An Eye for I

She wants to know.

“What does haram mean,” she asks, as her mouth forms an incredulous O, consistent with the brisk strokes of her mascara wand.

“The guy online said it is haram for a woman to show both eyes, that one eye is enough, because showing two eyes has encouraged women to wear more eye makeup.”

And the O stays there, freezes, at the insanity of the statement, the pure arrogance of it. This obsession she’s gotten into her head, a constant need to justify, a terrifying fear to obey.


She, who, at 18, has been shielded, protected, encouraged to think for herself, how did haram make it to her vocabulary?

Religious platitude and half-demented ulamas.

And I wait for her to laugh, to tell me that she was pulling my leg, that she wasn’t actually asking, that such an idea does not even exist.

I wait for her to shrug the conversation away, drop it off with the last stroke of mascara.
But it’s too late.

Fear has been ignited into those black pupils of hers.

She’s been having nightmares of being pushed into black eyeless pits.

Veils and burqas and bearded goons.
“And why is music haram?” She continues.

How do you explain Andrea Bocelli then?

“If God could sing he would sound a lot like Andrea Bocelli.”

“And pets?”

She, who volunteers at the animal shelter and takes dogs out for walks, out of sheer love of life.

“What if God has referred to himself as a scientist? Would that have made him more believable to atheists and agnostics and alienated him from, say, relgious people?
But religion would not have existed then. It would have been the name of a Rock n Roll band, a new Metallica song, or a hookah lounge. Imagine that!”

An irreligious God?
I might have liked him then.


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