You’ve got to love your non-Muslim friends. They may ask weird questions about Islam and have a minor drinking problem, but they mean well. When they assume you can or cannot do X,Y,Z because of your faith, give them the benefit of the doubt and presume they’re just looking out for your best interests.
Then again, there are certain misconceptions that really need to go away. To get them out in the open, we’ve put together a list of the five most common things your non-Muslim friends think Muslims can’t do.
Be a Dog Person
Some non-Muslims are convinced that dogs are totally haram. As in ‘sorry I showed you that GIF of a dog riding a tortoise, please know I’ll take full responsibility for your eternal damnation.’
In reality, it’s not that dogs are forbidden, it’s just not ideal to own one as it can make the places where we pray in our house dirty. Dog videos, dogs in parks, and fat woofers on the internet are all fine, though.
Watch Peppa Pig
Or any pig, real or otherwise, for that matter. That’s right, our religion doesn’t mean we run a mile if pigs suddenly appear (any aversion to suddenly-appearing pigs has nothing to do with religion).
While pork products are not allowed, looking at pigs is fine, be it Peppa Pig, Miss Piggy, or any other A-list celebrity farm animal.
Not Marry a Cousin
Time was when most associated cousin-marrying with Norfolk and rednecks in the USA. But nowadays, even the wokest non-Muslim might politely ask if your mum plans to set you up with your aunt’s daughter.
Nah. Nope. And no. True, it is acceptable to marry your cousin according to Islamic teachings. However, this does not mean you have to marry your cousin, nor is it acceptable to ask every unmarried Muslim you meet if they intend to.
If you still think this is just a Muslim thing, then here’s a few famous non-Muslim cousin marry-ers: Naturalist Charles Darwin, Scientist Albert Einstein, and iconic American Rock ‘n’ Roller Jerry Lee Lewis.
Eat for the WHOLE Month of Ramadan
It’s Ramadan and, sure enough, someone asks if you really don’t eat for the entire month.
Of course we eat, but only between sunset and sunrise. Before dawn, we have a pre-fast meal called the Suhur. After sunset, we break our fast with the Iftar meal. A lot of non-Muslims even come along to these.
Be Cool With Not Drinking
Your non-Muslim friend’s mouth falls open. Their eyes widen and their face contorts into a pained expression. It looks like they might cry or possibly throw up: ‘Hang on a minute,’ they shout. ‘You mean you went to a house-party and you didn’t drink alcohol!?’ How did you…you…like, talk to people?’
Ok, maybe it’s harsh to suggest that non-Muslim Brits struggle to socialise without booze. But let’s face it: Whether it’s teens drinking in parks or lunchtime pints in the pub, alcohol is a big part of British culture. For this reason, some people are convinced that Muslims feel like they’re missing out on UK life by not touching the drink. This is not the case.
‘You don’t need alcohol to have fun’ might be the most booooring cliche there is, but it sticks around because it’s true.