Never heard something and thought immediately: is this truly an actual question? Well I, as a Muslim, certainly have. I would like to share some questions I’ve heard like crazy these past years, which made me have a déjà vu each time. Enjoy!
1. “Why can’t we stay at home during Eids*?”
Happens when you’re not a Muslim. Just kidding. I must be the last person from whose mouth these words will ever come. If you’re wondering why, because I happen to freaking love holidays. Duh? But also because I have too much respect for other people’s creeds to say something like that. I’ve heard this question from my non-Muslim classmates/friends many times. And to be honest, I don’t know what to answer. Clearly I’m not the one who makes decisions about this topic. So, why ask me in the first instance? If I get to decide about this, I would make Eids public holidays. Not only because other students can stay at home too, but mostly because I’m forced (by myself) to go to school that day, because otherwise I’ll miss classes or tests. Can you believe that? Moment of silence for the ones who share the same fate as me. *One minute later* Done.
Some serious talk now: it’s not the smartest idea to make students choose between their religion and education, if you ask me. If Yom Kippur or Christmas are recognized as public holidays, then Eids should be too. As simple as that.
2. “Are all Muslims Arabs?”
Obviously, they are not. And no, Muslim and Arab are far from synonyms. There’s this stereotypical image of an average Muslim some people have in their minds which leads to the typical appearance of some Arabs. Dark skinned, dark eyes and don’t forget the dishdasha and the headscarf, or the black robe. Since when do all Arabs even look alike? I mean come on, expecting that all of them wear the traditional Arab clothing is like expecting all Jewish people to wear the traditional Haredi clothing. Did you know Arabs are only 18% of the Muslim population in the whole world? Yet some assume I’m an Arab when they see me for the very first time. I have a slightly dark complexion if you didn’t know by the way, just a little detail, not much.
3. “What if you eat pork?”
Astaghfirullah, we don’t eat pork! We’re Muslims.
4. “What if you accidentally swallow it, without knowing it?”
There’s no point asking this. You eat it you go to hell.
Well, I guess you’re not buying this crazy talk. At least I hope so. It’s well known that the consumption of pork is forbidden in the Islam. There are various reasons to demonstrate that. The most important reason is our belief in Allah (swt): our complete trust in his infinite knowledge. Pork is described as impure, unclean and unfit for consumption in the Qur’an, so it’s obvious that Muslims will refrain from pork by any means. There are also some health reasons to indicate the prohibition of pork. For instance, pigs have a quicker digestive system than other animals. Since their system is rather quick, some toxins remain in their systems to be stored in their adipose tissues.
For reasons of clarity, this doesn’t mean that Muslims hate pigs or don’t show enough respect to those animals. Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w.) encouraged the Muslims to always show kindness to all animals.
*Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha: the two most important Islamic holidays.