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Nosey Parker

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The term ‘nosey parker’ refers to a person who is overly inquisitive and pries into other people’s affairs. While there is no consensus regarding how the term was coined or who the original and proverbial Mr. Parker may have been, what we DO know is that every society has its share of ‘nosey parkers’.

A nosey parker is the person who wants to know how much rent you pay, how much the car costs, what you bought on holiday, who paid for your tickets, what you keep in your freezer, whether you get along with your mother-in-law, how much your husband earns, what you have in your shopping bags and a host of other questions that DO NOT RELATE TO OR CONCERN THIS PERSON IN ANY WAY.

In the case of a divorce, the nosey parker is the one who embarks on an investigation to unearth every nitty-gritty detail though it has absolutely nothing to do with him. In other words, the only purpose for enquiring is to quench his thirst to know intimate details of other people’s lives – something which people resent and dislike. At times, a nosey parker may try to justify his behaviour by stating that his intention is to help and assist. However, the fact of the matter is that nobody asked for his assistance, so what gives him the right to dig into other people’s affairs???

In this regard, the Deen of Islam has taught us that we should only concern ourselves with that which relates to us and concerns us (i.e. it will benefit us in our Deen or our dunya). Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “From the beauty of a person’s Islam is that he leaves out those things that do not concern him.” (Sunan Tirmizi #2317)

While a person can try his best to avoid the interrogation of a nosey parker out of the house, it becomes extremely difficult to do so when a nosey parker comes knocking on one’s door, pining to delve into the domestic affairs and pry into the private matters of the household.

Once again, Islam has condemned this type of behaviour and has taught us to respect the privacy and private space of others. Hence, when Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would go to any person’s home, then when knocking on the door and awaiting permission to enter, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) would not face the doorway. Rather, he would stand with his right or left to the door so that he would not be looking into the house. (Sunan Abi Dawood #5186)

In fact, peeping into people’s homes is so reprehensible that the hadeeth mentions that if a person is peeping into the home, and while doing so, the inmates take offence and stab his eye, then there will be no retribution or recompense for this injury! (Sunan Abi Dawood #5172)

It is unfortunate that today, since many of us lack these basic etiquettes and teachings of Islam, we cause great inconvenience and discomfort to others. Thus, many people are reluctant to even allow certain individuals into their homes! This has reached such proportions that even if there is a janaazah and people come to console the bereaved, then the household members have to take pains to lock their cupboards and bedrooms, as many a nosey parker has been caught prying into the cupboards or poking their noses where it does not belong!

If a person is in a minefield, where one misplaced step will result in instantaneous disaster, he will not be tempted to look left, right or anywhere else. Rather, his overwhelming concern will be to navigate the minefield safely. In the same way, this world is a minefield, and we are trying to get to Jannah unscathed and unharmed. In the middle of this minefield, how can we raise our gaze to satisfy idle curiosity?

May Allah Ta‘ala assist us to mind our own business and avoid bringing discomfort to others, aameen.