Sunday, April 16, 2006

Social gatherings - a distinctly Muslim problem

M = Muslim
NM = Non-Muslim

NM: Hiya, we're going for a drink down the bar - fancy joining us?
M: Oh, not tonight mate...I'm busy, maybe some other time
NM: problem

Phew, crisis averted. You see, most Muslims are in a bit of a bind when it comes social get togethers. You want to be seen as the cool, fun loving Muslim, but you don’t want to spend £100 getting boozed up at some seedy underground bar in hackney. It's a dilemma, some - give in.

"Sure I’ll come" (thinks to self - I’ll stay in for 10 minutes, get myself an orange juice and leave)

"Sure, I’ll come" - Ends up having coke with rum, I mean, hey, it’s only a teeny weenie bit of alcohol, it’s not like I got drunk or anything.

"Sure, I’ll come" - Gets hammered, pukes up his morning paratha - wakes up with more than JUST a hangover.

Some have scruples. They stand up for what they believe in, refusing to go and engage in explicitly haram activities with individuals who, for whatever reason, enjoy spending their hard earned cash on booze, cigarettes and blander than bland pub meals. Some choose an excuse, alhamdullilah - the Muslim ummah have been blessed with their fair share of excuse-mongers. It is, in fact, the one thing we excel at. No one makes excuses like we do. Rather than explain to them the religious reasons behind your non-attendance at next weeks brew-ha-ha, the guilt ridden Muslim will use his god-given excuse making ability to avoid the event.

"I’m busy"

will usually suffice for about 2 weeks, but unless you have a social life reminiscent to that of Paris Hiltons', you're going to need something better - a bit of initiative is usually required.

"Oh, tomorrow did you say? - I can’t make it, its my umm my mums birthday"

Simple enough eh? Birthdays can get you out of pretty much anything. But they could also land u in some deep bush in eye-raq style doo-doo.

NM: "Wasn’t it your mums birthday a few months ago" (shoot, he remembered)
M:"umm, yeh, like that was my other mum".

Congratulations, people now think that you're a product of some sort of weird love triangle. Not good.

Of course, the excuses will get more and more outrageous as the weeks and months go on.

"Oh, Tuesday did you say - no can do, I've been invited to my second cousins ex-wife's mother in law's step sons' best friend bar-mitzvah - he's pretty close, he'd kill me if don’t come".

One of 2 things will happen to the well-intentioned, though slightly embarrassed of his religion excuse monger:

1. He will continue to make up more excuses, each more outlandish and mind numbingly cringe worthy than the last until eventually his friends/co-workers give up on him.
2. He will give in, sitting rather awkwardly on his bar stool with intermittent glances at his watch. Orange juice in hand, ba-da-bing: and out as quickly as possible.

Both outcomes should be avoided. The first gives the impression that you're an anti-social, infidel hating fun-do-mentalist weirdo. The second means you've compromised on your faith.

The only legitimate solution to this problem is, like most dilemmas in life, honesty. The vast, vast majority of non-Muslims are decent folk and are fully aware of cultural/religious sensitivities. One should make a concerted effort to explain, from a religious perspective, the reason for your no-show. Again, you gotta be careful with how exactly you go about doing this:

"Come? With you? To the bar...and do what exactly? Drink overpriced champagne with a bunch of socially retarded individuals who haven’t even the slightest of clue on how to enjoy themselves without getting mindlessly intoxicated? Sounds like a hoot...oh, maybe we can go to a few nightclubs too, ya know - pull a few girls and maybe, if we play our cards right, get ourselves infected with syphilis...i'll c u losers in hell!"

May very well result in you receiving a social call from MI5. Again, not good.

Ok, so you've mustered up the courage to tell them the truth, your non Muslim friends (assuming of course, they consider you as a friend, with the excuses and what not) have gathered round, eager to hear news of the latest hamster death. It has become somewhat of a ritual, a gathering of men - a sermon if you will. There is a hush as he enters the room, his face, arms and feet wet, drenched in sweat (or so they think, he's actually just gone and done his wudu. But he told them that suffers from chronic sweating).

M: Guys, I won’t be able to come today, my religion forbids it.
NM: Oh ok, fair enough. Why didn’t you tell us before?
M: I guess I was kind of embarrassed...
NM: So you lied?
M: Well...umm...yeh, I guess but -
NM: Isn’t lying forbidden in Islam
M: Yeah, but -
NM: Well, if lying is forbidden and coming out to bars is forbidden, then what’s the difference?

And there it is, you are now officially the president of moronville. Population, you.

The above scenario brings home the importance of honesty from the outset. If explained in a thoughtful, non–condescending manner, you may very well find that that same annoying dude, who would give you an FBI style grilling in pursuit of your latest excuse, is an ideal candidate for some finger-lickin dawah.


  • haha, agreed- Tactfully telling the truth without condemning anyone to hell is always the best way to go. I wonder... is there a word for doing the opposite of dawah but still in the name of Islam? Hmm

    By Blogger Desi Monkey, at 5:46 pm  

  • LOL....totally agree.

    By Blogger Shehzaadi Sarvat, at 4:21 am  

  • Very well said n written!!!
    An impressive and entertainin piece!

    By Anonymous sarah, at 3:10 pm  

  • A common problem indeed. Though my article was very light-hearted, explaing your non-attendance EVERY time can get very tiresome.

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