Reflection from Umm Yusuf’s post:

While catching up in my comments  this morning I read Umm Yusuf’s comment on You Know You’re a Hijabi/Niqabi if….people try to deny you the basic rights that every one is supposed to enjoy!

This was so relevant to what my post was going to reflect today and definitely not a coincidence. Yesterday my husband and I were discussing on summer events that would be great to attend in our city as a family. Well living in this city for over a year now they have a festival every summer where they have arts and crafts, kid face paintings, and great summer food. It’s a must-go event in the town. Well planning my intinerary for the kids, I was so excited that finally I was going to attend this main attraction. I told my husband what the plan was and it went a little something like this:

Me: “I have found a great thing to do this summer”.

Husband: “What’s that”?

Me: Remember when we drove around town last year, and we saw flocks of people going to the park?

Husband: Yes…

Me: My friend and I decided that would be a lot of fun for the kids. Do you think it’s walking distance?

Husband: Oh, no you’re not going to that!

Me: Why not, its a great outing for families?

Husband: Well, because I know how those people are and they will make things hard for you, with their snares, and stares and maybe even remarks.

Me: You know I can fend for myself, and I don’t care if they will stare and treat me badly, they have to realize that we’re part of the community and they have to treat us fairly and welcome us.

Husband: Yes, but you’re not going to have fun, and it will be stressful, and I don’t want something to happen to all of you because of these ignorant town folks.

Me: Ok, well I guess you do know them better since you deal with them on a daily basis at work, and you don’t what us to be in any terrible predicament because they are ignorant and may hurt us physically; however, I don’t see the reason why I have to limit the places I go because of peoples’ ignorance. I should be able to go and enjoy my time at events like these, and my presence will show them that I don’t care about their ignorance and they just have to live with the fact that I’m here among them and a member of this community if they don’t like it tough, they have to know we exist among them and come to terms we’re here to stay. 

Husband: I Know, but these are the times we’re living in….

Ok, after this little scenario I had no plan of making it a post, but checking the recent comments on Umm Yusuf’s blog her comment is evidently true in our western society. Why do I have to be concerned about how others will be affected by my presence? Is it fair that I’m treated differently because I am a hijabi? It’s things like this that frustrate me and I feel need immediate attention. I’m a person who does everything possible to change things when there’s an injustice. I can’t sit back and just let things continue to stay this way. I have always spoken my mind and made remarks if I’m confronted by these foolish people, being born and raised in New York City I have always been a pro-active person, and don’t let anyone or anything get in the way of what I want to pursue, in one of the melting pots of the world I never had to really deal with things like this as a whole. In city events there are people of all backgrounds, religions, and ages. We attended the events peacefully and you didn’t have to worry about people’s comments or harming you.

Now, I’m faced with taking my husband’s words into consideration. I’m not single, and having a family he wants to protect us. I see his point of view, but this is something hard for me, because this hasn’t been the first time I’ve been faced with limitations all because of ignorant individuals. I’m tired of just letting it go and trying to find other attractions that will be SO-CALLED more diverse. But why? This is a free country. I should be free and able to go anywhere I like, as a Muslim we find ourselves at times reflecting on things to do collectively where we will enjoy our time and not worry about discrimination, or violent outbursts from others, i’m fed up trying to cater my fun away from these close minded people.

I would love to go this summer fair. I see it as an opportunity of dawah and showing them that we are ordinary people just like them who have strong morals, and live normally. We aren’t this secret society that doesn’t smile, say hi, and don’t know how to coexist with people different as us. I’m not saying condoning their actions and beliefs that go against our Islamic principles, nevertheless, there is a medium of coexistance with non-Muslims as found in the hadith when Umar ibn Khattab was stabbed.

Narrated ‘Amr bin Maimun: umar (after he was stabbed), instructed (his would-be-successor) saying, “I urge him (i.e. the new Caliph) to take care of those non-Muslims who are under the protection of Allah and His Apostle in that he should observe the convention agreed upon with them, and fight on their behalf (to secure their safety) and he should not over-tax them beyond their capability.” (Bukhari Book #52, Hadith #287)

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said: “Whoever does wrong to a mu’aahad (a dis-believer who has a peace treaty with the Muslims), or tries to put him down, or burdens him with more than he can bear, or takes something from him without his consent, I will be his opponent on the Day of Resurrection.” Narrated by Abu Dawood, 3052; classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.
 

There are many instances where the Prophet (pbuh) and his companions show us how to live side by side one another and still have a peaceful coexistence. It’s not like I was going to take them as my friends. I just thought it was a nice thing to do for the children where they could run around, finger paint, maybe watch basket-making, eat picnic food, and my highlight, the face paintings. It’s an event for children and family. Don’t get mewrong, I do comphrehend my husband’s concerns and his reasons for opposing, I just think that I should be able to attend certain functions because it would be a fun way to keep the kids entertained.  

It saddens me to know that as Muslims we would prefer to isolate ourselves from the rest of the community because of others reaction towards us. In my opinion, I think thats a cop out, and furthermore saying to them that they have won in running us away.We have to stand firm, voice our opinions and show senseless people that we exist among them, as Muslims we’re proud of our beliefs just as they are proud of theirs, and we should show them that we can live harmoniously with respect and dignity. 

This would have been a good opportunity as a Muslim to demonstrate it. When I’m confronted with circumstances like these like attending an amusement park, zoo, mall, sporting event, town fair etc. I am aware that all eyes will be on me the Muslimah in hijab. So instead of being worried and fearful, you know you’re in the spotlight so why not take this great opportunity and exemplify our Islamic manners, and show them that we are real people who laugh, smile, joke, and live ordinary lives as they do as long as it’s within the boundaries of our belief system.

If we took the time to open the door completely instead of peaking in and shutting it we might be able to help widen their minds and perceptions of us. Their ignorance is in part due to their clouded mentality of what they think Islam means. This is owed to so-called Muslims who have trangressed the limits by hurting innocent people through their oppression and tyranny, and the mainstream media doesn’t help and portrays us only as terrorists in movies, and these jihadist warriors among other things. Did you ever here the phrase it only takes one person to make a difference?

We should reflect on it. We have a responsibility as Muslims to show people the true Islam, acting as shadows within the community will have no benefit to us or them. The best nation of people are Muslims. We should show that we have certainty of faith and strength to tackle whatever comes our way. Why let them run us out by their treatment and denying the basic rights that everyone is supposed to enjoy.

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