Thursday, April 8, 2010

Who said Muslim women don’t have fun?

It was the end of the year and since the ladies of the Muslim women’s group I belong to had worked hard the entire year, and of course, because we’ll use any excuse to go out and have fun, we decided to have a team building, ladies day out.

First we had to decide where we would be going, there were so many options we did not know where to begin. One of the ladies took the consideration to do a full internet search on interesting places to go to. The list included many things and we were all excited about the options. A day at the Lion Park sounded fun, (yes we live in Africa, but there are not any animals walking on the streets of Johannesburg, I can assure you of that). Then there was the option of going on a quad bike trail, or we could go paragliding. The other option was to go to Magaliesberg, a nearby mountain resort where we could just chill out, or a relaxing day at a Beauty Spa... The list presented too many options and it seems like its human nature for us to find things more complicated the more options we are given.
Did I mention that if we had chosen any of the above activities, it would have been Islamically acceptable. You see the ladies in the women’s group are very strict about adhering to Islamic rules, in fact whenever anyone suggests anything, people start asking; “Is it Sharia’h compliant?” So, all the activities chosen would have to be within the bounds of Islam, within a certain travelling distance, and not anything that was haraam/ unlawful, or that would violate the pardah (covering) of Muslim women in any way.

I bet some of you are thinking, hey I didn’t know Muslim women could do paragliding. Or, A Muslim woman on a quad bike trail; are you kidding me?

Eventually we did not choose any of the activities on our list, because as many of you would know, it’s very difficult for a group of women to agree on one thing; what suits one doesn’t suit another and then the time of year isn't right and so on and so forth. We did end up going for adventure golf though, and had a grand old time, Tiger Woods jokes included and everything! Anyone watching us might have found the scene strange- A group of Muslim women, fully covered, some in long cloaks, with burqa, laughing and joking as they missed the hole more times than they actually got the ball in.

Now that I’m writing this, it reminds me of times when my sisters and I would go to the beach, and walk into the sea, fully clothed and have hours and hours of fun! (Nowadays it’s even easier, what with the Burqini on the market and all that).

So, does clothing determine the amount of fun people can have? Does religion? The only time these things will restrict “fun” is if the “fun” is something unlawful and immoral. Without getting into the whole issue of different perceptions of fun too much, I will say that only clean, pure enjoyment , where a woman is safe and not forced into doing things that she does not want to, can be regarded as fun, because every other idea of fun, always has some negative consequences, and most times, the negative consequences have to be faced by women alone.

So, after the ladies day out, the women already began planning the next ladies day out, in fact they were insistent that the next one should be a ladies weekend out! The planning continues, and perhaps our very efficient ‘fun planner’ as I will refer to her from now, is already making her list, who knows what we’ll be doing next, but I am sure that whatever it is, it will be a whole lot of fun!

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