Thursday, April 11, 2013

Going to events and parties in Muscat as an Omani girl

Have three years past already? Three years ago my friend B threw a graduation party for her sister in Shatti that was just so colourful, relaxed, and fun (barbeque) and I was just looking through and found this table setting that reminded me so much of that particular party that I just had to re-post it.
I also recently commented on this post and this post by local bloggers. They high-light three events that have a major draw for me. 1. I love costume parties of any kind. I love dressing up. Weird and wacky, or black tie  2. A really swanky brunch? Totally my thing. 3. Great live music (I know, I'm Muslim, I am working on that, that I shouldn't be listening to music, but that isn't number 1 on my list of sins that I am working on unfortunately. If it was, I'd expect I'd be a pretty great person already). So why, as an Omani girl, are the only major theme parties I go to hosted by Omani girlfriends, weddings [which get dull fast], eating out, or kind of VIP things through work? Answer is a cultural eye-opener I guess: I choose not to go.
There are many reasons for this, none of which are that I am a religious extremist who wants to burn down the opera house, or forbid serving alcohol to non-Muslim expats, or segregate society, especially non-Muslims. I'm not some weirdo. I don't expect other people to have the same ethics or morals or understanding of morality that I do. I believe selfishness is not in living the way that one wants to live... it is in expecting others to live as you do or think as you do. But I have a choice. I choose not to be anywhere where alcohol is served in my immediate vicinity (most hotels) and not to socialize with people when they are drinking [majority of Omanis as well do this]. In case you are an expat, this is not anything against you at all. It is actually religious commandment for us Muslims, not to make, sell, drink, or socialize with those who are drinking. That said, when hotels or restaurants offer pretty sweet or cool promotions where drinks are included in the entrance price, I do understand these events are targeted at non-Muslim expats. I just wish that some cooler promotions (chic---stylish) were more constant on the Muscat scene is all. I don't like that "store opening" or "spa treatments" are the only major promotions for people like me. I hate spas. I like jet-skiing, and sailing, and dressing up for costume parties or eating chic brunch sans alcohol. I don't like that Arabic foods are usually the only alcohol-free promotions. Boring, been there, done that.
Another issue for Omani girls is mixing. I don't think it is wrong for a woman to have an intelligent conversation with an unrelated man. Never have. But I think that limits going to many otherwise cool events that would draw me out of my hermit-like existence lol. Like, the black tie balls? I'd love those, but I mean, dressing up in front of guys I don't care about and who really have done nothing to earn my trust and seeing "all that" is not a very Muslim-thing to do [for those sarcastic people---yes, I still have weddings, but somehow, parties are just so much better, they aren't just about one person]. Also, costume parties? Sometimes dressing up is not enough. I want to dance, let my hair down. A lot of Omani women would totally like to meet expat women, but they are afraid a. they'll get a photo of them not dressed properly put on the internet, c. there's no real places for non-mixing events with expat women but generally dull things, dining out. We do that already!
Anyways, this post is kind of random. I just wanted to explain how Omanis might not be anti-expat, or extremists, they just complain about being bored too;) or feeling left out. That's all. Random post.


muslimah mummy said...

Those photos were gorgeous, makes me wanna party!
I too miss these things. I'd love to dress up , do my hair, go dance my socks off in the a setting of friends of course.

"I don't expect other people to have the same ethics or morals or understanding of morality that I do" I have to agree! The world does not revolve around us, there is an entire human race who love all sorts of wonderful and wacky things and they may or may not be muslim, but its not our place to judge them. :)

Would love to visit oman one day inshaAllah :)

Anonymous said...

I have a question that is completely for information purposes and not at all meant to elicit a controversial response. I've lived in 3 Muslim countries (for at least a year each, sometimes longer), including Oman, and Oman is the first place I have ever heard my Muslim friends talk about music being prohibited, and I've heard it here several times. And I don't meant like, "Yeah, we really shouldn't listen, but we do anyway," but legitimately no one has ever even brought it up. Is this primarily an Ibadhi interpretation? The other two countries were in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, so a pretty good gamut of Muslim experience. For the record, I'm not asking for religious quotes, I'm more interested in whether this is universally believed/practiced in most majority Muslim countries. Maybe your readers who have lived in other Muslim countries could comment? Again, not meant to start a religious debate, just to share any experiences they might have.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Muslimah Mommy: Yeah, I guess we're stuck throwing our own parties right lol.

Anonymous: The majority of schools of thought within Sunni, Shia, and Ibadhi say music (not singing---but the sounds produced by stringed instruments and wind instruments) are forbidden. Although with Ibadhism I do find it more widely adhered to [I am Sunni though and believe the same]. Very few of my Ibadhi friends will listen to music. They also avoid places with music, as Ibadhism believe is dissociation with the sinful, so even if they'd love to walk around a mall for example, they won't unless they need to buy something---get in, get out. The opera house they'd never visit, even for the restaurants and shopping.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Exceptions to that would be a sect of Sunni called "sufi" which you will find in Africa. They do not believe music is sinful (at least not all of them---Sufism is confusing to me).

Unknown said...

That was interesting I'll come to muscat next week inshaAllah, and I plan on staying 6 months for an internship. I hope I can meet some omani women and other expats :)

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