I am pleased to report that there are no birds in the laundry today, or on top of the bookshelf. Let’s see them peck their way through duct tape! Ha! Oh yeah, and one new pic on the fotolog.
I am now going to make Aniraz mad at me by complaining about something that I probably shouldn’t discuss on my blog. Too bad. Aniraz is taking a nap and I’ve been left to my own devices.
So today I was at a tea-party when a friend of mine (she’s too old to be called baaji and too well-groomed to be called aunty) walks up to me and says hi. Then she launches into the typical aunty-interrogation, albeit in a more tactful way than most. How old are you. And your sister? You’re not the younger one? Really! Are you working. Did you get your degree here or in the US. What are you plans for the future, do they include marriage. I know a religious family in London looking for a hijabi…etc etc.
Here’s the part where I start complaining.
Why can’t there be any religious families in my part of the world? Why London? I don’t want to go to London! I just left the non-Muslim world, I’m not about to go back. And where are all the religious families in Pakistan? Why do I have to turn to the non-Muslim world to find practicing Muslims? Is it because in a kafir society there is almost no middle ground? Faced with such opposition to Islam, you either take it entirely or leave it entirely, and the ones who take it entirely are the ones so hard-pressed for hijabis that they look for them back in the home country. (Gallup poll: Nine out of ten Muslim women in the US do not practice any form of hijab.-CNN Abez Observation: The ones that do are usually lifers.)
Or maybe the practicing guys aren’t just abroad, maybe there are practicing Muslims here who just have such an easy time finding hijabis that they don’t even bothering looking very hard. Everyone knows at least five or six here, so I think the situation here is that we have a surplus of hijabis who are looking for nice Muslim guys.
You know, for a Muslim country, Pakistan is kinda short on nice Muslim guys. There are lots of culturally Muslim guys, but apparently not many who make Islam a conscious and practiced way of life, who consider faith a logical choice instead of a cultural obligation. Maybe that just isn’t Pakistan though, maybe this is how it is all over the world. Lots of people never do any independent thinking about their faith. Some of them go with the flow of whatever river they’re swimming in. If it’s the river of a Muslim country, they’ll go to Juma when everyone else does and they’ll practice whatever modesty everyone else does. If they suddenly change rivers/countries/communities, they change their directions accordingly. (When in Rome…) Do I know of a Muslim named George? Yes I know of a Muslim named George. You know why he changed his name? So his girlfriend’s father wouldn’t think his daughter was living with a terrorist…
And I know it isn’t just the guys. I know the brothers probably have the same complaints about the sisters. Ten years ago it was shocking to see a grown woman in no sleeves. We, as a Pakistani society, were collectively appalled. Now it’s normal to see even old ladies wearing sheer shirts with sleeveless undershirts. They might as well be wearing no sleeves, but we, the same community, don’t consider it immodest anymore. The rules of Islam haven’t changed, but the river has started flowing in a different direction, and we’re just floating. I think the phrase in Urdu is ‘darya ki pujaray’, worshippers of the river. This is compared to worshippers of God.
Same with shorts. Grown men are wearing shorts here. Short ones. Last I checked, though there were some differences about whether a man’s awrah included the knee or only extended until the knee (a minor point), there was a consensus about thighs. Thighs are most definitely awrah. Nobody’s thighs are supposed to be on public display, but men here wear shorts that do exactly that and more, especially when they sit down. (You know what my grandmother always said? If you can’t sit like a lady, then don’t wear a skirt.) This is culturally ok though.
But like I said, this probably isn’t just in Pakistan. River-worship is an international cult. It has followers from different faiths, people of all sorts who hold popular opinion to be the final word on what’s acceptable. (Low-riding jeans? Who cares! It’s in fashion! Your son’s a homosexual? No problem, our civilization has moved beyond such distinctions. Yay aaj kal kiya jaraha hay)
You know what I’m looking for? A rock. A big ole rock sitting in the middle of the river, letting the waves pass over them but not budge them a single inch. A person whose moral/ethical position is solid no matter which way the river is flowing. Someone whose belief is founded on faith, whose faith is founded on logic, whose logic cannot be swayed by mere force of popular opinion.
Who knew rocks were such a rarity?