Friday, 28 February 2014

Aaargh!! Muslim Phobias!

After reading this article about 5 frightening Muslim phobias it made me think of writing my own list. It seems that there's more than one irrational fear prevalent in some Muslim communities, some of them more amusing than harmful but others are downright unislamic and do nothing but give Muslims a bad reputation! So, without further ado, here is my list of Muslim phobias:

Anuptophobia - Fear of Staying Single
Is it just me or do Muslims have an somewhat unhealthy obsession with marriage? We all know that it completes half your deen, and of course we all want to find a loving, committed relationship, but reaching the age of 25, or 30, 35 or older without being married is nothing to be terrified or ashamed of! Please, enjoy your life in the meantime, stop feeling so sorry for those poor old '30 year old pensioners who surely must be infertile by now', and once you do get married, we're happy for you, really, there's no need to show off with hundreds of wedding photos and lovey-dovey status updates....*shudder*

Andro/Gynophobia - Fear of the Opposite Sex
I have literally seen people jump and hide behind objects, insist on avoiding eye-contact whilst performing an eye examination and even heard of people who would prefer to let someone of the opposite gender *die* than risk going too near them whilst they're not properly covered! Sure, segregation in some cases is a good thing (like public toilets.. or changing rooms at the gym... definitely changing rooms!), and we're not supposed to touch/flirt/stare at/be alone with a member of the opposite sex but, and this may come as a surprise to some, simply passing near to a man/woman will not cause you to be pulled together into an unescapable embrace (unless they have that giant magnet from Breaking Bad hidden in their jacket and you're on your way to a fancy dress party in an Ironman costume) nor will laser beams shoot from the eyes of any man who happens to glance in your direction and burn you to a cinder.

Bidaphobia - Fear of Innovation
I read an article the other day which made me laugh - scholars declare that breathing modern air could be bidah and haram since it's not the same air the prophet (saw) breathed and is thus an innovation! Although this is clearly a joke some Muslims really do go too far with this and proclaim that everything from quranic calligraphy to singing nasheeds for children is bidah.

Some even extend the innovation concept from acts of worship to all other acts in our daily lives (including anything modern in general) - using electricity, cars, aeroplanes, modern medicine... Ok yes all these things are bidah technically, but they are not haram - those are only the ones which go against or somehow alter the command of God... such as terrorism for example... seems pretty straight forward to me!

Homophobia - Needs no Explanation!
Ok so we all know that homosexual relationships are not allowed in Islam, just like a relationship outside of marriage for example, and I feel it's perfectly fine to have this belief. However, some Muslims take this to the extreme and go out of their way to hate, avoid at all costs or even deny the existence of homosexuals altogether! Some people also seem to have this ridiculous notion that gay people hit on every person of the same gender that they come accross and therefore it's vital to keep away from them before they try to seduce you! I even had to reassure one Muslim girl that she could still talk to her friend who had recently come out because yes, I was pretty sure she would not try to grope her if she stood too close!

On a more serious note these irrational perspectives are extremely unhelpful to any Muslims who experience homosexual feelings, and to non-muslim homosexuals whose private lives are really none of our business. Islam promotes tolerance and kindness not harsh judgements and prejudice.

Karifophobia - Fear of Non-Muslims
This is related to the fear of innovation in that some Muslims are so paranoid about 'not imitating the disbelievers' that they again extend this from acts of worship to everything! Wearing jeans for example, or celebrating... anything. Wedding rings, honeymoons, going on holiday in general, making any kind of musical tune with your voice/hands/feet... since music is haram and the way of the kaafir...

Some even say we shouldn't associate with people who aren't Muslim, we shouldn't be friends with them and only talk to them when absolutely necessary. It is better to avoid them as much as we can, in fact, it is better to just emigrate to a Muslim country as soon as possible!

Thank God the prophet (pbuh) didn't have that attitude or there wouldn't be any Muslims!!

Jinnophobia - Fear of Genies
Jinn stories are the Muslim staple for round the fire ghost stories, and unlike in Aladdin these jinn aren't friendly or funny and don't come to grant you 3 wishes!

The stories always start with something that happened to my best friend's cousin, or my aunty's hairdresser... or my dad's friend's niece.... when she was taking a shower and suddenly felt something touching her back....!! (maybe it was the shower curtain..?? no?) or somebody was driving at night and suddenly a person was standing right in front of their car and nearly made them crash!! (maybe it was an actual person...?).

Sometimes it gets more dramatic or just downright strange; people becoming possessed and attacking others or themselves, people turning into horses legs, jinn riding bikes, eating ladu, hiding in trees, hiding in dogs, in snakes, in bathrooms... the bathroom thing still scares me to this day, I daren't look in the mirror if it gets past a certain time in case there's a jinn behind me... in fact... I'm going to stop writing this post right now as apparently just thinking about them attracts them to come to you..... this stuff isn't made up you know!! (ok so most of it is... but there's some truth in it and the scary thing is... you never quite know which parts are true....!!)

Jujuphobia - fear of black magic
Ok why did I decide to write about 2 scary things in a row late at night when I'm sitting on my own and it's relatively dark (ok there are two lights on in the room but its still feels too dark and the lights are giving a somewhat eerie glow which I never noticed until just now...).

Juju, or black magic, goes hand in hand with jinn, especially people using jinn to do black magic... can't get much scarier than that! Now as with jinn, there is some basis for black magic in Islam as far as I am aware, for example we shouldn't participate in it ourselves and there are cases of it actually working. However, some Muslims become paranoid they blame every ailment and misfortune on black magic! Have a headache? Someone must be sticking pins in your voodoo doll. Stomach upset? Someone must have hidden some potion in your food in revenge after you broke off your engagement to their son. Late for work? Well it's not your fault that you neighbour called upon a jinn to delay you....! One should also be extremely careful when accepting gifts. Unless it's from an immediate and trustworthy family member it's better to be on the safe side and throw it away, you know, just in case they cursed it with a magical spell to make you late for work for ever....!!

 - fear of eyes
Not just the 'evil eye', which, granted, is pretty scary when you think about it, but eyes on teddies, on dolls, in photos, in cartoons, on smiley faces...!! Yes you are not supposed to make statues and worship them but personally I'd rather not have any animal/baby toys at all than have all my teddies and dolls with their eyes gouged out!! I'm sure a train set would be a perfect replacement for example... just make sure it's not thomas the tank engine!!

Questionophobia - fear of questions
This one actually annoys me a lot, it seems strange but a lot of Muslims (mainly the older generation) really don't like it when other Muslims (mainly the younger generation) ask questions about Islam.

Ask a question such as 'does God exist?' 'how do we know', 'why do we pray', 'do we have to fast', 'how do we know Islam is the right religion and not another one?' and you will be faced with a look of panic and stern reprimand to do as you're told and stop asking stupid questions! It's as though these people are worried that they won't be able to find a satisfactory answer and that the questioner will decide not to be Muslim anymore if they look into it too much! Yet why should anyone follow something they don't understand or really believe in?? That's just stupid, why did God give us brains if we're not meant to use them? Adnan Ibrahim has a good video about this here.

Zoophobia - fear of animals
Finally, this is something that makes me pretty sad. Hmm, this was meant to be a funny post but some of it has ended up being rather serious! The classic Muslim animal phobia of course is dogs; you'll see fully grown Muslim men actually jumping out of the way or crossing the street when they see a dog coming, even on a lead, even a small poodle or shi tzu....

The teaching that dogs are impure has lead to Muslims becoming fearful of them and wishing to avoid them at all costs, seemingly forgetting all about Qitmir; that dogs are perfectly acceptable companions for hunting, guarding etc; that not all schools of thought consider them unclean; that at the very least their fur is not unclean, so no you don't need to dry-clean your cost 7 times if a dog brushes past you (I actually heard of someone doing this!) and that dogs are mentioned in a positive way in the Quran not a negative one.

Ask many Muslims and they will inevitably have a had a 'bad childhood experience' when a dog chased or tried to bite them. Well I was almost bitten by a dog as a child, I'm allergic to them and I have been chased by a lion...!!! Ok so it was just a cub but I was terrified at the time! But the point is I'm perfectly fine and I still like them so I feel that these are just excuses! To me this is rather sad as dogs can be such amazing creatures mashaAllah.

However what I find even worse is how some Muslims seem to extend their hatred of dogs to all other animals as well. Ok so pigs are forbidden to eat (so you can kind of see why Muslims seem to hate them in general even though I don't personally see how some Muslims jump from 'we shouldn't eat them' to 'they should all die', which is what a Muslims guy actually once said to me during a visit to a zoo) - I mean, do they think all other animals that we don't eat should also die?? what about Humans...?! Maybe we should all become cannibals to avoid the issue... but, I digress....) and snakes can apparently be possessed by jinn as I mentioned (and Voldemort apparently) but what about cats for example? I was so upset to see cats in Masjid-al-Haram, of all places, being beaten with shoes, or a tiny kitten at Mount Arafat running in terror from two boys with sticks. There are even well known hadith about the companions of the prophet being kind to cats (one of them was even nicknamed the kitten man! may God be pleased with him).... yet they are still treated badly. Sorry dogs, you've got no chance!

How could anyone want this to die??

p.s. I just came across this book, looks really nice. I might get it for my lb  - animal stories of the Quran


  1. I love this article Hafsa :)

  2. what? why can't I leave a comment? :(

  3. thanks reclaimingbinky

    you did leave a comment Hannaa

  4. Seems you are just on a mission to decide what's right and wrong yourself. Some of what you say seems reasonable assessment about the extremes some Muslims take to regarding some issues.

    However... Bidaa is religious bidaa not general. Don't try fudge the issue and if you don't understand it don't talk about it.

    Gay is not acceptable. Stop opening the door to it. Pigs are pigs. Unclean. Your picture shows a baby pig. So what. Doesnt make them clean.