Friday, June 30

PS Brothers:

Why the hell would any Muslim male enter a house, in which he knows there are women, without properly being given permission to do so?!

So there I was, chillin in the basement with my dad watching Seinfeld, when this dude walks halfway in through the garage door and asks, "Badal Bhai, can I come in?" I frantically looked at my dad as he said from the couch, "Sure, sure!" In a cotton shirt and a skirt (decent lengthed), and no hijab, I desperately whispered to my dad, "Wait!" And all he could say was, "Just go upstairs." Ambarrassed, I quickly walked right past them both towards the stairs. My dad, trying in his own way to not let me seem rude, said, "Say 'Salaam." So I paused halfway up the staircase (now out of sight), and said salaam.


Ugh.

Later, when my dad came up to visit me and my mom up in her room, the first thing she said to him was, "Why did you leave the garage door open?!" Totally unrelated, as usual. My dad turned on his heels and immediately walked back downstairs. I looked at my mom and said that it was an accident and in no way his fault, then yelled after my dad, "It's not your fault Abbu!" My mom continued (also as usual): "But still."

I think the word "family" was derived from "dysfunctional." Though we manage to function, there definitely exist remains of the evolutionary origin. Well...I'm not writing this post because it's a big deal in my family life, because we moved past it as soon as the moment itself passed. However, I am writing this for every brother to understand that it is nothing short of offensive for someone to walk into a home in which there are women without the proper etiquette--or at least common sense.

I realize I'm not exactly Miss Modesty, coy and doe-like. But every female (Muslim or not) has the right to be respected to some extent. After eight years of hijab, if there's something I can conclude, it would be that being seen by, let alone having a conversation with, others is a very personal thing. It's one thing for me to choose to converse with a brother, and him to choose to do so in return. In that, there is an informal understanding of respect that is maintained throughout the interaction. That's what makes people comfortable--knowing that there are sound limits that you trust the other person, as well as yourself, to respect. However, in scenarios like the one I've been venting about in this post, that right to choose "hijab," the right to a very personal kind of privacy, is violated. And this is regardless of how long (years, in this dude's case) you've been interacting with or visiting the family.

There are some mistakes you can apologize for but will never be able to reverse.

But to be fair, may Allah Bless every brother who does enter the home of another as a guest in the correct manner. I think most brothers behave pretty decently for the most part, so JAKs.

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