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Wednesday, May 05, 2004

SILVER LINING

By Sister Hafidha

You know the saying, "In every cloud there's a silver lining." In other words, every bad thing contains within it a small blessing of some kind. In this tongue-in-cheek article, sister Hafidha points out some of the silver linings of being a hijab-wearing Muslim woman in the West.

Assalaamu 'alaykoum

I was on my way to the grocery store today when I came to a busy intersection.

Many cars were wanting to turn onto the street that I was crossing. I paused to let a car go because I figured "Maybe he/she is in a hurry; I can wait an extra second or two." But then we ended up doing that little hand-wavy dance:

"No, go ahead."
"No, you go ahead."
"No, no, you go ahead!"

You know what I mean.

So finally I went ahead, and as I was stepping out of the crosswalk into the curb, the person in the car leaned out the window. I noticed he was a young middle eastern man with a cellular phone. He said to me (over the traffic noise) "Because you are a Muslim!"

Well, that got me thinking. About the pros and cons - and the silver linings - of being a muhajjibah, and of being recognized as a Muslim. I decided to share some of them with you all.

CON: Sometimes bums assume that I am a religious person, so they try to get me to feel sorry for them so I'll give them money.

SILVER LINING: Extra opportunity for barakaat and da'wah.

CON: Strange men yelling "ALI BABA ALI BABA!" or "GO HOME IRAQI B*******!" as they drive by in their pickups.

SILVER LINING: Barakaat for the trials those fools put me though. *sob* *sob*

CON: It's very hard for me to blend in at some places, like the county fairs; people look at me like I don't belong there, and I feel awkward.

SILVER LINING: I don't dare enter a bar or nightclub.

CON: I can't show off my hair.

SILVER LINING: When it rains, I don't get "the frizzies."

CON: Sometimes I am mistaken for a nun.

SILVER LINING: I get to hear non Muslims refer to me as "sister."

CON: Little kids stare at me rather rudely.

SILVER LINING: I get to startle them by smiling and waving. Then I get to see them smile and wave back, too.

CON: People don't bother to invite me to their parties.

SILVER LINING: I don't have to go to people's parties.

CON: Sometimes Muslims see me and look away like they are sorry they saw me.

SILVER LINING: Once in a while, I'll meet a Muslim who maybe isn't practicing, but is very happy to see me and he will say to me, "It makes my heart feel good to meet a good Muslim." (Not that wearing hijab necessarily makes me such a good Muslim, but it's the thought that counts!)

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