I admit, it probably looks odd. Mom wears skirts or abayas (long dresses) with hijab, and her daughter is in a t-shirt, pants, and styled hair. So why the disconnect? I’m glad you ask.
A friend of mine once said, “Life isn’t always a straight line.” She’s right. We don’t always make forward progress at a consistent rate. When I first because Muslim, Care Bear, my teen daughter who was at that point 7 years old, wanted to wear hijab and do everything she could to be recognized as a Muslim. This was new and exciting to her, and she wanted to jump right in! I did too, but I could see the consequences of my actions more clearly while she was still just a kid and couldn’t see such things.
For the record, I actually told her she had to learn more about Islam before wearing hijab. She was in the habit of making stuff up if she didn’t know. For instance, she started saying Oreos were haram (forbidden), and anything else I didn’t expressly state was allowed. I guess she took no pork to mean we were going to live a life of restraint.
She started out quite zealous, and it was great! But then, everyone else started talking. It wasn’t just what Mom was saying anymore, and now everyone else had an opinion of what Islam is and is not, though refused to investigate further than what was spoon fed to them via the TV screen in their home. Her dad growing up in the inner city, I had to continuously define the difference between the Nation of Islam and Orthodox Islam. Read a book less than 100 pages to clarify misconceptions? That’s crazy talk. I was crazy, and she was crazy for wanting to be like her Mom.
Muslims are evil, you know. Muslims are rude. Muslims are dirty. This we’ve all learned from mainstream media, and from judging apparently African decent people at the Mall of America. Because you know, everyone who is dark and has a little accent has to be Muslim. And obviously, anyone who grew up Muslim must be acting in accordance with the teachings of Islam at all times. We’re a perfect folk like that, you know.
Alhamdulilah (praise God), Care Bear does not hate Muslims like she’s been told. All this talk though, has left her feeling that if she wears hijab, her dad’s family will categorize her with all these Muslims they talk so negatively about. She feels she won’t be part of their “club” any longer, and they will consider her weak. She feels they would never believe that she has come to the decision on her own, and I must have forced her to wear it, and my reign is so strong, it extends into her time she spends at her dad’s house. You know, I should be flattered they find me so powerful. Yet, I’m not flattered at all.
If all this pressure wasn’t on her from her dad’s side, would she wear it? I’m unsure if she would commit to it at this point or not, but I know she would give it more consideration. At this point, it is a closed door in her mind because she doesn’t feel ready to face that battle. I get it. We all have battles to face, especially when we make decisions that will disappoint or make our family downright angry. While I can support her from my end, ultimately, it’s her battle to fight.
Rose Youngmark says
Thanks for sharing! It must be hard for her, especially with the current popular opinion of Muslims in America. Last night my 3-year old asked why we don’t celebrate Christmas, when her father responded that it was because we were Muslim she said, “I hate being muslim.” This was while watching commercials advertising for Christmas. I immediately thought, “T.V go bye, bye!” And started worrying about her future in a country that adheres to a culture much different than the one in our home. I think you’re doing a great job by supporting her.
Shannen Espelien says
Ouch, that’s tough. I’m often glad we don’t have a TV signal in our house. We use Amazon Prime and download shows we want to watch. It’s hard being the minority when the majority looks so fun and enticing. In sha Allah we can make Eid just as fun, and make sure we keep the meaning and purpose along the way.