Monday, April 14, 2008

Being Patient

I feel kind of bad for my misogynist post--and at the same time a little good. Kind of like the feeling you get from biting into a very rich piece of cake. The "I shouldn't do this" feeling even though you know it feels good.

I will say that I tried not to write it (that's not an excuse btw) but I was so fitful after leaving the masjid Saturday that I couldn't even sleep. Ranting about other people, though, that calmed me down. I wonder if I should be worried about that?

You see, I know I'm not the only person with that perspective, because I've shared my complaints with several of my friends. I also know that people who disagree with me have good reasons for that as well. I want to point out though that my complaint was not with the mosque administration (who I have found to be very fair-minded) and not with Islam (which I believe is perfectly just.) It clearly wasn't a gripe against all Muslims, but a few who were offending me with their behavior.

Is ranting the appropriate response? No, of course not. That's what impetuous and selfish people like me do. And even as I wrote, I wished I could have the patience and serenity to just explain kindly to those sisters that what they are doing isn't appropriate. From leaving shoes in front of the door, to lining up sideways, to deliberately making the lines crooked by not standing on the line, to letting their children run wild during the prayer. The problem is that I couldn't summon any kindness, being too overcome with anger and frustration. And even then, I think if I were to try telling people what to do with that attitude, I would certainly not get their cooperation.

And rather than ranting, it would be better to ponder possible solutions to the problems. And that is a frustrating quest--largely because it is out of my hands. It's not up to me to decide how the space is going to be utilized--that is, for women to be upstairs or downstairs, and if they are downstairs where exactly. And that is a problem which upon resolution should (I hope) make improvements in other areas easier.

About the shoes--I think the only way to solve it is to consistently keep telling people to put up their shoes, and not let them leave them at the door (when they could walk a mere 3ft to stow them!) But who wants to stand outside the prayer hall during the prayer telling people about shoes? Maybe when I'm cycling or something.. haha.

About the children in the prayer hall--I have noticed someone who is on the womens' committee speaking to the offending sisters, so hopefully that is something that can improve as well.

So anyway, I know that if I want things to change I should try to change them and ranting is the most immature way to respond. It doesn't help solve the problem. But it does make me feel better to expend the dark energy that unfortunately just builds up when I go pray at the masjid. And I don't want anyone to get the opinion from me that I don't see my own problems. There might very well be sisters at the masjid who complain as ferociously about me and my own behavior--like deliberately praying downstairs. And there might be sisters who are bothered but try more patiently to "correct" me as they see fit.

In which case I would say that we all need guidance. Period.


Malak said...

Hmmm........I wonder if it would make people mad if I started moving their shoes to the racks? Seems like you would get more reward for picking up after yourselves and not creating hazardous situations for your fellow sisters.

Amy said...

Several of us do this--if we see the shoes lying around we pick them up. I know I do, Ali does, Reyhana does... and we usually put them way on the end so they have to walk to go get them. I've started putting one shoe in one place and one in another.

And honestly that's like more effort on my part because I'm so mad. I could tell people to put them on the racks--the problem is that they don't listen and do what they want anyway.

Malak said... may get to the point where there is a nice sign on the door: Do not enter until your shoes are properly stored!

Really? It seems like it shouldn't have to come to this.

Jamilah said...

I went to jummah at my masjid last Friday. After the main prayer was done I was doing sunnah prayers right up against the 'wall' thingy'. 2 little girls were swinging each other around in circles.. distracting but I could live with it. What I could not live with was when they chased each other around me in circles breaking my sutra. When I was done praying I went to the little girls and asked where their mum was. They took me too her. She was talking with other sisters in the corner. I said as nicely as I could that the girls had just run around me in prayer and broken my sutra.... she said well its hard when everyone is getting up to leave... I said, no, I was up against the wall, they ran within 1 1/2 feet of me... she apologized and I said I'm not telling you to be mean, but just so that you can teach them not to do that.

I still felt like a big meanie as I left, but it bugs me so much that it happens. My son is 9 with autism. When he is at the masjid with us he behaves... he knows better and if he starts acting up, we stop it. I don't know why its so difficult!!!

And yes we have the shoe thing too... lol