Friday, January 26, 2007

Why are people so obsessed with hijab?

I found this little "article" today, and for my own part became slightly irritated. I really just think some people have no shame, no shame at all.

And here is something else, from another blog. (Emphasis mine.)

"Most men and women in the west work, go to school and live quite comfortably having work mates, fellow students, doctors etc that are not Muslim and are of the opposite gender. If I can walk into a meeting at work, sit at a table full of Non Muslim men, be able to exchange ideas and build projects from the ground up, why can’t I do the same, with such relative ease with my Muslim brothers? Why must we maintain these facades of fake modesty, to the point that we are incoherent around each other or we refuse adamantly to meet each other’s eyes (having no problem doing so with other people?) "

I noticed this at an MSA meeting last night. About half the sisters present wore hijab, the other half not. Neither group was being immodest by any stretch of the imagination and the ones without scarves weren't especially flirty nor the ones in scarves being anti-social, but uniformly brothers seemed to have problems talking/listening to a sister in hijab, but not the ones without. Brothers who have no problems in general talking to women who aren't Muslim, or even Muslims without hijab, go totally weird when talking to one in hijab.

Why? Why is there this fake modesty, and why is it associated with hijab?? Are women who wear hijab merely pretending to be pious, and thus deserving the scrutiny of their peers? Or are they actually more pious, and the others are just jealous? Or is there no difference? I hate when people say hijab is just an outward sign, that it's a behavior as well--rather, I hate when they say this with the intention of dismissing the item itself. The truth is, wearing it makes a certain kind of behavior easier, but doesn't make other behaviors impossible. Do they say that women who wear hijab aren't any more modest than those who don't... so they just shouldn't wear it? Is that their point? Does anyone else find that conclusion bereft of logic?

What then, is the reason for the change in behavior? Suddenly a woman dons hijab and then is too high and mighty for communication with men? Men, even Muslim men, who would chat quite freely with women uncovered, and non-Muslims as well. That is fake modesty, a game that serves no one.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Ugh, school.

Yes, it's tedious. I have a large notebook with a collection of class notes, the instructor's notes (printed from online versions), homework problems, my solutions to them, and extra paper. Two classes with the same instructor, same style of notes... tedious.

Has anyone else noticed problems with blogger? My browser seems unable to display the start and log in pages still... very strange--though I haven't tried it on a different computer to see. Speaking of computers... mine is still dead. It will turn on now that I've replaced the power supply, but it won't boot. So... my plans to "maybe" buy a laptop for this semester are moving out of the "maybe" stage. And new exciting summer plans starting to move out of the "I wish I could..." stage and into the "maybe" stage.

What else is a maybe? Maybe I'll finish my homework tonight and get to sleep before 1am.

Friday, January 19, 2007

School for real?!

Alhamdulillah--it looks like I will be able to go to school this semester!! So have to catch up on my homework! I'm still planning to help with the dawah table--inshaAllah, but I just can't afford to spend as much time as I did last semester on it. The coordinator wants us to have it every week... and while that's a noble intention, I just am not sure we have the manpower. Do people care? Will they even show up? I felt like last semester the burden fell almost squarely on myself and another sister, who by the end were the only ones helping. Not to mention at the beginning of the semester it was me and a brother doing most of the work after some original volunteers bailed. It's hard to be enthusiatic when you feel like you are doing extra work and most of the people you're working with don't seem to care.

My computer is currently under the weather... not sure if I mentioned this previously. A new power supply is on it's way and should arrive by early next week, inshaAllah, and then I suppose I can try my hand at replacing it. In the meantime, I am workign way too much this week. I think in total this week, from last Saturday through this Friday, I'll have worked 47 hours and gone to class, and on top of that Monday was a holiday. I am physically and mentally exhausted, not from anything that was especially taxing itself but just from the endurance of the entire weak. I've been getting up at 4 to go work in the lab, then going to class or work afterwards. And after work, going home basically. Last night I worked an extra hour for someone and then hung out up there a little bit longer. I want to sleep, I want to work out... anything but sit in front of a computer! So I guess it's a good thing mine's busted.

My Arabic class is coming along every so slowly... since Ramadan we've learned alif, baa, taa, thaa, haa, khaa, and jeem. And kasrah, fathah and dammah, plus a few conversational phrases like, ahlan wa sahlan, hadratuk(i) ismuk(i), and ana min medinat __. Seven letters though... this is kinda silly. There's a long way to go. Granted, I did try to learn most of the letters over the summer (yeah, last summer) so I can read a little bit better while my pronunciation is awful. I'm making a point to try to read out Arabic when I see it, to understand it... but that's not especially often.

The exam for ING speaker certification is coming up next Saturday, so I'm re-reading the booklet/kit with the guidelines, script, and FAQ's to practice up. It would be fun to try to teach the real basics of Islam in a school once in a while so I hope there is a demand here for speakers. InshaAllah I'll pass and be able to move along.

I spent most of the break certain that paying for this semester would be nearly impossible so ruled out participating in the sorority. Now that tuition isn't going to be a problem, I suppose I could still remain active, but my heart isn't really in it, I can't devote anything to it to really help--and I feel when I'm there that I should, and need to. So even though I could, I think I won't participate this time around. InshaAllah that will keep me relieved of extra stress. It used to be a kind of outlet--to go hang out with girls who actually understood how hard my classes were. Girls who were on the same level--especially when mostly I was seeing guys anyway. But now since I spend so much time with girls (granted, not usually the same kinds of conversations) in general, it's not important to me. And since I have pretty much stopped socializing with any guys here at school, I don't feel like I need a change. Yes, my classes are still full of boys, but I don't find myself talking to them as much.

That's quite a bit of catching up... I should finish the 'between extremes' thought before I forget it! So inshaAllah.......

Thanks for reading
Ma'salama :-)

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Been a while...

I was having trouble with the page and couldn't figure out how to log in until today--that partially explains the delay. The last two weeks have been interesting, trying to decide what I should do with my life. What I want to do, what I can do, what I feel obligated to do... attending school this semester does not appear to be in the realm of things that I "can" do, despite wanting and feeling obligated to. And yesterday I received permission from my boss to work full-time this semester instead of attending school. Then what? Look for another job? Try to return to school? Just work?

I'd rather not disclose some relevant personal information here, but returning to school in the near future does not seem to be a viable option. If I even want to. So, is it something to sacrifice? Not the education so much as the degree. I'm exploring a few other options... other ways to complete the degree, or instead of the degree some certification--which would require far less time and money, and allow me to (inshaAllah) do something I would rather do than engineering--and that is attend an Islamic school. And right now, it seems to be a one or the other kind of deal; first one and then the other is less an option, as the first is slipping out of my hands or else pushing me underwater. Yes, I feel like I'm drowning in going to school. Sad, but true.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

The Second One

Alhamdulillah, this Eid certainly was a Best Day Ever--making it Best Day Ever #2! Alhamdulillah. It was really a wonderful day, even though... it started off kinda poorly. Why?

Well, the prayer was at 8. To give some perspective, sunrise was about 7:25. Meaning... you needed to pray fajr first thing and you best be on your way... or maybe even pray fajr at the eid gathering!! I arrived by 8--this must be said. But spent entirely too long waiting in line just to get into the arena! Just to get in! Because women move sooooooooooo slow. It's like they've never prayed before!! Much less in a group! Women irritate me so much.. and I feel like I can say this totally sexist remark because I am a woman. They just do not know how to behave--too many of them causing trouble. First of all, they take up too much space. It's like they didn't even know that had to be in rows, or they thought they were the only ones coming. So they'd spread out a blanket and "picnic" on the tarp when there should be room around them for people on the sides, a row behind, a row in front... grr.. They didn't want to fill in gaps, they wanted to take their strollers in (where are stroller going to fit??) This room is so crowded, totally full, and people still not having room to pray. Quite a lot of people didn't have room to pray thanks to these shenanigans, actually.

Once they started forming rows, they wouldn't fill in gaps. On top of that, the rows were spaced too far apart--a good 10 more rows could have fit in the women's section--and 10 more rows were needed at least to accomodate the women (like myself) standing in the doorway just watching this mess. Then once the prayer started instead of still forming rows people just stopped and prayed in the aisles... mind you, they were in the way, meaning they were blocking everyone else behind them who now had nowhere to go.

Why is there never enough space for women? A few reasons--one, the women take up too much space; they don't close the gaps, their rows are spaced far apart, the kids are running around... but two, they have all the kids anyway!! They need to be stricter and they are lax, and it's such a mess. Talking during the khutbah, walking around and talking during the khutbah!!! Shameful!! I would comment about the brothers doing the same thing, but compared to the sisters, it's not worth noticing. So many women were moving, it was such a disaster. I'm embarassed to be a woman. :-(

But why is that?? Why don't women know how to pray in congregation?? Because they don't. Thanks to the last hundred generations of Muslims who have forbidden women to pray at home--assuring that women have no knowledge of their deen and persist in such foolishness as I saw that day. How horribly embarassing. Oh, and did I mention, that several of the girls were looking around at the mess, from their rows, during the prayer? Yes, the imam reciting, and they're looking left, right, up, behind, anywhere but down in front. Sigh.

But THEN! I listened to the khutbah what of it that I could and afterwards got to greet the sisters I knew. Afterwards, I said. Some sisters were just too impatient, like I said they had to get up and socialize during the khutbah. Why the hurry to get eid over and done with? Why do they not care about the religious aspect but only want to move on to socializing??

Once I left I was invited to eat at someone's house... someone's mother's house, actually, and the food was soo wonderful. And plenty of people came, including my sister's old neighbors (who happened to be Muslim, though I didn't know them really before I converted and really didn't meet them until this Eid.) Then I went to someone else's house... from a boisterous family gathering to a prim and proper daytime social, it seemed like. The second was so quiet and to be honest, kind of boring--and I was there for a while, almost 6 hours. By the time that was over I was just tired, went home and to bed.

But the two hours I spent at the first house was wonderful enough for the whole day. Great food (everywhere), great company (everywhere), and really celebrating an Eid for the first time since I'd become Muslim made it the Best Day Ever. :-)