I spent the last week in Madinah and Makkah doing Umrah, which was an extremely beautiful experience that I will blog about as soon as I’ve settled back into daily life. I just wanted to share a quick story with you, based on my experience of Friday’s khutba at the Masjid al Haram in Makkah.
The khutba was given by Abdel Rahman al Sudais, who is one of the most famous imams in the world, and one of the imams of the Masjid al Haram. In the khutba he discussed corruption, and ended by talking about what was happening in Syria. What struck me was that during the khutba he began crying several times. Once or twice he even had to stop speaking because he was so overwhelmed. It made me think about dominant forms of masculinity in Islamic and Arab communities, and how strange it is to hear a man cry over – well – anything.
Yet here was one of the most influential Islamic men in the world, openly crying in front of hundreds of thousands. It’s interesting that in dominant representations of Islamic masculinity we would never hear about instances like these, that show the humility and emotion experienced by men, especially in the presence of God or extreme suffering such as in Syria.
Right after the khutba my dad made a comment about how emotional al Sudais had been, and seemed very impressed by it. The Prophet himself is said to have been emotional and to have cried very often. So why is it so taboo in our communities? Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate how we view masculinity in Islam?