Hey y'all! My name is Amatullah, and I've been Muslim my entire life. People are always curious to know more about it, and I am always eager to help.
However, with the help of my friends, I think now is a great time to provide y'all with a list of questions you should definitely not ask us.
This has gone on for far too long.
Note: I know that some of these questions are truly coming from a good place but for the rest of y'all? This post is definitely for you.
Questions about clothes:
1."Are you hot in your hijab?"
Now if it's the middle of the summertime, what would make you think I'm not hot? We're all hot! But if it's winter, please know that I am in fact just fine and probably warmer than you TBH.
Hijabs come in all different colors, patterns, and fabrics so we adjust accordingly based on the weather. If it's hot? I'll throw on a lighter hijab. And if it's cold? I'll make sure it's thick so my ears don't fall off.
2."Can I see your hair?"
Simply put, hijabis (people who wear a hijab) can show their hair to men that they are related to or other women in general. However, just because you fall into these categories does not entitle you to see their hair.
If they're not showing it to you willingly, don't ask!
3."Do you shower/sleep in it?"
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Find me someone who showers in their clothes, and then we'll talk. And no, we don't sleep in it. Not that it would stay on anyway.
4."Were you forced to wear it?"
This question is so offensive, words can't describe it. You should not assume that someone was forced to wear a hijab. While it is a sad reality that some Muslim women are pressured and forced to wear it, that's not the case for the majority of women who will tell you it was 100% by choice.
5."Why don't you wear a hijab?"
This is equally offensive, so instead of going on a whole rant, just know that this is frankly none of your business. This is an issue of people wanting to police how women dress, and it's not OK just because the woman is Muslim.
So don't ask.
6."Can you only wear black?"
7."Why don't men have to cover their hair?"
Even though they don't have to, they also have guidelines on how to dress. But what makes this question annoying is that y'all always reserve this question for women instead of asking men. Don't ask me why I'm covered while Muhammad is always posting shirtless thirst traps on Instagram. Ask him instead.
Questions about food:
8."There's pork in it? You can't just pick it out?"
Would you tell someone with a nut allergy to just pick them out? Let that marinate for a second.
9."Why don't you drink? You're missing out!"
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Basically, Muslims are strongly discouraged from doing things that are harmful to the body. So drinking and smoking fall into that category because of the health risks. However, even if a Muslim isn't following that, they could be in recovery or could simply not like the taste.
Either way, Muslim or not, you shouldn't be asking anyone why they aren't drinking.
10."You're fasting? So you can't have anything? Not even water? I could never."
The word "fast" means to abstain from food and drinks. That should tell you all you need to know.
Also, you definitely could fast if you had to. But it's very discouraging to say that to someone who's fasting.
Questions about identity:
11."My other Muslim friend does xyz. Why don't you?"
Because Muslims aren't a monolith, and we don't all practice the same way.
12."Where are you from? No, I mean like where are you really from?"
13."Do you speak Islam?"
Islam is the religion, my friend. The people who practice it are Muslim. The language you're looking for is Arabic, and while the Qur'an is in Arabic, not all Muslims speak it.
14."Since you're Muslim, explain this (random) Quranic verse to me about (insert topic here)."
There are so many Muslims who are very knowledgeable about the Qur'an and its teachings. I am not one of them. We are not all scholars of Islam, but we can definitely point in a right direction that's more than just a broad Google search.
15.And finally, "You don't look Muslim."
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OK, but what does a Muslim look like? The answer to this is no doubt going to be full of stereotypes that have been perpetuated by TV shows, movies, and books without any Muslim writers.
There is no one way for a Muslim to look.