Interview of Egyptian Women and Praying Practice Part 1

Hi, everyone. I’m Didi Wong, and I am in the home of an Egyptian family who are Muslims. It’s been a desire of mine to come into this culture and really understand the Muslims and how they live and what they believe in, and some serious questions that I would like to be interviewing and get some real answers from a real family.

Because in America, 9/11 brought on a very terrible view, the perspective of the Middle East countries as well as the Muslims. People really brainwashed from the media, and they really don’t understand their culture and what they truly believe in and who they really are. I have this opportunity here with the Hassan family who are willing to share their sentiments of truly what they feel living in… Right now I’m in Cairo, Egypt, but I bet you their sentiments are the same as many of the Middle Eastern countries.

It is my desire to really understand them as women, especially because I was invited by the Women Economic Forum to be here in Cairo, Egypt, to speak to the local women as well as many women in 75 countries who’ve traveled here to Egypt to listen to us as well as receive an award from the Egyptian government.

I have had the most amazing time in Egypt. Now, I am sitting here with the mother of the family and the oldest daughter and the second oldest daughter who will introduce themselves and answer some quite difficult questions that I know around the world people will need to know, need to understand without judgment. I hope you enjoy this video. Let’s start with the mom. Please introduce yourself to us.

Ynez:
Okay. My name is Ynez. I’m married to Hassan. I enjoy my hijab. It’s not by force. I chose.

Didi Wong:
Yeah, so in America, some of us believe, I don’t want to say, everybody, believe that you are covered and feel sorry for you, and they feel it’s not the freedom that we enjoy.

Ynez:
It’s real freedom.

Didi Wong:
Right. So their perspective is crazy. It’s so completely different that the real reason that she chooses to be in that hijab, yes?

Ynez:
Yes.

Didi Wong:
Is that she actually has the most freedom because she is covered and she can truly use her brain and be able to live her life without judgment from other people. Right?

Ynez:
Now I’m free, not slave to fashion or hairstyles and something. It’s I choose my life. Not someone chose my life to me, the fashion or something.

Didi Wong:
And now I want to turn to your oldest daughter who’s going to tell us how this came about in this religion. And I know from a little bit of general knowledge that it was written in your Koran.

Ynez:
Yes.

Didi Wong:
That the women are covered up. So explain to us.

Astrah:
Yes, so…

Didi Wong:
Please introduce yourself.

Astrah:
My name is Astrah.

Didi Wong:
Astrah.

Astrah:
I’m a software engineer. So back to your question. So the command to cover was written in Koran and since I believe in Koran and I believe in God, I know that his commands is better for us. I know that God who created us knows what’s better for us. And actually, this is common. It’s not just in the Koran, it’s also in other religions like Mary and so on. Like we follow Mary for instance and actually, we have a full chapter named after Mary.

Didi Wong:
Wow.

Astrah:
Yeah. And actually, one thing is Jesus was mentioned in the Koran 33 times more than Mohammed…both of them.

Astrah:
So actually we believe in Jesus. We believe in Moses, and we believe it’s like it’s a big puzzle, so to speak. So Moses, then Jesus, then Muhammad and all the messengers are in between. So it’s the full message and the last prophet was Muhammad, but Muhammad came with the same teaching as Jesus. And this is why we cover just like Mary. We have different ways of covering, of course.

Didi Wong:
Yes, you see the difference in their covering? But she chooses to not cover her face and she chooses to cover her face but the eyes. It’s not something that they have to do. Their father is an open-minded man and he has given the freedom for them to choose how they want to wear. So do you mind explaining why you chose that you wear it like this?

Speaker 4:
Yeah. Actually, this is a must. Like every Muslim girl has to wear like this. But this is like an extra thing to do to get closer to Allah. It needs a lot of confidence and a lot of courage to do it because-

Didi Wong:
Yeah, it’s more confidence and more courage to just cover yourself up, which is a completely different perspective.

Speaker 4:
Yeah, well, actually, she’s a very, very brave girl and my mother as well. And I hope one day I’m going to do the same, but like this is still like the original or like the must thing.

Didi Wong:
Yeah. So earlier we had the conversation as I was entering into their beautiful home, I also heard that you chose to be this way because when you go to school or university it allows her to completely focus on her studies.

Astrah:
That’s true.

Didi Wong:
And there’s no distraction and thinking about men or sex or how beautiful I am, and she can really be herself when she’s covered, which is just mind-boggling to most of us because we have such a different perspective. I also want to ask all of you and whoever wants to answer, you guys all speak such amazing English.

Astrah:
Thank you.

Didi Wong:
Very well. Please, can you share with us about education in Egypt, and do most people go to universities to speak English?

Astrah:
Well, actually English is a secondary language here. We study in Arabic since this is our mother tongue. However, it’s a secondary language as I said, but sometimes because now the market is broader than ever. So you will work in an international company and so on. So this is why the more you get into the market, the more you get exposed to the language. So English now is essential. So you get to… There is lots of courses, and even school there’s different levels of schools. So in my school, it was a private Islamic school, so we had English as a secondary language but there was focus on it so we will have it and use it. Because we have foreigners in the school as well.

Didi Wong:
Right. And she also spoke about how it’s taught in Arabic. So spoken, the professors speak to them in Arabic.

Astrah:
Yes.

Didi Wong:
But when they read the textbooks, it’s in English, which obviously is great because then they know that both languages they grew up. Just like in my country.

Ynez:
To learn more of our language.

Didi Wong:
Yes. And us, too, like in Hong Kong we are spoken in Cantonese and we read also well in Cantonese and in English. So it’s very normal for us to be able to speak English very well. And even in old Cairo when I’ve been visiting for the past few days, many people speak very good English. And I was very surprised.

Astrah:
Actually, because one thing that is very encouraged in Islam is communication. So when you communicate with different people, you actually get rewarded, because there’s a verse in the Koran that says, “(foreign language)” “When we made you into different nations and tribes so you can get to know each other.”

Didi Wong:
Oh, I love that.

Astrah:
It is beautiful. So English allows communication, allows us to do this kind of worship, right? So acts of worship, so to speak. So because when we know each other and we know the different languages, how we have different tongues, that makes us this.

Didi Wong:
I’m all about that.

Astrah:
Oh, so…

Didi Wong:
I know many of you know and you may not know, but I am a coach in communication and articulation. And I am all about how you speak on text message, how you speak on the phone, and how you speak looking in each other’s eyes, and how you speak on stage because I’m a speaker. And it’s so important for us to be comfortable in communicating so that we can really connect with one another. Just like how I’ve connected with you when I come in. And thank you by the way, for inviting me to your lovely home.

Ynez:
You’re welcome.

Didi Wong:
So I want to talk about quickly-

Ynez:
This is Saclov.

Didi Wong:
Saclov.

Ynez:
It’s a base of corn flour, sesame, and coconut oil, something like this.

Didi Wong:
It’s so delicious. And I added some sugar, and actually, it reminds me of a dessert that we have in China.

Ynez:
In China? Okay.

Didi Wong:
Yeah, so it’s really, really good. I want to leave our audience with just some language, since we talked about language and communication. So if you can tell me, what about you tell me, how do you say hello in Arabic?

Speaker 4:
We you say [foreign language], which is the exact translation for it is peace be upon you.

Didi Wong:
Peace be upon you. Can you say that one more time slower?

Speaker 4:
[foreign language].

Didi Wong:
[foreign language].

Speaker 4:
[foreign language].

Didi Wong:
[foreign language]. And then you say that as hello and goodbye. Yes?

Speaker 4:
Yes.

Didi Wong:
So like I know in India they say [foreign language] to hello and [foreign language] to goodbye as well.

Ynez:
What is the meaning of [foreign language]?

Didi Wong:
Light be with you, yes. May the light be with you. Yeah. It’s similar idea with peace be with you here. Peace upon you, right?

Ynez:
Yes.

Didi Wong:
Okay, so I’ve been learning everywhere I go, I have been saying thank you, which is a two words that I say all the time in America because I believe in being grateful and thankful. So how do you say thank you?

Ynez:
[foreign language].

Didi Wong:
[foreign language]. Yes, I’ve been saying that to everyone everywhere and it’s just a way of telling the other culture that you’re really thankful. And you say that with the words, but you also say it with your body language. And so I found myself being able to just be friendly with everybody, and people have just been so receptive to the energy that you bring when you say [foreign language].

Ynez:
[foreign language], yes.

Didi Wong:
You have like shock-run, shockrun.

Ynez:
A common word if you asked me about my house or how are you, I say [foreign language 00:11:43]. Thanks, God. We always thank God. Even we suffer or something, we always thank God.

Didi Wong:
Yes. I love that. And that’s why everyone in the whole world, not just in Egypt, not just in Middle East or America, everyone in the world must be thankful to their God. Whatever God you pray to, we must always thank God. Thanks to the universe, thanks to Allah, thanks to God, thanks to Buddha, whatever it is that you pray to.

Ynez:
And this may make you optimize.

Didi Wong:
Yes, yes, yes, and be open to receive good things.

Ynez:
Yes.

Didi Wong:
Right? We believe the same thing and I’m Catholic, so that’s why we are really all the same. Can you really think about that point? Anybody who’s watching, can you really think about this point that we are all really the same. We are all praying for goodness to come into our lives. And we pray differently, yes, to different gods. Yes. But we are all praying for goodness and that is so important for you to really understand. And no matter where you go, if they are black, white, yellow, brown, or whatever color, they are still praying to the same goodness that they want to invite into their lives.

Didi Wong:
I want to say one last thing since we are about praying. I would love for you to quickly go into the subject of how come you guys pray five times a day? I learned that. And the times and just a little bit more detail about the praying.

Astrah:
If you just allow me to add something when you say that, because we all pray to God and so on. It is really a core idea for me because the one who created all of us is the same God. Right? And just like I was saying as an answer for one of your previous questions, that we follow Mary, even though we’re Muslims, and we have a whole chapter about her. Also, one thing that I read in the Bible was how you said praying, how Jesus was praying. He said that he put his forehead on the ground and started to pray to his God. Actually, if you go to a Muslim [inaudible 00:14:05] or mosque, this is how exactly Muslims pray. We do this. So we pray like him because actually, it’s different parts of the same puzzle. The one who created us all sent different messengers with the same message.

Didi Wong:
Right.

Astrah:
So one thing. This is why lots of religions, they will have common things because it’s actually from the same one God. So that was the point.

Didi Wong:
Yeah. Thank you for clarifying that. So tell me about praying every day. I heard from your husband that he usually prays at 5:00 AM because that’s the time he wakes up. But what happens when people don’t wake up this early? Is it like a morning prayer when you wake up anytime you pray first thing in the morning? Yes?

Ynez:
Yes.

Speaker 4:
No.

Astrah:
It’s not exactly.

Speaker 4:
But our prayers, it has an exact time.

Didi Wong:
There is, yes.

Speaker 4:
Like the morning prayer, it has to be from like 5:00 PM to 6:00 AM. You have to wake up and in praying this-

Astrah:
From dawn to sunrise.

Didi Wong:
Oh, so that means that everyone who is a Muslim usually wakes up from five to 6:00 AM then?

Astrah:
Yeah, pray and then continues sleeping.

Didi Wong:
You can go back… Oh, wow.

I’m Didi Wong, and I invite you to study Idea To Income.

Enroll In The Course

 

You may also like