Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Dating While Married, Hijabi Pop and Nancy Ajram

Today while driving to work I heard of this news story that to me appears really messed up.

Two women were found murdered in the same house in Markham. One was Paula Menendez, estranged wife of Rick Ralph, a radio personality on Fan 590. The other woman was Julie Crocker, the woman Ralph was currently DATING. So here we have a married man dating a woman found murdered in the same house as his wife. And it gets even more bizarre. The suspect, and now accused, is the estranged HUSBAND of this Julie Crocker. So she was dating while married too! [Star]

You know I am a liberal and all that, but I am disgusted at this "dating while married" thing. If you are married to one person you cannot date another person - that's what I thought. It doesn't matter if you are estranged or not - get a bloody divorce then!

This Canadian society has made divorce long and hard. Our desi culture makes marriage long and hard. Meanwhile adultery is so easy and common. In my opinion, both marriage and divorce should be easy and simple, and it should be adultery that should be banned.
* * *

I listen to Arabic songs occasionally, having been brought up in the Middle East it's soothing when I am in a nostalgic mood. I showed two Arabic music videos to a friend yesterday.

One was by Haithem Said, and it actually starred a hijabi girl in the video. The other was a Nancy Ajram song (she is one of my favourites).

As soon as that person saw both the videos, his comment was "Dear God! Why is a hijabi in a music video, that is so shameful and not nice!" Completely ignored was the fact that Dear Nancy in her video was in her night clothes, romping on a bed, shaking her booty in the shower and all that.

Just because a girl puts on her hijab, do we automatically put her higher up on a pedestal and judge her by stricter standards? Couldn't we just apply the same standards to both girls? And I know I am personally guilty of this. If a normal non-hijabi friend of mine is dating someone, I just view it as "normal" and even though in my view it's not exactly Islamic, I go 'blech'. But as soon as you hear about a hijabi girl "going out" with this guy, all sort of tongues start to wag on why this is so bad and she is so hypocritical.


Anonymous said...

I think we definately judge hijabi girls more harshly than non-hijabis (of course we shouldn't judge anyway but thats another issue). I think it's because a girl who wears hijab is very obviously making herself a walking, talking poster for Islam whereas a non-hijabi you don't know right off the bat if she's Muslim or not. So we expect that if you're going to wear a symbol proclaiming you're a Muslim that you live the deen as commanded and as you- and we all- should.

Em said...

I'm guilty of the stricter standard judging, too. Personally, I don't think this is particularly wrong (subject to Ruby's caveat of not judging at all, of course). The hijaabi chooses to parade as a proclaimed ambassador of practicing Islam, like Ruby says... But is this different from how you'd feel about proclaimed Greenpeace activists who go about drinking from non-recyclable bottles? It's all a signaling game: that's why you should dress your best when you go for an interview, and why you should attend the best schools. When there is imperfect information in this world, signals are all we have to guess your type. Sorry this sounds like an economics lesson ;).

Abu Sinan said...


It could also be that it is because Nancy Ajram is a Christian. Did you know that? A lot of the Lebanese singers are.

So maybe the idea is that it is expected from Christian women, but not for Muslim women?

M&M said...

wow its like you read my mind.

for the murder, its pathetic.

for the music video... i somewhat agree with you but also agree with the commentators ruby and em. the hijabi is choosing to take that extra step to become "a proclaimed ambassador of practicing Islam" so she is not just putting on a scarf to cover her hair but is also (hopefully) checking her modesty.

for the hijabi girl dating... i think it sounds quite wrong, because you expect that person to recognize the whole concept of modesty n "parda" and self control by putting on the hijab, and so it bothers me and bothers people. its such a contradiction, "i wear hijab so non-mehram guys cannot see my hair and my body parts and thus i protect my modesty but i am also dating a guy" defeats the purpose. i'd rather that if a hijabi girl is dating a guy, making out with him, walking hand in hand with him (and they are obvioisly not married) she take off the hijab and not disgrace it. it also gives wrong messages to non-muslims out there.

mezba said...

Ruby: I agree with you and also think we shouldn't judge people in such black and white terms. Many times people think "I wear hijab so I am holier" when it could be that the dating, drinking person is going to do some good that is so pleasing to Allah that He forgives her.

Em: having said all of the above I do judge, and exactly for the reasons both you and Ruby said. She is a walking poster of Islam so behave properly dammit! But is that right?

Abu Sinan: No I didn't know that, although it doesn't surprise me. Is Ruby Christian as well? Are there any Muslim female singers who appear in such videos? South Asia of course I can give you half a dozen examples but don't know too much about Arab music scene except Nancy and Amr Diab!

M&M: The murder is pathetic no doubt. I wonder though if with a good lawyer the husband (if he is guilty) can get off with a "crime of passion" and "temporary insanity" plea. Everything about that case is screwed up.

As for the hijabi dating, I am going to throw a spanner here in the works and ask everyone, what if the girl is treating the hijab as just one other Islamic duty she is doing, or what if that's a start to her religious path? Should she still be criticized for not following Islam as much as we would like her to, and ourselves may not? Interesting, eh?

Farah said...

Canadian law will not allow divorce unless the husband and wife are separated for more than a year. From the article it looks like even the neighbors didn't know the Crockers had split up!Shameless!

As for the hijabis I don't think a hijabi is more holy than a non hijabi so when I see girls like these it doesn't surprise me a bit. From my experience hijab is not sacrosanct.

sabrina said...

everytime I want to commment, I am being distracted by the handsome tiger. Please put a hijab on him/her!

Anonymous said...

When practising religion, nothing is static. If a girl wears hijaab, it does not mean she is the virgin mary. She, like you, is trying her best. She feels hijaab is helping her along the way.
Dont forget girls in hijaabs also have personalities: some are naturally quiet and meek. some are loud and sociable. so they all will behave differently.
i understand we proclaim them as banners of Islam and what have you, but remember she is not doing this for you. If she is truely doing it for the sake of Allah- then that is sufficient.
People HAVE and always WILL critisice, judge, and make assumptions. I think any human of higher substance needs to go past this line of thought- cos to be honest im sick of hearing it. It takes alot of courage to wear hijaab especially in the west. It would be nice that instead of passing judgements on what they do we would be supportive of our sisters and guide them.

sabrina said...

anonymous, assuming you are a woman, please accept my big hug. And yes, I am so sick and tired of hearing this (a small sin become a big one for a hijabi and remains a small one for a non-hijabi) that I didn't even know what to say for a comment.
But I would really appreciate if people could see past all this and see a HUMAN being under her scarf, who is just AS much in temptation and fitna of Shaitan as, say, a lesbian!!! It's bad enough that hijabis are OFTEN discriminated against in their professional life, and when they have to put up with such crap from their Muslim community, oh well, no wonder some hijabis do infact go wild. We all need to let out our frustrations, sometime, somewhere. I think Dawud Wharnsby Ali says the best
"what if you knew about all that I do, the things that I think, the me that is true?
Would you call me a hypocrite, call me a liar?
Would you curse out my name?
Or would you damn me to fire?
Or would you know what to say?
Or would you just walk away?
Afraid of me, I have tried to hide?
Or, would you closely resemble the truth of you that lies inside?"

ANd when he sang in it in some small town in Canada, right before he said, "it's dedicated all those sisters who feel judged all the time" or something along the line.
He is a beautiufl man with a beautiful mind!

Abu Sinan said...


Generally speaking, with Arabs and especially Palestinians and Lebanese, if they have a "western" first name, they are more than likely Christian.

But some Lebanese singers have actually changed their names to sound Muslims, Wael Kfouri, is a good example. His real name was Michael Email Kfouri.

Ruby is Muslim and many of her videos have been banned in Egypt. Her real name is Rania Tawfik.

I love Arabic music, but not the really pop stuff like Ajram and al-Zoghby. I like older stuff, especially Fayrouz, and modern non pop stuff like Natacha Atlas.

But I think as far as "nasty" videos go, Ruby has the corner on that. Maybe Haifa Wehbe a close second.

But hey, Haifa cannot be half bad, she sided with Nashrallah against Israel and stood for the resistance.

ABCDlaw said...

About the murder, thats really sad. I agree that adultery needs more stricter punishments, but what can we do? Western society is slowly but surely becoming more and more immune to it.

About hijabis dating, well they are human, and are seeking companionship. Maybe it grates people the wrong way because putting on a hijab is seen as a statement "I am Muslim Woman, so treat me with Respect." And ofen times our culture doesn't equate dating with respectful girls. A non-hijabi girl isn't so blatantly "Islamic" so her actions are overlooked.

I also think there are "halal" ways and non halal ways both a hijabi and non hijabi can "date" but thats a whole other post.

leibniz said...

Just like the rest ofthe populance, hijabis come in a whole spectrum of schools of thoughts and theological leaning. The discussion shows one of the perils of putting people in 'buckets' (aka labels).

M&M said...

...u know he might as well get off the crime from first degree, as crime of passion... they will start brining in reports of psychological trauma and what not.

interesting point mezba

hijabi girls should not be critized more or less than non hijabis. we as humans do not know the other person's intention. only Allah SWT does.

however on the statement if putting on her hijab is a step towards the right path.... yes and no. there are certain steps a person should follow. if you have a beard touching the ground and your pants above ur ankles, yet u arent praying at all...does that make sense? instead of focusing on the little things, one should focus on refraining from committing the big sins and performing the main duties of the religion. so a girl that is drinking and clubbing and puts on a hijab, isnt putting it on for the right purpose anyway. we have to remember, so in aspects of extremities like that if others are judging her, can you blame em? but if a hijabi girl goes to a movie or something, and people start going like "omg u should not be watching movies" and would not say that to her nonhijabi yet muslim counterpart then thats kinda dumb in my opinion.

mezba said...

Farah: interesting point about the divorce; I wonder what the point was of delaying the divorce proceedings such?

As for the hijab, although most hijabis I have seen at college tend to be the makeout hijabis, I have NOW seen a lot of good ones to know not to generalize.

Sabrina: Please lower your gaze. LOL. He is ALREADY covered from navel to knees.. haha

Anon: I wish I knew your name, coz you make some really good points. That was my gut feeling for sometime, that maybe the hijab is a start or a part of their spiritual path, so maybe we shouldn't judge them too harshly for some matters, but we do.

Sabrina: anonymous, assuming you are a woman, please accept my big hug.


Abu Sinan: Wow I didn't know about Wael Kfouri. But wait, his name is actually EMAIL? omg...

There was this one song I heard in Arabic... Wa min Beirut wa Khwalid.. I honestly want to know who sang this song so I could get it.

I have seen Ruby's videos in the Emirates though. They are pretty saucy, and one of my collegues was once surprised to see this was an ARAB music video.

ABCDLaw: They don't even consider it adultery anymore, so sad.

Leibniz: I hear you. That's why I thought it was interesting when i got the reaction I did yesterday, people automatically notice a hijabi 'sinning' than a non-hijabi.

but if a hijabi girl goes to a movie or something, and people start going like "omg u should not be watching movies" and would not say that to her nonhijabi yet muslim counterpart then thats kinda dumb in my opinion.

That's called taking words out of my mouth.

Also know as great minds think alike :-D

Suroor said...

Mezba, I thought you knew Nancy is Christian? Anyway, yes Ruby is too.

I judge everyone, btw :) So not true!

sabrina said...

uh.oh! No no no! :Lower your gaze:
this ain't gon' cut it this time bruva! One too many times, us women, even with modest clothes/ hijab/abaya/niqab on heard things like we don't cover and bruvas can't help it. They never lower their gaze.
Today, I as a woman, tell you this:
that beast is bloody handsome, and you keep it undah cuvah! I ain't gon' lower my gaze.

Like Brother Amir Suleiman says,
"I am not angry, but I am anger..
I am not dangerous, but I am danger."


Anonymous said...

I heard/saw that news too. There were 2? young kids present there too. Imagine what they saw (if they did),that's really sad. I think pple try to judge anyone who wears hijab hoping that those r the *perfect* girls/women. As someone stated, every hijabi has their own personality. I have been wearing a hijab since I was in my 6th grade and I went through all the kind of things any non-hijabi would. As for nancy ajram,well, I don't like her that much though her song ehsas gedeed(jideed) is something I would listen to. Yes, most of the singers with the english/christian names are not muslims. But these days,the way middle eastern singers dress/potray is something that is very *low*. I like to listen songs from the khaleej area but they are doing that too now! :( sf

Abu Sinan said...


Where did you hear Ruby is Christian? This is not true. One need not look farther than her real name to figure that out. Her full real name is:

Rania Hussein Mohammed Tawfik

Middle Eastern Christians do not name their children such names.

She is a Muslim, or at least was born a Muslim.

As to Hijab, in this area you can see a girl in Hijab, with skin tight pants, cleavage showing, and make-up and perfume from here to there. Hijab can help make one look modest, but it is also often just as much as a fashion statement as the type of shoes you wear.

I know women who dont wear Hijab, who in their actions and dress, are much more modest than those who do.

mezba said...

Suroor: no I didn't know Nancy was a Christian. I hardly know much about the Arabic music scene except what my Arab friends send me from time to time.

Sabrina: This tiger is "finger licking good"! haha In my mind the tiger is now a tigeress coz I too keep looking at it for sometime!

sf: Those kids are going to be scarred for life. Father accused of killing mother who was having "affair".

As for hijabis, yes I am guilty of judging them, and lately I have started thinking it may not be right. But it still is hurtful to see a supposed representative of Muslims behave badly. Same with thobe wearing playboys (and trust me, have seen a fair share of them in college).

Abu Sinan: I tried searching for Ruby's "Christian/Muslim"ness (not that it's important) but all I got is "She is Egyptian unlike the usual Lebanese".

BTW if anyone can recommend good Arabic music that is funky (like pop/dance) or mellow (like Enta Eih) please do so.

M&M said...

haha thanks mezba

Great minds do think alike lol

Em said...

Anonymous of 6.28: Not unlike a lot of us out there, I guess I'm just not a "human of higher substance" :).

To be completely honest, I don't feel I'm discriminating against the hijaabi when I judge her more strictly whenever she does something blatantly unislamic. On the contrary, I think I'm discriminating against the NON-hijaabi that I turn a blind eye to her when she does the same... Maybe it's just me, but I WANT to be judged more strictly and hence be reminded with beautiful manners when I do wrong. I think that's my right, in light of Suratul 'Asr... if I can't even be judged as someone who has (prima facie) crossed the line, how can I expect to be reminded of the Straight Path?

Mezba: have you heard H'Babi by Cheb Mami? I have no idea what the song means, but I love the tune.

Abu Sinan said...


The best modern Arabic singer is Natacha Atlas. The sad thing is she doesnt get much airplay in the Middle East. She was born and raised in Europe.

You can go to the link below and listen to the whole new album. I dont think it is her best, by any means, but it is a great mix between east and west.


Durga said...

Mezba, I feel like having a rant here. So here I go.

Did anyone think that just coz someone was born in a Christian family and fills in census forms saying they are Christian is actually CHRISTIAN? for those ppl where the only time Christianity comes to mind is when someone asks 'what religion are u?" doesn't make them CHRISTIAN. They have to be practicing the religion by trying conciously trying to live the commandments...not just the standard 10 in teh old testament but ALL of them...attending church more than just that time Aunty Mary got married...and praying and reading teh scriptures every day...and having a strong genuine testimony of the Gospel and it's teachings...loving your enemies etc...not all this bush 'kill all enemies, protect the Christian world' crap...plus other very obvious things.
It's not a 'cultural' thing to label ppl as 'Christian'. Yes, they get married in a church sometimes, but what does that really mean?
I'm always mad when people call all 'white' people or ppl with white names Christian. When there are a lot of those ppl using Christianity for their own means or generally atheist though born in a family that has Christian roots. So those who strip in videos are not CHRISTIAN. You have to practice the religion....jus coz they say 'i accept Jesus as Christ and Saviour' doesn't make them Christian. READ the Bible. It says so in there.

It's like calling Richard Dawkins a Christian and Salman Rushdie a Muslim. yeh right.

Anonymous said...

OK...I want to reply to the original comment of "...marriage and divorce should be easy..." If anyone thinks that marriage is or should be easy, they're dreaming. Marriage is the union of 2 people which is binding. However, the RELATIONSHIP between 2 people takes very, very hard work. If anyone...ANYONE out there says that their relationship is easy and they don't have to work at it...they're probably not in a healthy relationship.

Sonia said...

heh i like the please lower your gaze thing. i wish i could think how to express that in bengali - mezba= any help there? boy it would be useful..

everythingiseventual said...

i think the way people view hijabis is completely unfair. i mean no one actually thinks about whether or not they want to wear it or they are being forced to. i have a friend who doesn't like wearing it and wants to take it off but she cant cause her dad wont let her. what is she meant to do. and just because your wearing the hijab doesnt mean your 'holy' or 'relgious', people have flaws, we all sin, saying that because someone wears a hijab they should behave a certain way because they are a 'talking poster for Islam" is silly and unfair. its like saying that because someone prays they're not going to do anything bad because well they pray! and i think we all know thats not true.

mezba said...

m&M: ;-)

em: I am going to check out the song. Interesting perspective you put on the discrimination issue.

Abu Sinan: Thanx for the recommendation - wil check out the album.

Durga: Good rant!

Anon: By marriage I meant the actual legal process of "marrying".. not the union and relation.

Sonia: Lower your gaze = Chock Niche Koro!

Everything: I hardly met few people who are hijabis by force.. actually none. All are hijabis by choice.

Anonymous said...

I think that a hijabi girl dating is just a normal thing
cos in the school i got to
which is in england
we have a lot of girls wearing scarfs on thier heads that date guys
it doesnt matter what u wear
its about how they people are like
a hijabi girl can do what she wants
its her choice
who are we to judje
she is no diffrene to a girl with no hijhab/scarf.
Evry girl has stautus with or without hijab.
And to point out that is not a hijab
its a scarf i think.
Isnt a hijab somehting girls wear to cover thier whole face expect the eyes.