Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Disheartening Incident

My mom wears niqaab (the face-covering).

I don’t.

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.


*mary* said...

Good for her. I wish I had that kind of patience and forgiveness. It is my first reaction to lash back at ignorant remarks such as that, but honestly that approach does nothing to change people's minds.

Artistic Logic said...

mary is right... and you're brave too for walking away... getting angry at them is natural but ignoring them means you're one step ahead of them in the long run... they do these kinds of things to provoke arguments and its just better for your own health, if nothing else, to ignore them completely...
alhamdulilah for brave women like your mom...

Constructive Attitude said...

im not gonna lie, i wouldve reacted just like you did. and i have an unexpected temper. if that makes sense. i think i wouldve said something back to that lady instead of ignoring her.

so i commend you for keeping your temper under control. but of course i commend your mother more. and like A.L. said, alhamdullilah for brave women like her. if only there were more people like her out there.

Chuckle said...

you do get desensitized to things. and if you were to say something you would've justified her stereotype. but then i feel like you should've said something because your a good talker and maybe if you said something to her she would've seen, "hey that girl talks some good english".

i get really angry when people hurt my parents. but most of the time they don't even notice these things. and then i realize that it didn't hurt them. it hurt me. and then i get mad for getting mad. and i take it out on my parents, who by that time are very confused at what happened.

Girl On A Journey said...

As my mom would say "I leave them to God" It's sad that such ignorance is still present in such a modern society

Mrs. Ruby said...

I can't believe someone would be so ignorant and say something so offensive. However, we should all be more like your mom and try to not let negativity from others bother us.
Thanks for sharing!

Cheryl said...

Some people are so ignorant and rude.

I would have slapped her across the face and kicked her a new a-hole.

But that's just me.

Mrs. Cullen said...

i have a really bad temper. i like to throw things at people. and break stuff. your mom is amazing for that. thats one trait i wish i had!

fuelMybrain said...

Sadly, it doesn't surprise me that an old white chick said that. Old people for one don't accept change in societal views wells, or the ever growing diversity in America. It's sad, but that's old white farts for you.

We grew with our great grandparents saying the N-word (and we have black cousins!). It was just something the rest of us learned to ignored.

So there's my advice, ignore it. Plus, her generation will leave us soon and eventually (hopefully) the upcoming generations will be raised with less and less racism.

Youthful Wisdom said...

Thanks for all the wonderful comments guys!! I read them to my mom and she got all teary eyed =)

It's nice to know that our generation doesn't have racism so highly embedded in it. Thank God!

supreem said...

Lol. that's interesting... cuz recently I was at target.. and some girl started making fun of me to my face to her guy friend about my jilbab (and multi-layers ontop) and I looked her dead on in the face and smirked... like... you know the "I know what you said... but choose not to respond cuz if I did you'd probably go running with a tail between your legs"... and guess what? she huffed and walked away... but yeah, growing up in an area with not too many muslims, i face harrassment on the daily... after moving to michigan I got soooo used to people being used to hijabi's... lol. i'm proud, mashaAllah, of your mom.

provoking invoking said...

the only emotion i feel when stuff like that happens to me is: pity.

i feel sorry for these people (especially WOMEN) that think they're better by being immodest, and encouraging others to be immodest.. and it makes me sad.