When you grow up with Muslim parents, everything signals the end of the world.
Women wearing short skirts
Muslim women not wearing headscarves
Nothing’s off limits. I almost applaud the creativity:
You talk back to your dad – disobedient children signal the end of the world
Campaigns for gay rights – same-sex marriages mean world-wide wreckage
First cousins don’t marry each other – this is it, you guys …
I’ve lost count of the number of things that have meant the world’s on the brink of destruction:
Dark-haired girls adding blonde streaks to their style
Deciding to go anywhere but Pakistan for your holiday
Having a crush on someone and openly admitting it in front of your bro
Applying for University and getting in
The internet (not just the porn)
Painting your nails before Friday and not praying
Having a dog in the house – the chances of the world ending are doubled if the dog’s in your bed
Exercising your right to choose … anything
Not fasting during Ramadan
Women getting jobs
The family not getting together for Eid
Hanging a painting in your house that doesn’t include Arabic from the Quran or a picture of pretty-much-anything from Saudi Arabia
Photographs on the walls
Wearing rosary beads as jewellery
Not turning the corner of the prayer mat when you’re not using it
Punk rock, jazz, heavy metal music
Kissing on screen
Cross dressing (even if a girl wears jeans)
Dark eye liner (because it makes you look like a witch, apparently)
Expecting your dad or brother to do the dishes
Putting a Christmas tree up in the house
Questioning religion, the existence of God, or how long I’ll have to wait my turn when being questioned on the Day of Judgement
Refusing to pray
If it rains nonstop for three days straight
You’re 40, single, and don’t care (it’s the don’t care ‘tude that does it)
What you’re reading right now
Can you smell the fear?
The fear of change. Of something different. Of what you don’t understand. Challenges. Losing control. Confusion. Insecurities. Comfort zones.
Because anyone telling you that something signals the end of the world isn’t just stating their opinion – they’re showing you what they’re afraid of.
In the same breath, they’re trying to protect you from the thing they fear.
It’d be sweet, if it weren’t so irritating.
Given that these signs have existed for at least three generations, the least we can do is allow our parents to indulge in them, without being sucked in ourselves.
And if that isn’t your bag? Become a tattoo-adorning, cross-dressing, educated, blonde-streaked female living in the penthouse.
At least until the rain stops.
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