And Corn in our Cassadia

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We have to keep striving to become closer to Allah.

Whenever my hands are cold, she takes them and quickly rubs them between her hands until they are nice and warm.

She has a similar way of warming my heart. We often joke about how alike we are. We both live away from home and find comfort in our similar circumstances. We both have eerily identical thoughts and always blurt out the exact same things at the exact same time to the extent that we lost the concept of a dialog; it is just a conversation of mutual agreement. We both have calm, easy-going and relaxed personalities. We both escape with our pens to a world of poetry and prose. We both like the corn in our “Cassadia” sandwiches. We both like stickers, and butterflies, and the color pink.

And now, we have one more thing in common. We both wear jilbab, alhamdulillah.

February 23, 2011:

“Bushra, come here, I want to talk to you away from the crowd,” she pulled me aside. “I’m going to buy a jilbab today to wear tomorrow.”

It didn’t quite register with me yet. “And what about the day after, will you wear it?” I asked rather intelligently.

“And the day after…” she confirmed.

“And the day after that?”

“Bushra! Forever!”

I was so happy. “Happy” is a very lame word in this context, but that is exactly what I was. Times a million. “What? How did you decide?”

“I was praying ishaa’ yesterday, and I just decided ‘That’s it! I’m going to wear it.’ I ran to a friend next door and dragged her out with me to buy a jilbab, but all the shops were closed when we got there. So I’m going today; I’m wearing it tomorrow.”

We hugged and possibly jumped. We were jittery with the knowledge of our little secret all day. That night, she called me to tell me she had successfully bought three jilbabs from Islamic Design House.

February 24, 2011:

We started the next day very early. I was at her dorm room a full hour before class, prepared with my symbolic “Jana Doll” gift, which comes dressed in a cute abaya and has advice about being a good Muslimah on the back of her box. I got little brownies to celebrate too.

Together we walked to our faculty, with her shining like a bride walking down the aisle. The reactions of the sisters in university varied in form, but all of them were positive and supportive. I realized that it’s one thing for people to meet you wearing a abaya or jilbab, but it’s another when they watch you change. She seemed to embody the previous thoughts of many girls for taking that step. Seeing people change for the better is so uplifting.

When questioned by one girl about her motive to wear jilbab, my friend said, “When you feel that there’s a step you can take to become closer to Allah, subhanhu wa ta’ala, you just have to take it.” I ask that Allah accepts all our efforts in trying to improve. For if we come to Him walking, Allah Almighty comes to us running as He promises us.

***

It’s been almost three weeks now. And to me, it’s like being the watchful mother who delights in her first child’s every move, smile and step. I don’t mean the parenthood analogy as one of superiority, but rather with it, I emphasize the pride and joy I feel for her growth and progress. She’s comfortable, happy and wears her jilbab like a natural, alhamdulillah. I ask the Turner of Hearts to keep both our hearts steady upon His deen.

To you, Sama Al-Barghothe, I ask that Allah allows us to enter His Jannah together and bless us with the highest companionship. I can imagine us in Jannah, insha’Allah, praising Allah’s greatness, only to say the exact same praise at the exact same time, then looking at each other and smiling. Only then, it will be an eternal smile.

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