04 April 2012

First Impressions

Why is it that first impressions are so important? Passing a judgement on somebody within a few seconds of meeting them - everything from their character to their "social status" to their rough annual wage - is something we all subconsciously do, and judging a book by it's cover has become the order of the day. But I feel like recently every single judgement that I have formulated about a person has turned out to be not only wrong but the complete opposite of reality - and I am usually pretty good at figuring people out (well I thought so anyway..).

So the other day I met this hijabi and got on with her well, we were cracking jokes and having a laugh and things were going just dandy. An hour in and she suddenly turned sour and started calling me out (rather loudly) for not having my fringe tucked into my headscarf. She was all like "well what's the point in wearing it then?" I ignored her rudeness and just tucked it back in but from then on every time I would see her she'd ask why I was wearing this and that and why I push my sleeves up and why I say "hi" instead of "salam" etccc. I carried on being normal with her and assumed that she must be a bit of a hardcore Muslim. 

That's until I found out yesterday that she has a boyfriend. And she told me really nonchalantly as well. I found it quite difficult to bite my tongue and not ask her why, exactly, she had been harassing me about everything I wear/do if she is so "liberal".

Anyway, yesterday I saw some very typical white builder in a high vis jacket. He was sat with "the guys" guffawing at something or other and covered in white paint. I admit I assumed they must just be checking out the ladies.

Today, I saw him doing wudu. I thought for a second that he might be fixing the plumbing or something, but no.

Last Friday I saw some black guy in a suit and dreadlocks walking into the prayer room. I thought, damn he's lost. Later, I saw him walking out of juma, shoes in hand.

Today I met a very oddly dressed English woman, she was nice enough but all my superficial self could focus on was her clothing choice.

I later heard surat Ya-Sin coming from her computer. Turns out she constantly listens to the Quran because she says it has this beautiful calming effect on her. What's more, she reads it and knows some Arabic. Without even meaning to, I had judged her character to the point that I would not have believed it if I hadn't heard her saying it.

Going back to my original question, I think that first impressions are so important because of how wrong and misleading they can often be. Don't ever let your initial opinion of somebody cloud your judgement, give them a chance, you might be surprised. 

[I don't know about you guys but I rarely read large chunks of text on peoples' blogs if the title doesn't interest me, so if you got this far, clearly you aren't as judgemental as I am and you don't need a week of moral awaking like I do :( ..]

26 comments:

Safiyya said...

Lol, I read the little letters, but in my defence :P ehem.. I read quickly??! And besides that you have good writing style and choice in subjects!! Mwaahh, love u!

Hijab Files xoxo said...

Salaams I dont normaly read long entries either! However I usually read at least a paragraph and decide then. This is SO bloody true!!!! I am guilty of judging in the first few secs and it has caused me to have few friends because either I dont like the look of someone, the sound of them etc.....Sad but true, its a bad bad habit that I need to get rid of. Fab entry xx

Stylish Muslimah said...

Safiyya: Aw you are too sweet :) But we all know my writing is painfully common! Love youu too ^-^
Salam x

Stylish Muslimah said...

Hijab files: Oh gosh, same here. We shall be friendless together xD

Salam x

HijabRevival.. said...

It is completely normal and used to be like that pretty badly but I have been trying to change. I try my hardest (and I mean HARDEST) to not be judgemental as I know how hurtful it can be when on the receiving end. But do not despair my lovely it is a typical human trait that we all have :)

edibe @ edbdesigns said...

wow, that's mind blowing... and so true! and so sad at the same time...

lala said...

I think you listened either our of politeness or knowing/thinking you had room to improve... bc who doesnt. Honestly, you seem too nice when you bit your tongue. I'd have told her in a joking manner that isnt halal, but you worried about my fringe! Not to be rude but to get it out in the open. Maybe I'm just a brat though lol.

As for first impressions, I am awful at judging people tooooo.

Anonymous said...

Salaam Zaenab, Im a sucker for articles like this so did read it all the way through. I also have been told i am quite judgemental (in my head) and i am quite analytical. I found it very refreshing to read this article, and alhamdulillah Allah SWT and Islam touches everyone from all walks of life; subhanAllah...xxx Nish

C said...

I loved this post. I think I always read the whole post of bloggers but I love to read. I noticed that two of the people you judged were converts and I wonder if that is why I have no friends......

C (convert for 20 yrs)

LK said...

I've had this issue with Muslims more than anyone else and I think it comes from the rule that you are to correct your fellow Muslims so they can become better Muslims. Problem is no one does that correctly. If you are not doing everything right then you are not suppose to do any correcting! Plus its suppose to be done kindly like "sister some of your hair is showing, I just wanted you to know in case you need to fix it." This is what is so overwhelming to those that are learning about Islam. You get bombarded with so many "suggestions" you feel like you can never amount to any of it. People in general need to learn to mind their own business. Or at least be nice about it.

As-salaam alaikum said...

I read from the bottom up. lol.

Stylish Muslimah said...

Lala: Lol I'm not that nice, I did say to her what I thought about the boyfriend thing but I just didn't ask why she kept calling me out on everything I did when she is so far from perfection herself.

C: 20 years?! Masha'Allah! I'll be your friend xD Also I was hoping you'd have a blog.. Then I found you have three haha.

LK: Couldn't agree more!

HijabRivival: That's true :(

Edibe: I know right, and all in a week :O

Salam x

As-salaam alaikum said...

First, second, or a hundred impressions don't mean anything. If you haven't known somebody regularly for at least 10 years, then you don't really know that person. But even then people can surprise you (in a bad way).

Salaam.

C said...

Glad you became a follower. Insha Allah leave some comments, friend :)

Yumna said...

Salaam,

I read all of this! Yaay!

And I couldn't agree with you more.

We need to give people a chance before we place judgments on them. After all, Allah is the one whose supposed to be judging, not us. :)

Stylish Muslimah said...

As-salaam: Haha, I knew at least one person was going to do that xD Hmm 10 years is a bit much! I think you really get to know someone once you live with them.

C: Will do chum :)

Yumna: Very true. Also, if we judge people badly how can we expect Allah (SWT) to judge us well?

Salam :)

Umm Gamar said...

Beautiful! reading the parts of the black guy with dreadlocks, the white builder take ablution, makes me say Subhanallah the diversity of Muslims who sujud to Allah! Makes me love being a Muslim more and more! Diversity is awesomely humbling!

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

I don't find I have this problem. I give people advice, like once, like covering the hair is part of the hijab and I can tell you why from the historical hijab ect.. but I mean, I might sound harsh about it, but my friends wear all styles. It doesn't stop me from knowing people and getting on with them. They key is not to nag about it. Naseeha is about advice, not judgement. I don't think we should judge anyone. That's a really important part of the religion. On the written blogs though, you can't really show that acceptence, because then what is a fact can get twisted to anything is ok ect. But you gotta be polite about it:) and accept when people have facts that replace your own as more correct ect.

MashaAllah on the construction dude. I hardly ever see any convert guys here in Oman. At least, not Western ones.

qatheworld said...

Very thought-provoking! (And I like big chunks of text!) Really got me thinking, I made a followup post on judgement on my blog with your inspiration :)

Anonymous said...

Great post! I totally agree with you and find it really brave that you have the courage to admit to your wrong judgements so publicly on your blog :-) I wish more people were so honest, because that is the only way to improve yourself... :)

D.

Stylish Muslimah said...

D, Aw thanks you're too sweet :)
Salam x

Anonymous said...

I didnt get the part with the black guy and the dread locs... why would he have been lost?... :/
This article caught my attention because we have this problem very badly in our mosque to the point of violence. It is tearing the community apart and is keeping our mosque from functioning or even from being able to be maintained properly. These issues can have deep and long lasting effects on communities.
Either way, I agree with LK its really difficult for many muslim sisters (new or old) to deal with rude interjections and lectures as opposed to polite side notes adhering to the sunnah of how to give advice. It's not only a real turn off for some people to Islam, its a turn off toward the sisters who make those remarks, especially if they have fault in anything ever (and we all do). If you have a suggestion like, like jilbab w/ pant suit vs pants to pray then share it like that. or underscarf to frame the face vs hair showing, then share it like that. Not like admonishing someone.

also, when we are judgmental toward people it SHOWS. on everyone! it shows in a sour puss face, a sideways glance, body language, a tone of voice or some other less conscious action. people can always tell if you have an issue with them. What is worse, its easy to tell of someone is talking about someone else, and it always gets back around. So, if you are looking at someone and thinking this or that, please don't let it come through your lips.
So, please, if you cant be in a room with people and not think (oh this sister this or what is she wearing,or her husband works where, she drives that, or she doesn't belong with us because she's from here or there or her Arabic isnt that or this...) then PLEASE, do everyone, including yourself, a favor and stay in your home.

Stylish Muslimah said...

Anonymous: Well said :) I thought he was a Rastafarian lol.

Salam x

mumtaza said...

Where do you live that black people with natural hair are a rarity at your mosque?

Stylish Muslimah said...

Mumtaza: Since when are dreadlocks natural? I have never seen a single Muslim with dreadlocks, have you?

Tak Pe Je said...

Salam. Love this entry, it's sooo humane and proves that we're not robots. Impressions especially the 1st few are crucial. Not our fault if we turn out to be wrong in judging. It's the General Rule vs the Exceptions, I'd say. :)