Tag Archives: burka

The Girl Behind The Veil

When you go out on a cold day, you put on your jacket; Sometimes gloves and a hat and a scarf too.

When I go out, I cover up just like that-
The way you put on your jacket.

I cover myself and I cover the clothes I’m wearing.

I know some find it odd. I know some think it’s foreign culture. I know some think I must be oppressed and suppressed.

Some even think they should “save” me. A man cursed at my husband once because… he must have forced me.

I like to call it hijab, which means “covering” or “partition” in Arabic.

I went without it for twenty three years.
I’ve been there.

I was a girl fresh out of college.

I would have started sooner if I hadn’t feared what my friends would say; If I hadn’t feared people a little too much.

The day I finally did it, I ran into work past everyone- looking down. I ran right into the break room and hesitated before I revealed myself- no longer revealed.

Why? Why do we wear hijab?

The Quran makes it very clear and simple: “so that you will be recognized and so that you will not be annoyed” (Quran 33:59)

Hijab is partially a statement, partially a protection. The implications of both aspects are very, very rich.

It is one of my favorite directives given in Islam.

When I go out, I am recognized as a Muslim: Someone who puts their Creator first; I’m not someone who’s interested in flirting, or showing off my body, or competing for attention.

When I go out, I do not get harassed or gawked at from top to bottom. I don’t get whistled at or called baby by men I don’t know.

Women don’t compare their curves to mine. They don’t get jealous and neither do I.

If my body is not like a supermodel’s that’s ok, I don’t have to feel inadequate. The people who care about me think I’m beautiful the way I am. Why should I worry about anyone else?

I’m not forced to be a runner in the race to wear the latest and greatest fashion.

My outer appearance is not a display of beauty but of the fact I have more important things on my mind.

Hijab has given me the freedom to move through the world with dignity and respect I had not known before it.

It is truly liberating.

I hardly ever have nightmares, but when I do they almost always involve me being out somewhere in a public place- and realizing I’m not wearing hijab.

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When Muslims Move In

My family and I moved into this quiet neighborhood several years ago.

I’d say I’m generally an outgoing and friendly person, but when we first moved in, I was actually a little afraid to cross paths with my neighbors.

Naturally, I would be inclined to go knock on their doors and introduce myself; but subconsciously I wondered if they would gasp…

What if they were in there talking about the horror of Muslims moving into their neighborhood?

That fear, that shyness, prevented me from being myself.

Thankfully a lady, who is now my closest friend in the neighborhood, walked over while I was out in the yard with my children. She introduced herself and struck up a friendly chat.

She put me at ease.

She removed my fear of not being welcome, or worse; of being hated.

Since then I’ve established great relationships with all of my immediate neighbors.

I am telling this story because I still do have fears. I fear that if a Muslim moves into your neighborhood that they might give the impression of being unfriendly.

They might keep to themselves.

Looking at them from a distance, they might seem strange to you. You might feel compelled to ignore them.

To just pretend they aren’t there.

But they might just feel the same way I did. They might be afraid they aren’t welcome.

Lets face it, we know what they are saying about us on TV…
and in the papers…
and all over the Internet.

We know.

And sometimes it’s hard to imagine that you haven’t been affected by it.

That you are exposed to those negative caricatures of Muslims so readily, yet somehow it doesn’t determine your opinion of us.

But my own experience proves that not everyone is so impressionable.

I have valuable relationships,
people in my life;
caring and reliable people around me

that are proof.

The Quran teaches us that God has created all the variation in humanity so that we can know each other.

The variation creates interest. It gives us something to talk about.

We all have something to learn from one another because we are different.

If we look at it that way- then life with each other becomes beautiful and rich.

Filled with curiosity and learning…

Which leads to understanding and compassion.

It

is

possible.

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