My mom wears niqaab (the face-covering).
Her level of faith is just at a level that completely surpasses anyone I know really. She’s decided to wear it about two years ago. It’s never bothered me and to be honest I never really notice it much anymore. The more you see something the more you become desensitized to it.
Today I met up with my mom at Meijer’s to do some grocery shopping. I haven’t really been out with my mom in a really long time so it was nice catching up. After we bought everything we were on our way out of the store and group of really elderly white ladies passed us by. One of them looked at us and said in a pretty loud voice, “you should take that stupid thing off!” I was taken completely aback. My mom looked like she didn’t even notice. I turned around and looked at the lady and she looked at me smugly, turned around, and continued walking. I just shook my head in disgust and kept walking.
I told my mom once we were out of the store, “Mom did you hear what that lady said!?!”
“She just said ‘take that stupid thing off’!! That’s so incredibly racist!! How could she? How can you call yourself American and do that to others? It’s so disrespectful!"
“It’s not her fault. Maybe she didn’t know. She’s probably never seen a woman wearing niqaab. She didn’t know how to react.”
“I don’t care if she’s seen a woman wearing it or not. What she did was wrong. May God guide her!!!!”
Then Mom and I parted ways…I went to my car and she to hers. The whole time in the car I was just fuming. All I could keep saying was “May God guide her” because I was trying to bite my tongue and not the say things that I really wanted to say.
For a lot of people, this type of discrimination is normal. But living in a city with a large Muslim population and attending an extremely diverse university, I just grew accustomed to people already knowing, understanding, and respecting Muslims. Last time I ever dealt with discrimination was at the airport and that's pretty much normal now, unfortunately.
I really just wish I had the strength and serenity my mom has. She faces discrimination everyday because she chooses to take on the challenge of wearing niqaab for the sake of God. But she manages to somehow never let it get to her. People could attack her all they wanted with rude comments but it would never get to her.
God says in the Qur’an, “Yes, if you remain patient and conscious of God and the enemy come upon you [attacking] in rage, your Lord will reinforce/help you with five thousand angels having marks [of distinction]” [3:125]
You know what I really love about Islam? It helps me bite my tongue and reflect upon moments like these. My mom could have gone off on the lady about how rude her comment had been. She could have gone off about how she chose to wear what she's wearing and its none of anyone's business what she chooses. But she didn't. She stayed calm and patient, trying to be understanding of the opposite side. She would rather have five thousand angels helping her, writing in her book of deeds that she didn't harm anyone with her tongue.
And you know what? Her blood pressure was probably a heck of a lot lower than mine was because of it.