Expansion

It’s that time of the year again!

No, not Christmas, Ramadan. The month of Islamic meditation. A time meant to enlighten those wrapped in existential crisis where fasting during hours of the sun is perscribed and prayer is even more of a must. I will admit I may not be the most religious person. I don’t pray five times a day, I don’t wear hijab (that doesn’t stop me from dressing modestly), I don’t have a sheikh’s knowledge, and there are times when I am so caught up in the life that I forget about the next. BUT REGARDLESS I make it a point to remember that I have been blessed. Today, I have a home, a loving family, amazing friends, food, and a community that is not dictated by a militia. Tomorrow? Who knows. I could not wake up for all I know. However, that doesn’t necessarily matter. I can plan for tomorrow but I won’t really know what to do until it comes. That doesn’t bother me. What bothers me is knowing that I didn’t live my day taking advantage of the opportunities I have been given and whether or not I was a good person while doing so.

Last year during Ramadan I spent most of my time trying reconnect with my religion and family. My college experience were it a stone would have jagged ends or cracks with a few spots unbruised by the transition into adulthood. Like any child who falls prey to the education system and life’s social hierarchies there are so many experiences that are cause to vulnerability. But this month specifically to those who take advantage of every moment and keep open minds will find the holes in their faith filled and the ones in their hearts sealed. It’s a completely different feeling during this month. It feels safe. I spent my last Ramadan trying to gain more faith, but I also found a little bit more happiness. My goals this year: be more knowledgable and gain a better work ethic. I am also hoping to break free of people’s hopeless expectations, and sad, illogical ideas of what it is to be a Muslim. The sad, illogical ideas I’m referring to are for those people who find themselves caught up with the one idea of what it is to be Muslim forgetting that there is more and what it mostly entails is being a good person. I come across people not only outside the religion with false ideas but those hung up on the idea that I should always be living in fear that I’m not praying, or completely covered. Instead what happened to loving God? Funny enough, I’ve met multiple people these days who have found themselves -including my mother and I- approached by others who are wanting to spread Islamic culture/awareness but do it in such a manner it becomes offensive. But what gets me the most is their shock at how much they thought I had no Islamic awareness. How audacious the idea that if I don’t dress or look a certain way then I am not one who seeks religious knowledge myself. This Ramadan will certainly be different from the others. I am distanced from my family and finally of age to be working & fasting. Insha’Allah it will still be blessed as I work towards my goal of being more responsible.

paige bradley

Expansion by Paige Bradley, “From the moment we are born, the world tends to have a container already built for us to fit inside: a social security number, a gender, a race, a profession,” says Bradley. “I ponder if we are more defined by the container we are in than what we are inside. Would we recognize ourselves if we could expand beyond our bodies?”

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7 thoughts on “Expansion

  1. Interesting post, however my dear, most unfortunately people do judge you by the way you dress, whether you wear Hijab or not, and quite frankly I know people who don’t wear Hijab and they are far more mannered than those who do. That is not to say vice versa, no one can say they are better than anyone else whether they wear hijab or not, or the amount of knowledge they have, because Allah knows that which they do not and He hides from others the sins of ourself. What we also want to avoid is saying that people who do wear hijab are stuck up/ judgmental and hypocrites.. because that makes everyone as bad as each other.

    Manners is a huge part of Islam, even more so than any other part of religion- and Muslims (lets say they wear hijab, or a thobe and attend lectures etc) have to right to walk up to people with pride and arrogance and tell them what they are doing wrong.

    But most essential to being a Muslim is first and foremost prayers. It is the thing Allah will ask us all about first… and if a person does not pray five times a day, what hope is there even though we may show gratitude or thank God occasionally. If I could offer you one piece of advice, pray 5 times a day dear, nothing else matters after that, and who then- truly has the right to judge you except Allah.

    Aaliyah
    xx

    • Sorry, but I don’t think you understand my point. I did not say anyone was stuck-up or hypocritical. And I would like to add that I want to wear hijab if you read my older posts.
      I just said I wish to remove the idea that there needs to be this one idea of what a muslim is and that I should always be living in fear. Alhamdulillah I do fear God. I fear his power but while fearing God we forget to love him.
      And I said I may not pray five times a day and that entire section about my habits because regardless I still try very hard each day to remember him. I am trying whether that means praying once or twice a day. I never said occasionally my sister. I said everyday.
      And yes everyone judges but I feel like the people of my faith are the ones who it should come from the least especially since we are told multiple times not to because we will never understand one’s relation or spirituality with Allah.
      Also I can pray as much as I want, but if I don’t do good deeds or be a good person for the sake of Allah and others then it becomes pointless. I am praying to strengthen my connection with him but how can I do that if I am not a good person. And there are so many other factors such as working hard, taking advantage of opportunities, being a good friend or family member.
      Yes, manners are a huge part but what you described there about Muslims being able to walk up with pride and arrogance is not the right depiction of what manners are. Islam is about being humble. Correcting people is okay as long as you show love and respect. My entire point was that I am tired of immediately being seen as someone who knows no knowledge when in fact I seek it and hold much greatly,

      • Ah I understand you, It’s because I often hear people say that ‘practicing people’ judge them for being Muslim and not wearing hijab. That stereotype people expect everyone to have to fit in to look religious. I totally didn’t mean to say you said people acted arrogant- sorry I didn’t make it clear, I was just mentioning some issues I had seen.

        We all have to start somewhere, and of course you want to be a better person, one thing leads to another… prayers may lead to humility, and then curiosity and therefore seeking of knowledge without even realizing. My father is an extremely well known speaker, often appearing on TV so I see a lot and hear a lot about people’s perceptions and Muslim society.

        Hope I didn’t come across as blaming you for anything ( terribly sorry if I did!) was not my intent at all, I was merely agreeing with you and pointing out some other things.

    • Also quickly too I did not forget to mention in this post that I also meant this for people who hold secular values and who are constantly exposed to standard stereotypes.

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