Saturday, April 12, 2008

Building Perspective - Azara Feroz Sayed

Feroz talks to me a lot about perspective - your mind is your greatest friend and biggest enemy!

I recollect how like a a good neighbour (you know what it means!) I was scuttlebutting Feroz about our muslim neighbour wearing a bindi and he said so what? Feroz made me feel stupid by his comment and got me thinking - yes if we can wear lipstick and other kinds of paint on us why not a bindi - with my limited knowledge of Islam - I do know - women should not dress like a man - is what Islam prescribes about dress code - there shouldn't be a reference of wearing lipstick, makeup, bindi anywhere in the Hadiths - and Indian Muslims have conviniently accepted wearing lipstick and makeup is OK while wearing a bindi is not right! my frame of reference changed!

We, Maharashtrian Muslims, are required to wear managalsutra (wedding chain with black beads, a important part of Hindu wedding ritual) after marriage. I take pride in wearing it - as it is gift from Feroz to me and is as dear to me as my wedding ring! The mangalsutra is one of the many customs, traditions, rituals that muslims adopt from their geographical location. I am sure a Tamilian or Keralite muslim would have similar wedding chain requirements based on the wedding customs in Tamilnadu and Kerala. In other words - apart from believing in the words of God (quran) and the life & living of the Prophet (Hadith) - the customs (day to day living) of a Maharashtrian Muslim or a Tamilian Muslim etc would have tinge of the customs of Maharashtra or Tamilnadu respectively. So next time you see a Indian Muslim - don't think of the Arabs or Pakistani! With that said, if wearing a managalsutra is OK then why not a bindi!

Talking with Feroz always helped to see things from different perspective. In another incident, while watching wedding pictures of our muslim acquaintance, I commented on the plunging neckline of the bride and once again I was stupified by Feroz's so what? I put together his thoughts on this matter that he mentioned so many times and I knew what his "so what" meant - One thing you can be sure of these people are not hypocrites. He comments about muslim women wearing scarf over a figure hugging dress. I thank God for blessing me with Feroz everytime he forces me to think about my judegements!

Perspective is the most important ingredient in forming judgements. There are so many things that have been defined as right and wrong when we were born and we accept it each day without questioning! Marilyn Vos Sant, the author of brain builder, had suggested as part of one of her brain building exercise to conciously make a note of ideas that we accept without questioning and to start looking at them from a different frame of reference.

Identifying people by gender, age, race makes us use those categories for judgements as though they were to blame for everything e.g. a pakistani muslim etc Why not list the political party that they associate with - as belonging to a political party is voluntary and indicates something about the person's mind!


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