Saturday, March 23, 2013

What I hate about being a Muslim living in the GCC part 1

Oman is supposedly a Muslim-country. Which means, it is easy to buy clothes that meet Islamic standards, Ramadan is recognized with shortened working hours, Eids are National holidays, they have halal skittles, you can find a Mosque to pray in practically anywhere... and that's about it. Moving here I was not so idealistic to think that "Muslim country" means that. It just means alot of people who were born Muslims.

So what does that mean, now that I am here?

NOW #1: Wearing niqab is not easier in Oman than in Canada. The maority of the population in Oman do not wear niqab. No one in my husband's family does except on sister-in-law who teaches at mixed Qu'ran school. She doesn't wear it outside of work.

The majority of the population do not think niqab is a part of Islam so it means explaining one's beliefs to people who are Muslim and born-Arabic speakers yet, have read less than I have on the subject and usually assume convert means knows-nothing-about-Islam and "we need to give her a bunch of books on how to make wudu" .

Serriously, I have a bigger collection of "Islam Basics" "Fasting for dummies and people who like to eat too much" "Wudu for you" "Five Pillars for eejits" and "hey white girl, now that you are Muslim you can't have anal sex you know?"than anybody you know back in Canada.

Some people in Oman wear niqab for tribal/culture/jahiliyia reasons. Such as, it is shameful for a woman to be known to exist by an unrelated male. This is Dhofari by way of Salalah in Oman just-for-your-information. Thus some Omani women hate niqab as it is forced on them and has no religious purpose and is merely a means of male-control by society.

This sucks.

Some women in Oman wear niqab to go on dates with boys. You will smell these girls first usually, with perfume wafting from a mile away, usually pretending to go to a sisters-only-party to family then sneaking off with some dude she met via blue-tooth or a chat group. If you wear niqab with fake blue contact lenses and walk alone without a respectable-looking guy beside you, then Omani guys looking to commit zinna will a. honk at you with thier car horns, b. try to talk to you, c. scare the crap out fo you when they pull over to try to talk to you but accidently nearly run you over instead. Because I do not have brown eyes, and most niqabi women in Oman don't walk without their husbands outside of women's shopping areas or parks, then it is a hassle to wear the niqab. I honestly get bothered less without it on in Oman due to the cultural reasons Omanis assume girls who wear it have something to hide, same as in Canada.

Only benefit is, no one thinks I am a terorrist here (or am married to one) JUST BECAUSE I WEAR NIQAB.

The Omani government has banned the wearing of niqab by those who work in government, and this includes some universities banning the wearing of niqab on campus (like my work---which means I don't wear it 90% of the time now). SO in fact, that makes Oman worse than Canada if you think about it. Like, in league with the French or something.

NOW #2: My GCC husband isn't rich. The "Khaleeji-life" for most isn't "living the dream" with maids and what not and mansions and designer stuff. I work full-time and really hard. My husband, bless his heart, could work two jobs and still not make enough for the liefstyle I can afford myself, here or in Canada. That's just life. Not all Khaleeji guys are rich and alot of Omanis are near impoverished. I just happen to be friends with alot of Omani girls who are exceptions to that rule because I grew up an oil brat right? The rich kids went to my expat schools and my expat clubs. We also share some of the same interests, like fashion and a love of London and our friends IN London. So that's how it is.

I still see myself off as a lot better off financially than sisters who are starving in Palestine or losing loved ones in Syria or something. Oman is very safe. Life can be basic but there is a luxury in the pace and possibility of life here. And alhamdulilah the skills and education Allah blessed me with come in handy towards working towards the kind of life I want for my family, and give me the means to help my fellow sisters out from time to time (I wish more). Alhamdulilah right?

NOW #3: The Muslims are not better here. In fact, it can be harder to find the good Muslims because at least in Canada the Muslims who looked like Muslims usually prayed and fasted at least right? Here cultural Muslims abound (ok, there they did too) but at least there you know what people do for the non-Muslims and the sake of being better off. Here one is better off to BE a Muslim. Or at least to have some Muslims think you are one of them.

That means there's a alot of people here who converted to Islam to get some benefit out of it. Which really annoys me and well, because it can make people assume things about me.

Omanis are really sweet. They don't treat you bad if you became a Muslim to marry your husband (I didn't and wish not everyone thought so) like alot of people do, in like, say Emirates (and treat you bad if you just plain old married a local as a non-local anyways). Omanis just say mashaAllah on the ajr for the man.

But some of the people converted just to get married didn't really convert. So they say bad stuff about hijab, and don't pray except if someone might see them NOT praying, and mix Islam with the culture and take what they want and leave the rest.

Really annoying!

Or to get a better job. To get promoted at work, or to get shorter hours during Ramadan.



The fake annyoing convert girls really annoy me. "My mother and father will kill me if I go home!" so that some poor sucker Omani family will pay their rent and buy them nice clothes and sponsor them with a visa.

OK, I know genuine helpess convert girls exist.

But I know some fake ones too. They like the flash of Khaleeji culture and usually take advantage of other converts by borrowing money, or some beyond-words-nice-Omani family by asking for the moon and well, faking that they're Muslim to get free stuff.

PLus they bad-mouth Westerners and make Omanis think all non-Muslim Westerners are bad which no real convert will try to do.

Why do they do that?

To try to make people feel even more sorry for them.

Western culture is unknown and scary to some sweet old Muscat Omani lady whose never travelled. Such a lie is easily believed.

How do I know that they are fake and not just some bad Muslim?

Because I know. I know what they tell their non-Muslim friends. It's like that ayah from surah al-baqrah, 2:14: "And when they meet those who believe, they say, "We believe"; but when they are alone with their evil ones, they say, "Indeed, we are with you; we were only mockers."

And usually they try stupid-*&& stuff like pretending that they wear hijab when they don't. This can even include using photoshop.

DOn't get me started about the fake convert-dudes which are always some scammer COpt-Christian from Egypt (at least in Oman----Christians aren't allowed to scam people either bro).
That's just bizaare to me.  Alhamdulilah I only currently know 3 women like this, and 2 guys. I'm stuck knowing them because 1 owes my friends money, the other stole something from a friend's house, and the guys like, scammed a whole bunch of people, including the poor Omani girls that were dumb enough to marry them.


Maymunah said...

lmao, those books, I keep leaving them in masjids, but people just keep giving me more :S

I can't say I've met any scammer pseudo-converts (I have met a few who have trouble maintaining faith in Islam at all, because of all the terrible things other Muslims tell/do to them), but I don't know many converts. Imagine being so calculating and uncaring that treating other people like that would seem okay :(

Albie said...

Asalaamu alaykum sis,

Oh goodness, the problems of "Muslim" society. It can be weird/hard being a convert in the ME. I was in Lebanon and I had someone (a Lebanese Christian) ask if I converted for my husband (this was only a few months after I converted), and I was so shocked and offended, I don't think my jaw came up from the floor for hours. I couldn't believe that someone would think that at the time, but now, I think it's the assumption, if not the rule of how people perceive my Islam. Which is so sad and ignorant. Oh well. I know who I am.

Anywho, I feel awful for people who get scammed by "converts." I cannot imagine people who would be willing to do that -- and honestly, something like that seems worse to be than your basic thievery :?

Sorry for the long comment, but this was an interesting post.

Ma'salaama XOXO

I'm Farsilla said...

woooow!! i seriously cant believe ppl do such thing. scamming n pretending.
cant they b more corrupted?!


Pixie said...

Maymunah: Lol, I bet you have an even bigger collection then me.

I hate when people act that way with converts too. Usually doesn't happen to converts in Oman (like in Jordan) though unless one is married to an omani and culture gets pressed on one.

I think the scammers target what they see as richer Muslim countries. Emirates, Saudi, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman...

Pixie said...

Albie: Wa alaykom e salaam------------Oh I KNOW. It is the most annoying thing EVER.

It is worse. Because it is lying as well as stealing.

Pixie said...

Silla: I really don't know! I hope not.

That was probably a rhetorical question lol.

naseehah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
♥Soso♥ said...

Salams pixie
Yes that is fine you can use my pictures for your feature :)
tc xx