Tag Archive | Islam

Wishing to Wear Hijab More, but…

So, lately I have found myself wishing I could wear hijab more. It sounds like it should be so simple. Want to wear hijab more? Wrap it round and off you go! Go to the shops, grab the groceries, wander around the office, attend customer sites, go to the park, library, beach etc. Just wear it and go!

It isn’t that simple though. I know, as I write this, that some people will read this and judge with thoughts of ‘she’s just making excuses’ and ‘If you believe and have faith, then you would do it in spite of the difficulty’. You know what? That’s ok. If you feel the need to judge where I am at in learning Islam and my current capacity to get through challenges, then I guess that is just where you are in your place and space of life. I am somewhere different.

Current Challenge 1 – Local Cultural Attire

When the clothes people wear is so normal to them, they hardly realize that they do have a cultural dress.

I live in Australia, on the Sunshine Coast. It’s a typical beach lifestyle here year round, so the cultural dress of the area is board shorts/shorts, bikinis or a one piece suit is typical. For women no longer in their 20’s, t-shirts, thongs/sandals might be a little more common. If you are not at the beach, summery clothing is usually short sleeved or sleeveless with straps or strings. Shorts, short skirts, etc. This is just the cultural dress of the area. Evening wear, if you are going out to a restaurant or something, is usually a T-shirt of some sort and jeans/long pants OR if you are a lady you can wear the shirt/pants combo or a nice dress or skirt and shirt. That’s just (in general) what people here will wear.

YES there are other types of clothing options worn by people, no I’m not saying EVERY Sunny Coast person dresses like they are about to surf a wave. Merely I’m stating that this is the most common dress and sets the standard for what is ‘normal and acceptable’ social wear.

SO, the cultural clothing is also MY cultural clothing. I’m white Australian. While I wasn’t raised here on the Sunshine Coast, I was raised on the Australian Coast, I swam at beaches, I hung out in Tshirts, shorts and Thongs. I’ve worn bikini’s and feel very comfortable in swimmers that show plenty of arms and legs.

It is a very large shift to go from Bikini’s, short and tshirts, to modest clothing and hijab.

And to be honest? I think that it’s extreme. Seriously, if I were to suddenly go from traditional local attire to full, modest, Islamic attire, I’d argue that I had become an extremist and Allah is against extremism.

I am still Australian, I’m still part of this amazing beach community and becoming Muslim isn’t going to remove me from that. So how do I achieve both? How can I be a casual, beach Aussie and be Muslim? I don’t yet have an answer for that.

Current Challenge 2 – Access to appropriate attire

With that cultural clothing demographic in mind, Muslim women stand out, regardless of how ‘casually’ I dress, it stands out. Put aside the Hijab scarf for a moment, and consider the rest of the attire. Long loose pants or a long skirt you could get away with. A little trickier in an office environment that dresses a little more ‘office smart’ rather than ‘social worker casual’, but still wouldn’t raise too many eyebrows.
Wearing a long sleeved anything? People will think you’ve lost the plot, gone bonkers, misplaced your mind, etc. Also, most of the clothing readily available in stores around these parts are marketed to the prevailing majority of clothing culture. The casual, beachy, Aussie lifestyle.

Dressing so vastly differently from everyone else is a challenge. Challenge in access to the style of clothing, challenge in choosing situation appropriate clothes, etc.

Current Challenge 3 – wearing a ‘scarf’ in the QLD heat

THEN ontop of the odd/hot clothing choices you add a scarf and you stand out. Everyone is barely clothed and you might as well be wrapped up in a blanket with a neon sign above your head that flashed ‘very different’.

Now, if someone asks ‘aren’t you hot?’, I’d simply respond “of course! The weather is 35 degrees” (Celsius, for those who need the Fahrenheit equivalent it is 95).
I would still be ridiculously hot without the scarf, but the scarf does keep the burning hot sun off my head, ears and neck, so aside from avoiding sunburn I also have a shade source that goes everywhere I do. Winter isn’t too bad (the 4-8 weeks of slightly cool weather), but mostly it’s hard.

Current Challenge 4 – Face of Islam

I don’t want to be ‘the face’ of Muslim people. When I dress modestly and wear hijab, every word, action or inaction that I make is a reflection on the Islamic community as a whole, and vice-versa. I am Muslim, true, but my actions are mine and mine alone. I don’t see someone yelling at their child and go ‘oh, all those atheist’s just yell at their kids’ or see a Christian jay-walking and extrapolate that all Christians ignore the road rules. No, I see THAT PERSON is making the choice to yell and THAT PERSON is making the choice to jay-walk.

I feel, when I wear hijab, that every action I take, every time I don’t smile broadly and welcomingly at everyone, is deemed a critical assault against that person and that Muslim people are just not friendly.

I’m sure most people I walk past probably don’t care too much about my hijab. I am SO grateful to those people, for making my life just a little easier with their kindness.

Current Conclusion – I do what I can, when I can

I mostly wear Hijab and proper dresses/long attire when I attend prayers etc or a Muslim community event.

If I am having a really positive day, I’ll go out and about and run errands etc. in hijab. At those times I feel like I’m doing my bit to promote Islam and the Muslim people as nice, friendly and regular people.

With all that said, the majority of Australians are laid back and casual, don’t particularly care how others live their lives. Though I do pick and choose carefully where I will and won’t wear a hijab for my emotional safety. For example, I won’t be going to any late night things in hijab, or attending any professional events in hijab.

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Startling Realisation – I’m Muslim!

Salam!

I was sitting around today, waiting and thinking.

Waiting for my husband to finish ona job site and not really thinking about anything in particular. After a while, I realised I’d been thinking about the Quran, Allah and what I’ve learned and discovered so far.

Suddenly, it dawned on me. I’m Muslim. 

I believe in Allah and Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). I realised I even THINK ‘peace be upon him’ at times when I think about him.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a TERRIBLE Muslim. I didn’t grow up a Muslim, so there is a TRUCK LOAD of things to learn how to do and incorporate, or remove, from my life. There is no way I can become a saintly Muslim overnight. I’m going to continue to sin for weeks, if not years, to come. There is so much ingrained haram things in my life.

And that’s ok.

The Quran sets out how people should be taught and led to Islam. Literally baby steps. Allah does not expect that I will suddenly be a halal eating, hijab wearing, 5 prayers a day person. Allah knows and accepts that I need to learn and grow. Allah knows this growth could take a lfetime.

On top of that, I don’t just blindly follow what people say. ‘Oh Sister’ a fellow Muslim might say ‘you wear jeans and that’s haram’ or ‘you should be wearing your hijab in x style’. I appreciate the input, but I would like to learn and know in my soul that what I’m doing is ACTUALLY what Allah wrote into the Quran. I’m not interested in haddith at this time. Everything I need to know to become a good Muslim should be in the Quran. After all, it is LITERALLY gods words. Plus, I can only learn so much about Islam, I don’t have hours a week to devote to becoming a better Muslim.

Also, I’m Australian Muslim. I have a culture and existence that doesn’t disappear because I am Muslim. 

I also wish to be mindful of my friends, family and colleagues. A sudden change in behaviour, dress and manner would easily be viewed as extremism. Allah is against extremism, and I think going from Aussie beach swimwear to full hijabi swimwear in the space of a day is quite extreme.

So! I’m Muslim.. wow. Ok. Now I need a game plan on how to start letting friends and family know about this in a gentle way.

I think I’ll start with my brother and sister. The two people who I know will be ok and not freak out. 

Reaching Out ~ from Learning About to Learning To Do…

Consider this post a bit of a segue, a gap fill between one series and the next.

If you haven’t yet read how I came to be interested in Islam or my series on Learning About Islam, please remember to take some time and read about it. You can find the list of blogs HERE. (or at least you will when I make a space for it)


At some point, I reached a natural conclusion to what I was going to discover by google and logical consideration. I’m not entirely sure when this was, but a few weeks after that I decided that I wanted to learn more. I wanted to meet Muslim people and learn how to DO Islam. I say Do Islam, because for a non-believer like I am at the time of seeking more in-depth knowledge, I feel it is disrespectful to write Be Muslim. How can someone Be Muslim, or Become Muslim, if you don’t know anything about it or what it actually means to Be Muslim.

But what I can do, is learn to Do Islam and maybe by learning how Muslims live, what they believe and how they prey and live their life, I might discover that I do want to be Muslim and believe as they do.

Until then, I feel I am learning to Do Islam and great deal of respect and honour is given to the Muslims of the Sunshine Coast community who are allowing me into their lives and their space to learn.


So, I reached this conclusion that I wanted to know more.

I reached out to the Muslim community via an email address on their website and was forwarded onto their Imam.

His response was quick, pleasant and positive. Essentially he introduced himself, offered to answer any questions I may have, invited me to their Friday prayer and talk time and recommended several YouTube videos that would be of benefit.

(For those interested, he recommended Islam Unveil and Contemporary Issues. At the time of writing I have only had the time to watch up to episode 21/24 of Islam Unveiled and I recommend it. I have yet to start the 2nd.)

I inturn advised I would attend if I could (the prayer time is near midday and I work), and asked what I should wear. Remember guys, I am entering someone else’s faith. I feel deeply that I should be as respectful as I can and not intentionally or unintentionally offend others who I wish to learn from.
Either way, his response was that it would be ok to wear what I would normally wear as we were not meeting in a mosque.

So that’s it people. It was that simple. I attended on the Friday, but that is another post which will begin my next series Learning to Do Islam.

 

Life Update

Just thought, you know, I haven’t written anything on my blog for a while, so here I am. I’ve been a bit absent, so I thought a life update could be useful.

I recently turned 30, successfully I didn’t have any kind of 30 year old crisis, so that’s been good. I went home (beautiful tropical north qld), and had a shared birthday party with my dad (turned 60) and my niece (turned 13). It was a great weekend, albeit a little expensive.

Our 3 person household become a 1 car nightmare! Well… more like a 1 car challenge… and as that car is used for work purposes (mostly by the other 2), I’ve not been able to attend several Friday Prayer times, so that’s been pretty disappointing as I’m really enjoying learning everything I can.

I also started writing a book. I was always writing as a child/teen, but then I stopped. I honestly didn’t think I was very good. However, just because I wasn’t writing stories, that didn’t stop my mind from inventing them, keeping me awake for hours at night, living the life of these fantasy people with there complex little lives…

So, after weeks of this one story refusing to get out of my head, I thought I might be best placed to just write the darn thing… so maybe in a few months I’ll have some more gossip on that. I can tell you, the main character is called Sarah Collins, she lives in Townsville here in Aus and she’s a bit of a tough Aussie cookie!

I’m still working rediculous hours trying to get everything done, so more of the same there.

Aaaaaannnnnnd…. guess who is approved for the new house?! Me! Move in date, 19th… so only 26 more sleeps from here! 

So, that’s it for now! 

Learning About Islam ~ Seeking Answers 5

Welcome to my 5th and final post in my series Learning About Islam.

As I mention in a previous post ‘Learning About Islam ~ My Questions’, my initial exploration into what Islam is all about left me with quite a few questions. Obviously I didn’t get these answered all at once! In fact, I didn’t even think of all these questions at the same time. Rather, they developed over several months, just spinning around in the back of my mind.

Seeking answers to these questions also didn’t occur all at once. Instead, I’d see something and want to know more. Below is a summation of some of the information I found that lead to ‘answers’ for my questions.

(NOTE: these answers may not be true or accurate. They are simply what I found and observed on my own during my time of information seeking)


5 ~ What’s up with the hate against Muslims? How do Muslim people feel about that?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (perhaps Uluru?) you will have noticed there is a lot of hate towards Muslims. Trumps banning them entry, a random Australian is yanking someone’s Hijab off, Muslims viciously attacked as they exit their Mosque, etc.

I’d like to think the majority of Australians are no ‘anti-islam’. I think most Australians recognise the difference between extremism and Muslim Australians… but then you listen to what some people say, they propaganda they throw around… and it just makes me question more and more of what people say.

1) Why are communities against ‘Sharia’.

I get the distinct impression that the call for ‘no Sharia here’ has 2 parts.

1 – people don’t know/understand what sharia is
2 – people don’t realize that the way Sharia law works overseas is different to how it could work in Australia

My understanding of what Sharia is, is that it is the Muslim laws of behavior, what’s permissible and what is not. For example, multiple wives is permissible but eating pork is not.
Now, if I so choose, I can choose to live my life according to Sharia law. Australia won’t recognise it as law, which is irrelevant as Sharia is about abiding by the Muslim view of Gods laws laid out in the Quran.
So long as Sharia is followed within the laws of Australia, there is no issue. And I have not been able to find something that you could do in Islam where you couldn’t find a way of doing it in a legal manner here.

Feel free to comment if you can think of one, I’d like to know as much as I can.

The reason Sharia Law is different overseas, is that countries where government and legislation is based on Islam have no problem with people choosing to follow Sharia law… much like in Australia our Christian based legislation makes it very easy for us to follow it but it would be more challenging for us to try to follow Australia Law overseas.

2) Why are people against Muslims having a Mosque or a place to pray?

As far as I can tell, this comes down to ignorance and fear.

Ignorant of what Muslim people believe and how they live their faith, and fearful of what a Muslim person might do or that the ‘wrong type of people’ will move into an area.

If I could jump back to the ‘no Sharia here’ argument, those same people who don’t want Sharia, maybe they would do well to acknowledge that laws Australia currently has. Like people having the right to a place of worship and to practice their own beliefs without fear of persecution or harassment.

3) Why can’t Australia just allow Muslim people to live in peace?

Fear I think. The media has a lot of responsibility here, but I believe that the sheeple need to learn, listen, pull apart a story, look for evidence and STOP taking things at face value. Dig a little deeper. Think a little harder. Look just a little further.

Don’t accept the truth, find the truth.

 4) How can I support Muslim people? Is it awkward for them if I am not Muslim and don’t wear a head covering?

I’m not sure how I can support Muslim people. As I don’t have a lot of contact with Muslim people, I think the same way I would support any human would be sufficient.

  • smile
  • say hello
  • attend a big Ramadan celebration
  • refuse to share or pass on Islamophobic postings on facebook or other media.

5) What would happen if I wore a hijab?

Well, I wrote a little about this in my last post.

I thought if I wore a hijab I would get accosted or abused at some point. That didn’t happen.

There was one cranky lady behind the counter, but she was cranky at EVERYONE so I assume it wasn’t the hijab.

So, since nothing of great interest happened initially, I’ve started to think more ‘long term’.

What if I wore a hijab all the time? How would the islamophobic people in my life respond? How would my Christian aunts and uncles cope? What would my parents say?

I guess I can’t really answer these questions.


Well, there you have it!

That’s the end of my series on Learning About Islam! Yeah! We did it! Thanks for reading through these, assuming you have.

Until my next little series, thank you and keep checking in!

Learning About Islam ~ Seeking Answers 3

Welcome to my third post in my series Learning About Islam.

As I mention in a previous post ‘Learning About Islam ~ My Questions’, my initial exploration into what Islam is all about left me with quite a few questions. Obviously I didn’t get these answered all at once! In fact, I didn’t even think of all these questions at the same time. Rather, they developed over several months, just spinning around in the back of my mind.

Seeking answers to these questions also didn’t occur all at once. Instead, I’d see something and want to know more. Below is a summation of some of the information I found that lead to ‘answers’ for my questions.

(NOTE: these answers may not be true or accurate. They are simply what I found and observed on my own during my time of information seeking)


3 ~ Are women being denigrated and subjugated by men? Is that what Islam actually does?

It can be very difficult to separate Religion and Culture, particularly in the more strict Muslim countries were their cultural norm is based around the Laws of Islam, hence they are known as Islamic or Muslim countries.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking Australia doesn’t do this. Australia (Like America and many European countries) have laws that are based on Christian beliefs and values. You only need to look at Australia’s public holiday system to see that the majority of our holidays are Christian. To my knowledge we don’t have special public holidays where Australia openly celebrates non-Christian holidays. We have a few secular (non-religious) holidays, but the country doesn’t stop for other religious festivities.

Why is that important? Well, my exploration of ‘are women being denigrated and subjugated’ is limited to the Australian context. I have not explore this within the context of Muslim/Islamic countries. I simply couldn’t do that topic justice, given the varied social, political and culture issues that come into play. So, let’s just focus on Australia.

Are Muslim women forced to wear Hijab? Forced by who? The government? Obviously not, Australia has a fairly lax dress code. Meter Maids anyone? The key is wear what you want. During my exploration of this topic, I read someone say ‘but Muslim Australian women and migrant women don’t know any different’… wow, ok, way to deny someone’s intelligence. Muslim women are not inherently stupid and unable to think and consider options because they are Muslim (or choose to be Muslim). But if I were to entertain that argument, I could say that Australian women don’t know the difference, as they haven’t worn one and may not know the reasons why women might choose to wear one.

Look, to the best of my knowledge, no one is in a Muslim woman’s home, holding them down and force wrapping a Hijab around their head. I realise that is a little extreme. I am aware people mean culturally forced to wear one. Or that if they don’t wear one, they will be shamed and isolated from their family or friends.

Well, I have a news flash here for you. Being shamed or isolated from family and friends isn’t a Muslim thing, and it’s not just occurring around Hijab wearing. Here are some Australian cultural examples:

  • go to the beach in a bikini, but you’re not stick thin
  • the debate over public education, private education or homeschooling
  • catholic vs uniting church vs Anglican, etc
  • boys playing with dolls, girls playing with trucks
  • being gay!

And not too long ago, interracial marriages!

So, no one is forced to wear Hijab in Australia. There may be religious and cultural pressures to wear one, but you cannot force someone to wear it.

What rules of men are women being forced to live by?

This one had me really confused for a while. My conclusion is that we find it difficult to accept the patriarchal nature of the Muslim culture. And on many levels, I agree that it is definitely patriarchal. So is Australia. The fight is there to even the scales, but it is deeply rooted in culture and religion.

But let’s not forget, patriarchal society doesn’t always benefit the man. To be a ‘man’ in a patriarchal society comes with a lot of pressure. It all rests on him. HE must provide for the family. HE must be strong. HE must be capable of providing spiritual guidance. HE must protect his wife and family. HE holds the ultimate responsibility for all the deeds, good and bad, that happens to his family or that his family do.

I’m reminded that each and every law and rule we follow in this country has it’s origins as man made or decided. I argue that we are all, Muslim or non-Muslim, living by laws that were decided on by men.

Other than that, I don’t know a lot more about this particular topic. My research hasn’t made it clear what ‘rules’ people refer to. It appears to be a generalised statement about women doing what their husband say, or what the male religious leaders say.

But again, in the Australian context, the only law you can be ‘forced’ to live by is the Australian law. Everything else is social and religious pressure.

Is there a difference between Australian Muslim women and Muslim women overseas?

From the blogs I’ve read, there doesn’t seem to be too much.

I did not that a lot more women overseas are speaking up about issue that would be termed ‘feminist’ or women’s rights however the lack of content from Australian women may simply be because many Australian Muslim women already enjoy the freedoms that Muslim women overseas are pushing for.

Muslim Australian or Muslim from overseas, they are religiously more or less the same. Guided by the same book. There may be cultural differences, but again I stress that people should not confuse cultural behaviour and religious behaviour as the same thing.

If women are being harmed, what’s the underlying cause? Is it religion? Is it cultural? Is it prevalent in Australia?

This is so hard to find. News, blogs and some gov websites, have noted that migrant populations often experience more conflicts with our laws than people born in Australia.

This could be for any number of reasons, for example, lower socio-economic status has been shown to be a significant indicator of whether someone will engage in criminal activities to have their needs met (like stealing).Many people who come to this country are often disadvantaged with lower education or standards different to ours, challenges with language, finding work is difficult, etc.

As I’ve mentioned in another post, a hot topic of ‘women being harmed’ is domestic violence. I couldn’t find any information to support the idea that more Muslim women are the victims of violence than any other cohort in this country.

What is it like to wear a Hijab? If I wore one, would I experience negative responses from the community I live in?

This seems like the kind of question you can only answer by actually wearing a Hijab!

So I scrounged around in my cupboard to find a scarf that I would normally wear around my neck in winter, watched a few YouTube videos, practiced putting one on, then I ventured out into the big bad, scary world of the sunshine coast.

img_3345I did this on 2 different occasions (For those of you reading this who are Muslim, please pardon my hair. I was learning!).

This first time I went out, my ever supportive Husband
came along. We went out and had breakfast at a café in
Maroochydore then went for a stroll along the water.

I admit, I was disappointed. No one stared for hours on
end, no one insulted me or shamed Islam. It was all
incredibly normal. Within a minute I’d forgotten I was
even wearing it.

img_3445The second time I went out and about, my husband dropped me off at Sunshine Plaza. I wandered around by myself, looking in clothing stores, grabbing some lunch, bought an instant scratchy, etc.

I smiled at random people, I helped a lovely elderly couple to locate a particular store (they were trying to use the shopping centres computerized screen to lookup stores), I stopped to assist a lost child who’d walked out of a shop away from his mum, etc.

After a few hours, I was exhausted from shopping, but still I remained unaccosted by the general public. In fact, I’d had nothing but positive experiences… again as I was disappointed as I hadn’t been able to recreate what the news and media were leading me to believe… Namely that Australians hate the very sight of a Hijab or Muslim person.

What was it like to wear it? Actually incredibly normal. Ever pulled the hoody up on your jacket? Or held an umbrella over your head? Or worn a hat? It’s pretty much like that.
Depending on interpretation, you do need to be careful about your hair showing (oh but my color is soooo pretty!!!) and readjust occasionally, but to my surprise they don’t move around that much.

(And to make some of you feel a little better, here is a photo to show my Hijab skills, knowledge and wardrobe did improve over the following months)

img_3920

Stay tuned for the next post in this series.

‘I’m waiting for her to ask a question’

Image result for free image questionThis post might seem a little out of place in the timeline of my Learning Islam posts, but I want to put it in here regardless.

I recently attended my 2nd Friday prayer time after which those who were able (didn’t have to rush of to work or other commitments), gathered at the nearby shopping centre for some lunch and a time to be together. It was great and the people were lovely, but I’ll skip ahead for now as that’s not the focus of this post.

As the numbers dwindled, myself, the Imam and 1 other couple remained. It was fascinating to listen to them speak with him as they had questions about organ donation (permissible or not), and then the topics rolled to prayers, and then fasting for Ramadan and everyone’s experiences of this so far.

I cannot remember what they were discussing, but Mrs Muslim (because obviously I don’t want to use her name, I’ve not sought permission and she may not want to be identified), suggested that Imam explain for me something that he’d just said. He responded with, ‘I’m waiting for her to ask a question’.

Now, some people might find that harsh, or dismissive but I don’t think that was the case at all. I suspect he was being respectful. From our brief email correspondence, he knew I was interested in learning about Islam. Likely he’d noticed  I was eagerly listening to their conversation and surmised that I would ask a question if I wanted clarification. I felt the conversations they were having were providing me with a much broader understanding and context than direct question answer ever could. I said I was picking up a lot from just listening. And hopefully I sounded more confident than I felt.

But that was Friday. It is now Sunday. And I’ve been pondering that concept ‘waiting for her to ask a question’. Why haven’t I asked any questions? When I’m at home I have plenty of questions. And as they arise, I google them and look through as many varied sources as I can find, especially ones who reference the Quran in some way.
So why haven’t I asked any questions?

It isn’t that I don’t have questions. I currently have 2 questions, in fact one of them is quite an important question! The lesser question is ‘How can there be Devine Destiny and still humans have free will?’. This seems contradictory to me. I re-watched Episode 20 of Islam Unveiled (highly recommend watching), on Devine Destiny and I’m still not clear on how both can exist. The second question, the one which is ever more important, is if I converted to Islam in the future, what would Allah expect me to do with my marriage? This I have googled, and found mildly conflicting information, but my instincts tell me I know where the truth lies, and I probably don’t want to hear it.
Don’t misunderstand, I do want to know what the Quran says regarding the matter, but part of me feels that once I know, it will be much harder to continue learning. I don’t want to experience the ‘what’s the point then’ feeling and stop learning.

Now, returning to why I don’t ask questions. Growing up, asking questions was strongly discouraged. Not by adults or not intentionally. No one ever sat me down and said ‘ok you shouldn’t ask questions. It’s not ok to ask questions so don’t.’ In fact, it was quite the opposite. I felt encouraged by adults, the education system, TV etc, to ask questions. The discouragement came in the form of responses.

I try not to think back on this, because the feelings are as raw and stabbing as they were when they happened, but I can recall numerous occasions were I would ask a question and be laughed at, ridiculed, told to shut up, called names and generally dismissed from ‘peers’. That stuff hurts and it has long lasting impacts on people.

People’s nature is to avoid hurt. To create various coping mechanism to avoid being hurt. In my case, I stopped asking questions to other people unless I was certain I either knew the answer or knew the type of response I would receive (that it would be positive), or knew that I could hold my own in the following conversation (particularly if our opinions differed).

I have questions, but I’m not used to the traditional means of acquiring answers (asking someone) being a safe option. I know that the Imam will provide a safe and positively worded answer, so time and conversation permitting, I will seek an answer on Friday next.