Thursday, September 27, 2007

This Dude Bugs Me

After work, if I don't have any studies to do, I usually tend to hang around with a few friends and either go to the gym or play some sports like squash or badminton. Since it's now Ramadan, we time it in such a way so that we can do our game, get a good work out, get a shower and just in time make it to the Multi-Faith center here. The local Muslim Students Association serves free iftar for everyone, and you get to pray your Maghreb prayers in congregation and then break your fast with other people too.

For the last few days I have been noticing a trend.

There's some people there who are clearly NOT fasting. That's ok, people have their own reasons for not fasting. But some people are even not Muslims (you can tell) and some even don't observe the decorum of the place!

For example, there's a guy there who shows up immediately after the prayers. As the volunteers are rolling up the prayer mats, he walks in with shoes. And he is dressed in shorts. SHORTS. For the last few days I have seen him in shorts. He gets his food by standing in line like everyone else. And he always goes back for seconds. ALWAYS.

I mean, I know you have come for the free food. We know you are a free loader. That's ok, most of us have done that over time at many places. But at least observe the decorum of the place! Have some respect for the values of the people you are freeloading off from!

Do I sound like one of those rednecks who scream refugees who come into our country must respect the values of this country and not demand change? Or am I right?


Anonymous said...

Someone should atleast point it out to the guy. Maybe he has no *idea* about the dress code and any *rules* there are out there. We once invited this guy for iftaar(a while back). He shows up almost an hour later! And when dh asks him if he was ok, he says, "oh, I was at the mosque, eating!" I was so mad!!!!!! sf

mousehunter said...

Interesting...I would agree with you here. If he's wearing shorts that's fine, he is not bound by the shariah (that is if indeed he is muslim), but maybe you could approach him next time and kindly say, "Excuse me sir, but we pray here, if you could be so kind to remove your shoes" and point to the place where ALL the shoes are. That way he won't be offended but will understand where you are coming from.

Shovon said...

I was once told by my mentor that
Do not complain about something before you have tried to fix it.

So i would say, talk to him. Maybe he is totally unaware that what he is doing is wrong. Dont be rough, just politely make a point that wearing shorts does wonders for air circulation but please keep it for other occassions. Or something equivalent, i think you can think up of something. Or ask some more diplomatic person to point it out to him :)

Anonymous said...

Yup, you sound like the rednecks, but you are not wrong either (well some would say the rednecks aren't wrong either, lol).

The kindest thing to do is to point it out to the person that they need to dress appropriately.

I'd look at it this way - freeloader or not - this person knows they'll be treated kindly in that particular place - what better promotion of how good we people can be is there?

'liya said...

Hmm well you say it yourself that "The local Muslim Students Association serves free iftar for everyone" and 'for everyone' includes him, but he SHOULD be more respectful and take his shoes off. Is it that he's hungry and can't afford food? Maybe he doesn't know about the shoe thing.
Give him the benefit of the doubt and next time greet him. See if he replies nicely!

working said...

I don't know if I'd tell him about the shorts. But, definitely tell him about the shoes. If there are girls who attend and don't cover, I probably wouldn't say anything to them either. You never know - he could be interested in Islam!

Athena said...

About the shoes - I've seen a lot of people wearing shoes in that room :S. The first time I went in there, the place outside the room was filled with shoes but when I peeked in, I didn't see anyone without shoes so I went in there with my shoes on too :(.

Also, seeing how it's Ramadan, I don't think there's anything wrong with people joining the 'fasters' (yay I made up a word) in iftaar so long as there's enough food for the actual people who are fasting.

Lastly, someone really needs to tell that guy to put his pants on :P.

- Athena

p.s. - please ignore the last two posts in the wrong entry. This is so embarrassing but I guess it will keep on happening. Has to do with my computer saving passwords for websites.

Suroor said...

I'm a redneck! :D

I agree with others who suggest the man should be politely pointed out to remove his shoes. I think that will be very good dawah.

Anonymous said...

yea i can understand why it might be upsetting. See, but there isnt much that you can do anyway.. You cant restrict the entrance to just Muslims during iftaar time. Maybe having a sign that passes a message that
"The food has been a generous blessing in the form of a donation from fasting muslims to fasting muslims. Even though all religions are welcome to attend, we ask that you please adhere to the rules that are being observed at the centre."

But mez, the reason for your ranting might also stem from the fact that after (approximately) a 12 hour roza, you are just exhausted and prefer not to deal with nonsensical activity. The main question here is, "Even though non-muslims come down and enjoy their free food, is there enough left for everyone?" If there isnt, then its an issue.


BanikaB said...

This reminds me of when I was VP of the MSA for (I think) the sister campus of the one you were at. We encouraged a lot of non-Muslims to come, but we tried to encourage them as well to respect the etiquettes (separation of the guys and girls, silence during the athaan, throwing out your garbage).

Month after Ramadan, a recent convert told me that while I had walked aroudn reminding people to throw out the garbage and spoke to him, he felt like I had targetted him - like I knew that he was new and wouldn't know the rules and after that he didn't come back for any iftaars except the last few!

Give the guy the benefit of the doubt. I suggest speaking to him and maybe explaining the significance of everything (the prayer, dates, why the food is free, etc). He might be a little mroe comfortable taking off his shoes once he knows the importance of it.

Neena said...

BTW is he bugging you because he is White then you can imagine how Whites feel when Brownies use Western welfare system to the limits by having dozens kids ;).

No offence but I have seen lot of Non Christians devouring Church free food on several occassions and they don't even put a dollar in those charity boxes.

I guess these kind of meals are for all and noone should object to it.

Can you post a sign about dress code in front of the entrance? I guess not as it will irked most of us like me so let it be and enjoy your meal and have another serving of Samosas before it all gone.

ruby said...

I think you should ask him nicely to remove his shoes, he might not be aware. However if there are other people in the room with shoes on you're going to look like a jackass telling him to take his shoes off. You don't know his situation though so you shouldn't judge him, there are a number of reasons for his presence ranging from that he's lonely and comes for the socializing to maybe he is unable to afford food etc. Perhaps you should self-analyse as to what makes you notice him so much and why you let yourself get so bothered by it.

mezba said...

Wow, so many nice and good comments! Who says there is no spirit of Christmas in Islam - we have Ramadan and it lasts a month; and we do try and pray to spread this cheer and goodwill to last all year long.

What bugged me about the man in shorts was the shorts. He was Muslim, he was a student - it's not that he was a bum off the street; he knew the "rules". Yet not only did he not care, he was flagrantly displaying his devil-may-care attitude in front of all.

Upon reflection, I realized I should not be so bugged by the guy. There was a guy who once came to the Prophet's mosque and urinated there in plain view. While many of the Companions drew out their swords, the Prophet told them to put down their swords, and let the man finish. Then he himself fetched a pail of water and cleaned the area, HIMSELF. The man was so touched by this behaviour, this adaab, that he became a Muslim.

So perhaps wearing a shorts to the mosque (actually a Multi-Faith centre) is not too bad in hindsight. In any case, no one told the guy anything, on the contrary they actually behaved well with him, and asked him if he wanted more food. A bit of Gandhi/Munnabhai later, I actually saw the guy yesterday in full length pants and bare feet!