After expending considerable engery debunking the myth of the beard in relation to spirituality, I settled on a prerequisite for my future hubby. Religious Awareness. Its hard to elaborate on what I mean by that, mainly becuase I haven't a clue how else to term my recently discovered criteria.
The conversation with my mother left me mentally exhausted and fresh out of patience. Over dinner on Friday night, a lady expressed with heightened enthusiasm that the 80's pop star Junaid Jamshed has reformed his ways (that btw, is his most flattering picture, ever).The ex-lead vocalist of pop group Vital Signs, is now so religiously inclined that he's grown a beard that extends past his chest. The general consensus being, the longer the beard, the holier the man.
Over breakfast yesterday morning, I laughingly highlighted this erroneous meme to the female population of my household. Blissfully and with the predictability of rain in Singapore, my sisters recognised my observations and joined in, scoffing. And with the predictability that only parents can exhibit, my mother didn't quite understand my humour. She refused to let go the notion that the length of a man's beard and the depth of his imaan are not directly proportional.
Whereas a man with a small beard may suffer no judgement or scorn by my mother's Worldview, a man with a long beard would bask in the exalted opinions of many. Now don't mistake my mum for the preachy, ultra conservative types. She's less conservative than my father but perhaps a better indication of the ill informed majority of the muslim Pakistani population. Its a terrible thing to reduce one's parents to a statistic, but I mean no harm. My mother's patience and unconditional love can be measured only by her place in Heaven. I'd be lucky to be blessed with such qualities, and so would my kids.
The point I'm trying to make is about the misinformation virus. There's a widespread notion in the minds of (at least Pakistani) muslims that the longer the beard, the stronger the faith and connection with God. This is disturbing for two reasons:
- It's wrong.
- A lot of people believe its right, and thereby display a sever lack of understanding about their own religion.
Its sad, realising how far apart our two ideologies are.
I, and hopefully my generation – never one to accept what I'm told because someone said so. I need proof, facts, reason, logic.
My mum, her generation, and quite possibly many others in many different parts of the world – never one to question, argue, logic or reason.
The one thing I've come to appreciate is a person's ability and propensity to reason. There are so many people who follow their faith haphazardly and incorrectly. By that I simply mean, people who haven't the faintest clue what their faith is or how it should be practiced because the only information they have is what they've been told by someone else.
My arguments fell on deaf ears. Drawing comparisons between learned scholars and activists with manageable (kempt) beards and Mr. Jamshed's futile attempts at reformation through a long beard made little difference to my mother.
I envision being married to someone with only an imagined understanding of his religion and my sub conscious mind blocks the shock before it materialises. I can and have in the past compiled a consice compendium of covetable qualities a man must have. Wisdom dictates that my compendium would be nothing more than a dust collector, although I'm sure it would sell many copies.