As-salâm Alaykum (peace be upon you).
Some know the religion by what is portrayed through mass media and some see the truth, but the rest of you are stuck in limbo – not wanting to believe everything you see or hear.
Except now there are constant attacks, and you ask yourself “Are they, terrorists?” But on the other hand “My neighbors are Muslim, they’re a nice family, they don’t bother anyone, make good food when they invite us over during Ramadan…but a bomb went off in so and so again?”
You see, just like oil and water do not mix, terrorism and Islam cannot. How can you combine something that does not make sense? As atheist as scientists is, even they have to agree on this one.
I get the wildest questions, like
“Do you shower with your hijab on?
Are you allowed to go out?
Can you take your hijab off?
Can I see your hair?”
Let me take you back to 7 am this morning, and hopefully, I can answer some of those questions. It’s still dark out, and most of my household are blissfully asleep, and part of me is telling me to stay in the warmth of my bed. I want to, but then the call to prayer (adhan) plays. It’s loud – the birds outside begin chirping at the same time – and by now it’s 7:30, and I am wide-awake. I make my way to the bathroom to do my wudu (ablution), and I see my grandma get out of bed. She too is getting up for Fajr (the first of five daily prayers) and greets me. She gently kisses my forehead, and the fatigue and coldness are replaced with warmth.
After wudu, I wrap my hijab and cover my hair and begin the day praising Allah.
Once Fajr is complete I take an hour nap and begin my day at 9 am. Just like most university students my age on Christmas break, I start tackling the long list of Netflix series I put aside. Currently, it’s Suits, and I may be watching it for only two reasons –
The law and Harvey Specter.
Pancakes are my absolute favorite things for breakfast, second only to poached eggs and salmon. My brother is woken up by the mere smell of food, we argue over the last scoop of Nutella, which my mother then gives to my younger brother.
I have always been a bookworm which my brother finds so peculiar especially in this age of technology. But hey each to there own right? And so my mornings are spent reading – just filling my curiosity, followed by a run or some basketball.
It’s come to lunchtime and after Zuhr (the second prayer) I head out and meet my friends Dominic and Alexa. *Fun fact* I only have one Muslim friend. I spent six years at a Catholic primary school – I attended church more than a mosque. I then went to a white populated high school and college until I came to university, which is the most diverse institution I’ve ever attended.
I get a vanilla latte from Starbucks, and we all sit.
Dominic gets lost in his Friday night story about how a fight almost broke out at a club and Alexa’s ecstatic because her boyfriend got her the Burberry clutch she wanted for Christmas.
On the train home, a five-year-old girl was intrigued, and I knew it was because of my hijab. I smiled back at her, and she began asking her mother “Mommy why does she have that on her head? Mommy, why can’t I see her hair? Is she dying mommy?” Like most parents, she was red in the face from embarrassment and apologised profusely, but I laughed. Truth is most five-year-old Muslims would most likely ask the same questions.
“Hi what’s your name?” I asked the five-year-old.
“Natalie,” she replied.
“Well Natalie, I’m a Muslim, and my hijab is my identity…”
I went on to explain why I wore my hijab.
“So why doesn’t princess Jasmine wear one?”
I adore the curiosity of children.
It hadn’t been a hot second, but as soon as I walked into my house, I stripped off my hijab. I can only compare the feeling of taking off your office shoes after a ten-hour shift.
After pizza for dinner and then Isha (the last prayer of the day) I finally sat down to watch Suits. *Spoilers Alert* Mike and Rachel reunite when Mike’s released from prison.
As night falls, I reflect on the day…Terrorists are blindly misguided people, and the sad reality is they hide behind Islam. This is no different to the Ku Klux Klan brutality massacring innocent African Americans in the name of Christianity, and it is no different to the Israeli defense league killing and raping children and women in the name of Judaism. You get good and bad people in every race, religion, and ethnicity. It doesn’t give us the right to stick a label on the majority because of the act of the minority.
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” Maya Angelou