Back to Hijab

I think it’s been awhile since I’ve contemplated on something so complicated and personal. In my heart I know I avoid a lot of things because I just don’t feel like I have the strength to tackle it right now. So I flee and hide, buying time till I feel like I can.

My hijab was my identity, I was by all definition the Secret Hijabi. With all that happened some how I slipped and the part of me which I loved the most disappeared to the background, and as shameful as it is to say, I forgot. I forgot how happy I was to wear my hijab, how amazingly safe I felt when I adorned it and how connected I felt to Allah.

In all honestly my relationship with Allah has been strained. I have been negligent. I think I need to admit this to be able to return to who I was. I think it’s easy for me to say I’m not allowed to wear my hijab and live life, it’s not comfortable but it’s easy. But the point is the old me wouldn’t take that. The old me became the Secret Hijabi in order to fight it. While I can’t get back the same furious passion I had, I can remember what it feels like.

Taking off my hijab was one of the most painful things I did. Not being me ever since then has been difficult. Sadly, every time I think I want to fight the fear within me builds and I just keep remembering all the issues it will cause, and so I silence myself. At the end of the day the only person keeping myself from fighting back is myself. I just can’t seem to muster enough courage and some how I’m too ashamed to ask Allah for the strength as well.

I became the Secret Hijabi because I couldn’t wear hijab in the first place. Not much has changed now, just the constraints have increase.  It doesn’t mean I can’t fight it.

So I think this is it.

It’s been way too long since I haven’t been myself. It’s been a long 2 years filled with a lot of sadness. I think I am ready to fight once more. I think,

I am ready to be hated and judged for being myself.

I am ready to be put on a spot light, being a Sinhalese Hijabi.

I am ready to be seen as a mindless women following her Husband’s will.

I am ready to defend my Husband against their claims of being an extremist for my choices.

I am ready for the stares, the whispers, the confused looks.

I am by all means ready to be myself once more so that I may be able to face my Lord with no shame.

It is time.

Ya Allah please let me back in…

A Love Story

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She lived in a world full of darkness,
He in a world of light,
She lived by her principles,
He by his Lord’s book.

She said I want to change,
He said it’s too risky,
She said please help me,
He said It would not be right,
She said I want Allah as my Lord,
He said by Allah I will help,
She said I bear witness,
He said now we are both His slaves.

She said I am alone,
He said take my hand,
She said I’m scared,
He said trust me,
She said I’m different,
He said I know,
She said I’m ugly,
He said not to me.

She said I was stupid,
He said I know,
She said I shouldn’t have been so naive,
He said I know,
She said please forgive me,
He said I already did,
She said I don’t deserve you,
He said be with me as long as you live.

She said I’ll always be alone,
He said not while I am here,
She said I can’t do this alone,
He said you don’t have to,
She said they will always hate me,
He said it doesn’t matter,
She said I will never be like them,
He said promise me never ever.

She said are you sure?
He said yes, forever,
She said it won’t be the same,
He said I don’t want it being anything but different.

She said you promised,
He said I’m sorry,
She said why should I stay,
He said because there is no one else for me,
She said I will forgive,
He said I will repent.

He said we will do this together,
She said yes together,
He said together for ever,
She said yes Insha’allah forever and ever.

 

Ya Allah Give Me Strength

Ya Allah give me strength to smile even if my heart is crying,

Ya Allah give me strength to face the people who hurt me,

Ya Allah give me strength to hold no animosity,

Ya Allah give me strength to forget all those horrible memories,

 

Ya Allah give me strength to fight the urge to play tit for tat,

Ya Allah give me strength to protect myself from their strange gazes and isolation,

Ya Allah give me strength to know what is right,

Ya Allah give me strength to do what is right,

 

Ya Allah give me strength to not wallow in self pity,

Ya Allah give me strength to defeat my inner negative thoughts and feelings,

Ya Allah give me strength to control my nafs,

Ya Allah give me strength to hide what is within me and smile,

 

Ya Allah give me strength so I may have confidence in myself,

Ya Allah give me strength so I may not burden my Husband,

Ya Allah give me strength so I may take the high road,

Ya Allah give me strength so one day I may be once more, be me

 

Reverting Reverts

It’s a stereotype which everyone holds, at least in Sri Lanka. If you revert to Islam, they say, you will revert back out of Islam. In some way I feel they say it so much that it becomes true, and as much as I would like to say “No, it does not happen”, it does. I have seen it numerous times. But why and how does it happen is the question people should be asking, but they never do.

Converting to any religion in Sri Lanka is controversial. The roots of it lies with respecting your ancestors and carrying on some made up family legacy. Personal choices in most cases do not exist. An example is how difficult it is to get married these days, it literally becomes a battle of who you want and who your family wants. With all that pressure when someone decides to change their religion and then try to make a life for themselves, there should be immense support from the by standers.

Usually when you convert your family outcasts you, so you end up alone. You find a spouse and think maybe I can finally be happy. Days go by, and issues crop up, differences in culture, habits, opinions on religion. Some cases it maybe abuse, you may feel trapped in a marriage because you have no one else. You go on, until the last drop of strength disappears. You talk to those who are most comforting to you, your family. They say you made a mistake, but it’s alright, come back now. So you do. Some where along the line you find Shaithan poisoning your mind. He tells you to hate the religion that belongs to your spouse. He tells you it’s not just their fault, it’s the religions fault. Then you find your self a reverted revert.

This scenario is what I have seen time and time again when it comes to reverts. I can’t say it’s anyone’s fault because it probably is everyone’s fault. Everyone involved made one or more mistakes along the way. But I will say that as a Muslim of 9 years, I have been disappointed at how judgemental and unhelpful the Ummah in Sri Lanka is. I’ve seen mistreatment of reverts far too much to ever feel welcomed in social situations. Not everyone is bad, there are people who will support you to the end, but the majority look at you with eyes of wonder as to when you will cease to be a revert. It’s like they are waiting for a coconut to drop, so sure it will but wondering when.

Whatever the case maybe, whether it was a reversion out of faith, or marriage. We should not judge. Allah has guided them and made that situation, it is His plan. They may remain in Islam, they may not. Allah sees all and knows all. How can we pass judgement on something He has planned? Maybe the one who converts for marriage will find Iman and Thaqwa far more than the one who converts with faith. We do not know, we can not know. I think as a Muslim our duty is to accept anyone who is interested in Islam with open arms. The rest is with Allah.

I can’t say people will never move out of Islam. There is a basket of various reasons which could lead to their decision. However I think we as Muslims should not be one reasons. Reverts are lonely, I know that from experience. If they only see Muslims treating them harshly they automatically let their image of Islam be tainted with that behaviour. Again, I know this out of experience. It takes a long time to understand Muslims practice Islam, but Islam is not represented by Muslims, the only representation of Islam should be Allah and his Prophets (Peace be upon them all).

No one chooses to convert for the fun of it, there is a thought process involved. We should respect that and try to support them with whatever they need. In most cases I think reverts just need someone to talk to, someone to say don’t worry, Allah is with you and I am also with you. All I ask of everyone who reads this is to be that someone. You would be surprised at how powerful and valuable a few lines in comment or a few minutes of words are to a revert. So let us help the reverts, remain reverts.

Peace.

YOLO

You only live once.

As a Muslim I would say, no, no you don’t. No offence, but this statement to me is an excuse to do whatever you feel like with a fake comfort of justifying it. It lacks conviction, discipline, maturity and depth. In today’s world it’s really easy to live your life according to others, and to claim that if everyone is doing it, it’s probably ok. This statement has no religion. Whether it be reincarnation or heaven/hell, there is an afterlife in every religion which tells us that we aren’t living this life just for the mere sake of it. Whatever we do in this life will be carried forward to the next and it is our duty to ensure that our hereafter is better than this life.

I have heard so many people tell me, you get one life, make the best of it. While I admit this is a good quote for motivation, today it is seldom used for that purpose. It is used mostly to shower themselves with meaningless nights and materialistic objects. Is that really making the best of it? Einstein said, be men of value rather than of success. I believe, whatever religion you are, you are encouraged to bring value to this world. It’s not about drifting away your life with immature “I do what I want” choices. It’s about doing something good for those around you, for the world, for the future. It’s about doing something which might seem meaningless at the time but would give your soul great value.

A big part of Islam is helping the poor and doing various charity. It doesn’t mean you have to go out and look for people, you can start with your family. Charity isn’t about money, it’s also about time. How we spend our time is important. If we really only live once isn’t it even more important to spend the little time we have wisely? Isn’t it a waste to do something meaningless if we have no afterlife? If we really only get one chance shouldn’t we make it count? I might be speaking for myself but I rather spend every precious minute I have on bringing happiness to someone else than selfishly hoarding things which will never really fill me with any happiness.

I’m not asking people to immortalize themselves by doing grand things, but leave something behind which will bring happiness to the world. Do we honestly want to be remembered as people who did whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, or do we want to be remembered for our contribution to the world and our knowledge.

Finally, it comes to my ‘to each their own’ policy. If someone honestly believes that this is their one chance to experience every single pleasure in this world (both good and bad) then I guarantee I will not stop them. But I can’t help reach boiling point when they try to convince me that I should ‘live a little’ because ‘you only live once’.

The way I see it, this life is a stepping stone. I have to survive it to the best of my abilities and live according to the guidelines set by Allah (swt), then maybe, just maybe I’ll reach the next level, where real life will begin. Sure I’ll indulge in cotton candy and a lot of gelato on the way, but insha’allah I pray I never forget where real life begins.

Peace!

I Will Not Break

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Sticks and stones,
I will not break.

Blood and sweat,
I will not break.

Discrimination and condemnations,
I will not break.

Exclusion and ill treatment,
I will not break.

Hardship and loneliness,
I will not break.

Tears and betrayal,
I will not break.

Hurtful words and looks
I will not break

I am a mother, wife, sister and daughter,
I will not break.

I am a Muslim, Sinhalese and Sri Lankan,
I will not break.

Do your worst,
By the will of Allah I will never break.