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A Day in the Life of an ‘Eid Party Volunteer

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hairpull.jpg(Written in response to – can you guess? – an almost disastrous ‘Eid party)

Yes, it’s that time of the year again… ‘Eid time! And for those involved in the community, it means that it’s time to book the halls for ‘Eid salaah and the ‘Eid parties. ‘Eid parties are always a bittersweet experience for volunteers – while we love being able to make ‘Eid a special time for our brothers and sisters, we don’t look forward to having to deal with people, their problems, their messes, and their kids.

Unfortunately, the problems start even before the ‘Eid party: a chronic problem that our community constantly suffers from is lack of volunteers willing to dedicate themselves wholeheartedly to helping out. I know that most people come to the ‘Eid party because they want to relax and they don’t want to be running around madly mopping up spills and dealing with the kazillion other issues that arise, but look at it this way: we can’t have a successful ‘Eid party if we don’t have people to help!

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Here’s my solution to the issue: sacrifice this one day fee sabilillaah, and then treat yourself and the other volunteers to an after-Eid-party-party! So what are you waiting for? Go ask your masjid/ Islamic centre what they’re doing for ‘Eid al-Adha and sign yourself up to volunteer! Insha’Allah, the ajr you get will be totally worth the stress you’ll have to deal with.

Let’s move on to the next stage: the actual ‘Eid party! My number one pet peeve is the total lack of cooperation from participants. Whether it be barging in without having bought a ticket, fighting over seating and space, or squabbling over food, nothing makes it harder for the volunteers than party participants totally ignoring our desperate calls for order.

Really, is it so hard to buy a ticket ahead of time? It takes two minutes, maybe even less, to go up to the organizers and purchase a ticket at least a week before the party. You have no idea how much we appreciate it when people follow simple instructions like that – and how much we really don’t appreciate people who think that they can just show up to the door and expect to be allowed in. I don’t care if I know you personally or not, I don’t care if you’re my relative or my best friend: if you’re going to be so irresponsible, then you DESERVE to be turned away at the door. There is nothing that says you have a RIGHT to be allowed in, when instructions on posters specifically state that there is no admittance without tickets.

That’s just the ticket issue – seating, food, and children issues are ten times worse! I really don’t get it… why is it that when you go to something organized by non-Muslims, you’ll be on your best behaviour, but as soon as you go to something organized by your brothers and sisters in Islam you seem to lose any concept of adab and akhlaaq? People fight over chairs in a way that you’d think it’s a life and death situation. People fill up their plates as though they’ve never seen food before in their lives, and never going to see some for the rest of their lives – and then they end up wasting half the plate!

People: WASTING FOOD IS HARAAM! Take a little bit at a time, finish it, and then come back for seconds if need be. By filling up your plate (and please, don’t give me the excuse that you “need to feed your kids”, because your kids are NOT going to eat that much, and you and I both know it), you are 1) revealing your own total lack of good manners, and 2) depriving others of food. Rather than being able to enjoy the barakah (blessings) in a nice, small meal, you’re causing problems for yourself by racking up sayyiaat (bad deeds).

Anas said: “The Prophet ordered us not to leave anything in the plate and he said: “You do not know in which portion of your food Allah has put the Barakah.” (Muslim)

Kids… they’re supposed to be a blessing, but these days they seem more of a curse! Honestly… are they people, or are they animals? I’m starting to think they’re more of the latter, to judge by their behaviour. Discipline seems to be a foreign (or forgotten) concept amongst many parents. People, your masjid/ Islamic centre/ volunteers are NOT providing a babysitting service!

Some ‘Eid parties have separate rooms or activities for kids. Others don’t. Regardless of what kind of party you’re attending, parents should at least have the decency to check up on their kids and make sure they aren’t destroying everything (which they usually are). Oh, and when a volunteer comes up to you and tells you that your kid is getting into fights/ making trouble/ whatever… do us a favour and smack your kid upside the head, will you, please? They need it. Desperately. I know, because even if I don’t live with them, I teach them. Trust me, teaching them gives me a better idea of what they’re like than you know… and harsh as it may sound, but most of the kids in the Muslim community are selfish, greedy, ill-mannered, badly behaved monsters. And that’s putting it mildly. (In case you didn’t get the hint implied: please do something about your kids!)

All right, the children-hating rant is over. Let’s move on to… the other party-goers. The grown-ups. The ones who, despite being over the age of 18 and having kids of their own, seem to have totally forgotten such basic things as manners. You know, saying “Please,” “Thank you,” and such concepts as patience, forbearance, and appreciation. The lack of Islamic adab (etiquettes) and akhlaaq (good manners) is astounding and, quite frankly, depressing. So please, please, PLEASE: remember that we’re trying our best to make this party successful, and you know what? If you think we’re doing such a bad job, why don’t YOU organize and run the party and see how well YOU can do it? There are few things I hate more than people who sit around making our work harder, and then have the gall to complain about it. Like I said: If you don’t like it, do it yourself!

Finally, let me vent about the other most common occurrence at ‘Eid parties: people’s Islamic dress sense. Or rather, lack thereof. Why is it that all the hijaabs seem to fly off at ‘Eid time? Oh, pardon me – maybe there was just a very, very strong breeze in the area that I somehow missed. In which case, let me introduce you to the wonderful invention called the hijaab pin. It’s something you use to secure your hijaab under your chin so that it doesn’t slip off revealing everything that’s not supposed to be revealed. By the way, hijaab doesn’t just refer to the scarf: it’s the entire way you dress and carry yourself. I’m not going to go into the whole definition of what hijaab constitutes, but suffice to say the following: bright, sparkly, skin-tight, flesh-revealing outfits matched with layers of makeup caked on do not meet Islamic dress requirements in any way, shape, or form. Not even in alternate realities. And honestly, half the time it’s not even as attractive as you think it is… so please, spare our eyeballs and spare yourself the sayyiaat, and observe hijaab!

Having picked on my fellow females, it’s time for me to rip into the guys: STAY OUT OF THE WOMEN’S AREA. How hard is it for you to do that? If you need to talk to your wife/ sister/ daughter/ mother, then send a kid to call her out so that you can talk to her. And if she’s not your mahram, you shouldn’t be talking to her in the first place.

Show some respect, everyone… just because Ramadhaan is over doesn’t mean that it gives us a free license to engage in haraam! What, do we think that Allah only watches us during Ramadhaan and doesn’t hold us accountable for what we do the rest of the year? Laa wAllah! Allah is as-Samee’, al-Baseer, ar-Raqeeb: the All-Hearing, the All-Seeing, and the Ever-Watchful. Let us be amongst the muttaqeen and know that we are accountable for our words, our actions, and the way we behave at ALL times, not just during Ramadhaan.

That being said: I hope you all had a wonderful ‘Eid, and may Allah accept our fasts and good deeds, ameen! And may He help us in our striving to obey Him for the rest of the year as well, ameen.

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Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of MuslimMatters.org.

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. ...

    October 15, 2007 at 10:19 AM

    =) im glad u got it off your chest…

  2. Graceful

    October 15, 2007 at 11:46 AM

    I totally agree with everything you’ve just shared. It’s just a huge shame that we have to pick on our fellow Muslims in this manner! Oh and I always end up blaming the monster-like children on the parents. They need to know that just giving birth to these little critters and then feeding them isn’t all there is to parenting!

    The question is, what’s the best way to educate our Ummah when it comes to proper adaab and akhlaaq? This ‘Eid party scenario just seems all too familiar……………

  3. AnonyMouse

    October 15, 2007 at 12:18 PM

    One idea of mine was pretending to have another party (everybody shows up for parties, nobody shows up for halaqas!), and then lock the doors, forcibly sit them down, and teach them the ABC’s of good manners the way we teach the kids at the Madrasah.
    Unfortunately, my parents aren’t too open to the idea :p

  4. Nasir

    October 15, 2007 at 1:27 PM

    Jazakum allah ghair for the well needed advice. I couldn’t agree more.

    Regardless of what kind of party you’re attending, parents should at least have the decency to check up on their kids and make sure they aren’t destroying everything (which they usually are). Oh, and when a volunteer comes up to you and tells you that your kid is getting into fights/ making trouble/ whatever… do us a favour and smack your kid upside the head, will you, please? They need it. Desperately.

    Sister maybe you can have a Shaykh give a lesson or two before the party starts.

    If you tell people theres a party and give them a halaqa you’ll have lots of enemies.

  5. AnonyMouse

    October 15, 2007 at 1:30 PM

    The sad thing is, we DID have a shaykh giving a (short) talk on manners, etc. before the party… nobody listened.
    :(

    And yes, you’re probably right about the enemies bit (I’m sure my dad doesn’t want anymore hate mail than he already gets! :p)… *sigh*

  6. iMuslim

    October 15, 2007 at 1:31 PM

    Mouse: BREEEEEEEEEAAAAAAATHHHEE…

    In and out, helps. ;)

    Wow… what not to read if you want to get more involved in volunteering!

    I feel for you. IMO, we need more traditional, old-skool grandmas and aunties who have no fear of telling off naughty kids/silly adults! Seriously, they rule. :D

  7. ...

    October 15, 2007 at 3:45 PM

    ”(I’m sure my dad doesn’t want anymore hate mail than he already gets! :p)… *sigh*”’

    Mouse, elaborate on this =)

  8. AnonyMouse

    October 15, 2007 at 4:05 PM

    Haha, just a little exaggeration on my part… he has his fan base, but as with any community leader, there are those who don’t exactly love him to bits :p

    @ iMuslim: Unfortunately, all the grandmas and aunties in my community are either reeeeeeaaaaaaalllyyyy old and doze away in their chairs, or are contributing to the problem :(

  9. Bint Bashir

    October 15, 2007 at 4:54 PM

    say:

    woooooosssssahhhhhhhhhhhhh
    wooooosssssssahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

    :D

  10. Moiez

    October 15, 2007 at 5:52 PM

    The Aunties! hahahaha
    Thats rightious I like that its funny but seriously aunties do help out alot its in their nature to do these kind of things you know

  11. hema

    October 15, 2007 at 6:10 PM

    glad you ended up going to the effort to get it off your chest.
    i like your solution of an after eid party for the volunteers! i think in the end though, people volunteer for the sake of Allah and so they will be rewarded for ther difficulties, inshAllah

  12. AnonyMouse

    October 15, 2007 at 6:13 PM

    “i think in the end though, people volunteer for the sake of Allah and so they will be rewarded for ther difficulties, inshAllah”

    Oh, for certain! That’s why I made sure to encourage people to volunteer… it’s all fee sabilillaah… all we ask is a little cooperation from party-goers! :)

  13. BintAbdillah

    October 15, 2007 at 7:32 PM

    Wow looks like we both volunteered for the same ‘Eid party..Alhamdulilah.

  14. AmatulWahhab

    October 15, 2007 at 8:57 PM

    mashaAllah….what a nice…rant, I can see you’re pretty heated. Relax :-) inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon.

    I gave up on parties a long time ago….Its just too much noise for me.

    InshaAllah i think the only way to cure this is to focus on those lil ‘monsters’ ( I don’t think parents out there like us calling their kids monsters, even if they are :-) ) b/c there’s no hope in the parents and elders, at least these children can be trained inshaAllah to live by the Qur’an and Sunnah and have proper manners. wa Allahu ‘alam.

  15. Didi

    October 15, 2007 at 10:27 PM

    “Are they people, or are they animals? ”

    Both :)

  16. AnonyMouse

    October 15, 2007 at 10:33 PM

    I’m in too good a mood to ruin it by taking the bait :p

  17. ruth nasrullah

    October 15, 2007 at 10:47 PM

    Asalaamu alaikum.

    It’s very depressing to see how Muslims behave year in and year out. This Ramadan I only went to the masjid out of a sense of obligation. I get more serenity and focus staying at home. Our masjid is just barely a place of worship. The prayer hall should be a sacred place and not a playground, and Muslims should behave in a way that reflects the beautiful deen they try to follow.

  18. jaaaved

    October 16, 2007 at 2:20 AM

    cute…

    …and accurate too haha!

  19. Abu Adam

    October 16, 2007 at 5:25 AM

    Salaamu Alaykum Sister,

    If you hate the people so much, like you say, then don’t do it.

    Certainly don’t do it, and then rant and rave about how bad it is , and how troubled you are trying to help these people.

    Maybe you can comment on kids when you have a couple of 3 year olds yourself, insha’Allah.

    Totally pointless, self-riteous blog, in my opinion.

    If you had spent that 10-15 minutes thinking constructively on how to make it better next year, instead of writing your rant, it would have been better for all.

    I can’t see what value that post delivered to anybody…

    Wasalaam,

  20. zaynab

    October 16, 2007 at 12:54 PM

    LOL! Aw Mouse, may Allah accept your deeds in sha’Allah.

    The ‘dark’ side of volunteering that the masses don’t see, eh? ;)

    But, just for some contrast here: my community’s Eid Festival went really well :) It was a family day, so there was no brothers/sisters section once the salaat was done. Everyone was super respectful, there were no conference-hotel-style antics. So ma sha’Allah, alhamdulillah.

  21. Ibrahim

    October 16, 2007 at 4:15 PM

    abu Adam…you spoke my mind. However, even though these were more or less exactly the thoughts that went through my mind in defense of the author I think:

    * It is difficult to be sure of someone’s tone over a blog
    * The artcile might appear “self righteous”; however, the intentions might not be as such. Some people can be crude/striaght shooter but sincere while many others demonstrate fake humbleness. Point is: It’s difficult to judge intentions, let alone over the internet.
    * You have to keep people’s experiences and age (if you know about them) in mind when reading their ramblings/monolog.

    However, I agree a more constructive article could’ve been written.

  22. AnonyMouse

    October 16, 2007 at 4:50 PM

    Wa ‘alaikumus-salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,

    My post was meant to be taken with a pinch of salt, especially the “hating people” part… :)

    Yes, perhaps I was a bit “loud,” but I feel that I was addressing legitimate concerns, and I also suggested how to make our job easier. (E.g. buy tickets ahead of time, discipline children, try to be a little bit helpful, etc.)

    I also mentioned that we volunteers do it for the sake of Allah, but that doesn’t mean we don’t get frustrated or angry when people are being extremely uncooperative.

    I didn’t write this post simply out of anger; I wrote it so that ‘Eid-party-goers know how so many of us volunteers feel, so that the next time they go to a party they know exactly how to help us out and make things more enjoyable for everyone involved.

    If I’ve come across the wrong way, I apologize… may Allah forgive us all for our shortcomings, ameen.

  23. AnonyMouse

    October 16, 2007 at 4:51 PM

    @ Zaynab: Al-Hamdulillaah, I’m glad that other people’s ‘Eid parties weren’t as crazy as the one I was at! :)

  24. Hannah

    October 16, 2007 at 11:10 PM

    why are our kids so messed up anyways? I use to teach islamic school, and they were horrible. I feel they respect women in high- heels, red lipstick, form fitting suits, and a great head of hair more than their own kind. We’re just not cool enough! most of them are sweet though. its just that overbearing, dominant 25 percent of them that get to me!!

    inshaAllahkhair.

  25. Amad

    October 17, 2007 at 12:01 AM

    I moved from Houston to the Northeast… and I don’t know if its just me, but people seem to get less nicer and more suspicious as you move away from the Southern hospitality… Moving to a new community up here, it’s like everyone first assumes you are either a Vahabi agent or a FBI implant or both (figure that one). Its only after you feed them biryanis at your home and show that you don’t have an unlimited supply of $$, do they start treating you almost as a brother/sister in Islam.

    I know this is probably a completely unrelated tangent, but heck, that’s what makes blogging and comments fun :)

    P.S. I miss Houston :(

  26. AnonyMouse

    October 17, 2007 at 12:15 AM

    I miss my old city too, even though it’s been over a year since I moved :(

  27. guess who

    October 18, 2007 at 11:34 PM

    awwwww JazakiAllahKhair for volunteering =)
    i didn’t know you found it THAT horrible.. i personally thought it was exciting, if there was no drama there wouldn’t be anything to talk about!

  28. AnonyMouse

    October 19, 2007 at 12:01 AM

    lol… I was pretty mad when we came home… as you can see :p
    Oh well, insha’Allah next time it’ll be better.

  29. khawla

    October 19, 2007 at 9:29 AM

    Assalamu’alaikum
    Ha ha ha, your post exactly what I was thinking about every time after Iftar at our Masjid, never mind Eid parties. I have noticed majority of parents have no manners whatsoever and their rude brats are no different. They barged in with their baby strollers and push everyone away from their path. They only came for food and they ate well before people even finished praying Maghrib…. and they’re NOT praying themselves!!! they don’t clean after their own mess. And those kids… they’re NOT fasting either.

    My heart bled… seeing countless number of dates and piles of naans and rotis ended in the trash. I must admit that I have stood up by the trash cans collecting half eaten breads for my backyard birds to the amusement of people.

    Sister AnonyMouse, I have heard that some people think if you finish all your food on your plate, you are “not cool” or just plain “very very hungry”

    The sad thing is that how do we explain these, to some new Muslims who witness these behavior?

  30. muslim_gal

    October 21, 2007 at 5:58 AM

    [The sad thing is that how do we explain these, to some new Muslims who witness these behavior?]

    simple, explain that muslims are no different from the rest of humanity. You will find people like that in all walks of life.

    I really dont understand why expect or get annoyed if muslims are not acting perfect. fact is, whilst we have ettiqutees which we should follow, relaistically not all people will and as humans we’re subject to making many mistakes including muslims.

    Plus, the article and comments seem to suggest thats all muslim children are void of any manners, and the worst of the worst which is simply not true. Yes some muslim children are badly behaved and possiably out of control, but so are non muslim kids. So are some white, black, asian and whatever other race of kids. Ask your parents how you were at their age and you’ll find that you proabably werent little angels yourselves and caused them and others a fair share of headaches.

    These things are not exclusive to us but exclusive to humanity. Get a grip. You’ll find this stuff happening everwhere and instead of moaning about how bad things are, either do something productive about it or get on with it. Backbiting about others faults are pretty easy, but trying to help others and your ownself overcome those faults is alot harder.

    • Muslim of Canada

      March 29, 2011 at 10:02 PM

      I don’t know about you Muslim-gal but I sometimes get the impression that some Muslims (whether they are parents or not) feel that as long as Muslim kids are Muslim kids that they can do whatever they want and have whatever they want meaning that all Muslims should show religious favoritism or give them preferential treatment all because these kids are Muslims. Guess what? I don’t think so. No matter how proud I am to be Muslim I don’t agree in showing religious favoritism to Muslims especially Muslims who have a way of getting on my nerves.

      When you mentioned about some non-Muslim kids misbehaving you’re correct.Since you mentioned them, that actually got me thinking that for sure that I prefer Muslim & non-Muslim kids who are well mannered and easy to connect with instead of mischief prone Muslim & non-Muslim kids.Finally since this article I’m commenting about concerns Eid the truth is that I’ve been in situations where I provided Eid presents for Muslim children who are better behaved and easier to relate to but for the Muslim kids who are mischief prone and Muslim kids who I simply don’t relate to that I didn’t bother providing them an Eid present(s).

  31. AnonyMouse

    October 21, 2007 at 4:32 PM

    “The sad thing is that how do we explain these, to some new Muslims who witness these behavior?”
    To new Muslims and the rest of us alike, we need it to be emphasized (at the time that this behaviour is carrying on), that’s it NOT Islamic!

    “I really dont understand why expect or get annoyed if muslims are not acting perfect. fact is, whilst we have ettiqutees which we should follow, relaistically not all people will and as humans we’re subject to making many mistakes including muslims.”

    Yes, of course Muslims are humans like everyone else: but the thing is, we’re not supposed to be like everyone else! We’re supposed to follow the example of our Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam): the best of examples. I don’t expect us to be perfect, but I DO expect that the majority of us have an understanding of basic good manners and behaviour – and implement it!
    We take pride in saying that we are the best Ummah on the face of the earth, that Allah has blessed us and promised us with Jannah: but when we look at our behaviour in everyday situations, what’s to take pride in?

    “Plus, the article and comments seem to suggest thats all muslim children are void of any manners, and the worst of the worst which is simply not true.”
    Not all Muslim children are little monsters, for sure – sadly, however, the majority are! I help teach the majority of the Muslim children in my community on a regular basis, and I know them all quite well: the fact of the matter is that they have little to no discipline.
    Those children who are generally well-behaved are sadly few and far between.

    “Ask your parents how you were at their age and you’ll find that you proabably werent little angels yourselves and caused them and others a fair share of headaches.”
    One thing up about uptight desi parents: if you weren’t a little angel in public, you weren’t allowed to be in public at all! I think that if more parents followed this policy, we’d all suffer less headaches…

    “Backbiting about others faults are pretty easy, but trying to help others and your ownself overcome those faults is alot harder.”
    When I write posts such as this one, I don’t mean to backbite – I’m trying to make people realize what it’s like for us volunteers to be dealing with such a large group of people, and I make a point of suggesting ways to help out (buy tickets ahead of time, etc.) so that future programs and events can go smoothly and successfully.

    May Alalh forgive us all our faults and weaknesses and help us to overcome them, ameen.

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