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January 22, 2004
Sister Sister, Can't Resist Her

by Talal Sarwani


The Executive Committee of the Muslim Student Association had done a great job organizing a gathering for the Seniors. There was an ample selection of food, from Za'tar, Tabbouli, and Hareesa, to Keema-Roti, Biryani, and Chana-puri. An unseen line in the middle of the Multipurpose Room served as the criterion of demarcation, separating the brothas from the sistas; the guys from the gals. It was left up to the individual to obey the rule of the line: Protect your gaze, and protect your modesty. Yes, there was an occasional eyeing incident here and there, some intentional, and some not so intentional.

Ali and Gibran greeted and embraced the brothers they hadn't seen at the prayers earlier in the day. Being roommates, the two already saw too much of each other, so they soon split and mingled with others. The same ol' chatter was going on, "So when are you getting married?", "What's her name?", "Where's she from?". Brother Hassan, just back from a winter break trip to the Emirates, pulled Ali to the side to say that he had found his One. A surprised and overjoyed Ali whispered to Hassan, "Who, what, when and where?".
"She's my dad's best friend's daughter, back in Dubai".
All Ali could muster was "Masha'allah wa Mabrook", and gave him just short of a bear hug. A few moments later, Ali ended the announcement to the brothers with "Insha'allah, we'll all be getting our invitations to the Nikah of Brother Hassan and Sister Laila sooner rather than later". As the brothers crowded forward to congratulate Hassan, Ali and Gibran both found themselves falling behind the crowd. They both remembered a conversation they had a few months agowhich they had come to the realization of how appealing a Hijab was. It wasn’t the ideal of the Hijab that they found appealing, nor did they care what it meant to the wearer of the loose outer clothing; all they knew was that it looked oh-so-good, like a well-styled coiff. Back to the present, Ali and Gibran couldn't believe what they were hearing; were they already so behind? Left and right they heard their brothers speak of their Ones back home, and their Ones across the room. They did have just one semester left before graduating, and it seemed like everyone had planned for their future but them.

There were about twenty minutes before dinner was going to be served, so the committee heads took this time to get people to sign up for a final hurrah of helping the MSA out. Brothers and sisters walked around the auditorium, clipboards in hand, getting people to help out. As Ali listened to Hassan talk about his trip, everything around him suddenly slowed down to a crawl. He watched the most beautiful face he had ever seen glide through the crowd, walk right in his direction. 'Twas the prettiest face ever seen, covered all around with the magic of a Hijab. He had never seen her before, and barely registered what she was saying when she got to him. Something about da'wah, and something about signing up. A few moments later, a few feet away, time had slowed for Gibran as well. He had this same most beautiful person say something about tables, and again something about signing up. He gratefully took the clipboard and signed up, a few names down from Ali. Time continued in limbo for Ali and Gibran... they were, for lack of a better word, smitten. Time snapped back to regularity with the call to the 'Asr prayer. After praying in congregation with the brothers, the time came to supplicate to the Almighty, and both asked for the same thing, or should I say, person. That night, both Ali and Gibran slept little. "She's my One", they both thought to themselves, and decided that they would spend the rest of the semester making her the One, forever. Both decided this intention would remain within themselves, shared with no one, and so these best of friends, these rommates, these brothers, would keep from each other what they had so long hoped to tell the other.

A week later, neither Ali nor Gibran had any luck finding this mysterious 'n' purty Muslimah. Ali spent each day of the week at a different place where people usually prayed, hoping to catch some sight of the sister, and hopefully moving closer to gaining insight into the sister's identity. Monday at the Cultural Center, Tuesday at the Study Lounge of the Student Center, Wednesday at the Library, and then back to the Cultural Center on Thursday. Gibran spent his week on the alien Women's College campus. The placed seemed so odd to him, and was a pain to get to, but sacrifices must be made when striving to find one's One. Alas, neither had any luck, and both sat dumbfounded when she didn't even show up to the weekly meeting on Thursday night. Both were at a loss, but their determination never wavered, so both continued to keep things to themselves.

In order to attain the Unknown Sister, the boys had decided that they would have to undergo a change, so an attempt at impressing the sister began the day after the first and only sighting. Both would stay awake after Fajr, Ali giving the excuse that the Comp Sci projects were just piling up, while Gibran would tell Ali of the rigours of writing a 50 page paper on the "Primordial Contract and the Necessity of it's Reflection in Achieving Purity of the Soul". Masha'allah, what hard working lads. They would finish their college related work by about 10:30 in the morning, and go to at least one of their classes each day. The rest of the day would be spent in search of another sighting, until about 6:30pm. After the Maghrib prayer, it was Gym-time. Since the One they were after was so simply stunning, it was only fair that they too be in the best shape possible. Lest I forget, now would be a good time to mention their change in wardrobe. Though the contents of their closets hadn't changed, the brothers' appearance had changed significantly. Both would usually throw the first, semi-unwrinkled thing on, and walk out the door. Gibran looked hot as desert sand in his Diesel fankers, and never-tucked-in H&M shirts(with sleeves rolled up, ofcourse). Ali looked scorchingly tasty, like a plate of Nihari at 4 in the morning, in his Slates flat-front khakhis, and tucked in Zegna shirts(again, the sleeves MUST be rolled up). Gel was a must now, as their much-worn caps collected dust in the corner of their room. Backbiting was avoided by most, but at first there was no shortage of comments to be heard from the brothers, and a healthy dose of snickering from sisters who had been acquainted with the smitten boys. They would hit the hay by about midnight, but wouldn't immediately go to sleep. Moving aside the usual Bollywood tunes and Junoonification, Ali listened to the soothing ghazals of Najma, while an equally enamored Gibran put away his N.Al-Zo and Amr Diab CDs, instead listening to some khaleeji love tunes courtesy of Abdul-Majeed Abdullah. Thusly they joined the starry-eyed dreamers of the night, under a spell brought on by the love bug's bite.

A month had passed with nary a sight of the uber-sister. Ali and Gibran were waiting at the bus stop on an unseasonably freezing day. It was nearly Spring, and the temprature was a wind-chilled twenty-five degrees.
"So what's been going on with you?", Ali asked Gibran.
"Whaddya mean?".
"Well, you've been lookin' pretty slick lately... anything I should know?", Ali inquired.
"I don't what you're talking about man, just the same ol'", GIbran responded, with a smug smile on his face.
"What about you?", Gibran asked Ali, "You've been dressin' purty smart the past few weeks... Anyone I should know about?".
Ali and Gibran both forced back their laughter, not knowing what the other knew.
"No One, unfortunately… just job interviews. The days of chasing the Hijab and Niqab are gone", said Ali.
"If only there was someone for us around here".
"Insha'allah Gibran.... we'll find the One meant for us... and hopefully it won't be Keanu Reeves". "Ameen brotha", said a snickering Gibran.
They had to turn away from each other to avoid bursting out in laughter, when finally the bus arrived. They got on the bus, and took a seat in the back.
Gibran turned to Ali, "What would you do if you actually had someOne in mind?".
"That's easy", a confident Ali started to answer, "I....". As the doors of the bus opened, time once again slowed down as it had done a month ago for our two brothers. There she was walking up the front of the bus, the One person they desired to see above all others. She was wearing a gray hooded sweatshirt to shield herself from the bitter cold. As she walked down the aisle of the bus to sit in the third row from the front, the minds of Ali and Gibran were racing. Ali's mind rushed with images of finally being able to introduce himself to her, as Gibran's mind was clouded in the glee of hearing her acceptance three times over. Then this One they had so longed for, as stunning as she ever was....

She removed her hood, and her blonde hair flowed. The hearts of our two brothers sank deeply into a place that would be best left undescribed. Where had the Hijab and Niqab they had been chasing gone? Ali and Gibran did not even look at each other. At the next stop, these two brothers with the most disappointed, depressed, and heart-sunken looks on their faces, couldn't take what was happening. Gibran got up and walked out and off to... somewhere. Ali would get off a few stops later, and would end up going to class. This one they had been searching for, the one they had been so enamored with, was still on the bus. Her name was Jennifer Ramirez, a roommate of Sister Haifa. The infectious sisterhood she felt when around Sr. Haifa and the other sisters was just too much fun for her. She couldn't refuse an invitation to the Senior Dinner, where she gladly helped out with signing people up for the Da'wah tables. She even went so far as covering her self out of respect for what the sisters represented to her. Ali and Gibran would learn only a little of this, and that too, much later.

Narrated Buraydah ibn al-Hasib: The Prophet (SA'AS) said: to Ali Ibn Abi Talib (RA'A): Do not give a second look, Ali, (because) while you are not to blame for the first, you have no right to the second. Sunan Abu Dawud Book 11, Number 2144. Also reported by Ahmad and Al-Tirmidhi.


of and relating to...
Justoju said

I really really enjoyed this story, mashaAllah. Wonderfully written. Definitely a service to the Ummah.

The comments…

- Fankers? Flat-front? Zegna?
Is this English? Why don’t I understand what these words are?
Is the typical non-metrosexual muslim male really this into fashion logos? Have we turned into a nation of sissy-boys? This is sad. These guys want to look good for a woman so they turn to the western advertised lifestyle to tell them what ‘looking good’ is. You hear that? That’s the sound of the muslim identity of a generation (which ‘should’ have been mobilized for dawah) being flushed down the crapper.

- As someone who finds it difficult to frivolously attach/crush (emotional space is the hottest of commodities), I find it fascinating that men can have such an intense and long-lasting reaction to a woman who they only saw once. For women, obsession is generally a longer process that depends upon sustained contact. For women infatuation has more to do with the mind than with the eyes. It takes much much more than a pretty face to get us thinking about a guy.

- Is marriage the only thing single muslim guys talk about when together? I once considered a guy who told me that male conversation doesn’t change much after they get married and that it simply goes from talk of ‘marriage’ to ‘second marriage’.

- I don’t recall ever believing that there was a such thing as ‘the One’. Who said there is only 'one'? Why should there just be one? That’s a depressing thought.

- I understand that they were chasing a hijab, but when were they chasing a ‘niqab’? Why does that word keep coming up?

on January 12, 2005 3:34 AM
asif said

Salaam Br. Talal:

One thing, its rather disconcerting to me to hear Ali and Gibran as "tasty", "deserts". These words perhaps, are more suited for females coming from a male....and that Keeanu Reeves comment, again not needed.

Other than that, its rather amusing...hahahaha...I can comment a whole lot on the situation of the brothers, but that would have to wait till I have more time to type here.

Ma'Assalaama

on January 12, 2005 9:18 AM
Talal said

"Fankers? Flat-front? Zegna?
Is this English?"
The average muslim male probably isn't reflective of Ali and Gibran's fashion sense (unless of course, there's actually someone who they want to impress... then who needs GQ and Vogue).
I'll say one thing though, some guys actually wear this stuff 'cause it feels good. I mean, yeah, spending over a hundred dollars on a pair of Diesel jeans is crazy and all, but I won't deny that they are a comfortably fitted pair of jeans.

"I find it fascinating that men can have such an intense and long-lasting reaction to a woman who they only saw once"
Indeedily sad. But just in case sisters are thinking worhtless of brothers... it takes more than just a look for the feelin to be anything but of the lustful kind.

"It takes much much more than a pretty face to get us thinking about a guy."
I would've agreed with you in the past... but you give women way too much credit. really.

"but when were they chasing a ‘niqab’"
This being part of the point of the story. Sure, in this incident, they were chasing the Hijab, but it's all a part of that "hijab 'n' niqab" mindset.
Imagine I described Jennifer as wearing a Niqab with some Kuhl... same ol' story (though the ending would be structured a bit differently).
(Spin the Bottle, why don't you?
http://www.hidayaonline.com/archives/000171.html )

"Ali and Gibran as "tasty", "deserts" "
You might want to read those lines again...

on January 12, 2005 2:58 PM
asif said

Salaam:

Some general comments...

1) Men into fashion accessories/logo; Yes this is rather true. I have seen men spend a lot on fashion accessories and apparels (not just for its comfort, quality or appeal) but also as a token to demonstrate their wealth and presumed status (this is for men of all ages)...Once I was invited to a dinner in Nigeria by this banker who worked for one private bank. Among the invitees was another manager employed by the World Bank covering the West African region. So there were a lot of movers and shakers in that dinner-party (all of them were Pakistanis). During the usual chit-chat I saw the host flash his wrist at a certain angle such that his new ~$25000 ROLEX watch can glitter in the eyes of the banker from World Bank. And the host did this several times to make sure the other one knows what he has, as it was especifically aimed for the other banker...I was quietly observing this and thought...what a looser!

2) What do men talk about? Usually, men have egos (not all but most)and they generally boast about everything, if they can help it. If they are fathers, they talk about their kids doing this or that, if they are sportsmen or into sports they will talk about sports or their team or a specific player...I have, however, seen more men complaint about their wives then say good things about their spouses (this is more true in western society). I actually was once talking to this group of older men and brought the point that we men dont give enough credit to our spouses for the amount of work they do on a daily basis (for instance, managing daily chores at home while being a student or a career women) and yet we men dont help them as much...to this all men were quiet for a brief moment and then one of them quipped, well we do less but we claim most of the credit for it!!...and everyone started to laugh!
Older Muslim Men are prone to touch on polygamous relationship if marriage topic does come up, especially by older men who are already married. Single muslim men (depending on their character) will talk about ladies as potential marriage partners, usually.

3) "The one": Yes this phrase is far too common among young muslim men, then we would care to acknowledge. Once we are smitten by a lady, we tend to justify our being with that "special One" no matter what the hurdles or obstacles that may come in between. Somebody said, the younger they are, the more hope you can give them. So, generally if a young man gets deeply infatuated by a cute face or character, no matter what you say to him (including suggesting other potential ladies) he is not going to let go of "the one", easily....there are exceptions, however, to the above.

Br. Talal...jazak Allah Khair for pointing out. Your comments were wrapped around the desert sand and Tasty Nihari, but still to describe an appearance of a man rather with those simile could have sufficed by mentioning being bonny or dandy!...Again this is just my opinion, maybe its me who is being paranoid here :)

on January 12, 2005 4:27 PM
Justoju said

You are right. Lemme rephrase that from

"It takes much much more than a pretty face to get us thinking about a guy."

to

"It takes much much more than a single glance at a pretty face to get us repeatedly thinking about a guy for marriage."

on January 12, 2005 4:27 PM
Justoju said

Why arent people commenting on Hidaya anymore? Its like summer2004 all over again. People need to hurry up and realize that their real lives are not that important and start commenting on Hidaya again.

on January 12, 2005 4:33 PM
Talal said

"It takes much much more than a single glance at a pretty face to get us repeatedly thinking about a guy for marriage."
At the end of the day, I'd say this goes for the average Muslim man as well.

on January 12, 2005 5:11 PM
Justoju (trying to keep the comments going) said

Are you trying to say that men and women think the same way about lust/love/marriage?

...I feel like hidaya's articles are taking me in circles...

on January 12, 2005 5:51 PM
asif said

Salaam:

Women need constant messages, consistent reminders and persistent effort from the suitor to consider him as potential mate...A lot of the men, however, fizzle out rather quick.

Men, on the other hand are more restless and expect an immediate response (from women) to their proposals and shower of affection.

The above is generally applicable, not always!

on January 12, 2005 6:41 PM
Talal said

Of course the articles take you in circles... that way you can never get out. ever.

on January 13, 2005 12:39 AM
Justoju said

"Women need constant messages, consistent reminders and persistent effort from the suitor to consider him as potential mate"

Actually, unless there is a spark right away, the only message that that that sends is 'annoying stalker'. Directness is appreciated, but once she gives a direct 'no' thats the direct cue to directly back oneself down. Some women like space and a nagging suitor (or worse, potential suitor) who is constantly demanding attention can be one of the most annoying forces on the planet.

on January 13, 2005 1:14 AM
Justoju said

"... that way you can never get out. ever."

...dont I know it...

on January 13, 2005 1:17 AM
asif said

"Some women like space and a nagging suitor (or worse, potential suitor) who is constantly demanding attention can be one of the most annoying forces on the planet."

hahahaha.....I am sorry for the lady and pity the potential suitor...has to be one desperate chap!

on January 13, 2005 1:29 AM
Ibtisam said

I dont know, I like the blond girl Ramirez. They really gave up on her too quickly if you ask me.
Umm.. I forgot what I was gonna say about this.umm....aah....oh yeah! I think guys and girls are pretty much the same, for some it is "love first glance/sight" for others not so.

on January 13, 2005 6:55 AM
Ibby said

"It takes much much more than a pretty face to get us thinking about a guy."
I would've agreed with you in the past... but you give women way too much credit. really.

I agree with this statement...dont ask.

on March 4, 2005 8:15 PM
Bint Abdul Khaliq said

As Salaamu Alaikum

lol-Really enjoyed that

May allah protect us from unlawful gazes.Ameen

Was Salaam

Was Salaam

on March 5, 2005 2:47 PM
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