Sunday, July 29, 2007

Don't Hate on the Hayjays

Hayjay is a really cool word my cousin used for her hijab for a while, and I still use it sometimes so I'm cool too.

On the internets I've come across a lot of articles about hijabis, or types of hijabis. Not only are there the usual anti-Muslim-it's-so-oppressive type ones, there's also the 'Muslims bashing half-donkeyed hijab-attempts' ones too. I mean, yeah, they're funny, but there's only so much material (transparent or otherwise) that you can get out of stereotypes before you just seem overly judgemental, right? Like this one: one of the first email forwards I got when we got the internet way back in the 20th century. I actually found it hilarious at the time, but then again I don't remember it having that sour little disclaimer at the end that "if anyone disagrees with me or is offended, then you are disagreeing with the teachings of Allah".

Baba Ali of Ummah Films does it much, much better - explains why he's doing it, so it's not just a vain attempt to get laughs but it's a reminder (well, yeah!), and hopefully a wee word of warning so people who don't know can correct themselves. I suppose some people could take it as offensive since it's coming from a brother, but inshallah it's coming from a sincere place.

All the same, I don't like the idea of people going around categorising people so they can go ahead and laugh about them later at the Islamic circle. I feel that if you really believe you've seen someone doing something so wrong it's worthy of ridicule, you should discreetly advise them first - even if you don't know them that well. The worst they can do is reject what you're saying, but at least you've done your duty. At best, you'll be telling them about something they didn't know, and you'll even be rewarded for that (inshallah!).

If you've not got the gall to tell them yourself, then at least don't mock them behind their back. I feel really guilty for all the times I've done this myself, maybe that's why I'm saying this. But really, if you've just seen some un-hijably hijab on a hijabi in passing, then try and put yourselves in their shoes and make some excuses for them. They might be wearing a luminous yellow hijab because all their other ones were dirty, or lost in a fire. Or they might be doing the mickey-mouse hijab because their ears got hot. Or they might have half their hair on their face because they just washed it yesterday and the stupid scarf won't sit right and there's some static electricity going on and they're EXTREMELY hot and bothered and annoyed that you're staring at them. If you see someone like that, it's probably me, so wave hi!

At the same time, you sometimes have to excuse hijabi behaviour in the same way. I mean, if they're doing outright haram, then you should tell them obviously. But say they're in the middle of a laughing fit- you don't have to assume that they're giggling for your benefit *COUGH* maniac muslim*COUGH*. Really, do brothers think like that? If I was to walk past a bunch of guys all guffawing heartily, I'd either think that it's just a coincidence and they were laughing during their conversation in general; or if I was feeling particularly paranoid that they were laughing at me. I'd usually go for the second option. But if a bunch of girls are laughing and a guy walks past, suddenly they're giggling coquettishly for him?

I suppose my problem is that if you're categorising people like that, based on the one time you saw them doing a certain thing, you're not leaving any room for the fact that they don't behave the same way all the time. They could be very sober in general, and just prone to the occasional hysterical cackle. They could dress normally most of the time, you just happen to see them on the day they're dressed up like a pirate. And so on.

And so, may I present to you:

click to embiggen!