The Number 1 Excuse Every Muslim is Tired of Hearing
Take notes everyone.
Everyone. Those who have never said it, learn to understand why you shouldn’t say something like this. Those who have, learn to never say it again. Even my muslim brothers and sisters to know how to correctly respond to this excuse. InshaAllah we all can learn something from this post.
The excuse goes something like this…Maybe you’re a hijabi but you wear the hijab differently than someone else does (recognize this story?), someone questions why you wear it differently and suddenly…“You are both muslim but why don’t you wear it like her?”
That’s when we secretly sigh and kind of…roll our eyes not at them but because we’re so tired of that same excuse.
Or maybe someone questions why you don’t celebrate anything but eid and only Islamic celebrations and they use the excuse of “Oh, hey but one of my muslim friends celebrates Halloween!”
To put it in the simplest form, we muslims, don’t want to be compared for what we do and what we are to other muslims. Not every muslim reflects each other. Just because one muslim sister wears a shorter hijab, doesn’t mean everyone else can or want to use their hijab like that. And just because one muslim celebrates Halloween or Christmas for “fun” or “culture”, doesn’t mean that every muslim does as well. The list goes on…
It is frustrating for me and I’m sure for many muslims out there too. What strikes me the most is that even muslims are starting to think like this as well. I am here to tell you that you don’t have to accept to do something out of your own boundaries or beliefs. And all just because some other person justified that you can do it using the excuse that someone else like you does.
Why is this an excuse? (Update)
Some may be confused why I call this an excuse. Here is your explanation.
No. I did not misuse the word “excuse”, one must truly understand the context of how this phrase/question is used in the different situations. Why I call it an excuse is because some people feel like they are allowed to justify what a person can do or can’t do because someone else does or does not do that specific thing.
For example, it shouldn’t be mandatory for me to have to explain why I use my hijab differently just because one other girl wears it another way. Just because she wears her hijab shorter, doesn’t mean I have to or can. This is when the “excuse” is used.
She wears her hijab shorter and why don’t you?
So, listen everyone.
Every muslim is different and I do not and cannot represent those 1.8 billion out there. Nor will every individual muslim either. Our actions, our decisions, and what we choose to truly believe in are all between us individually and our God.
To those who have never said it
Congratulations! You have been educated before you even heard of this excuse and I hope you learn that it is not the best thing to say to muslims. Now, if you ever wonder why a muslim friend does something different, you know to not use a comparison to open that conversation. Ask but don’t compare. We are more than happy to answer your questions but it becomes flustering if you compare us to another person.
You know why? Because we can’t represent their thoughts and own perspectives. We’re all different. Something to keep in mind is that yes, we are all muslim but literally anyone can call themselves a muslim.
What sets us apart is how we execute ourselves as the muslims we claim to be. Just like in any religion, there are the lazy ones, the “bad” (who don’t follow the basic five pillars of Islam) ones, pious ones, free ones, strict ones, and the list can go on.
To those who have said it
First of all, we forgive you. Or at least, InshaAllah, many of us do. I have encountered many non-muslims who have used this “excuse” against me for whatever reason but I forgive them. Maybe I was angry, frustrated, and sad at that time but how can I expect everyone to understand just out of nowhere?
To those people who have used this excuse, I hope you understand now that it’s not the right way to ask a muslim about something we do differently. Usually whoever has used this excuse was either in a carefree or serious situation. No in betweens.
For example, I have been asked regarding my hijab and a Christmas song that I was going to be graded on but did not feel comfortable singing. Both situations, the excuse was used. And in both times, I was flustered and just did not know how to answer.
“So-so sings Merry Christmas with no problem, you should be able to as well.”
“She wears the hijab and puts the scarf to the back so we can see the logo, I’m sure you can do it too.”
Well, no kidding.
Of course I can do those things easily but I choose not to in the name of my God and myself. This is a decision I made between Allah and I and I choose to defend it no matter the consequences. Maybe those “so-so”s are a little bit more lenient with their decisions with Islam but again, it does not mean that they are bad muslims. How can I grade their practice of Islam just because one doesn’t wear the hijab or celebrates Halloween? That’s another story for later.
I am in no way trying to say that I am the best muslim and that they are bad muslims. I am just saying that it is wrong to generalize such a big group of people by looking at one person and then comparing that one person to others.
Change the comparison with asking directly (we won’t be mad if you do I promise) why we use the hijab like we do or why we don’t want to say “Merry Christmas”. Don’t play around the bushes to come to that one question you meant to ask us. Comparing makes the whole situation confusing for both parties.
To my muslim brothers and sisters
You’ve read this far. I hope you understand now that muslims are different and therefore, respond to this excuse differently. Those like me take it to heart and want people to stop. Others play along with it and are okay with the comparisons.
I remember when I was in 1st Grade, my teacher’s assistant asked me to not fast during the holy month of Ramadhan and even offered me lunch money. Little Conchita rejected and rejected. The assistant was muslim. She would say to me, “Look, I’m muslim. I’m not fasting. You shouldn’t either, we’re at school.”
What did little Conchita do? She refused and followed what she, herself, believed in. The assistant even went as far as buying pizza for me. But I left it alone for someone else to eat it. I remember staring at it and then looking at the assistant with a face that said, “No, I won’t eat it. Ever.”
Muslims, for the sake of all our brothers and sisters, please never appropriate this excuse. Never let it become an “okay” thing. Let us all do what we believe in peacefully without having to compare ourselves to each other. You and I are the same because we are muslims but different in our decisions and actions as muslims.
Most importantly, I want muslims to know how not to respond to this excuse.
The other week, I heard a fellow muslim nonchalantly say, “Yeah, everyone celebrates Christmas even muslims. It’s a cultural thing now.”
I raised my eyebrows, “What?” I asked so that I could only hear.
I have lived in a country that is- you could say- a safe place for muslims, we are not a minority here. Alhamdullilah. And so, it’s not hard to be muslim. But what’s hard for other peers around me is the ability to stay true to their beliefs especially in an American International School.
Christmas, Halloween, parties, and all such things are the norm. And some muslims lose themselves in that. They start to think that because the majority of muslims in their community celebrate such things, that it reflects the whole world of muslims.
What I am trying to conclude is that as muslims, we should refrain from causing misunderstandings to arise about us and our religion. Don’t make the next muslim have to explain your words.
We are responsible for our own actions and decisions and do not reflect each other. That is all.