My Omani husband and I had a fight about hijab the other day. I wasn't going to force a 100-year old dead woman to observe it, is all.
You can't ask people in the West to support the right of Muslim women to wear hijab, if you don't do the same in the Middle East as well, for non Muslims, and of course, when those non Muslims are my sister and my grandmother (even if she's dead) well then, I'm going to fight for it, even if it seems a stupid thing to fight over.
Because it isn't. It is the start of larger prejudices, and we cut those at the quick.
So here is the story:
I have pictures, photographs, in my house, framed, of my family members. My little sister. My grandmothers. None of them are Muslim. None of them wear hijab.
So my husband is having over an old family friend.
I clean the house for said family friend. We even put away the oil portrait of my little sister since it shows (gasp, almost a flash or shadow or hint of her fake painted cleavage). ...Because like, she totally wouldn't wear that cocktail dress to walk around Mutrah or to visit my in-laws anyways, so whatevs. I carry giant large platters of meat and rice and kids nap routines are interrupted, and I have to eat rice for lunch which I actually don't like to do.
Normal stuff for guests.
But in the middle of this I realize my husband has put away the photograph of my dead grandmother. Only her ankles are showing in the picture. She is wearing a boxey World War II era suit and hat, and her hair is covered. Very modest. Modest enough to visit our village. Super respectful dress. If she wore such to Oman, Omanis wouldn't be offended by her.
So I ask him, why he put her picture away? [he doesn't believe pictures are haraam].
He says out of respect for the guy who won't understand why he (my husband) has a picture of his Muslim wife's relative with her hair out and ankles showing.
I get soooooo mad.
I tell my husband to tell the man the truth.
I don't care if people don't understand or like the truth, but the truth is what good, right, true people use.
The truth is, his wife has and had non-Muslim female family members who are not discriminated against by his wife (me) just because they don't wear hijab. If I have a photos of my grandfather and my father and uncles out, it is DAMN DISRESPECTFUL to hide the photos of my sister, my aunts, and my grandmothers. Islam doesn't tell non-Muslim what to wear, period. It doesn't tell us as Muslims to police them in anyway, or accord them respect or lack-there-of based on their dress.
If my little sister is dressed too damn sexy for someone to see her in Oman (I can still advise against but it is her choice in the end), well, I won't hide her, or refuse to go out with her...Because she had people make fun of her because I chose to wear black abayas in our non-Muslim country. She even tried to dress like a Muslim woman so she could listen to our Mosque lectures on Fridays out of respect to try to understand my beliefs. No one gets the right to tell me to hide her or talk to her over here about her clothes. Allah didn't ask me to focus on non-Muslim people's bodies. He told us to speak to their hearts.
I have the same respect for her rights, which, my religion protects and respects as well.
If any man has a problem with what non-Muslim women wear they should do what the Qu'ran tells them to do, and that is, have respect, give dawah based on the oneness of Allah nothing else is important compared to that, and if that is beyond you, well then, lower your gaze.
I told my husband if he has any friends who can't respect these aspects about fair rights for non-Muslim women in Oman, they also don't respect what I am fighting for in terms of rights to wear hijab in my non-Muslim country, and I don't want them in my house, period, if I have to hide the people that make me who I am from them. Period.
Respect is a two way-street. Educating and giving dawah is a two-way street, and I feel a lot of Omanis need "dawah" on what and how they should deal with non-Muslims.