I was doing the dishes after buka (breaking of fast meal; I can’t bring myself to use the word iftar because it just seems pretentious to me) several nights ago and it crossed my mind that if I ever have children, two is a good number, because right at that moment, I was cleaning up for a 4-member family consisting of 2 parents and 2 children. And I was quite happy to do it, as opposed to when I had to clean up after a 7-member family.
And then, my thoughts went to a comparison between how it was then, and how it is now. Yes, if you think that that’s quite a number of thoughts to have while doing the dishes, let me admit here that dishwashing time is the time when I daydream. Or duskdream, to be more time-appropriate.
The following objection is with regards to domestic responsibilities, and by extension what constitutes a good home. Let’s ‘revise’ the marital advice given to Muslim wives by the speaker:
2. Rumah mesti dihias, jangan kotor macam rumah Yahudi
(Your house must be looked after and decorated, not left dirty like the house of this group of people which I shall not translate because demonising any group is just offensive)
An elderly Muslim man, his elderly wife and his adult youngest daughter (YD) goes downstairs to wait for his oldest daughter (OD) and son-in-law to fetch them for dinner. As they reach the void deck, they find that the car has yet to arrive.
YD notices two ladies who are either in their late teens or early twenties seated at the table at the void deck. (They could also be in their late twenties; the lighting is too dim and she cannot tell for sure.) She averts her eyes as it’s rude to stare and it is none of her business how they dress. She focuses on looking in the direction of the passenger pick up point. ‘Please, oh God,’ she prays in her head, ‘please let my father remain silent and not embarrass me in public. It’s none of his business too how they dress.’
Thinking about how I would write this post, I envisioned starting with ‘I respectfully object, Your Honour’, with ‘Your Honour’ being the very honourable and knowledgeable people behind such messages. But when I finally started typing, I suddenly find myself at a loss as to how I should start this post, and I actually typed and deleted, typed and deleted a few times! Would this be a writer’s version of stage fright? Perhaps the enormity of the task is making me have cold
Whatever it is, I pray God help me remain calm so that I can put forward the reasons behind my objections with minimal sarcasm and a neutral tone, no matter how riled up or exasperated I feel about such messages. I am aware I can be very expressive when it comes to things I feel strongly about, which the mister has reminded me about several times. He thinks a highly sarcastic or aggressive tone, which I can be prone to, could turn readers off and prevent them from being receptive to what I am trying to convey. To be honest, his well-meaning but unsolicited advice irritates me as I believe it is perfectly reasonable for me – and every other woman – to be angry, but fine, this time round I shall approach it differently and (attempt to) control my emotions.
Alright, *takes deep breath*, here goes:
I was unfortunately up early this morning, ironing like on any other work day, because I had the unfortunate opportunity of being psychologically arm-wrestled into going for some seminar at a mosque (and one wonders why I can’t wait to get married and move out so I could finally pursue my spiritual connection with God at my own pace and out of my own will, rather than feeling obliged to give in to the mother’s persuasion). I’m supposed to get a break from the job I am beginning to hate, and I was planning on catching up on sleep and work (what’s new?), hence the resentment.
To top this unfortunate day off, while ironing at the enclave in my living room, I had the unfortunate opportunity of listening in on the Malaysian religious show that my father was watching. (Yes, they are that ‘fanatic’. If I was a retiree I’d spend mornings taking a walk and enjoying some fresh air rather than cooped up at home watching some religious show. I’d rather enjoy God’s creation and reflect independently on life than listen to others dictate how I should live mine.)
Now why was this an unfortunate opportunity? Because the topic was one that never fails to rile me up: how Muslim wives should behave. By a lady speaker, nonetheless, which riles me up even more because she can’t seem to see what is wrong with perpetrating such views that frame a woman’s worth in terms of her use(fulness) to her husband instead of her own independent being.
For a start, let me list down what she said in her own words, as much as I can remember:
Well well well, look what I found while
giving myself a headache looking through wedding videos!
Ustazah Nazeerah’s wedding video
I know Ustazah Nazeerah as my beloved Ustazah Maimunah’s friend (or it could be her junior, or both) whom the latter had trained and appointed to carry out one or two runs (or more, I’m not sure) of her Project Spirituality Quranabic Core Course. Ustazah Nazeerah also happens to be one of my cousin’s good girlfriends and she was there to witness my cousin’s nikah and attend her wedding last year.
Anyway, it sure looks like it had all the trappings of a big
fat Greek Indian Muslim wedding, doesn’t it? Down to the bridal henna. She’s even wearing that hooked at the nose and dangled across the face accessory!
Now! This is something I could show to the old folks! Starting with my mom of course (she’d convey it to my dad). See! See! See! This ustazah, who’s a graduate of Al-Azhar University, doesn’t see anything wrong with wearing bridal henna.
And come to think of it, my future mother-in-law, being an Angullia and all (Mauritian Indian, at least on her grandfather’s side), may insist on me getting proper bridal henna. Ahah! Time to get the mister to ask his mom’s opinion about it. This means I could also play the in-laws card!
Now let me start scheming on how I’m going to set up this counter attack. 😀
*As it so happens, the fact that she’s wearing bridal henna isn’t the only thing that makes me so happy to see the video; it looks like we’re gonna have one more thing in common! Shhhhh! It’s a *secret*!
Oh my god I am so pissed at the moment I feel like shouting using my perempuan gila naik baran voice which I have used before in my line of work.
My mom was telling me to hurry and make the booking with the caterer whose food we had just tasted on Sunday (more of that in another post).
My dad was there too when we talked. Just after I explained the items that I vaguely remember the caterer would provide at the price that is within my budget, he said something which is precisely what set me off.
The point of contention:
What he said: