The life and loves of a New Zealand convert in Africa
Saturday, 30 March 2013
My Muslim name
There is a constant question I get asked here
"So what's your Muslim name?"
"No but you should have changed your name"
"There is not one single ayah or hadith to support that fact unless your name means something bad, as well as the fact my parents gave me this name and I want to honour that"
"How about I call you Khadijah"
"How about I call you Lucy. It's not nice to call someone else by something that's not your actual name"
"But you are married to an Arab, you should have a nice Arabic name"
"I may be married to an Arab but I am not one, I am a New-Zealander and I am proud of who I am. My husband did not marry me trying to change my racial heritage"
It's weird how so many people here believe that if you convert than you MUST change your name. I have not fought against so many culture and Islam clashes than I have here. Sometimes it's like they want to encourage me to become more of an Arab. I can't become more of something that I am not already to start with!
The abaya issue was the first one.
I don't like abayas and never have. I usually wore them to Eid or something like that. Now I wear a black one every time I leave the house, on my husbands request. But when I first moved here the sisters would say to me (because I would wear my maxi dresses and cardigans) that I should wear one so I can look more Egyptian and fit in. Again how can I look 'more' Egyptian?
And then today.......
Today we went visiting an Egyptian family, where there were others visiting as well. One of them was about to have a baby and I asked if she had brought a cot for him. BAD idea.
She told me that he would sleep with her until at least two or older. I said OK but she looked at me suspiciously and asked where my son slept and I told her that he slept in his own room, she looked shocked and asked how long he had slept in his room and I told her since he was three months old, she yelled at everyone to come and when they did proclaimed what I had done. I swear if they could have given me a dunces hat and put me in the corner then they would have. For the rest of the day I was the bad, evil western mother and they gave my son pats on the head and whispered reassuringly to him in Arabic.
Finally I had enough and told them "Look lady, the fact you want to sleep with your son until older than two is to me frankly a little creepy, but that is your culture and your choice and your son so it's not really any of my business. I need my own personal space which in not a concept to you but again that is my culture and my personal beliefs. We are not the same person and what's right for you is not always right for me"
It didn't go down well.
Most likely because they couldn't understand half my accent anyway and so the point was lost.
I quickly got out of there and on the way home I told my husband and he told me "Egyptian women are the best Mothers in the world but at least you take fantastic care of yourself and don't let yourself go"
Gee thanks honey.
Never mind the fact that I home school whilst all their children go to school and they get a ten hour break everyday! Until I sleep all night with my little man I just don't cut it I guess.
Seriously next time I am staying home and making cookies.
Speaking of cookies I have a new trick. I love to bake but today I just didn't have time as I had to spend all morning at the dentist and then we went visiting all afternoon and evening. So I went to the supermarket and found muffins, I then sat in the car took them out of there wrapping and squished and deformed them a little, put them on some ceramic plates I brought cheaply and wrapped them in plastic wrap. They so looked homemade and I saved face all at once. Of course if they had asked if I made them I would have told them the truth but no one did! My husband just shook his head at me and laughed. He knows me well.
Hope you are all having a nice holiday (those in the west) and for everyone else big hugs.
Welcome to my blog! My name is Bonnie and I am a twenty something convert to Islam from New-Zealand but living in South Africa with my Egyptian husband, two kids and kitten crumpet. I see myself as a self proclaimed hippy but without the creepy free love and unshaven legs,I can't sing to save my own life and if I had to choose between oxygen and chocolate it would be a very close call.