Tag Archives: hijab

In Plain Sight

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Muslims believe in Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus. We believe in Jesus the Messiah. We believe in the prophet John, Mary’s cousin, and John’s father Zakaria, also a prophet of God.

In fact, we follow in their footsteps; at least we should, according to the Quran.

Who were they? What kind of people were they?

They were people utterly devoted to their Creator and Sustainer. People who kept God’s commandments, whose lives were focussed on seeking God’s pleasure and the ultimate reward of paradise.

They studied God’s revelations and spent their days remembering Him. Praying,

like God’s chosen ones before them – Abraham, Noah, Isaac, Jacob, Solomon, Moses…

It’s always been essentially the same since Adam and his wife set foot on Earth: Worship none but the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, follow His guidance and don’t lose sight of the purpose of life.

Islam is exactly that.

And if you wonder: Why then, do so many apparently despise Islam?

Remember that they wanted to kill Jesus.

They tried to kill Abraham too.

Jonah and Lot were rejected.

Noah – he was ridiculed and spent the longest time calling his people to the truth, but only very few believed and followed him.

Moses led his people and they made it so difficult, yet they found the worship of a golden calf… easy.

This is the way it’s always been. If there are people slandering and smearing Islam today, it’s nothing new!

If they disparage the prophet Muhammad, prophets were disparaged before him.

So the question really is, where do you stand? If Jesus and Mary were alive today, would you be one of their detractors, or one of their followers?

If you heard someone speaking ill of them, would you go and find out for yourself, or believe the hearsay?

There is plenty of evidence Islam is not the strange religion some people would have you believe. Some of the evidence is right under your nose!

Sometimes even on your neighbor’s lawn.

In plain sight.

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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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Is That an Arab?

Last night, while walking from my car to a shopping center, I passed by a vehicle with its windows open.

I heard someone say loudly,

“What’s that? Is that an ARAB?”

Who… me?

Sorry, “Muslim” and “Arab” are not synonymous.

Actually Muslims are found all over the world. From China, Russia, and Indonesia to many parts of Africa and Europe, to both North and South America.

Muhammad, the prophet who was given the Quran was a descendent of the prophet Ishmael who was the son of Abraham – he was an Arab.

Jesus and many of the prophets we know of, were from what we now call the Middle East as well… And nobody seems to think all Christians are Semitic or Middle Eastern… Go figure!

The Quran makes it very clear that it is a message for mankind:

This (Quran) is but a reminder for all people. (38:87)

Muhammad is addressed in the Quran: And We (God) have not sent you except comprehensively to mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know. (Quran 34:28)

That’s why people from all over have accepted it as their life’s guidance.

I learned about Islam independent of any people. I didn’t know any Muslims.

For me, it was clearly a universal message.

It not only speaks to individuals regardless of their background but it is also timeless. I didn’t get the feeling that it was irrelevant or outdated.

Aspects of the quran describe our modern world and it provides comforting advice that is perfectly on point.

So for me and many other Americans like me, it was a natural choice.

And when we chose to be Muslims, we didn’t change our ethnicity, or race, or nationality, or culture. Just like the first Indonesians who embraced Islam, or the first Bosnians.

In America, the Muslims are the most diverse faith group. When I go to a mosque I sit amongst people of many shades and diverse backgrounds.

Islam, in practice, eliminates racism and nationalism. It teaches us to focus on our humanity and to rejoice in our differences.

To get to know one another.

So one doesn’t need to be Arab to be Muslim, and no one should assume that every Muslim they see is an immigrant either!

I’ll leave you with the following verse:

O humankind! Surely We have created you from a single (pair of) male and female, and made you into nations and families so that you may know one another (and so build mutuality and co-operative relationships, not so that you may take pride in your differences of race or social rank, and breed enmities). Surely the noblest, most honorable of you in God’s sight is the one best in piety, righteousness, and reverence for God. Surely God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Quran 49:13)

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Welcome!

I am your American Muslim neighbor. Welcome to my blog! Visit me here any time you like, to learn more about Islam and the most diverse religious group in the USA- the Muslims! I’m just your average American, here to promote peace and understanding in a time rife with fear and mistrust. Get to know the truth about what is possibly the most misunderstood way of life today.

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Wrap your head around it

If you saw Mary, the mother of Jesus, walking down the street, which religion might you assume she follows?

The truth is, Muslim women are pretty much the only ones in the United States, who in general, continue to dress the way Mary did.

Muslims believe Mary was the best of women, and we strive to be like her as well as her son Jesus Christ. Image