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November 19, 2011

One day she stops and asks: “Why are you wearing this?” Part II

by Simple Muslimah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

***Continued from Part I which can be read here***

So one day she stops me and asks: “Why are you wearing this?” pointing to my niqaab….

I say: “Because it is part of my religion.” After class my mind doesn’t want to function properly so I had to be extra sure that I chose the correct words.

She says quite hysterically: “Forget it your religion!” (her English isn’t too good)

I laugh it off very lightly and murmur “Okay” meekly, while my heart hammers against my chest from fear. I was so worried at what she might say or do next.  But she turned her back and walked her way back through the driveway and into her house muttering inaudible words under her breath.  I quickly stride back home. That was that.

Two days later I am walking back home at the same time of the day and I can see her again from a far distance.  My legs stop walking as fast as it was a few seconds ago, and I want to take U-turn.  I didn’t want to meet her or have to face her.  I knew she would say something not-so-nice.  But gathering courage, and consoling myself that she was only an elderly woman who was completely ignorant about my religion, I slowly walk my way towards her.  The Holy Quran (book of Allah) was clutched against my chest as I tried to swiftly walk past when I neared.  But sure enough she stops me with her words, or a question rather.

“What book is that?” she asks pointing to the Quran.

I say: “It’s our holy book. It’s called the Quran.”

She says: “Oh… Why you wear this?” (rubbing her palms all over her face frantically gesturing towards my niqaab).

She continues: “You can breathe?”

When she asked this question, my heart truly went out to her. She literally had no idea what or why I wore the niqaab, and quite understandably so. I was angry at myself for not realising this earlier.  She innocently thought I was unable to breathe under the material (which in fact is very thin).  I turned my back towards the road so that the passing cars would not see me, and facing directly towards her, lifted my niqaab.

I say: “Yes, I can breathe through this. And see? It’s really easy to take it off too.”

I felt this sudden power and urge to teach her all about what this thin piece of material was all about.  I did not know how she would react. But when she did, I was astonished.  As soon as I lifted my niqaab and had spoken the words of clarification for her, she gave me this broad smile and her arms stretched wide open.  She was about to hug me.  Except at that point, I thought she wanted to hit me!  So I swiftly moved a few feet away.

She says: “Oh you darling! Very clever. You very clever.”

I realised I was holding my breath. I let it out and before I knew it, she was already going back inside again.  I bid her goodbye and she calls back: “Bye sweetie!”

And that was the end of that encounter.  This happened about 2 months ago. And since then I haven’t seen her outside on her lawn again.  Sometimes I wonder what she thinks about niqaabis now.  Other times I wonder if she is okay.  But the miracle that took place between those two encounters is simply nothing but from Allah.  If Allah didn’t want it, that lady could have continued yelling not-so-nice things.  But when I clarified for her, not only did she stop saying such words, she actually smiled, called me ‘darling’ and wanted to hug me.

So my point is, many things in Islam may look, sound or feel weird to you.  But honestly they aren’t. Allah does everything with immeasurable wisdom behind it.  And if you do have questions or wonder why some things look or feel strange to you, please don’t be afraid to ask a Muslim.  It may clarify things for you, and you just may realise just how true and peaceful this religion really is…

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