Sunday, May 27, 2007

Don't Touch the Muhajabah

I like to imagine that Muslim men and women treat each other differently, as a rule, than do non-Muslims. By and large I've found that to be the case, especially by personal observation since donning the hijab.

A woman who covers is not the sort you ask on a date. Perhaps for a more professional or noble intention a man might enjoy her presence more personally, but she is not one to welcome physical advances from any other than her husband. Taking her hand, her arm, her shoulder--really what do you think you're doing? For a woman who is not going to let the world so much as see her, what right have you (any of you) to dare to try and touch her?

A friend of mine is soon to be married (inshaaAllah), and has shared some observations from her soon-to-be husband. Muslim men, says he, see the Muhajabah as a sort of sacred person. The Muslim woman is one to be respected and admired, and the muhajabah even more so--one who is distinctly aware of what her deen calls for and not afraid to practice it. For one seeking marriage, extra care need be taken so that modesty is not breached. Men, he says, understand that a Muslim woman is not going to "put out" until she is assured of a few things... like living expenses for the rest of her life. For my part, I find that appropriate--that modesty, separation, dignity are all preserved, and that marriage only opens the door to that intimate relationship.

So what to make of a man who attempts to take what is not his? Maybe he is talking to her for marriage and she investigating him. Does that open the door? Obviously not. The woman is covered, and she is waiting for marriage--so really, what kind of man thinks he has the right to link her arm as he walks beside her, take her hand when she pulls away, or lean close to attempt a kiss? What to make of him, really? What is the confusion? A woman who is covered does not welcome these advances, I can tell you that much, regardless of her heritage, her upbringing, her culture. Do mixed signals lie therein? Would a woman raised in one society welcome these things despite her cover while another would be repulsed? No, they are all repulsed. As, chances are, any Muslim woman would be regardless of her decision to cover.

As for me, I want no part of that sort of thing. I want only one man to have the privilege to touch me--the man I married. Not even the man I want to marry, but then I don't think I'd want to marry someone who thought that prior to the contract he had any right over me. So for any man reading this, some gentle advice...

Don't touch the muhajabah.

1 comment:

Ibn Abd-el-Shafy said...

As-salaamu alaikum,

Sister you are too nice. "Gentle advice?" Heh, whoever touches a muhajabah non-mahrem woman is open to severe...

Well, let's look at Saudi Arabia: if a strange man touched a woman, and she complained in public, that man would be instantly humiliated in public, likely cursed at by several bystanders, and there is a good chance of him being taken off by the local police.

In Egypt, I honestly believe it would be worse in some places... cos Egyptians love a dustup. Picture this: a group of men descending on said malcontent, yelling angrily, voices are raised, and sandals fly (sandals always fly in Arab fights). A royal fisticuffs battle extraordinaire ensues, and said malcontent is given a sound thrashing. Policeman waits until all is over, then walks over angrily and notes that nothing is going on...aside from that moaning form on the floor, but c'mon, that builds character.

Ah, Egypt.

So, yeah, to any person intended in this gentle blog entry, keep yer bloody mitts off her, you nuthead. Fear Allaah.