Muslim girls took over 2014 with landmark moments, appearing on television commercials, news panels, and one even receiving a Nobel Peace Prize.
Also relevant to Muslim girls, 2014 unleashed a character classified as the “Wallah Bro.” Though this wasn’t the year that conceived the actual Wallah Bro himself, it was the year that women’s discussions of our frustrations from common Wallah Bro behavior brought out their visibility, and, eventually, the fruition of their official name.
The Wallah Bro is more than someone who uses the phrase multiple times in a conversation when talking to men and women alike. The Wallah Bro is someone we all know, see, and, unfortunately, must interact with on a regular basis. Hopefully this analysis will bring on more conversations and lead to a better understanding of them.
1. You Know Exactly Who He Is
The Wallah Bro can be found leading your MSA chapter, acting cozy with your Arabic language professor, getting loads of praise and mentions online for plagiarized tweets, or — most embarrassingly — living in your own home. He’s more than once showed up to the mosque in athletic bathroom slippers and has at least a couple of white girls, at his request, calling him “habibi.”
He holds himself to the most liberal of Islamic interpretations, but enforces the most conservative interpretations on women. He’s notorious for disguising his misogyny with piety and religious references and speaking in contradicting jargon. You’ve heard him say “I don’t need feminism because Islam inherently gives women rights,” while simultaneously using the word “hoe-jabi.” He’ll likewise reduce the depth and necessity of anti-racist work by pointing to Qur’anic texts that state how Allah creates humanity as equal, while at the same time using slurs in another language and justifying the deaths of unarmed Black teenagers with racist rhetoric.
However, what makes understanding the Wallah Bro so vital for Muslim girls is not only how widespread they are, but how tricky they can be to decipher. To better prepare yourself for the possible disappointment ahead, it is most recommended to look at the Wallah Bro as an ID living inside every man, constantly being suppressed by his superego, appearing occasionally through uncontrollable slip ups.
2. He’s Not So Hard to Read
He might deceive you by trying to find common political ground between the two of you. He will like your statuses and initiate conversations about how exclusionary you find Femen to be as a feminist movement. He says their actions are disrespectful and imperial; you agree. But, like Femen, he doesn’t truly support your fight for bodily autonomy or your right to simply choose how to dress. Their parallels will appear from his use of lollipop and oyster metaphors to represent hijab and a woman’s worth or Facebook sharing that problematic video of a woman in hijab walking in a city without being catcalled.
He’ll tell you how he refuses to give into his temptation to watch pornography and how harmful of an industry it is. You are impressed until you find out his passion against porn stems from his fear of one day not being able to have an erection or his insecurities of not being able to fulfill unrealistic sexual expectations, rather than how this exploitive industry practices and endorses physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse of women globally.
He’s concluded through poorly researched memes that particular hijab styles or Muslim women participating in a YouTube video are more indicative symbols of the downfall of this Ummah than the existence of racially segregated Muslim communities in the West, Muslims killing other Muslims in Syria, Muslim-governed countries funding the occupation of Palestine and holy sites, countries capitalizing and commercializing off of Mecca, Muslims employed by the NYPD racially profiling and incarcerating Black youth, or dozens of other political and humanitarian issues plaguing Muslims around the world today.
3. He Brings Nothing to the Table
The Wallah Bro, despite his loud voice and inability to hold a conversation without interrupting, boils down to nothing more than a confused, insecure, overzealous young man trying to balance the complexities and pressure of being born to immigrant parents in the West. His male inferiority complex will compensate for this by taking up space and credit for an event that was planned and organized by women or leading a protest for Palestine with chants that erase the suffering of non-Muslim victims targeted by the same oppression.
Ultimately, just like us, the Wallah Bro is someone with his own flaws and struggles trying to survive everyday life in one of the most dangerous times to be a Muslim. Thus, he’s incredibly #blessed that his #beardgame is a part of Islam that he can sport in style, without letting it grow to the point that he becomes obviously identifiable as Muslim. After all, it’s not only much easier to leave that responsibility on Muslim women, but also more righteous to go a step further and contribute to the over-critiquing of her attire and body.
However, with patience, growth, and remembrance of Islam’s true message of peace and love, we can collectively put the Wallah Bro character to extinction. After all, Allah created human beings as imperfect and forgetful creatures, which is why we must try hard to avoid missing mandated prayers and Qur’an readings. A Wallah Bro, however, will make sure that when he does not forget to do so, he will post it on Facebook and Twitter for social validation.
By Neda Kit