The Little Moon’s Reflection

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Guest writer Mariam Al-Kalby shares a charming account of passing on a valuable inheritance to her little one.

Maimuna stood there quietly memorizing me as I pinned my hijab beneath my chin and wrapped a piece of the blue material around my neck and tied it into a knot on the side. She left the room while I gathered diapers and sweaters to put in the diaper bag; we were getting ready to go visit a friend that evening.

She came back with a bright pink Turkish hijab with polka dots scattered all over and lifted it to my face and said in a slow voice, “Heedaab.” I stood there stunned and realized she was saying hijab for the first time. And she wanted to wear one right before we left. I had just fixed her hair into a little ponytail on top of her head and looked at the hijab dangling from her hands and thought, uh, this hijab doesn’t even match her dress.

Then I stopped my irrelevant thoughts and realized how silly I was being. I should have been proud and excited that my two and a half-year-old daughter wanted to go out and wear hijab… hello! No one was even forcing or persuading her, she was doing it all on her own; how could I say no to that? She would randomly wear the hijab in the house or wear her outfit for prayer and join me sometimes, but she never actually initiated wanting to wear one when we went out.

I exclaimed, “Hijab! Come here and let me wrap it for you.” As I fixed the hijab onto her round head, trying to push back the stubborn locks of curls peeking out of the material, I felt the pride and happiness rising into Maimuna’s face. Her cheeks were rosier, her brown eyes sparkled, and I knew exactly what she was feeling at that moment: complete warmth and satisfaction.

It was the feeling you get when someone compliments you on your smile; it was the tingling when you knew you were going to your best friend’s house, and it was those “butterflies” fluttering inside your stomach when you were with the people you loved. It was the feeling of that warm stroke when your mother swept her hand across your head as she put you to sleep. This was what Maimuna was feeling. Interestingly enough, I was feeling the same way.

As I was tying her hijab, she stood there patiently and calmly, which is unusual since I am more acquainted with her much more wilder and untamed side when it came time to go out. To change Maimuna’s clothes or to get her to put on her shoes, I would have to go through all types of hurdles just to grab her and get her to follow directions: jumping on couches, racing through curtains, knocking over dining chairs, rolling through mountains of pillows, and springing atop beds.

But there was a sense of serenity and maturity emanating from Maimuna that seemed so magical while I was donning on the hijab for her. Usually I tie the hijab pieces behind her head, but this time I wrapped it around her neck and tied it at the side. Just like mine.

Maimuna noticed this specific action and squealed with delight because she knew I was taking her seriously. I was not just carelessly tying the hijab for her but she knew I was taking the time to fix and adjust the hijab as if I were wearing it. She appreciated this because she looked at me with pride and happiness that glowed from her little moon face.

When I finished adorning her attire, she turned around and looked at the full-length mirror before her. She smoothed her dress down and lifted her small hands and caressed the hijab. Maimuna turned to the side and looked at her reflection. Then a slow, proud smile spread across and radiated her whole face.

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Mariam Al-Kalby is the founder of Maktoob-Untold Words by Muslims. She has been featured in various publications which include:  Maktoob, Damazine, InFocus News, MiniMuslimeen Magazine, Al Talib Newspaper, Muslimahsource.org, and MBMuslima Magazine. You can explore her website at createmaktoob.com or send her an email at mariam@createmaktoob.com.