Sans Sense

The Art of Nothingness

Muslim women are born with a defective design.

Why, we are remarkably similar to other human beings in our anatomy and workings! We even have our sense organs on our heads. Now that would usually be fine for animals and other persons on planet Earth, but since we keep being told that the face is awra (a private part!), I wonder whether a trunk and snout might have been a more functional design choice for us. At least we could breathe, eat and talk in peace. The blasphemous British have said it for centuries that the eyes are windows to one’s soul, and some clerics have finally caught on to it by asking that one or both eyes be covered, lest your soul escaped through the open window. If you’re wondering what took them so long, it turns out that the brain may have been equally unnecessary to both sexes.  Now hold your sniggers, because I don’t think Darwin got it right, either. If all that evolution clap-trap worked as he claimed, we would be faceless, sense-less, brainless amoebas, by now. So there, you heretic!

Take a moment to ponder on the grand scheme, our religious patriarchs have prepared for the weaker sex. Even sunshine is a test for the pious. Never mind the fact that many of us live bang in the middle of the Earth, the rightly guided ones have either acquired Vitamin-D deficiency rickets by now, or are on course to giving it to their nursing babies. Even our immigrant sisters are teaching the West some humility. Those creeps were claiming that they had eradicated rickets during the Victorian era. Well, not any more.

Reader, if you do wear a niqab, you probably already favour a black one because of its heat-absorptive properties. In our climate, it may after all enable you to attain the perfect temperature for a tenderly sautéed brain masala, without the use of natural gas or cooking oil.

Wait. I have more to say about the face, or rather, it is the science book written by infidels that says that facial recognition is the principal way through which social primates have, for several hundred thousand years, identified family from non-family and friends from foes. They even say that the face expresses subtle or obvious emotional cues that are universal to humans and critical to communications. If you’re a Muslim woman, that information or any benefits purported to accrue from owing a face, are entirely superfluous to you, as the Muslim men may not think your identity or your emotions are worthy of attention, in the first place. Whether you’re happy, worried, angry, grieving, or plain excited, just shut the hell up visually and verbally, and go back to the kitchen. And for your own safety, don’t bother stepping out, because in a phenomenon that is present in uniquely eccentric proportions in Muslim societies, you are indeed quite likely to be jeered at, leered at, groped, molested, assaulted, or otherwise harassed by other men, veils notwithstanding.

If you’re wondering what the point of this mumbo-jumbo is, let me be more direct:

How can God in all his wisdom create humans in the best of designs and then limit half of them from using their endowments? How do women in other societies carry on with their lives without living in constant terror of harassment or a crippling fear of judgment based on looks?

If you are already forming a rebuttal in your head, AND if you are a man who has never worn a veil to work, let me tell you that you will never understand the limitations that it imposes on women when they’re interacting with the environment or other people. And please, stop chasing away common sense with the ‘religious obligation’ baton.

In case you haven’t guessed and cursed me for it already, I am phobic to the full-face veil, and I’m not even French. It’s a hard-wired human response to mistrust what isn’t apparent. If you’re in for a social experiment, try approaching an infant, wearing a mask, even a black one, for greater drama. This baby will be not only refuse to be held, but will be visibly distressed by your presence. Lacking may he or she be in language skills, but the baby definitely understands trust and security, warmth and goodwill. Unfortunately, a niqab is the exact opposite of trust, security, warmth and goodwill. While some may consider it to be their right to wear the niqab, let it be known that it encroaches upon my right to feel safe in their presence. For all I know, they may be shop-lifters, stalkers, or men wearing suicide jackets.

I admit I can neither undo centuries of brain washing by our patriarchs through a post, or address the social factors and prejudices that are leading to marginalization of Muslims in many parts of the world. But maybe you will agree with some bite-size logic: that the Muslims of today are increasingly adopting symbols of misogynist dessert cultures, in the name of Islam, to express their defiance, and to set themselves apart, in a world where cultures are blending together like ice-cubes in water.

If you are a Niqabi reader, donning this out of ‘choice’, for the sake of reason, or even God, please drop it – really!

Take it. It’s free.

Illustration of advice

Advice (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Being a Pakistani, I just loooove to give advice. The line between my life and yours is a little blurry, you see. Everyone I know, or don’t know, between Gwadar and Parachinar, is an extension of my really extended family – bhai, baji, amma, baba, khala, chacha, beta, beti, uncle, aunty, bua. So naturally, I have your best interests at heart, muah!

Now, if you were clever like me, you would have realized that advice is free, just like a smile. Since smile is charity, advice is too. You should follow logic baba on twitter. He says A is equal to C (uff, we’ll talk about B when he’s left the room). Now don’t ask me for money – I have none to give, only advice, on how you should have spent yours, more prudently. As it is, I’m already over my budget this month because I bought this blessed pair of chappals that the phuppo next door swears by – they ARE the secret to obedient husbands. So for the rest of the month, I’ll give you smiles and advice.

What I’m about to tell you is derived from centuries of hair-whitening research from our nannies and grannies. It is specific to the Pakistani phenotype and genotype. If you are our Afghan or Saudi brothers, please triple the strength for each tip before use. If you’re Indian, Israeli or American, go flush yourself down the toilet. (That’s advice too.)

• Don’t work on Fridays. It is for baths, prayers and pelting stones on passing cars, if you feel offended.

• The secret ingredient in finger-licking good food is perspiration. Work up a sweat.

• The antidote to envy is to have a tablespoon of sour grapes soaked in gripe water at bedtime.

• Don’t buy lawn from Peepak Derwani. He has cheetah prints and even zebras know that cheetahs are not halal. Only Jay-Jay has halal lawn.

• Rickets is better than a sun-tan. You’ll get married as long as you’re fair.

• We have no CNG in cars and no electricity in homes, because there is no Haya in women. Stop blaming the government.

• Bald men are virile. Ladies use that information carefully, and use polio drops when necessary.

• If you want to be filthy rich, avoid frequent hand washing.

What did you just say? Mind my own business? No, no, no. I don’t own my business. It is in my great-grandmother’s name, because she doesn’t have an NTN.