AsalamuALaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,
.. simple little things also serve as da’wah, they can effect the way people walk away from us and think “wow, maybe Muslims aren’t all crazed killers… she seemed pretty nice”.
For example, in the comments, one sister mentioned paying attention to who was in line first. (mall or sumin)
So here are my tips:
1) Yeah, the line thing. Please, respect the queue. Don’t shove, don’t push between people to get closer to the front.
2) If you’re in the check out lane and the person behind you has just a few things, let them go first. After a hard day, when you just want to grab a soda and snack, wouldn’t you appreciate not having to stand behind someone with a full cart?
3) Give good eye contact to people of your own gender. While we should lower our gaze with the opposite gender, there is no reason that we have to avoid like the plague other women (I say women, because it seems this is something where we are more likely to do this than men). Smile when you are passing another woman, say good morning or hello. Why not? I actually had a woman walk up to me in the grocery store after we had passed each other in two aisles and ask “Are you Muslim? Is it okay for me to say good morning to you?” When I said yes and returned her greeting, she laughed and said “Okay, I didn’t want to offend you, I don’t know if you are allowed to talk in public, but we’re obviously gonna be shopping pretty close together this morning.” I took the chance to ask her opinion about a product I couldn’t care less about, just to be able to smile and chat a moment because I thought it does
make a difference.
4) When little kids say hi, say hi back. Would it kill you to smile and return a greeting from a cute little kid? Even when they ask me why I cover my face, I just smile and say it’s what I believe in, but I don’t act like I can’t hear them trying to get my attention.
4b) When a little kid loudly asks their parent why I have my face covered, I wait to see how the parent will answer, and if they seem okay, I smile and say hello to them or tell them what an observant/cute/mature child they have. Everyone likes to have their kid complimented, and it makes them feel less tense about if their kid just offended you. It also lets them see that you really are pretty “normal”.
5) Really, this should go without saying, but yes, hold doors for people! Pick things up and return them when someone drops it, move out of the way when you see someone struggling to get by you, give the appropriate right of way.
6) Again, I think this is just obvious good manners, but those are woefully lacking here in America anyway, and Muslims should be the best examples. So, when you see an elderly person, always give them the right of way, always let them get past you, never be huffy when you are stuck behind them, offer to assist them when you see them having a difficult time with something, and always hold doors for them.
7) Be nice to people who serve you (i.e. cashiers, waitresses, etc.). Their job is to tell you to have a nice day, but take a moment to wish them a nice day also. If you see that they are harried, joke that you hope the rest of their day isn’t so hectic or something along those lines. Just express a normal level of human compassion and appreciation for their assistance.
If you can’t afford the standard tip, you shouldn’t have gone out at all. And you will be remembered. Especially us covered sisters, really, think about it you will be recognized the next time you come in and treated according to the way you treated the service staff last time you were in. And yeah, alot of people think all hijabis and niqaabis look the same, so you may just be treated according to the way the last sister behaved. Don’t be the sister who makes it hard for others. Oh, and along the same lines, if your kids made a big mess (as kids sometimes do), leave a bit bigger tip.
9) Get to know your neighbors. At least greet them when you see them out. Mention the weather or whatever other cheesy thing you can think of LOL. Compliment their yard or garden. Tell them their puppy is cute when they’re out walking him (you don’t have to touch the dog to admire him). Take a plate of food to the single elderly lady across the way.