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Theme Changer

 Topic: Headscarves and Haircuts

 (Read 5741 times)
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  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #60 - June 09, 2017, 10:02 PM

    The problem is many Muslim parents don't respect their children's choices, whether this is religious or anything else really.


    So true. This is the crux of it. And it breaks my heart.
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #61 - June 09, 2017, 10:09 PM

    On a more positive note, someone actually made me laugh a lot about my situation today (which is quite miraculous, considering...)So I went to see a friend and told him about all the emotional blackmail and about my dad saying that he'll die if I don't conform and wear hijab and blah blah blah...

    My friend said: "So your Dad says you have to have fabric on your head at all times or he'll die." *pause* "Yeahhhhhhhhhh... seems legit."

    I know this is not really a laughing matter but just hearing it put that bluntly did make me laugh a lot. I guess it felt freeing, and gave me some hope, to detach myself enough from this situation just long enough to be able to laugh at it. It was only momentary, but it felt good to do that.

    I once heard someone say: "If we don't laugh about things, we cry about them." I hope one day I can choose to laugh more.
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #62 - June 10, 2017, 12:24 AM

    On a more positive note, someone actually made me laugh a lot about my situation today (which is quite miraculous, considering...)So I went to see a friend and told him about all the emotional blackmail and about my dad saying that he'll die if I don't conform and wear hijab and blah blah blah...

    My friend said: "So your Dad says you have to have fabric on your head at all times or he'll die." *pause* "Yeahhhhhhhhhh... seems legit."

    I know this is not really a laughing matter but just hearing it put that bluntly did make me laugh a lot. I guess it felt freeing, and gave me some hope, to detach myself enough from this situation just long enough to be able to laugh at it. It was only momentary, but it felt good to do that.

    I once heard someone say: "If we don't laugh about things, we cry about them." I hope one day I can choose to laugh more.


    I meant to say in my last post, congratulations on getting the job! Its one step closer to doing what you want to do.

    My dad said all kinds of stupid stuff that made no sense when I was at home. Me and my siblings used to play Animal Crossing, you have a house in the game and you must pay off the mortgage using in-game (fake) currency. My dad heard us talking about it and said it was haram to play a game that featured a mortgage as we would think it was normal and get one in real life. I was just thinking really?!! I don't do anything bad so you choose to pick on a harmless game? And he was forever threatening to get rid of the TV, but my mum stood up for that surprisingly. He wanted us home all the time, so why take away our entertainment? I honestly think he was playing mind games and probably laughing at us inside his head, us thinking whatever we did next may get picked apart.

    I'm glad your friend said it like that, it really sounds silly when its said literally! And I think you needed to hear it.
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #63 - June 10, 2017, 01:07 AM

    Ah, it is too bad you cannot use Islam as a weapon in your struggle. If they use an authority on religious matters you have no wiggle room at all, so relaxed interpretations won't be an option.

    Regarding internet usage I would utilize Tor or a proxy server if you can- but there are others on here who will hopefully chime in with foolproof suggestions for how to leave no traces at all.

    Every post you leave on here helps someone else, I am sure you are aware. By sharing your situation you give hope to others. Please keep us updated.

    Don't let Hitler have the street.
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #64 - June 10, 2017, 02:10 AM

    They have one authority figure whom they go to for religious advice

    OMG your family has a home mullah mysmilie_977  Let me offer my sympathies.

       I can understand that you want to be honest, and that’s a moral code for you. Especially girls would often feel uncomfortable holding anything back from their parents.  It must feel unnatural to start holding back.

       What I can’t understand is your listing your justification as ‘I want them to understand why I do what I do’, ‘I don’t want my moving out to be too much of a shock, leaving them wondering why’. Your reasons are as plain as day, and I guess your parents know perfectly well, even now. What you are doing by keeping up the resistance is merely stripping away your parents’ self-illusions. And it seems to me you want to justify yourself before your parents and legitimize your actions, obviously because you feel guilty. There is no way your parents are going to see your actions, moving out and others, as legitimate unless they apostate themselves. It’s an ideological conflict. You won’t be able to make them see you as you do. It’s a lost cause already.
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #65 - June 10, 2017, 12:58 PM

    I meant to say in my last post, congratulations on getting the job! Its one step closer to doing what you want to do.

    My dad said all kinds of stupid stuff that made no sense when I was at home. Me and my siblings used to play Animal Crossing, you have a house in the game and you must pay off the mortgage using in-game (fake) currency. My dad heard us talking about it and said it was haram to play a game that featured a mortgage as we would think it was normal and get one in real life. I was just thinking really?!! I don't do anything bad so you choose to pick on a harmless game? And he was forever threatening to get rid of the TV, but my mum stood up for that surprisingly. He wanted us home all the time, so why take away our entertainment? I honestly think he was playing mind games and probably laughing at us inside his head, us thinking whatever we did next may get picked apart.

    I'm glad your friend said it like that, it really sounds silly when its said literally! And I think you needed to hear it.


    Thank you so much! <3 Everyone who replied to this post has been a crucial part of supporting me towards the realization that independence and moving out are the only options if I really want to live an authentic life. And I should be grateful I even have those options for escape in this country.

    I'm sorry to hear about the kind of things your dad picked on. There are certain things my dad doesn't take issue with, because he sees them as practical necessities, eg: mortgages, student loans, etc, and he even listens to some of our cultural music on long drives, although it's the very clean kind. He generally hates modern pop lyrics/romantic songs which sound very sensual or direct. But he would admit that those indulgences are Islamically 'wrong' and explain that he doesn't feel any 'fakhr'/pride in those choices. Whereas me trying to justify my position re: hijab would be seen as arguing pridefully with my Creator and therefore not only be a 'sin' in his eyes, but also a sin committed arrogantly.

    He does take issue with other things, though. He doesn't like us watching TV shows on laptops or mobile devices, for example, as he can't monitor them as easily as if we were watching them in front of him (my brother and I are both in our twenties.) I'm not open with him about the things I'm reading, either, as I feel he might try to stop me reading some of it... I remember in secondary school he used to confiscate the free newspaper my brother and I would get from the bus because there were 'adult' things in it. (Noo it was not The Sun page 3 hahah... It was the Metro. But the articles were about the real world, which includes a passing mention of sex sometimes, whether in relation to lawsuits or court cases or sexual health news or a weekly relationship advice column or elsewhere. I can't remember exactly what my dad took offence to.)

    When I was much younger, we went to the library, and he once flipped randomly through some of the books I'd picked out for reading. The titles and blurbs passed inspection. Then he found the phrase 'Laura's boyfriend' on one of the random pages he flipped through, so he demanded to know why I couldn't read 'decent' books and refused to let me borrow it. Fast forward 14 years or so, though, he did see me taking a copy of 'Empire and Sexuality' back to the University library along with a bagful of other more innocently titled books, and he didn't get mad or anything... maybe because he assumed it was necessary for one of my assignments and that I'd been a good girl and only looked at the pages that were absolutely compulsory. He did make me hide it in with the rest of the books, though, presumably so that the public wouldn't see that I'd had to read such shameful material. However, when he found out that I read The God Delusion he said that such books entertain doubts and create convincing arguments and so I should never have read it in the first place. But it just suggests to me that religion is built on a weak basis if to maintain belief in it you have to avoid reading anything that contradicts it.

    He's furiously against social media like Facebook, etc, (which I could somewhat understand if those things were just used for meaningless ends, but actually you can connect over so many beneficial and important causes on those kind of platforms, too) and he once smashed my brother's laptop screen when he found him using Facebook. Up until very recently my brother had a curfew on his Internet usage. For these kind of reasons I feel like my parents don't know me very well as I find it difficult to be open with them about things I read/watch/do in my spare time. When I wanted to go swimming with a friend, for example, he would drop me to the ladies-only session and wait outside in the swimming pool reception until the session finished, and if for some reason he couldn't sit there and wait the whole time then I wouldn't be allowed to go. I still can't go to friend's houses without permission at this age, and my time there has to be carefully monitored. I have never stayed a night out of the house for a social reason... Even some of my first cousins in Pakistan I would never be allowed to sleep over with. So whenever I want to do something social after uni, like go to a meal with a friend, I tend to just tell my parents I have extra studying too, because it's easier than having to beg every time I want to exercise my freedom...
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #66 - June 10, 2017, 01:11 PM


    I'm glad your friend said it like that, it really sounds silly when its said literally! And I think you needed to hear it.


    Yes, I think I needed to hear it too, and I'm so grateful that talking to as many people as possible has helped me realise what this situation really is, and that I need to extricate myself from it instead of believing it my duty to quietly sacrifice myself. Another thing my friend said yesterday which really helped was that when I asked him: "Can I consider myself morally sound if I leave?" His response was: "Can you consider yourself morally sound if you don't?"

    And that really hit home. Because the only alternative if I don't leave is to live a lie, a life of constant pretense for my whole existence, in which the majority of my outward actions contradict my inward thoughts. In which I deny myself many experiences for the sake of satisfying the demands of religio-social ideologies which I don't even conform to.

    Some might measure their morality on the basis of willingness to self-sacrifice. But I don't have to. I could measure my morality on my authenticity and my desire to build a better world for myself and as many people around me as possible. If I stay self-sacrificing, I might satisfy the demands of two people: my parents. If I choose my own freedom of movement and belief at the cost of their disapproval, I might be able to do so much more with my life, to help so many others whom I wouldn't have been able to reach just sitting confined at home and worrying about what my parents would think about every next action.
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #67 - June 10, 2017, 01:33 PM

    Ah, it is too bad you cannot use Islam as a weapon in your struggle. If they use an authority on religious matters you have no wiggle room at all, so relaxed interpretations won't be an option.

    Regarding internet usage I would utilize Tor or a proxy server if you can- but there are others on here who will hopefully chime in with foolproof suggestions for how to leave no traces at all.

    Every post you leave on here helps someone else, I am sure you are aware. By sharing your situation you give hope to others. Please keep us updated.


    Thanks so much - I will look up Tor and proxy servers. And it would be beautiful if sharing my situation could give hope to others in a similar predicament. This site is an absolute gem and anything I can give back to the community of visitors here is my pleasure. I will keep chronicling my story here. I hope the ending will be an inspiring one I can be proud of Smiley

    My advice to anyone like me would be to talk to as many people as possible outside your immediate situation. I really started seeing the light after cumulative feedback from people on here, from school counsellors, from the University counselling service, from friends on my course, from an old secondary school teacher, from a lecturer I trusted and whom I am still in contact with. Reading works from people who have escaped the constraints of ideology has given me the strength to envision that as a possibility for myself, too. I will never forget the day that a CEMB rep came to my university. I saw the event advertised on FB and I didn't identify as ex-Muslim at the time, so I got scared and anxious because I couldn't handle hearing anything which fanned doubts about Islam as I was so deep into it myself and saw no way out of it at the time, what with my family situation. Fear of hell, etc was much more profound at that time, too. But over the past couple of years I'd been trying to live my life by the philosophy: "Do the things that make you anxious and uncomfortable and scare you... Outside of your comfort zone is the place where you grow." So I went to the event, and oh my, I am so glad that I did because that event changed the course of my life. This was even before I read The God Delusion, but they screened the documentary Islam's Non-Believers and I realised a little suppressed part of me so identified with the fear of being honest about my doubts that I had never really fully pursued those doubts. The next month I bought The God Delusion from a bookshop. After that I read Why I Am Not A Muslim by ibn Warraq. Following that I read Christopher Hitchens' God is Not Great, and Muhammad by Martin Lings (eye-opening when you read it critically, and wonder why as a Muslim you chose to believe this over any other religious tradition of narrated miracles.) Similarly some of the actions and events start looking a lot more morally questionable, even though the author himself is Muslim and so shouldn't be deliberately trying to create negative propaganda.

    Then I moved on to Misquoting Muhammad by Jonathan AC Brown (which is a fantastically erudite scholarly work, but does far more to explore how people re-intepret scripture after accepting it as divinely true than instil any confidence in the original divinity of the scripture itself), and Headscarves and Hymens by Mona Eltahawy. That inspired me to assert myself a little more at home and backlash ensued. So I took refuge in this forum.

    And the rest, as they say, is history. Smiley
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #68 - June 10, 2017, 01:54 PM

    OMG your family has a home mullah mysmilie_977  Let me offer my sympathies.

       I can understand that you want to be honest, and that’s a moral code for you. Especially girls would often feel uncomfortable holding anything back from their parents.  It must feel unnatural to start holding back.

       What I can’t understand is your listing your justification as ‘I want them to understand why I do what I do’, ‘I don’t want my moving out to be too much of a shock, leaving them wondering why’. Your reasons are as plain as day, and I guess your parents know perfectly well, even now. What you are doing by keeping up the resistance is merely stripping away your parents’ self-illusions. And it seems to me you want to justify yourself before your parents and legitimize your actions, obviously because you feel guilty. There is no way your parents are going to see your actions, moving out and others, as legitimate unless they apostate themselves. It’s an ideological conflict. You won’t be able to make them see you as you do. It’s a lost cause already.


    Thank you for your very valuable input. You're right - the need to be honest about my beliefs was a huge part of it. I've lived a lot of my life thinking things and not saying them out of fear of conflict, not just in religious circumstances but also in my general wider relationships with others, and that's something I've been trying to fix lately, so it makes me feel like a weak person to be in a situation where I'm thinking things but not expressing them /not standing up for my views now.

    I guess you're also right in that it does have a lot to do with trying to legitimize/getting my parents to understand my actions, because it hurts me that they don't want to acknowledge that there could be any moral justification for leaving them, and that it's not just ungratefulness/abandonment on my part. I hate being misunderstood and a friend of mine has also remarked in the past that I'm often trying to explain myself to other people. Another friend also said after an argument that she doesn't like people who 'try to justify their mistakes' (meaning me.) You are absolutely right, I do feel guilty, and a need to explain myself comes into that.

     But I had not considered that continuing the conflict openly at this point, and 'stripping away my parents' self-illusions', as you put it, might even be a cruel thing to do if I have no hope that they will change their minds as a result of what I say and eventually become more open-minded and accepting of a range of life choices. Maybe there was an idealistic part of me that hoped that they would, but perhaps the more I argue, the more I will just torment them. I guess because my brother, and some of my friends who were born here for example, don't criticize my decision to choose for myself without apostasizing, I was subconsciously entertaining the hope that I could be the one to help open up my parents' minds to different viewpoints. Is that a kind of saviour mentality I have developed perhaps? There are implications of that which are problematic. I feel like religion made life more difficult for me but it has not necessarily ruined theirs, so even if I disagree with it maybe it's not right for me to air my criticisms of it to their faces. I had never ever planned to impose, only to express, but would it be better to let them live in their Islam-is-perfect bubble if they want to, without trying to puncture it with my criticisms now?
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #69 - June 10, 2017, 02:05 PM

    Also, I know there's a long time to go yet, but I think it's good to be well-prepared and it's helped to get as much as advice as possible in the past, which is why I'll ask this question now:

    What do you guys think about re-initiating contact after leaving home? Should you, and how do you, go about that process?

    So when I leave, presumably I'll just leave a note and at least initially I won't tell my family where I'm going in case I get followed. How long do I then allow before I get back in touch? And how do I maintain a relationship if I can't tell them where I live? Presumably the first thing they'll ask the first time I ring up or come back is 'where the hell are you?' And then do I have to dress up in hijab when I go to back to avoid hurting their feelings or exacerbating drama? It's a bit of a thought whirlwind, and any opinions or stories of experiences would be very helpful. <3
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #70 - June 10, 2017, 04:09 PM

    What do you guys think about re-initiating contact after leaving home? Should you, and how do you, go about that process?


    First and foremost, do what's right for you. Keep yourself safe. Everything else is secondary.

    `But I don't want to go among mad people,' Alice remarked.
     `Oh, you can't help that,' said the Cat: `we're all mad here. I'm mad.  You're mad.'
     `How do you know I'm mad?' said Alice.
     `You must be,' said the Cat, `or you wouldn't have come here.'
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #71 - June 10, 2017, 11:11 PM

    Thank you so much! <3 Everyone who replied to this post has been a crucial part of supporting me towards the realization that independence and moving out are the only options if I really want to live an authentic life. And I should be grateful I even have those options for escape in this country.

    I'm sorry to hear about the kind of things your dad picked on. There are certain things my dad doesn't take issue with, because he sees them as practical necessities, eg: mortgages, student loans, etc, and he even listens to some of our cultural music on long drives, although it's the very clean kind. He generally hates modern pop lyrics/romantic songs which sound very sensual or direct. But he would admit that those indulgences are Islamically 'wrong' and explain that he doesn't feel any 'fakhr'/pride in those choices. Whereas me trying to justify my position re: hijab would be seen as arguing pridefully with my Creator and therefore not only be a 'sin' in his eyes, but also a sin committed arrogantly.

    He does take issue with other things, though. He doesn't like us watching TV shows on laptops or mobile devices, for example, as he can't monitor them as easily as if we were watching them in front of him (my brother and I are both in our twenties.) I'm not open with him about the things I'm reading, either, as I feel he might try to stop me reading some of it... I remember in secondary school he used to confiscate the free newspaper my brother and I would get from the bus because there were 'adult' things in it. (Noo it was not The Sun page 3 hahah... It was the Metro. But the articles were about the real world, which includes a passing mention of sex sometimes, whether in relation to lawsuits or court cases or sexual health news or a weekly relationship advice column or elsewhere. I can't remember exactly what my dad took offence to.)

    When I was much younger, we went to the library, and he once flipped randomly through some of the books I'd picked out for reading. The titles and blurbs passed inspection. Then he found the phrase 'Laura's boyfriend' on one of the random pages he flipped through, so he demanded to know why I couldn't read 'decent' books and refused to let me borrow it. Fast forward 14 years or so, though, he did see me taking a copy of 'Empire and Sexuality' back to the University library along with a bagful of other more innocently titled books, and he didn't get mad or anything... maybe because he assumed it was necessary for one of my assignments and that I'd been a good girl and only looked at the pages that were absolutely compulsory. He did make me hide it in with the rest of the books, though, presumably so that the public wouldn't see that I'd had to read such shameful material. However, when he found out that I read The God Delusion he said that such books entertain doubts and create convincing arguments and so I should never have read it in the first place. But it just suggests to me think that religion is built on a weak basis if to maintain belief in it you have to keep avoiding reading anything that contradicts it.

    He's furiously against social media like Facebook, etc, (which I could somewhat understand if those things were just used for meaningless ends, but actually you can connect over so many beneficial and important causes on those kind of platforms, too) and he once smashed my brother's laptop screen when he found him using Facebook. Up until very recently my brother had a curfew on his Internet usage. For these kind of reasons I feel like my parents don't know me very well as I find it difficult to be open with them about things I read/watch/do in my spare time. When I wanted to go swimming with a friend, for example, he would drop me to the ladies-only session and wait outside in the swimming pool reception until the session finished, and if for some reason he couldn't sit there and wait the whole time then I wouldn't be allowed to go. I still can't go to friend's houses without permission at this age, and my time there has to be carefully monitored. I have never stayed a night out of the house for a social reason... Even some of my first cousins in Pakistan I would never be allowed to sleep over with. So whenever I want to do something social after uni, like go to a meal with a friend, I tend to just tell my parents I have extra studying too, because it's easier than having to beg every time I want to exercise my freedom...


    I listened to music in secret at home. Now I blast it out of my speakers!

    I've always thought that about books etc that are written from a non religious point of view. If Islam is so perfect it's fine to read them as they wouldn't shake your faith. I would say at this point I'm agnostic, but maybe I'm still finding myself. I don't like the idea of being part of any religion. That reminds me, my parents used to have me removed from RE lessons. But they couldn't take me out of them in secondary school. I got good grades in that subject, and learned about other faiths. My dad admitted years later he thought we would convert to another religion if we learned about them.

    I was lucky that my best friend was also a family friend so I was allowed to see her. Anyone else I'd lie about it.

    Your dad sounds very controlling. He needs to realise his children are adults now. He's gotta loosen up. But if he's anything like my dad, he won't. As if he didn't like the metro! It's just news. I love reading it on the bus.

    Also, I know there's a long time to go yet, but I think it's good to be well-prepared and it's helped to get as much as advice as possible in the past, which is why I'll ask this question now:

    What do you guys think about re-initiating contact after leaving home? Should you, and how do you, go about that process?

    So when I leave, presumably I'll just leave a note and at least initially I won't tell my family where I'm going in case I get followed. How long do I then allow before I get back in touch? And how do I maintain a relationship if I can't tell them where I live? Presumably the first thing they'll ask the first time I ring up or come back is 'where the hell are you?' And then do I have to dress up in hijab when I go to back to avoid hurting their feelings or exacerbating drama? It's a bit of a thought whirlwind, and any opinions or stories of experiences would be very helpful. <3


    First off, I blocked everyone on my phone so I could breathe for a few days after leaving. Then I spoke to my mum. She basically knew it was coming and she also said she knew I would never move back home.

    Yes don't tell your family where you go. No addresses or anything. If you do end up in a refuge, you can't tell anyone the location anyway. It must be kept confidential to protect you and the other women inside. Say you are safe, that's what I did. My family do not know my current address, but they do know what city I'm in. You may not want to disclose that at first, or ever. Tread slowly and carefully, I'm sure you'll know what to do.

    I've been back to my hometown, but avoided going to the family home. I didn't put my hijab on because I don't wear it anymore so that needs to be accepted, whether they like it or not. My younger sister took hers off before me, believe it or not. She's only 17 but much stronger than I was at her age.
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #72 - June 16, 2017, 10:02 AM

    my brother, and some of my friends who were born here for example, don't criticize my decision to choose for myself without apostasizing.
     

    Sorry I was narrow-minded. It isn’t for me to say whether or not your parents can accept you as you are, I just thought it was highly unlikely. You are right there are people like your brother and in large numbers. I was too quick in my judgments. You asked a difficult question, and I don’t really know how to answer. Just please be careful.
       Maybe it’s an eastern thing to be more sensitive to their age and health? My parents too were born in the 1960s, and they have been complaining about their old age for a decade. By the laws here my mother’s retiring this winter, which is probably worse I think.
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #73 - June 18, 2017, 10:55 AM

    First off, I blocked everyone on my phone so I could breathe for a few days after leaving. Then I spoke to my mum. She basically knew it was coming and she also said she knew I would never move back home.

    Yes don't tell your family where you go. No addresses or anything. If you do end up in a refuge, you can't tell anyone the location anyway. It must be kept confidential to protect you and the other women inside. Say you are safe, that's what I did. My family do not know my current address, but they do know what city I'm in. You may not want to disclose that at first, or ever. Tread slowly and carefully, I'm sure you'll know what to do.

    I've been back to my hometown, but avoided going to the family home. I didn't put my hijab on because I don't wear it anymore so that needs to be accepted, whether they like it or not. My younger sister took hers off before me, believe it or not. She's only 17 but much stronger than I was at her age.



    Thanks so much for sharing what you did. I have no idea how I will handle the first conversation after I leave. I don't know if I will be able to ever handle any conversation after I leave, but perhaps that's cowardly of me. I guess time will tell.
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #74 - June 18, 2017, 11:04 AM

    Sorry I was narrow-minded. It isn’t for me to say whether or not your parents can accept you as you are, I just thought it was highly unlikely. You are right there are people like your brother and in large numbers. I was too quick in my judgments. You asked a difficult question, and I don’t really know how to answer. Just please be careful.
       Maybe it’s an eastern thing to be more sensitive to their age and health? My parents too were born in the 1960s, and they have been complaining about their old age for a decade. By the laws here my mother’s retiring this winter, which is probably worse I think.


    That's absolutely okay. It was good for me to try and understand where you're coming from (no growth comes from living in an echo chamber! Smiley ) and actually you probably are right. My brother/friends are of a different generation and were brought up here in the UK, so they understand, whereas my parents interpret anything I say in contradiction to Islam as an example of me being brainwashed by the West. My brother says the same thing to me; he thinks it's not sensible and will just cause damage to try to push my parents to understand.

    Do your parents ask you to come back and live with them as they're feeling old? I know you mentioned before that you didn't make your stance on religion an explicit reason for moving out. What did you say it was for instead, and how did your family take it?
  • Headscarves and Haircuts
     Reply #75 - June 18, 2017, 12:49 PM

    Do your parents ask you to come back and live with them as they're feeling old? I know you mentioned before that you didn't make your stance on religion an explicit reason for moving out. What did you say it was for instead, and how did your family take it?

       I’m away for a graduate degree, with my parents’ full support. And yes, they expect me to return to my home city and take care of them, or take them to wherever I choose to live (try imagine my dismay when I heard the latter). My mother and her sister take turns to care for their near-90-year-old half dementia mother and apologize to her when they come home from work 15 minutes late. And my single aunt, who divorced months after her wedding (with a child in her belly), takes up most of the responsibility, and sleeps in the same bed with her mother, my grandmother. If I don’t work hard and excel at what I do, and establish myself far far away, that’s exactly what my life will be. Well probably far worse as my aunt didn’t have a problem with the conservative lifestyle there and all.

       At least for me it’s possible to say no to marriage for as long as I like, and still live a relatively decent life (albeit a slowly suffocating one). How long do you think you can last out as a single woman in your family Xainab? Career is your friend and it’s so nice to see you landing a new job. I still have a long way to go for that. When I get my degree, career will be my next excuse to stay away from home, which may not work that well as my mother’s already setting up blind dates for me (I'm 23), but it will be my only viable excuse, for as long as possible. I guess I’m betting everything on my career, though there is no way of telling how that will turn out.
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     Reply #76 - June 18, 2017, 05:48 PM

      If I don’t work hard and excel at what I do, and establish myself far far away, that’s exactly what my life will be. Well probably far worse as my aunt didn’t have a problem with the conservative lifestyle there and all.


    I do feel for you Pebble. That sense of slow suffocation is especially relatable. In the book The God of Small Things, one of the main characters starts to experience the onset of insanity, because she feels like she knows exactly how her life is going to pan out, and exactly how it's going to end. When I read that passage, I saw myself in it. And when my parents started making it clear that they wanted me to marry my first cousin (with my father going so far as to say that he wouldn't feel comfortable giving me to anyone else/to an 'outsider'), I think what shattered me most of all was the contrast between how big this world is and how small my experiences of it will be if I carry on living in this stiflingly limited way which my parents desire for me. Billions of people on this planet and yet I am to marry my first cousin? Really? Is the world that small? Has my path in life been mapped out with such certainty? There are things I want to do. Places I want to see. (But oh no, those options are not open to me even if I work hard for them because as a Muslim woman I can't travel alone.) I can't keep living like this. I know in some ways our situations are different, but I can really relate to your desire to escape.

    My mum brought up the marriage topic again yesterday, though jokingly and only in passing, because I told her I noticed my first grey hair. (I think we have a family history of premature greying.) I don't know how long I'd realistically be able to put off marriage if I stayed at home. I cried and panicked so much when they were pressuring me for my cousin's proposal that I think they know not to push it too much, at least not for a few years. But this new job I've got is a 2 year post, and so my plan is to pack and run to a different city once the term is up. There I can be as single as I like Smiley It's extremely unlikely that I will get 'permission' to leave, especially now that my parents are at least vaguely aware of my religious doubts. So I will literally have to run if I really want to be free. I am afraid of destroying them, and I don't know how I would go about trying to salvage or even maintain a relationship with them after walking out on them like that, but I don't know any other way to get my freedom and avoid the double life. :( They made me go to Taraweeh with them yesterday and I was standing there fake-praying, thinking about how I can't wait until I don't have to do this any more.

    Hopefully, the fact that your parents were not just okay with you moving away for grad school, but in fact supportive of it, is a sign that they could potentially be flexible in future if a really amazing career opportunity were to come up. My parents might have been open to me going places if I'd studied Medicine, like they initially wanted me to, but because my chosen undergraduate degree was in the Arts, I think they've got this idea that it's not worth travelling far for. I was only allowed to attend university locally, too. You are definitely doing the right thing by developing yourself skillswise as much as you can at this stage.  far away hug
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     Reply #77 - June 18, 2017, 08:34 PM

    Ah, it is too bad you cannot use Islam as a weapon in your struggle. If they use an authority on religious matters you have no wiggle room at all, so relaxed interpretations won't be an option.


    OMG your family has a home mullah mysmilie_977  Let me offer my sympathies.


    Yet your father shaves his beard? I find this strange, and somewhat hypocritical. My understanding is that beard length is a question of debate, not the beard itself. As I understand, to shave, or take a blade to the face I think is closer to the hadith wording, is haram (with the usual medical exemptions).

    And sunnah does not mean optional. If something is sunnah, it's something others observed and recorded Muhammad doing, or in this case not doing - he didn't shave his beard (maybe did his moustache), but he did trim. It's the same with praying - nowhere does the Qur'an tell us exactly how to pray, that's in the sunnah. But praying is absolutely compulsory.

    I'm kinda going out on a limb here, but my guess is Muhammad never shaved totally, therefore making shaving haram. I may be wrong on this bit though. But I have definitely heard the beard described (albeit somewhat patronisingly) as the male hijab.

    It would be interesting if at some point, you could bring this up with your dad, in a non confrontational way, as part of a discussion about your situation. It may make something click inside his head.
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     Reply #78 - June 18, 2017, 08:36 PM

    Meant to say, congratulations on the job - great news  sloshed cheers fest42
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     Reply #79 - June 20, 2017, 09:33 AM

    Thanks so much for sharing what you did. I have no idea how I will handle the first conversation after I leave. I don't know if I will be able to ever handle any conversation after I leave, but perhaps that's cowardly of me. I guess time will tell.


    It's not cowardly, you shouldn't have to deal with people pestering you anyway. Its like they get mad that you did something for yourself, when your whole life is supposed to about them and them only.

    I must say you are fortunate that your brother somewhat supports you. My brothers were also raised in the UK, but none of them support me leaving or anything. I think they see their place as keeping their sisters down, despite the fact they went out, did stuff with girls, drank etc. But its OK when they do it! I don't even drink now. I don't smoke or take drugs. I live quite a normal quiet life for someone my age.

    It really bothers me when parents do things like make you go to the mosque or do religious stuff when they can see it isn't working. Its like they are closing their ears and eyes and going LALALALA IT'S NOT HAPPENING!! because you leaving religion would be like the end of the world. I wish it wasn't like that. If they could accept us not being religious, we could have a normal relationship where we visit each other etc. But because of Islam we can't. I see it tearing families apart not keeping them together.
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     Reply #80 - June 20, 2017, 04:11 PM

    Yet your father shaves his beard? I find this strange, and somewhat hypocritical. My understanding is that beard length is a question of debate, not the beard itself. As I understand, to shave, or take a blade to the face I think is closer to the hadith wording, is haram (with the usual medical exemptions).

    And sunnah does not mean optional. If something is sunnah, it's something others observed and recorded Muhammad doing, or in this case not doing - he didn't shave his beard (maybe did his moustache), but he did trim. It's the same with praying - nowhere does the Qur'an tell us exactly how to pray, that's in the sunnah. But praying is absolutely compulsory.

    I'm kinda going out on a limb here, but my guess is Muhammad never shaved totally, therefore making shaving haram. I may be wrong on this bit though. But I have definitely heard the beard described (albeit somewhat patronisingly) as the male hijab.

    It would be interesting if at some point, you could bring this up with your dad, in a non confrontational way, as part of a discussion about your situation. It may make something click inside his head.


    When I brought up his non-beardedness, he did later acquiesce and say: 'Actually I should have a beard, and that's something I'm seriously considering doing.' So I got really scared that he would do the whole: "Okay, I'll grow out my beard but you MUST wear hijab then" and expect us to form some kind of buddy agreement to both follow the Islamic rulings. But that's not the point. I don't really care about his beard! He can do what he wants and I want to do what I want. I just pointed out to him initially because you're right - it is hypocritical on the surface.
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     Reply #81 - June 20, 2017, 04:19 PM

    Congrats on the job Xainab!

    I can't say that I have much advice or feedback to give you, but I like others am rooting for you!  far away hug

    how fuck works without shit??


    Let's Play Chess!

    harakaat, friend, RIP
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     Reply #82 - June 20, 2017, 04:45 PM

    Congrats on the job Xainab!

    I can't say that I have much advice or feedback to give you, but I like others am rooting for you!  far away hug

    Meant to say, congratulations on the job - great news  sloshed cheers fest42


    Thank you both - very much! Smiley
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     Reply #83 - June 20, 2017, 04:46 PM

    It's not cowardly, you shouldn't have to deal with people pestering you anyway. Its like they get mad that you did something for yourself, when your whole life is supposed to about them and them only.


    It feels good to hear that. I think I am going to go down the leaving-a-note route, as I was originally planning, and maybe leave them an email address if they want to contact me. I'm afraid that even phone conversations would be too confrontational and difficult.

    I must say you are fortunate that your brother somewhat supports you. My brothers were also raised in the UK, but none of them support me leaving or anything. I think they see their place as keeping their sisters down, despite the fact they went out, did stuff with girls, drank etc. But its OK when they do it! I don't even drink now. I don't smoke or take drugs. I live quite a normal quiet life for someone my age.


    Their hypocrisy is disgusting. It's really unfair that you should have been expected to adhere to restrictions purely because of your gender while they went out and did whatever they liked. My dad isn't a drinker or a womanizer or even much of a socializer, and he grew up doing everything his father asked of him, so he's not hypocritical from that point of view. I guess that's partly what makes me feel guilty for wanting to leave. I know he's not an evil person - he's just got blinders on and expects us to do everything the way he did.

    Yeah, I don't think I will drink regularly either, even once I have left home. I had a quarter of a glass of (I think white?) wine in February and half a pint of cider yesterday. Neither of them were particularly tasty or otherwise interesting from a sensory perspective. I enjoyed the company of the people I was with more than anything else.

    It really bothers me when parents do things like make you go to the mosque or do religious stuff when they can see it isn't working. Its like they are closing their ears and eyes and going LALALALA IT'S NOT HAPPENING!! because you leaving religion would be like the end of the world. I wish it wasn't like that. If they could accept us not being religious, we could have a normal relationship where we visit each other etc. But because of Islam we can't. I see it tearing families apart not keeping them together.


    I could not agree more. </3 I don't know... Maybe when I do leave, my parents' reactions/ability to adapt or accept me will surprise me in a positive way. Unlikely, though, I think. And it's definitely not happening while I'm still under their roof. I'm wearing shorts right now - 32 degrees C today, bloody great for British weather! - but I'll have to put my long skirt and hijab back on when I go home. I can't even fathom how my father would explode if he saw me bareheaded in public, let alone wearing shorts. Even at home, where there are no other males around apart from him/my brother, he makes me cover my chest with a scarf, or 'dupatta' to use the Urdu term, on top of whatever shirt I'm already wearing. Kind of weird when you think about it. I'm his own daughter; you'd think he'd be able to handle seeing me in a shirt with an average neckline! Definitely some cultural additions being layered over the purely Quranic principle.
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     Reply #84 - June 20, 2017, 09:18 PM

    When I brought up his non-beardedness, he did later acquiesce and say: 'Actually I should have a beard, and that's something I'm seriously considering doing.' So I got really scared that he would do the whole: "Okay, I'll grow out my beard but you MUST wear hijab then" and expect us to form some kind of buddy agreement to both follow the Islamic rulings. But that's not the point. I don't really care about his beard! He can do what he wants and I want to do what I want. I just pointed out to him initially because you're right - it is hypocritical on the surface.

    It doesn't have to be a buddy agreement though; this did go through my mind while I was typing the above post. It's good for your situation that he has acknowledged he's doing something he knows is wrong (ie. shaving completely), and even better that he hasn't rectified it yet. I say this, because it gives you some common ground to hopefully make the next 2 years more bearable for you. When you can talk with him next, in a calm and controlled way, perhaps bring this up and explain to him that, just as he struggles with his beard, you also struggle with the hijab. Why haven't you mentioned it till now? Well, now you're older and can talk about it with him as an adult. Of course, he won't be at all happy with you taking it off altogether, but he does seem to be relatively reasonable and not perhaps quite as conservative as you may think, once you scratch the fatherly and head-of-household outer shell. Perhaps this will enable him to be comfortable with you wearing it loose, particularly if you remind him that was his suggestion to start with!

    Just be careful who sees your naked head (God forbid  mysmilie_977 ) when you're out and about, although they may not recognise you actually!
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     Reply #85 - June 20, 2017, 11:43 PM

    It feels good to hear that. I think I am going to go down the leaving-a-note route, as I was originally planning, and maybe leave them an email address if they want to contact me. I'm afraid that even phone conversations would be too confrontational and difficult.

    Their hypocrisy is disgusting. It's really unfair that you should have been expected to adhere to restrictions purely because of your gender while they went out and did whatever they liked. My dad isn't a drinker or a womanizer or even much of a socializer, and he grew up doing everything his father asked of him, so he's not hypocritical from that point of view. I guess that's partly what makes me feel guilty for wanting to leave. I know he's not an evil person - he's just got blinders on and expects us to do everything the way he did.

    Yeah, I don't think I will drink regularly either, even once I have left home. I had a quarter of a glass of (I think white?) wine in February and half a pint of cider yesterday. Neither of them were particularly tasty or otherwise interesting from a sensory perspective. I enjoyed the company of the people I was with more than anything else.

    I could not agree more. </3 I don't know... Maybe when I do leave, my parents' reactions/ability to adapt or accept me will surprise me in a positive way. Unlikely, though, I think. And it's definitely not happening while I'm still under their roof. I'm wearing shorts right now - 32 degrees C today, bloody great for British weather! - but I'll have to put my long skirt and hijab back on when I go home. I can't even fathom how my father would explode if he saw me bareheaded in public, let alone wearing shorts. Even at home, where there are no other males around apart from him/my brother, he makes me cover my chest with a scarf, or 'dupatta' to use the Urdu term, on top of whatever shirt I'm already wearing. Kind of weird when you think about it. I'm his own daughter; you'd think he'd be able to handle seeing me in a shirt with an average neckline! Definitely some cultural additions being layered over the purely Quranic principle.


    Yeh phone conversations can be hard, because even though the person isn't there, they will most likely ask difficult questions that you don't want to answer. Remember you don't have to either. Especially as an adult you don't owe anyone a reason for your choices.

    Well my parents dated for two years before they got married. So they liked to pretend it didn't happen, but the truth slowly came out. I had a few mixed race friends like myself, and we'd sit and laugh about how our parents must have met in a haram way because we never got to hear how it all happened. I've been with my boyfriend just over a year and a half now. Couldn't see us being married at the 2 year mark like my parents lol.

    My brothers were all terribly bossy. The younger one was ok until he got older and I think, he realised he was allowed to tell off his sisters and boss us around. It's a shame because I considered him like a friend for a while and we did loads together. Then he just started trying to tell me what to do, even when I took him out and drove him places.

    I actually don't like the taste of alcohol. I'm probably better off financially not drinking either. I can have water or soft drinks in a pub and still have a good time.

    It's so hot, don't blame you for wearing shorts! I miss the cold weather and wrapping up warm. Yeh it's a bit odd your dad would expect you to cover up so much in front of him. You are meant to be a bit more free when you're at home with male relatives anyway! And the beard thing, I don't consider a beard to be anything like wearing a hijab. You could be non Muslim and grow a beard. It's not exactly difficult and doesn't single you out for possible abuse in the streets like a hijab does. Some men have no idea.
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     Reply #86 - June 21, 2017, 09:19 AM

    Even at home, where there are no other males around apart from him/my brother, he makes me cover my chest with a scarf, or 'dupatta' to use the Urdu term, on top of whatever shirt I'm already wearing. Kind of weird when you think about it.


    Wow, that’s interesting. When I travelled to rural areas, I was shocked to find my more conservative, more religious relatives breastfeeding by the dinner table in front of the whole family. And I’ve heard of a story about how my great-aunt once ran away to her mother’s home: because her father-in-law asked her why she can’t tailor her shirt a bit so she won’t have to unbutton the whole shirt and ‘bare her stomach like a man’ in order to breastfeed. They just don't think there is anything wrong with it, while I grew up thinking it inconcievable. So I think this kind of in-door modesty rules are probably very new, well at least for Central Asia.  grin12 (Edit: Parts of Central Asia)

    And thank you for your kind words Xainab. You are so sweet.
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     Reply #87 - June 21, 2017, 05:26 PM

    It doesn't have to be a buddy agreement though; this did go through my mind while I was typing the above post. It's good for your situation that he has acknowledged he's doing something he knows is wrong (ie. shaving completely), and even better that he hasn't rectified it yet. I say this, because it gives you some common ground to hopefully make the next 2 years more bearable for you. When you can talk with him next, in a calm and controlled way, perhaps bring this up and explain to him that, just as he struggles with his beard, you also struggle with the hijab. Why haven't you mentioned it till now? Well, now you're older and can talk about it with him as an adult. Of course, he won't be at all happy with you taking it off altogether, but he does seem to be relatively reasonable and not perhaps quite as conservative as you may think, once you scratch the fatherly and head-of-household outer shell. Perhaps this will enable him to be comfortable with you wearing it loose, particularly if you remind him that was his suggestion to start with!

    Just be careful who sees your naked head (God forbid  mysmilie_977 ) when you're out and about, although they may not recognise you actually!


    I appreciate your advice. I think that approach might have worked if I was just starting off wearing hijab. The problem is that I've been wearing it since age thirteen without complaint, and am only now revealing that it's a struggle. This came at the same time as me trying to express religious doubts. So it's obvious to my parents that my faith is 'degenerating' and my dad sees my step away from hijab as a symbol of that. The two concepts (loss of hijab/loss of faith) are inextricably interlinked in my family's eyes now. Whereas it's not like my dad ever kept a beard for religious reasons and then shaved it off after experiencing religious doubts - he never even started. So there's no regression on his part. Whereas my more 'lenient hijab' is regression. I tried to tell them I'm only being honest with them now because I've become more mature and I didn't feel strong/comfortable doing so before - they weren't having it. He told me I've been wearing it for all these years and I need to keep up the status quo instead of 'abandoning good habits.' He doesn't see beards and hijabs as equal.
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     Reply #88 - June 21, 2017, 08:01 PM

    Yeh phone conversations can be hard, because even though the person isn't there, they will most likely ask difficult questions that you don't want to answer. Remember you don't have to either. Especially as an adult you don't owe anyone a reason for your choices.


    Believing this is the only thing keeping me going. <3 It's so hard to shake off the idea that I am responsible for their emotions otherwise!

    And wow! My parents had a 100% arranged marriage. I remember one day in primary school my friends were all discussing how their parents met each other. Some said in a pub, etc etc. I went home and asked my parents how they met. My dad looked like I'd asked something bizarre and said: "Our families knew each other." My mum was younger than me when she got married. It's a shame that your parents' love marriage didn't make them more open-minded in terms of allowing you some freedom. :(

    I'm sorry for the way your brother behaved. If mine had been that way my life would have been ten times harder. I'm really fortunate that he is more of an ally. Even though our day-to-day interaction is not really that much, leaving him with my parents (anticipating all the chaos and emotional outbursts which he'll have to deal with when I'm gone) is going to be really really hard.
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     Reply #89 - June 21, 2017, 08:04 PM

    Wow, that’s interesting. When I travelled to rural areas, I was shocked to find my more conservative, more religious relatives breastfeeding by the dinner table in front of the whole family. And I’ve heard of a story about how my great-aunt once ran away to her mother’s home: because her father-in-law asked her why she can’t tailor her shirt a bit so she won’t have to unbutton the whole shirt and ‘bare her stomach like a man’ in order to breastfeed. They just don't think there is anything wrong with it, while I grew up thinking it inconcievable. So I think this kind of in-door modesty rules are probably very new, well at least for Central Asia.  grin12 (Edit: Parts of Central Asia)

    And thank you for your kind words Xainab. You are so sweet.


    I did not know that! Interesting how practices differ from place to place.

    You are most welcome. Smiley
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