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Author Topic: Segregation  (Read 936 times)
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« on: May 27, 2012 12:43 PM »

I don't know if this is an off limits topic, but i thought that it might be interesting to see everyone's experiences with opposite-gender interaction. Like what limits do you set for yourself, what do people around you think, what do family members or people you have known do...

I guess I'm a bit strange in that I interacted with boys a lot less when I was younger (child in segregated elementary school in the states) and my parents seemed stricter than now, when I'm in a mixed high school in a Muslim country.

I don't remember my parents ever actually enforcing rules, like don't talk to boyyyzzz! Or anything like that. I knew that "romance" was off limits and that Muslims didn't date and that you weren't supposed to hang out with guys...nothing was actually ever concretely stated. However my family are religious so we were with other religious families, and I was used to women and men casually splitting up at gatherings (ie men in one sitting room, women in another) as well as sitting apart for prayer. As I got older I suppose I "picked up" on unwritten rules because I didn't really talk with boys.

To be continued if I see actual replies here! Also I'm off to study for exams so see you!
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« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2012 01:50 PM »

I come from the land of "rich" culture, where culture quite often overwhelms the deen and mostly cultural stuff is attributed to the deen.

So, typically segregation and everything else is applied according to convenience. Usually our weddings are segregated in the beginning and when most guests have left, families intermingle without any hesitation. Now family here means mother's cousin's uncle's grandfather's brother's aunt, so that's a lot of people within the family who are not mahram yet it's considered to be okay to be with them like immediate family.

Family friends are another problem. Parents will scorn at the very mention of that female classmate but talking to xyz uncle and aunty's daughter when they come over is okay. And that aunty will lovingly touch your head(messing up your million dollar hairstyle that took you an hour and still didn't impress her daughter coz she wants to be SRK's second wife Grin) like you're still a 5 year old, not realizing that she should cover up and lower her gaze let alone touch you.

There is so much more but I think you have an idea now on how things work here. Written and unwritten rules, both, are typically followed and amended according to the situation. If you try to deviate from that even an inch, even if it's towards the correct path - "anti social! mannerless! shameless! blah blah..." - be prepared to hear all that.
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« Reply #2 on: Sep 03, 2012 02:34 PM »

This is a topic that is interesting because so many people have different approaches to how they set their own personal boundaries.  

Like you, Sister Nature, my parents never really explicitly said "Don't talk to boys" it was just assumed  and if I ever did say or do anything inappropriate, my mum would just give me "the look" which warned me about impropriety.  Growing up, I was terrified of acting improperly cos I knew that if I did, word would get back to my parents on the "auntyji/uncleji"hotline, so I never did.  

I was also painfully shy as a teenager, so it was never an issue. It only became one when I married an extrovert who loved to socialise with all manner of people in many different situations (not all of them Islamic) and this really took me out of my comfort zone in terms of interacting with the opposite gender.  But even then, I was protected  by the fact I was someone's wife - not to mention my hijab and my strict upbringing would never have allowed me to put myself in any uncomfortable situation.

Setting those boundaries, I think is a personal choice.  One that each individual needs to be aware of and set for themselves.  I've always been conscious of the boundaries, but never more so, than when I went through my Iddah, last year.  As much as I wanted to stay home and curl up into a ball and devote my time to self-reflection, I couldn't.  I had to work because I was left with debts to pay off and my dad had enough on his plate as it was.  

My Imaam instructed me to go to work, maybe pick up groceries if needed and come home.  That was it, work/home/grocery store - for three months.  But being a teacher and working in a school, you've still got the issue of a lot of interaction with the opposite gender. During that time I was extra conscious of staying out in the open if I had to talk to a male colleague, keeping lengthy discussions on the playground and out in the open, keeping classroom doors open, talking to male students out in the corridor, even though there were glass doors to the classroom.  

I am still extra conscious about this especially now since I'm no longer married.  For me, its different now, I feel, that being single makes you more vulnerable in the community. It's so vital to protect yourself and set greater boundaries.  

It'd be interesting to learn of other people's opinions regarding this.  

Please forgive me if I have said anything wrong or improper.  



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