While some give credence to the philosophy that there is “No such thing as a stupid question” – I ascribe to the sentiments found in the article Ink Out Loud: There’s no such thing as a stupid question,’ and other ailments lavender cures (2013).
In this article, Mandy Feder defines stupid questions as:
- Those questions that have already been answered, but the asker wasn’t listening or paying attention.
- Questions that can be answered with a scant amount of research and less than a minute of time.
- Questions of which the answer should be painfully obvious to any person with a pulse who has lived on this earth for more than a decade.
Unfortunately, too many of the above questions types are directed at me on a daily basis. Just this morning in fact, I received a stupid question.
“You look Egyptian now. Does your husband force you to dress this way?”
“What do you mean?” I asked and smiled sweetly. I was staring at an old man after all.
“You changed your style. This is an Egyptian style.”
Of course, I have no idea what the f**k he is talking about. Apparently wide leg pants and a jacket change your nationality. And I’ve only been wearing hijab since 2009 – a mere seven years before I met my husband. After affirming that the clothes I’m wearing were my choice – and mine alone – I continued onward with my day.
In light of my morning’s happenings, I’m issuing a public service announcement: Stop asking reverts stupid questions!
I understand my life choices can sometimes be confusing to people, but why do I have to justify them?
If someone is genuinely curious about my life story, I will discuss it with them until the cows come home. I am an open book and I will bare my soul to all that will listen. However, I’d rather not have to educate someone on things that should be obvious to anyone that has a pulse.
Here are some examples of stupid questions I’m tired of answering.
1. Questions relating to hijab that make absolutely no sense.
- Do you shower/sleep/sit in your house with ‘that thing’ on?
- Aren’t you hot?
- Can’t you hear?
- How can you move in ‘that thing’?
2. Questions that clearly stem from the belief that Islam is oppressive to women.
- Did you convert for your husband/boyfriend/father/brother/3rd cousin twice removed or some other man in your life?
- Do you have to walk behind your husband?
- Does he have four wives yet?
- Does he beat you?
- Are you no longer a feminist?
3. Infuriating exchanges about my nationality.
“Where are you from?”
“Ok, but like your parents? What about them?”
“The rest of your family?”
“No like before. Several generations back?”
At this point the person usually makes wild hand gestures to make sure I understand they mean back in time.
“Ah ha!” A hungry gleam appears in their eye as they believe I am going to reward their patience with an exotic location to validate their prejudice.
“-States of America.”
“Yeah, yeah. Before that?”
“I’m a mix of…”
Curious George or Georgette usually walks away at this point.
4. Passive aggressive questions that clearly illustrate prejudice.
- You know that’s not like…required right?” (I get that one from Muslims and non-Muslims alike).
- Do you think God cares if your hair shows?
- How do you survive without pork/alcohol?
- You aren’t like…a hardcore Muslim are you? Praying five times a day and all that stuff?
- Oh yeah, I met this convert on the internet and she lives 67,908 miles away…do you know her? No we don’t ALL know each other!
5. Questions that insult my intelligence and commitment.
Just because I’m a revert does not make me a new Muslim. I’ve been Muslim for nine years! Give me some credit!
- Do you know how to pray? Fast? Insert pillar of faith here.
- Do you know Surah-Al Fatiha?
- Can you read Qu’ran?
If you’d like to ask me about being a Muslim American, revert to Islam, woman living in Saudi Arabia, or anything else your heart desires…please do! Just take some time to consider your questions – I don’t want to have to write a blog post about you.