Another Physics Lesson


Having true faith in the commands from our Lord is what helps us get through the journey, and the struggle, of life.

We were early; our teacher hadn’t arrived yet.

The class collapsed into their seats and logged onto the computers, while the trademark ‘start-of-the-lesson’ murmuring chatter began. A boy stood up and announced to the class not to mention the homework for the lesson in hopes that our teacher had forgotten.

I pulled the books out of my bag, while the computer was starting and asked the girl sitting next to me how her day had been. Before she could answer, her attention was diverted to something outside and she told me to look. I turned around and saw two of my hijabi friends. They waved before opening the door and asking me if I had seen someone. I signaled where they should go before they smiled and walked off. The boy who had made the earlier homework announcement had curiosity swimming in his eyes in that moment. He turned to me and said, “Can I ask you a question, please?”

“Okay,” I replied.

“That girl, umm, I can’t remember her name, but how come she wears a headscarf now, and she didn’t before?”

A few more students’ ears perked up. They decided to join the conversation and added a ‘Yeah, how come?’ or a ‘Why?’

The girl they were referring to, Sanah, was a girl who set a sparkle in my heart and butterflies of excitement in my stomach when I heard of her decision to cover. I smiled wholeheartedly, while the memory played back in head of that day when lunch seemed inappropriate to spend time on, so instead a friend and I went around school trying to find her. I zoned back, back in the classroom, back to the inquisitive eyes staring at me for an answer.

“She chose to cover, like I did. We both chose to practice our religion because it’s so important to us. Look, no one forced her, or me, to decide to cover – it’s the faith we believe in which dictates our decisions…”

At that moment, the door swung open and the booming voice of our teacher echoed through the room for silence.

‘Sir, I’m being educated here…’ the boy ceased to speak once Sir gave him a glare.

While the attendance was taken, my mind wandered back to the day when Sanah decided to cover. And then further back to when I decided to cover. It seemed like such a long time ago. The hijab box should have a ‘check mark’ by now, but, no. I struggle to uphold my hijab in every aspect of life. In speech, actions and character; and hijab is a struggle I overcome everyday. It is a struggle I overcome simply by summoning the strength to do the right thing, simply by having hope in the horizon ahead on this journey, which is not a state of being but a process of becoming.

This process, this adventure, this journey – is difficult. But I have faith – and faith is all I have; and this makes me smile.

So, have faith – because it’s the only thing that helps – the only element of true hope you’ll ever have.

Have faith, and smile. (: