday after work I went over to meet my mom and my aunt, who had gone shopping that morning, for lunch. Once my aunt realized I would be coming with them, and that I would of course be wearing my hijab, she found that she had an urgent matter she needed to attend to instead. My aunt loves me, I have no doubt about this, but she would prefer to never spend time with me rather than overcome her own narrow-mindedness.

On Saturday my father's side of the family threw a birthday lunch for my great-grandmother, but I wasn't invited. I'm still blood the last time I checked, but I guess when I converted my genes did too.

And the third incident was just yesterday when I went over to my grandmother's house for the Superbowl party. I had assumed it was a family-only party but I was anxiously informed by my grandmother that she had invited the next door neighbors as well. I'm fairly certain these were the neighbors she hates because they're bigoted and stuck-up and treat many of the people in the neighborhood badly. But she invited them, and on top of that she was so worried about what they would think that she demanded that I don't go downstairs with my hijab.

"You know, they're just so against this." (add in thick Minnesota accent as you please)

Well no actually, I didn't know that, but thats beside the point. I don't care what they think about it because I don't know or like them. I offered to leave and go home, an option I would have gladly taken her up on at that moment, but she demurred and I stayed, hijab and all.

If I'm not willing to take off my hijab to spend time with my aunt, who I actually love, I'm certainly not going to do it for some stuck-up neighbors that I'm not even fond of.

I'm getting sick of this, I'm covering my own head so GET OVER IT.

What kind of people get stuck on someone dressing modestly but are quite alright with people walking the streets and showing up on TV half dressed? What kind of people complain about teen-pregnancies and the hyper-sexualization of the world today, but can't get over a simple scarf?

Where do your morals lay?

I know where mine do, and its not in making nice with the snobby Joneses.



Organic-Muslimah said...

Do these people ever go through Minneapolis? Maybe Cedar.

Safiya Outlines said...

Salaam Alaikum,

Don't you know that when you think your hijab is just sitting on your head minding it's own business, it's actually pinching people's noses and telling them off for eating bacon. It's true! ;)

Mona said...

That really sucks. It's one thing to have strangers stare or make comments in the street or the mall, but intirely another when it's your own family, that really hurts. I hope Allah puts acceptance in their hearts.

Safiyyah said...

As Salaamu Alaikum Sis:

I can relate. My stepmother didn't inform me of my father's death until the evening of the funeral. She didn't want my husband and I showing up at the synagogue (me in hijab, husband African-American).

But Allah (swt) says we can't break family ties. Regardless, we have to be patient. It is a test for sure.

gulnari said...

Good God... people really need to get over it. What's the big deal? Even if I remove myself from my Muslim point of view, and try to think in a neutral way, I still can't see what's so special about it that gets people's panties in a knot. I only notice cute hairclips. ;)

Solace said...

I can totally relate to your experiences with your family.

I realised this past december that the reason my mother doesn't want to go shopping with me is because she is ashamed of being seen in public with me.

Insha'Allah it will change over time.

Molly said...

Organic- My grandmother never does, I think she's afraid she'd be kidnapped or robbed at gunpoint if she ventured into that area. And my aunt is just a snob. As for my dad's side of the family, they're all hicks from the boondocks and if they ever did leave their predominately white villages its certainly not to soak up the local culture or challenge their ignorance. I love my family, but they are severely undereducated.

Molly said...

Safiya- Is that why???? Goodness I didn't know I had such naughty hijabs. Thats what I get for buying egyptian tarhas.

Molly said...

Mona- I honestly don't have it as bad as some converts I've met. My family will still talk to me and hang out with me in the house when I don't have it on. Its just when I'm wearing the hijab that they freak out. Maybe its like the stain on that guys shirt in the superbowl commercial, my hijab talks louder than I do.

Safiyyah- are you serious??? That is ABSOLUTELY AWFUL! How heart wrenching that must have been :( and you get it doubly, religious discrimination AND racism. SubhanAllah. I'm so sorry honey. InshAllah you will be rewarded in Jannah for all the pain you suffered in this life for your religion. Ameen.

Gulnari- 90% of the time I get complimented on my pretty hijabs, but this is from other people such as coworkers and patients. And my mom, who rocks. Goodness knows my gramma can't compliment me on my style when its pinching her nose and telling her off for eating bacon.

solace- Welcome! I'm glad to have you! Yeah, and that really hurts when its your mom. My gramma and my aunt are one thing, but I can live with their phobias. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have a mom who not only accepts me, but compliments my style, and goes to muslim stores to give me her advice on what would look nice with my outfit.
InshAllah your mom will come around. I wish you well and hope you keep coming to visit my blog. :)

Anonymous said...

I know two brothers who were BEAT UP by their families when they converted...Nice blog...yeah, I couldn't find a better way to string those together :)

Mona said...

Molly, We didnt see the super bowl here but I'm assuming it's like if someone has like a big mole on the end of their nose, you can't help but focus on it?

Molly said...

Brooke- That is absolutely awful, I can't even imagine if I hd to deal with that. Honestly I can deal with the passive agressive bs better than overt beatings. And thanks! I hope you keep coming!

Mona- There was a commercial for like Tide stain remover I think. The tide stick. Anyways it was a commercial about a guy at a job interview talking but the stain on his shirt is shouting random gibberish so you can never hear what the guy is saying. The guy pauses and the stain pauses, the guy talks and the stain starts shrieking again. It was HILARIOUS, the commercials were prime this year.

luckyfatima said...

salaam: my poor old gramma just stares at my scarf the whole time we talk sometimes. like, i'll be going on about the weather and she'll bust out with "Oh, your hair! your beautiful hair!"

she also re-affirms that she is very "proud of me" just so I know that my lifestyle choices don't disturb her beyond her love for me.

Mama Kalila said...

I just found your blog off of another & am enjoying reading it. I'm not muslim myself, but I can understand what you're talking about in this one. I am one of two Catholics in my moms side (she's the other but doesn't really practice) & apparently my praying (silently mind you) or leaving to go to Mass while visiting is pushing my religion on them. And it doesn't fall into religion for me, but it bothers both sides of my family that I don't eat pork. I don't get it, but...

I'm sorry you have to deal with that though. Is rough. Even if they don't agree... it's your religion, your beliefs. & there is nothing wrong w/ wearing hijab. I've done it myself... more than once. & yes, have gotten comments both good & bad. But I hope it gets better!

Molly said...

Mama Kalila- I'm so glad you wrote that because its such an important point. Its not just Islam that provokes this type of response, its any religion that makes people feel the lack of their own. I could have become a Jehovah's Witness and they would have been the same way. Or a Mormon. Or a Jew. So on and so forth.

LF- You're hair! lol, like because she can't see it any more? But alhumdulillah she supports you. Its like that with me and my mom, she hates it, but she supports me in it. Alhumdulillah.

Vanessa Fatima said...

that sounds really tough Molly, insh'Allah you will get rewarded for doing what you're doing. The blessing's in the struggle.

"What are the best deeds in the eyes of Allah?
Gentle manners, modesty, and patience in adversity" - related by Imam Ibn Hanbal

Forsoothsayer said...

people don't like to be with people who look different. i mean - i don't have any veiled friends. i'd feel weird - there are too many areas of conversation we can't have in common (although with western chicks it is of course easier). and they don't want me either, for the same reason (that, and where will i meet them? my friends don't have any veiled friends and my office has a no veil policy). i see mixed groups of veiled and unveiled chicks all the time but i guess they might have more in common. anyway, don't feel bad. they may never get used to it but u should go on about your business - or move to a muslim country where u will feel the exact opposite of how conspicuous u feel there! better scarves available too. i know where the good stuff is in egypt btw - none of the hot polyester business.

Molly said...

S- lol you def have to show me those if I move there this summer.

And I have plenty of non-veiled friends here. Plus all my family. We get along fine. In fact most of them barely notice it as something wierd any more, they're just excited to see how I match them up with my clothes. Maybe its cuz we're from the same culture. who knows.
your office has a no-veil policy? wtf?