Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lateness is a fashion statement, didnt you know?

You're friend calls you up and invites you to a dinner party at her house. You ask her what time it starts and she says 7pm. Around 630 you grab your car keys and get in your car to go to your friends house. 35 minutes later you arrive. You ring the doorbell and your friends mom answers the door and looks surprised to see you and exclaims that you are early! Early? You're 5 minutes late! Your friends mom tells you that your friend is still getting ready and to make yourself comfortable in the next room. A few minutes later your friend comes downstairs and greets you. You ask her why her mom said you were early when she had said the dinner party starts at 7pm. She smiles and tells you that no one ever shows up earlier than 8pm. Surprised you ask her why her guests would arrive so late if they know it starts at 7pm. She rolls her eyes and says its in her culture and that no one is ever on time. You find that strange because in your culture (your an american revert) everyone is punctual and it is considered rude to be late. Around 8:15 the other guests arrive and you greet the other sisters and sit back down. You have seen the sisters at the masjid and have met a few of them before. They ask you how you are and then turn and greet the other sisters next to you. A few minutes later everyone is conversing in their native tongue, laughing and telling stories. You try to show interest however without a translater you have no idea what they are saying and feel left out. You wonder why they are not speaking english, especially knowing that you only speak english. Your friend joins the circle and begins to talk with the other sisters in their native tongue. You casually look around the room and pretend to be interested in the art on the walls. You wonder why your friend invited you if she was just going to ignore you and speak with her friends in their native tongue. You know that everyone speaks english and wonder why no one is speaking it knowing that you obviously dont understand what they are saying....
My sisters and brothers in islam, I want to remind you that if you are ever in a situation where you are with someone who does not speak your native tongue, and you are in a group and you all speak a common language, its a sin to exclude one person and speak another languge knowing they cant understand you. Obviously if you only speak english and they only speak arabic there is no sin if you cant communicate, but you should still try your best to make the person feel included. However, if your in a group and everyone can speak english but all of the group except one member speaks arabic as well, it is a sin to exclude that member and switch to arabic and make them feel left out.
This is a common habit of muslims and unfortunately when a revert attends gatherings they tend to feel left out because they dont speak urdu, or arabic.... I myself have been in so many gatherings where everyone knew english but spoke urdu or arabic and i spent the whole night sitting and staring at the walls. A few times i mentioned it to the sisters and they would switch back to english but after a few minutes they would switch back to urdu or arabic....
As for punctuality, it is so sad that our muslim ummah is known for lateness!!! We should be associated with puntuality and good character. If you had a job interview i bet that every sister and brother would be a few minutes early. However when it comes to lectures, weddings, dinner parties those same sisters and brothers show up hours late. I know it is a cultural thing but it is a very bad habit.
I have copied a link on the fiqh of punctuality, please take a look at it.


Lazeena Umm Yusuf said...

oh my Allah!!! people do this all the time subhanAllah. its messed up, its not cute, its not nice, its straight up rude! people now invite people 2 hours earlier than they want them there because they know then technically they would come late and be there at the time they really want them to. it shows a terrible imagine of muslims, we should be timely!

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Anonymous said...

Assalamu alaikom,
HAHAHA!!! I've been to a number of get-togethers like this. I don't go to get-togethers anymore because it's embarrassing!