Dear Muslim Brother Who Utters “Astaghfirullah” As I Walk Past Him

By Aina Khan

snapesDear Muslim Brother,

As I passed by you earlier today, you spat out astaghfirullah (I seek refuge from God) with the ferocity of a Muslamic MC, simultaneously shaking your head from side to side like the dog in that Churchill advert.

Why may I ask, did you do this?

I find your use of terminology, to put it lightly, very puzzling; puzzling like why DavidCameron won the 2015 General Election, or puzzling like why Zayn Malik left One Direction?

Are my sartorial choices that un-Islamic to you that you seek redemption from God on mybehalf?

Perhaps there was something wrong with the physical aesthetic of my hijab.

Did I violate the unofficial code of conduct for Acceptable Hijab Wrapping Standards (2015) by wrapping my hijab around my head ancient Egyptian mummy style?

Were there too many pins stuck in my head, so that I resembled a walking pin cushion, or worse, a voodoo doll?

Maybe it was the Iranian hijab style I adopt, which makes me look rather like a femalereincarnation of Elvis Presley wearing a hijab, what with my hair jutting out like a quiff at thefront?

I flatter myself, but perhaps the sight of my beauty was so spell binding, so breathtaking,that you were attempting to dispel lustful ergo totes haraam thoughts that erupted into your mind?

But a word of sisterly advice if I may, my dear Brother.

If your intention was to compliment my beauty, why on earth did you use astaghfirullah?

There are many Muslamic alternatives for you to incorporate into your vocabulary, if you want to win the heart of a lady with religious rhetoric.

Instead of astaghfirullah, why not subhanallah (glory be to God), inshallah (God willing), or better yet, mashallaaaaaaaaah (God willed it)?

It is a fact universally acknowledged that every Muslim woman has received at least one elongated mashallaaaaaah from a cat-calling Brother during her lifetime, but alas! Therehas been little evidence to suggest such interactions have blossomed into fruitfulHollywoodesque romance.

But believe me when I say that unless you want a woman to think you are a senior member of the Haraam (Forbidden) Police, mashallah is a far superior alternative to astaghfirullah.

Yes, I know. Society likes to portray us Muslims as one giant convent of medieval monks and nuns, spending our lives separated from the opposite sex as if they were the bubonic plague. The fact that Muslim’s are equally culpable of this makes you feel as if romantic eloquence of the tongue can only be acquired through what you perceive to be the ‘halal’ pickup line that is astaghfirullah.

But to quote something a wise Shaykha by the name of Taylor Swift once said, “Hatersgonna hate.”

Muslims are and certainly can be just as romantic as anyone else.Sure, we might not have Muslim equivalents of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan starring in romantic comedies such as ‘Sleepless in the Masjid’, to guide us through our tumultuous romantic lives.

But if anything, the vast number of halal pickup lines we 21st century Muslims have created,such as: “I want my children’s jannah to be under your feet”, is testament to our romantic prowess.

And if you think bestowing mashallah upon a woman is sinful, fear not. As my mother likes to say, there’s nothing wrong with admiring God’s creation, right?

You don’t have to be a Muslim Shakespeare to capture the heart of the ladies, my dear Brother. Nor do you have to be a Haraam Police, astaghfirullah-spitting individual.

Unfortunately, we can’t rely on Cupid to prick people with love arrows because (let’s face it), that would be totes haraam.

With the holy trinity of subhanallah, inshallah, and most especially, mashallaaaaaaah at your disposal, how can you possibly go wrong?

So the next time you want to drop an astaghfirullah on a sister, just remember, that won’t make you her Mister…

Best Wishes,

Elvis Presley Hijabi

10 thoughts on “Dear Muslim Brother Who Utters “Astaghfirullah” As I Walk Past Him

  1. Ms. Elvis Presley Hijabi, I was extremely entertained by your blog, you have a great flare for comedy I look foward to reading more of your work. Best of luck and May you find what you seek.

  2. My dear sister,

    Mash’Allah, a very well written and witty response to the sexist and unwarranted comment made to you by the so-called Muslim brother. How dare he?!

    I felt compelled to write after I had read about your experience because I, myself, have heard worse during my youthful days from hypocritical Muslim lads standing outside a nightclub at 3am, who thought I deserved berating with the most vulgar and derogatory terms (in Punjabi) that you can imagine, as I stepped out of the nightclub with my female friends.

    However, I have to say that the worst humiliation that I have ever experienced came from a prominent Imam, who appears, or used to appear regularly on the Islam Channel and someone who I used to look up to. On the day of my meeting with him at the Shariah Council in Leytonstone in December 2005 (to ask my husband who was present at the meeting for a divorce), the righteous Imam asked us why we had got married if I wanted a divorce within the same year. Notwithstanding that I had provided the Imam with a long list of compelling grounds justifying my request for a talaq, the oppression that I had suffered at the hands of my husband and his Syed family, did not interest him in the slightest. The Imam skimmed through my narrative, as if it were junk mail, unworthy of his precious time or duty.

    After a few moments of awkward silence, my cowardly husband blurted out, ‘she fell pregnant, so I had to marry her’. This sudden confession alarmed the Imam so much, that he had reacted as if he had just suffered a stigmata, at which point he blurted out ‘ASSSTAGFIRULLAHHHH! I was sure that his outburst echoed through the building and was heard by all. It did not seem wrong to the Imam to judge me, while I was cradling my innocent two month-old baby. What ever happened to the Qur’anic teaching, ‘No mother shall be unfairly treated on the account of her child’?

    The shame of my husband’s unnecessary and brutal confession and the Imam’s abrasive reaction was truly overwhelming. I felt cornered and degraded as the Imam’s piercing eyes landed in my direction, not at my husband who was an equal perpetrator. It was my chastity that was being questioned, not my husband’s. One would have thought that I had committed the biggest crime of the century judging by the Imam’s hostile reaction. Fornication and adultery have been going on since time immemorial and Imams are certainly not immune to this disease, or nuff whatever you wish to call it! We are ALL sinners in one way or another and to judge a person especially a woman in such a harsh manner without understanding her circumstances is tantamount to oppression in itself. And as the Islamic saying goes, ‘oppression is worse than slaughter’. I say walk a mile in my shoes before casting judgement my way! Better to live and let live, as Allah (SWT) is the best of all judges!

    Love and peace to all my sisters out there!

    • I am what sorry you experienced this sort of behaviour. I’m not a Imam and I respect Imams because of there understanding of the Qur’aan and Ahadeeth. I’m not here to judge either you or the Imam but if anything your side of the story should be considered and should not be one sided at all.
      Islam is fair and just and Allaah Subhan Wa Ta Allaah loves those who are just!
      As for the typical Asians insulting you outside the night club is just so typical and hypocritical!!
      It’s ok for us Asian lads to fornicate, commit Zina, smoke weed and drink Alcohol. But hey we don’t eat pork!!! Funny that hey how we decide what is haram and what is halal.
      No one has the right to judge us except Allaah Az Wajal Alone. If anything, if we see something bad or someone doing wrong we should interven with humbleness, kindness and advice one in the sweetest manner. So that they may take heed but Clearly these lads were ignorant and arrogant.
      I ask Allaah Az Wajal to guide us all and if there is anything I said that has offended one then that is of my own errors and ask forgiveness. Ameen A’salamu A’laykum

      • Hi Ali,
        Thanks for your comment. It’s always nice to hear some support and understanding. I have experienced too many awful circumstances during my youth to remember… Once my sister and I were followed by a group of Bangladeshi lads who thought that walking directly up behind us would be a test of their manhood and help defeat their sexual urges by chanting words like ‘whores’ and ‘slags’ just because we wouldn’t look in their direction. I can’t tell you how fearful my sister and I were in case they had attacked us. This was in full view of a bustling street of Asian people, who NEVER stopped to intervene. Another time, my sister was followed by an intimidating Asian guy onto a bus full of commuters and demanded that she gave him her phone number. Even the bus driver didn’t intervene nor did he bother to drive off. The guy told the driver to stay put until he took my sister’s number and the driver was so scared that he obeyed his order, lol! Naturally, my sister was so shaken up by the confrontation that she ended up giving him a fake number. Before he got off from the bus, he threatened that she better answer her phone when he rang her…What a maniac!
        On another occasion, whilst walking through London Mela (at Gunnersby Park, London), a large group of Asian lads decided it would be fun if one of their mates bumped into me on purpose to test my reaction (there always has to be a joker in the pack). I knew they had picked on me because I stood out in a denim mini skirt, as opposed to a figure hugging Asian suit. This time I reacted and lashed out at the guy, embarrassing him in front of his mates, who in turn felt it was fair game to curse me back and return the blushes. Would it not have been easier if the guy had walked up to me in plain old English fashion and told me he fancied the pants of me and asked me for my number? I would’ve been flattered and let him down politely. I never did understand Asian guys and its no wonder why an increasing number of Asian women are choosing to marry white men. You only have to head out to villages like Wanstead to know that I’m right… Please have a look at my blog: – its abuzz with more stories!

  3. God. Reading stuff like this makes me glad I’m not a woman. I’m shocked at people who pull this kind of shit. It’s never good hearing it’s people who you admire and trust are crap. I trusted an imam too; when push came to shove he wasn’t there and left me hanging like a chump. It’s a shit type life no matter what; I just wish we had a undo or redo button or just button we could push and it would solve everything in 30 secs flat.

  4. Hi Asad,
    I know what you mean and agree that life would be a lot simpler and regret-free if we could magically blot out our own past mistakes and sins, but hey Allah has deliberately shaped human beings as weak and fallible, susceptible to sin because he has given us free will. And there is the kutha Shaitan (devil), who is constantly attacking us at every angle and opportunity, in an attempt to undermine Allah (SWT) and degrade His best creation in vengeance. We are all at the mercy of our own weaknesses and faith.
    At times, I wish that I was never born because life is often too hard and debilitating, being constantly surrounded by temptation even if we don’t know or recognise it. That’s life, I’m afraid and we are all in the same boat to strive to be the best people or Muslims that we can, but it is critical to remember that one CANNOT be a good Muslim unless he is a good human being FIRST, a fact that most practicing and non-practicing Muslims have a tendency to forget.
    You are right when you say that you are glad that you are not a woman, as we women do not have a fair deal in this wretched world. Within the Muslim world, we are identified as a women first, Muslims second. How utterly wrong!

    Keep writing!

  5. It could be that he said astagfirullah to himself because he was checking you out and not lowering his gaze. If he said ma shaa Allah, it would be a not creepy tbh

  6. “I want my children’s jannah to be under your feet”
    hahha… loved the article. It’s amazing how much anti-women we muslims can be in our attitude immediately after uttering, ‘Islam gave women all the rights/respect possible” .. Time to put words to action

  7. Dear Farhana, You sound supersensitive, time to do a Nafs check. Istighfirullah may be asking Allah for forgiveness for himself as he might have found you attractive and has some thoughts that were not completely halal. At lease he didn’t paw you or come after you or catcall you. So I would say give the benefit of the doubt and give others a break, they too are struggling in the path of Allah, maybe not as perfectly as you, but struggling never the less. Alls good inshallah!

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