A Young Girl’s Lament



If you ask me face to face, I may snort and deny it. I will probably brush it off. I will definitely change the subject. But the truth of the matter is, I have kept a diary in the past. Okay, more than one. The girly types with the golden keys and locks and codes and invisible ink… And yes, sometimes I would even write the date. And no, I still have not found the heart to throw them away, so they are tucked away in decorated boxes in my closet. I confess to this girly side of me.

But for this post, one of my entries came in handy, and I thought I might share it.

I wrote it when I had first come to Canada at the age of seventeen, and it was the first camp I went to with sisters. I remember my mom forcing both my sister and I to attend this weekend camp. It was a “sleepover” for the sisters of the community at an Islamic Center, with various activities ranging from outdoor fun to Qiyaams at night. Having come from the Middle East, I didn’t know what to expect, but it was a great eye-opener to know that people so far away from “Muslim countries” were in fact so close in practice to the Deen…

In general I loved the atmosphere. It resembled Hajj. It was so refreshing. I remember thinking, “Finally! Role models like the fairy-tale ones [real women I  knew]I admired as a child!” For some reason it has been so long since I’ve been able to look up to women like that.

MashaAllah, almost everyone was in Abayas! I can’t even describe the beauty each sister radiates.. It was so refreshing to be around people that I didn’t have to fear the chance of them corrupting me.

Over there [in the Middle East], women are changing. They might not feel it, but the little girl inside me does.

Every time she – that little girl within – sees a women in jeans and Disco-Hijab with her children, she feels devastated. Confused. Lost.

What happened to the cozy image I use to look up to for care, protection, and guidance? How can I trust you if you seem to be unsure yourself? What wisdom do you really have worth giving?

What happened to the motherliness I saw in each of you…something within me, (they call it respect) is eroding…and I’m just…a little girl of this Ummah…

Where is my world of anasheed and modest clothing? The world of tongues fluent with the language of the Quran? Where is that world to comfort me now? To know I am being protected with an Islamic lifestyle?

It comforts that little girl, when your hijab is different from everyone else, and when your greeting is unique. I feel you offer a different warmth. That little girl, she wants you to tell her right from wrong, it gives her certainty and direction. And more than anything, she wants you to show it to her. To be her role model.

I’m receiving pieces from all around me. For the sake of childhood innocence, for the sake of ALLAH, give me a decent piece.

Paint me the image of a confident, pious, woman I should strive to be like. I can’t paint this canvas alone. Show me the strokes of steadfastness. Show me the colors of modesty.

It takes a village to raise a child. Let’s make sure we don’t disappoint that child.

I just want women, especially the older ones, to know that when their Iman is weak, when they follow their whims and desires with their character and clothing, they are not only harming themselves, but the little girls of this Ummah who learn from them, from us, mostly by observing and watching. If young girls see you in proper hijab, that is the image that sticks. That is the image that “seems right” for these girls to grow up into.