Just another night at the Majlis

                I got a surprising call the other night from two of the regular sisters at the majlis. It was 11 in the evening they asked if I wanted to join them – they were already at the majlis but they will pick me up if I wanted to go. My husband just left to go to somewhere and I was getting ready to sleep. Although it sounded quite tempting, I declined because I have work the following day. They insisted that we will go home after an hour. Of course I knew we wouldn’t, but okay, I think I could use some spontaneity in my life again. It’s not like I enjoy being alone at night, right?

                So off we went. Before I left I sent a text message to my husband telling him that I was going to the majlis with so and so sisters. Of course, I never got a reply. He always seems busy when he’s there.

                There was an intense debate between the Imam and a guest when we arrived. By the looks of it, nobody was willing to bend down. Poor things. This could go on forever.

                I have always viewed religion as something sacred and intimate. Spirituality for me is a private relationship between myself and God. Although a lot of those from my faith would disagree as they feel that it is a “duty” for them to “educate and correct” people from other beliefs, I personally don’t think so. Religion is a personal choice. I go where I find God. Of course I know I’m not wrong but I’m not in a position to say that my way is the only “correct” way. What right have I to claim that 78% of the world is paying homage to the wrong god? I practice this faith because I feel closer to God praying 5 times a day, among other things. I would respect it if others feel closer to God some other way. This is why I honestly detest debating about religion. It is a futile feat and nobody wins.

                After about two hours of listening to one rebuttal after another, I got tired. I think the battling parties did, too. The guest solidly concluded his argument telling the Imam that “we could sit here for 5 years and I would still not listen to what you are saying.” Yep, nobody wins.

                When the guest left with his wife, the Imam continued his piece. I thought it was funny because he was talking to people who no longer needed convincing. I told him to just let it go. He said he didn’t care if everyone else in the world was displeased with him for as long as God is pleased. He was right. But he was also wrong. I think there must always be a balance between rituals and reality. It is proper to follow the dictates of religion but you must also care about the people around you. We do not live in a bubble. It is certainly not right to tell your kids to stay away because you need to memorize surahs, or to tell your wife to learn to live alone because you have to spend the few hours you have left after work with your Imam. It is good to take your religion seriously but hey, live, man!

                Enough of that. Anyway, when everything relaxed, I had an informal chat with the Imam. Although I do not always agree with him, my husband and I have always regarded him as an older brother and we valued his advice. He asked how I was and where my husband was. I answered that ”if he is not with me, you know where he is.” And he said, isn’t it a blessing that you now have time to go out on your own? I almost choked. I wanted to say – but I do not want to go out on my own! He continued and advised me not to nag and to argue with my husband when he comes home. He said he is talking as a man, and from experience. He said I should be more thoughtful and so on and so forth. Tough luck.

                He said if I do things right, my husband will realize who the better wife is and he will come back to me. The “better” wife? That was painful to hear. I still cannot accept the fact that I am no longer the wife. I told him that I don’t nag because I also learned from experience that getting what I want at this stage is impossible. But I told him that I cannot keep quiet all the time. I said I have to speak my mind once in a while, especially when my husband is overly taking the side of the other, because if I don’t do so, who will tell him how unfair he is being? I said, who is going to tell you, if not your wife? He kept silent.   

                We went home at around 3:30 a.m. and I tried to call my husband so that he can wait for me at the building door. No place is safe anymore these days. Unfortunately, no husband was there to greet me when I arrived at the building so I ran like crazy up to our apartment fearing that there might be maniacs hiding somewhere in the corridors (that was not paranoia, that’s actually how things are around here).

                The man of the hour arrived home at around 4:30 a.m. and I eagerly told him about what happened at the majlis and then we slept. The following day when while eating dinner I told him about the argument that the Imam had with the guest and he said,

         “Why? Were you at the majlis last night?”

         “Didn’t you get my text?” I asked.

         “Oh, so you were the one who texted? I got it but I did not read it,” and he took his mobile to check the message that I sent him.

         He doesn’t give a damn about the world when he’s there. Like I said, we do not live in a bubble.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. ashrubhaleeb
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 00:14:52

    I think you are totally right about religion being about choices. I think it is crazy to constantly be ‘correcting’ and intimidating people. Why would making someone do something have any value without choice? I guess guidance is good especially if someone asks you but sometimes people have come to their own thoughtful conclusions and you just have to respect those and make your own choices :).
    Oh and I am sure your Imam was well intentioned when advising you but geez it was such man perspective advice. He is right that you cant talk or complain your husband into changing but I am not sure if it is really fair and equal to ask you to just wait it out and be a dutiful wife and wait for him to change his mind or whatever. If he apologizes and just totally rejects his recent descisions can you just forgive and forget. That would be great of you but as a women I would feel a little cheated. I mean it is like saying you should be grateful for someone returning something they stole from you and returning it damaged. Well, actually after reading my own thoughts I guess there is some arguement to be made for returning something of sentimental value. I guess I just mean that no matter what the wound itself needs to be repaired. Can you ignore it and move on without trying to heal the hurt? Anyway, Im not encouraging a fight. I just think men really expect us to forgive and forget a lot or else they just dont care that we are human beings too sometimes.
    I am glad you are getting out and normalizing your days. I hope you are doing well and InshaAllah all the days will just get better and better. Salaam.


  2. hearthquakes
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 19:13:00

    When the Imam said that, it felt like he wanted me to be even more powerless in an already helpless situation. The ball is already in my husband’s court and I am simply a spectator waiting where he’ll throw the ball. To tell me that I have to be even more thoughtful, more sweet and more loving makes my head spin. And to wait! How long is long enough?

    I am only human and I feel it is normal to be hurt and betrayed and angry right now. If I get over these feelings maybe I can try to be the person the Imam suggests I should be but there’s no certainty in that, just as there is no certainty that my husband will come back if I do all those things.


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