May 11, 2011
The pot calling the kettle black
A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I am pretty loathe to admit this. It is absolutely horrible, hypocrital, and uncalled for. HOWEVER, it was my gut reaction and one I am sure others have shared in, whether knowingly or unknowingly.
I judged a sister for being fat.
There, I said it. Perhaps you don't really get how ridiculous this is. I am fat. (Ewww I said it. Out loud.) Anyway I am and I am (for the most part) happy with who I am. I know I have worth, I am intelligent, funny, caring, compassionate, and well.... just plain ole ME!
So here's what happened: there was a small little conversation on facebook and a sister I don't really know made a comment. Of course, I glanced at her profile pic and saw she was overweight. I instantly (and not even consciously) regarded her comment less seriously.
No, I am not joking. :-(
Anyway, I was going to comment (what she had said wasn't quite right, I felt, and I wanted to clarify an issue) but I got too busy. I logged back on later and saw this conversation again. I thought, Oh I don't think that sister is who I thought it was. So I click on her profile.
No, it wasn't who I thought it was. It was a sister but she was rather thin and had that look of an intense academic about her. Immediately I revised my opinion of her comment.
Then it hit me. Whaaaaaaaaaaat? I examined what had happened, how I had went from kinda ignoring what she said to immediately reconsidering her point.
One explanation, which I am sure is part of it, is that this sister is an educated person who is qualified to hold an educated opinion. However, that wasn't how I made my original assessment. I thought she was overweight and I ranked her accordingly.
Ya Allah, you don't know how this appalls me! Not only the issue that it was over being fat while I, myself, am fat. But also because as a Muslim, as a human being, I pride myself on being open, accepting, and non-judgemental.
Yah. I do. OK laugh, I can appreciate the irony too.
I really analyzed my reaction and I think I know why I was dismissive of this sister in the beginning. I might realllly annoy some people with this but I am prepared. This is my blog, and my experiences, and my thoughts. Good or bad. This just happens to be some of the bad. :-(
Islam, alhamdulillah, was brought to some of the more ignorant and arrogant people on the face of the earth: the Arabs. Pre-Islam they were steeped in ridiculous traditions and a multitude of gods and were adamantly opposed to any type of change. Subhanallah, what Allah can make transpire!
Our religion has always spoken to the downtrodden: the mistreated slave, the unwanted baby girls, the exploited and the mis-used. Alhamdulillah again.
Even today, those who are unwanted or uninvited to other religions can find a home in the masjid.
OK I'm beating around the bush. Let me just come out with it. I've met many many women, overweight, divorced, with children, with disabilities, with little to no education, often unemployed, etc. etc., come in and ask to learn about Islam.
After I would meet with them, the majority (90% of them) would explain how they met Mr. So and So, a Muslim, online. They got their groove on, started "dating" online, and now he's coming over from (fill in any Muslim majority country here except the Gulf, it appears). She wants to learn the basics (alhamdulillah) and find out about converting.
I would spend time with them, give them hijabs, an abaya, a Qur'an, literature; send them emails, call to check on them. Be available to answer any questions and being so willing to share the beauty of Islam and my conversion story with them. Basically accepting them as a friend even though many of the things about them personally were off-putting but I did it fi sabilallah (for the sake of Allah).
I didn't hear from most of them again. They wanted to know what any non-Muslim might want to know about Islam, to have that background information. Very few of them converted and from the few that did, they seemed content to do no more than (possibly) pray. They rarely made any effort to gain more knowledge or dress more appropriately.
It seemed the carrot of marriage dangled in front of them by some good-lookin' muslim hottie (whom they should have sensed was out of their league) enticed them change teams. And that was the extent of their interest. Unfortunately for the few who would sporadically attend the masjid or stay in contact, the "brothers" the hooked up with invariably ended up either cheating on them, already being married (without the woman's knowledge) or just out-right leaving her.
Actually one woman went to meet a so-called brother in a different state. He was surprised she didn't bring her children with her (one of whom was a cute 14 yr old girl she had allowed him to speak with!). When she questioned how upset he was, he admitted he didn't want to marry the mom at all but had anticipated her bringing her young daughter with her. He wanted to court the DAUGHTER, not the mom. Subhanallah.
(Note: she actually let her daughter marry the man at the age of 15- no I'm not joking- and now alhamdulillah that daughter is still a muslim but the mother and younger children have went back to their previous way of life. It appears the man promised his soon-to-be MIL- who used to be his fiance!- a house and car, which never transpired.)
Sorry, back to the regularly scheduled program.
So I was happy when I realized why I had this immediate and gut reaction but still very unhappy about it. I guess I should also add that the sister's' name was very obviously that of a convert so it wasn't JUST the issue of weight but also that she was a convert. Once again, yes, the irony.
Please, I don't want or need any comments about how wrong this was. Yah, I get that. I also don't need any comments from my fellow fat sisters out there being enraged. Once again, yah, I know, it was W R O N G. Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
I have prayed, and asked Allah swt to change my attitude and change my heart in this matter.