Like a Shattered Snow Globe

9

When trial follows trial, as it did for this anonymous guest writer, the only way to turn is towards Allah.

My journey to hijab is a fairly recent phenomena. I was born in a middle class immigrant family. My parents had come to the States in the late seventies, early eighties, from conservative middle class homes. My grandparents from both sides were farmers, who lived on meager incomes, and my father came to America with the hopes and dreams for a brighter and better potential future.

While growing up, my brother and I were taught salah, Arabic, and recitation of the Qur’an. Each Ramadan, my parents would observe adamantly and devoutly the fasts and taraweeh prayers. Eid was always a delightful experience, observing prayers at the mosque or local community center or school. My religion was a part of my daily routine. Each prayer was observed obligatorily, without question or much understanding. My parents never forced or thrust any requirements to wear hijab or our traditional dress. Yet in me, there was a missing piece – as if my heart and soul knew that there was something a bit more to my faith than routine observation.

In 1997, a tragic loss in the family occurred: my mom’s youngest brother was shot and killed, weeks before his wedding. I was awe-struck. How was this possible? Why was this happening? I had never done anything wrong, or bad. But in my loss, I finally began my spiritual journey to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. I was in high school at the time, and at a point in life when teens are indulging in their desires, and succumbing to temptations, I began to wake up in the early hours of dawn for Fajr prayers. I started to recite Surat Yasin, which is called the “heart of the Quran” – and the surah helped to heal my heart.

Later that year, our family was blessed with a new baby girl. Alhamdulillah. She became the light which brightened our home and our hearts.

However, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala was about to test our family with another very challenging test. My father, who was my best friend – passed away. My perfect world which seemed as it were in a glass snow globe shattered. My heart which had healed with Allah ta’ala’s divine grace was broken into a million pieces. I became angry, depressed and was again questioning : Why is the sun still shining in the sky? Why are random people smiling and laughing in the streets? But Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala knows what is best and what test we, as humans, have the power to overcome. It is then that I turned my back to the world and asked Allah for mercy, and that He bestow strength, patience and emaan on our family.

I began college, and again, became wary of the “norms” of society. I refused to be like everyone else, I refused to drink, smoke, or party on Friday nights. During Ramadan, my mom suggested, “Why don’t you wear a scarf?” I thought about it, and pushed it to the back of my mind. I began working at an orthopedic office. Once, an elderly patient came and informed me that he was going to Hajj. I asked him to pray for me. He turned to me and said, “Daughter, I ask Allah to guide you to hijab. This beauty of yours, should only be for your husband…”

His words echoed in my ears. For many months later, I was puzzled when a stranger would remark on how beautiful I was, or how sexy and exotic my hair was to them. I did not wear revealing clothes, but was whistled at, given phone numbers, asked to go out, and eyed by young men, checking me out, up and down. It was then, in prayer, that I cried and asked for Allah’s forgiveness. Ramadan began, and that year I began to cover my self and wear my black hijab. It granted me comfort, strength and a reminder of who I was. My religion was no longer a part of my life – it was life.

The first few questions I received from co-workers and friends were, “Is it a coming of age thing?”, “Are you getting married?”, or “Are you being forced?” Many of the males at my job would ask “When are you going to take it off?”, “Can I see your hair?” and “Does this mean I can’t see your hair anymore?” Surprisingly, many Muslims were not supportive of my decision, and would tell my mom “Oh – why is she so old-fashioned, so conservative?”, “How is she ever going to find a man with that on?”, “Tell her she can wear it when she gets married, but not here.” Alhamdulillah, my mom is a very strong woman, and she has taught me that  if I am right, then there is no need for excuses or compromise.

I now have a new job, and am often told by people, “I love that scarf”, and “I would wear a scarf, just to wear the beautiful ones that you have”, and – one of my favorites – “I don’t know what that thang on your head is called, but it’s pretty.” I always smile and politely say thank you.

I could never be thankful enough to Allah for guiding me and helping me to understand the lessons of life, which have led me closer to my Creator. Alhamdulillah. Allah guides whom He wills. May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guide all of us to what is best for us in this life, and the next. Although I still have this empty feeling in this world, as if I don’t belong, and inshaAllah my eternal destination is Jannah. I still strive today to be a better Muslim, and to lead by example, by a smile. Alhamdulillah.

_______________

Submitted to I Got It Covered for our May 2010 reader-takeover month.

9 Responses to “Like a Shattered Snow Globe”

Your Responses