Friday, June 5, 2009

Her Bum Was Showing

It is with great pleasure that I think back to my sistaz. All beautiful covered head to toe hijab beauty queens like no other the world has seen before. I love you girls and let me tell you why.

I have a Muslim friend here in the mid east. She is not a practicing Muslim. Now I’ve been, and still continue to be a firm believer that I should never judge anybody for the way they live their lives, and I certainly will not tell them what to do, or how to embrace their faith. I’ve always been trained, as well, to believe that I should include all Muslims, from all walks of life, into mine, and to ask Allah (swt) to guide them to the right path in the way that He sees fit, for only He knows best what lies in the hearts and intentions of his followers.

Good. Now. Let’s see. Where were we. Oh yes, my non-practicing Muslim friend. So the other day she says, “hey, all faculty get into the university private beach from free so let’s go lady!” I was like okay, why not. That stack of papers to mark ain’t goin nowhere, might as well take it with me and mark in the company of beautiful blue sea.

When I stepped out of my apartment, I looked like this: baggy black pants, the ones I usually wear for work-out, long-sleeved shirt with a long T-Shirt on top, black socks, running shoes, purple hijab, a watch, an ipod, a small back-pack and a folder full of papers to mark.

My friend met me at the beach. Now. Ladies. I must say. This is the first time in my entire adult life that I’ve actually been this close in one place to a self-identified Muslim woman, who is my friend, who I accept into my life the way she is, the one I tolerate and absorb and include and embrace and and and and. The one I think of as part of the Muslim world. The one I think of as my sister in Islam by faith.

Well. This is the first time I’ve been this close in one place and see one in a tiny insy winsy little bikini that barely covers her butt or her upper thighs, let alone her chest area. This was. A real. True. Bikini!

Yeah. It’s one thing to see her at work, in the cafeteria, on the street, downtown, at the supermarket or anywhere else. Usually dressed normal. Not too revealing. Not too covered. Moderate.

It’s another thing to see her at THE BEACH. Now before I continue, I want you, veiled sisters in particular, to think of all the Muslim veiled women friends you have, especially the ones you think like oh she’s got attitude, or like she’s a bit of a snob, or she’s too annoying, or she stinks, or she talks too fast, or she’s dumb, or she’s too strict, or she’s too loose, or she’s too traditional, or she’s too attached to culture in a silly way, or she’s too blah, or she’s this or that or whatevah ...

…I want you to go to that veiled beautiful young woman. And kiss her. Yes. I kid you not. Hug and kiss her four times on the cheek and then tell her Quest loves you. And then tell her that you love her, and you realize how much Allah (swt) loves you for bringing her into your life.

Now. I continue. When I communicated to my friend that she’s almost naked, she says, basically, that she’s like this, and she thinks I am “constraining myself’ by being veiled. As much as I am a firm believer in diplomacy and love to all my Muslim sisters, I have now learned an important lesson in life. Not all sisters fit in my heart, my trust, my pure honest friendship. Sisters come in degrees. Of separation :-)

With this one, I learned, and decided, to always show her, nice and gently, that we can never be best friends, or true ‘sisters’ even if we agree on many other things. Complexity in friendships can be paralyzing if we don’t know what we can handle, and what we simply cannot and will not accept.

I will not cut my friend off, because I love many things about her, but I will always show her that I’m careful around her, so if she’s looking for a best-friend or a really close friend, I’m basically telling her you won’t find that with me. And when I look for a best friend it won’t be her. That’s the idea.

I will always voice my disagreement with things she does – such as wear a bikini cut for a four year old!

I will keep her distant, see her less than often, push her into further degrees of separation in the grid of sisterhood or friendship in my life. Again, complexity in friendships can be paralyzing if we don’t know what we can handle, and what we simply cannot and will not accept.

In the meantime, I’m looking for new friends!



Anonymous said...

Even if she was a hijabi, there would be another reason you would want a degree of separation because in life we do not always find people we click with completely. I couldnt write an entry like yours about "a friend" especially if she reads this blog. You are two different people and that is the diversity of life. said...

salams A:

on the same page. I celebrate diversity, but now with preferances. Like apples and oranges.

As per my friend reading this, I realize that this is not about her. About me, my conflicts, my feelings, my renewed appreciation for my veiled friends - who are not the only friends in my life, my dilemmas, my attempts at solutions etc...

I still got her number and she will always wear her bikini :-)

Tauqeer said...

Hehe, being different or treat other with a lil bit degree of seperation is what actually measures your trust in your believes.

If the other person is completely opposite to what you stand in life, then what is there to share about? One can be friends, sharing the common interests or just be a human being with a need to socialise but accepting them COMPLETELY would be accepting their opinion in all....that is my believe and understanding.....same as I can never be real friend with a smoker or a drinker or an adulterer :|

Unfair Maiden said...

you've captured the situation (and your internal dialogue) with wit and spirit. i've been in a very similar situation and you're right--its not about her and her decisions or your right (or lack thereof) to judge them, its about you and your perspective and your learning. and she taught you something about yourself.