Q1. My recently-married friends and I face this issue. Whenever we go to a gathering, some cousins and aunties ask us really embarrassing questions that sometimes infringe on our privacy and come under matters that should not be discussed publicly. Please advise how to deal with such questions in a way that we are neither rude to the elders nor end up blurting something out under pressure.

“My dear, you are blooming! When are we hearing the good news?” “That’s a beautiful necklace! Was it from the bridegroom’s side?” “Who cooks breakfast? You or someone else?” “What’s your husband’s salary?” These are probably some of the questions you and your friends are getting bombarded with! Smoke would have come out of your ears if it had been possible, but hey, wait a minute, what should be one’s reaction to these moments of – I would not say attack – curious, inquisitive, and seemingly intrusive interrogation? Let us try and see.

Firstly, Islam places great emphasis on manners and on the proper way to deal with others, whether or not they are Muslims. Relations between people are very important in Islam, and maintaining good relations with others should be the main priority of a practicing Muslim.

Undoubtedly, some people may choose to deal with people in a way that they themselves would not like to be dealt with. Some believe that being tough and confrontational will make people respect them. From our behaviour and good treatment, we should set an example to the one whom we wish to advise.

Practically speaking, you can change the topic to, for example, Karachi’s current situation or a new place where one may go to hear a good lecture. There are endless topics which you can use to divert the way the conversation is going. Trying to change your place physically can help you too, for example, excuse yourself to help the host, keeping a straight face.

Remember to not give the bait, for example, you need not say you are planning a vacation, as that will open the Pandora’s Box to a host of cross questioning. Also try and recognize when questions might be headed your way, so you can keep quieter, as relationships must be maintained.

Eventually when all else fails, you may deal with persistent, curious relatives by telling them how strongly you feel about this.

Sometimes, there is a stronger reaction to these relatives who, out of habit, are plainly inquisitive and mean no harm to you, so if they refuse to stop the awkward questions, just give up and de-sensitize yourself and smile away, praying for them as well as for yourself.You have done well by deciding not to raise your voice or to be rude to your family, because respecting them is part of Islam.

Allah (swt) knows best