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

ma5h8

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

Why may I ask, did you do this?

I find your use of terminology, to put it lightly, very puzzling; puzzling like why David Cameron 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 my behalf?

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 female reincarnation of Elvis Presley wearing a hijab, what with my hair jutting out like a quiff at the front.

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 haram (forbidden) 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! There has been little evidence to suggest such interactions have blossomed into fruitful Hollywoodesque romance and ultimately marriage, the first albeit final pit stop of these said romances.

But believe me when I say that unless you want a woman to think you are a senior member of the Haraam 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’ (or permissible) pickup line that is astaghfirullah.

But to quote something a wise Shaykha by the name of Taylor Swift once said, “Haters gonna 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 (heaven) 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 Haram 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 haram.

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

Astaghfirullah, mashallah and inshallah are religious Arabic terminology used mainly by Muslims. The noun “brother” is used to refer to Muslim men to establish a fraternal link with fellow Muslim men who aren’t related by blood.

Moderate Muslim Species Facing Extinction According to Naturalist David Attenborough

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In an emergency press conference held yesterday by the World Wild Life Foundation, renowned naturalist David Attenborough declared the “moderate Muslim” species was facing a real threat of extinction.

Describing his search for the species as “the most arduous” in his 60-year career, he grilled the international community and mass media for their demonization of the Muslim community, claiming their unsolicited calls for moderate Muslims to come out and condemn terrorism had endangered the species.

“Encumbering the moderate Muslim species with collective guilt based on the violent actions of a few members, has effectively wiped out the entire population”, he said to an audience of ashen-faced journalists.

Attenborough’s comments were met with indignation by many, including FOX news expert Steven Emerson. He slammed Attenborough for buying into the farcical idea that any Muslim could be “moderate”.

“They are a myth, much like the unicorn, the boogey-man and Santa Claus. I mean has this guy even been to the Independent Islamic State of Birmingham?! It’s teeming with extremists!”

Despite the fact that the subject of the “moderate Muslim” is such a well traversed topic of discussion, there is still much deliberation as to what the elusive creature actually looks like.

David Starkey, a noted Tudor historian by day and Islamic expert by night, shed some light on the subject in his thesis entitled “Where’s Ahmed?” which looks at his own extensive journey in searching for the moderate Muslim. He discussed how the quintessential moderate Muslim has “Homer Simpson-like tendencies” and “must be called Ahmed“.

The Muslim communities response to Attenborough’s findings so far have been bitter-sweet.

A spokesperson for the Council of World Muslims (CWM) issued a statement, saying:

“We are saddened to hear that the moderate Muslim species is facing extinction. But at least it means one less box for us to tick when we complete the next Census.”

The Wolf of Wall Street and I

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Today, I received a rishta from the most unlikeliest of places: from an old American man (who was not Desi I might add). He wasn’t Hugh Heffner part two looking for his next young thang. He was merely looking for a bride for his son.

After rummaging through some photos, he approached me, pointed to a young man in a photo standing by a bridge in New York, and said: “Would you be interested in marrying my son? He’s a stock broker you know!”

In my head, I thought “he could be the Wolf of Wall Street for all I know.” But such things we don’t say out loud in the real world, so I politely and unabashedly declined.

No doubt if any rishta aunties were near by, they would have been toba toba-ing away and tutting as passionately as King Tut himself, had they witnessed this man attempting (unsuccessfully) to take their crown for being the most voracious bunch of match makers you’ll ever come across.

Don’t worry aunty jees, your crown is safe for now…

The Rishta Diaries


Marriage proposals, or “rishtas” as we South Asians like to call them, have an uncanny way of finding a poor, unsuspected Desi woman where she least expects them. I’m not talking about those conventional social settings such as a wedding or a distant relatives house, where an army of aunty-jees are scouting for girls. This can be at work, in passing on the streets, in the market, almost anywhere. I’m convinced that even during Armageddon, someone, somewhere, probably an aunt-jee figure of roughly 4 ft 9 inches with binocular like spectacles, will be attempting to play cupid for her father’s sister’s mother’s sister’s unsuspecting daughter. You get the picture.

Where there is an eligible, single Desi girl, there are marital sharks cruising the waters, looking for their next kill- I mean, rishta.

These Rishta Diaries are an attempt to poke fun at Desi (and some non-Desi) matchmaking norms, whilst trying to debunk the logic that goes behind them. Some accounts are pure fiction, others are based on real experiences.

If there are any tech-wise aunty-jees out there who have stumbled across this blog, WARNING: You are advised to read the contents of these posts with the utmost discretion. You have been warned…