Posted in Misunderstood Adventures

A Conversation with an Atheist

I typically try to stay away from conversations dealing with race, politics, and religion, especially with people I barely know. In my opinion, those conversations never go well, and rarely does either person change their mind; both parties leave frustrated and upset.

Unfortunately, I had this one co-worker who loved talking about all three! He was Republican and Atheist, seemed to really enjoy the fact that I’m a black Muslim woman. You could see the joy on his face starting a controversial conversation. For the most part, I ignored him and enjoyed watching my other co-worker go back and forth with him, who happened to be a devout Christian. Occasionally I’d chime in and remind them both to calm down, and how it’s an inappropriate conversation for the workplace.

One day and one very ignorant comment got under my skin. I normally don’t let his comments get to me and definitely never wanted to give him the satisfaction of reacting to them, but on this day, I just had enough. He starts off with is normally commentary about God not existing and religious people being stupid, but this time he adds, “I hate when Muslim Women call themselves feminist”.It was like he saw my face and in his head he said bingo! He goes on to elaborate, saying comments along the lines of you can’t claim to care about women’s equality if you support an oppressive religion. Pissed was an understatement of how I was feeling, it wasn’t a surprise he felt that way, but I was officially fed up with all of the comments.

I gave him a brief lesson on Islam, and how he sounded beyond ignorant and offensive. I tried to keep it short, my main objective was for him to know, that no one cares about his small-minded opinion, and he didn’t have the right to dictate who is or isn’t a feminist.

One thing I found interesting about him, he always complained about religious people trying to convert him, but in reality, he was doing the exact same thing. He never respected a different perspective or belief. It seemed like he was trying to convince us all to be atheists and then we’ll have this utopian world.

Posted in Hijabi Adventures

Words From An Ex Hijabi

Dating as an Ex Hijabi is very interesting and sometimes frustrating, well in all honesty dating, in general, is frustrating. I started to notice a pattern or a common theme with Muslim men.

With Muslim men, I placed them in two different categories, and honestly by the end of the first conversation it was easy to categorize. The first category, are the men who believe Muslim women have a choice regarding wearing the hijab but expect when it comes to their wives. The conversation always kind of starts the same, “Why don’t you wear Hijab” or “Have you ever wore the hijab”. I give my reasoning and for the most part, they agree with me. The longer the conversation continues it somehow circles back to me covering my hair or well modesty in general. They may slip into the conversation about how they imagine their future wife in hijab, or how their mothers expect their future daughter in law to cover.  Needless to say, that will never be me, especially not for some man.

The second category is the hijabi bashers. They never ask my opinion about covering, but assume that I hate the hijab and hijabis, which is one of my pet peeves. I have tremendous respect and love for hijabis, especially because I know how hard and the dedication it takes to wear the hijab, especially in a non-Muslim country. Hijabis get enough negativity from ignorant people, they don’t need it from Muslim men, who I believe shouldn’t have an opinion about a woman covering, but regardless you should keep your negative opinions to yourself.

You know what I find funny, the sub-category of hijabi bashers, that end up marrying a hijabi. I find that they want to date or play around with a non-muslim or someone they perceive not to be religious, but when their ready to settle down they find a nice hijabi.

Of course, not every Muslim man fits into those two categories, but the majority I have encountered do.

Posted in The Afro Muslimah

Muslimah in the Middle

I used to really love the show Malcolm in the Middle, mainly because I identified well with Malcolm, the main character. The middle knows it all child, always looking at situations like how did I get here. I never really felt like I belonged anywhere, and just kinda felt like an outsider. I always somehow stood out, even when I desperately just wanted to blend in and go with the flow.

I feel like my middle school years was definitely a time period that helped shape me into the woman I am today. I don’t have too many positive memories of my experience and don’t think that highly of most of my classmates. I started off middle school optimistic and excited to finally be around my people. The school was majority Black American, and during all of my years in an Islamic school, the students always felt the need to remind me that I am Black American. 

So, to my surprise, my new classmates did not consider me to be Black American, but instead I was foreign. I realize I was the only hijabi in the school and most of them knew very little to nothing about Islam. So, with lack of knowledge comes ignorant jokes at my expense. Once again I felt like the outsider and did not belong. 

Now as an adult, I no longer have the desire to want to belong, due to me realizing it is extremely overrated. A lot of the cultural and religious values I was raised to believe, I now question and forming my own values. Through my experiences, I’ve learned that we often segregate ourselves and cancel experiences based off of our differences. So, I’m trying to live my life with more of an open mind, but I am still guilty of self-segregation based off of differences.

Posted in Hijabi Adventures

Questions to a Hijabi

You know sometimes I miss being a hijabi, it was like being a part of sisterhood in a sisterhood. An unspoken bond, that only women in hijab will truly understand. The crazy thing is I even miss all of the silly questions I used to be asked. At the time they used to drive me insane or make me feel self-conscious, but now it just makes me laugh at all of the ignorance.

Some of my favorites questions were: Do you sleep with that thing on your head? Do you shower with it on? How do you get your hair done? Why do you get your hair done? Those never really bothered me and honestly, I was asked at least one of those questions once a week. Depending on my mood dictated how sarcastic my response would be.  The funny thing was I did feel like I was covering 24/7 as a black Muslimah. I would wear my hijab out during the day and then at night going to bed, I’d wear my satin scarf. Regardless of that fact, I was still annoyed being constantly being asked those questions. 

On the other hand, the questions that actually offended me were: Are you forced to cover? Did you get that scarf as an initiation into your terrorist cell? Is that a symbol to show that you’re married? Questions all along those lines. I can’t say it was necessarily the questions that bothered me, but regardless of my response some people just looked at me with pity. Like oh, this poor girl is being oppressed, and that was the furthest thing from the truth.

Looking back at it now, I realize I learned young that there’s a lot of ignorance in this world, and I can’t let that affect me.

Posted in Being Unapologetically Misunderstood

Roaring 20s

I have this hidden fear deep down inside, but on the surface, I have a very nonchalant attitude about being a mediocre borderline bad Muslimah, but when I lay my head down at night I do reflect on all of my haram actions. I can’t help but wonder, where my soul will end up in the hereafter.

When it comes to Islam or religion, in general, I have so many questions, but most go unanswered, or just simply with Allah(SWT) knows best, and just have faith. The problem is my faith is very weak, and I don’t think I have complete trust in anything. I look at the imperfect world around me and watch so many innocent people suffer for one reason or another, with no tangible solution insight, and can’t wrap my mind why God, let’s all of this happen.

Overall, I understand Islam is guidelines to live a healthy successful life, but some of the guidelines I am well aware I’m disobeying, and don’t see the harm. My father says, I’m just young and rebellious, but once I get married and have children, I’ll settle down and become a proper Muslimah and follow the rules. 

But what if he’s wrong, and this is more than just my roaring 20’s and actually it’s the blueprints of how I plan to live the rest of my life. I’m a good person and plan to make a positive difference to society, I’m just a flawed Muslimah. Islam is in my heart, I just don’t practice everything that it preaches. 

Posted in Being Unapologetically Misunderstood

Merry Christmas

It wasn’t until about third or fourth grade, when I realized Christmas was on December 25th. I was aware of the existence of Christmas, but honestly, I was blissfully ignorant of the relevance or anything about it. A lot of people find that hard to believe since I grew up in a Judeo-Christian country, but my parents kept me in a tight Muslim bubble.

As a little kid, my parents never let my brother and I watch regular tv around Christmas time, and we just watched our VHS tapes; later I realized it was to avoid all the Christmas specials. 

Honestly, it wasn’t until my teenage years, that I realized what a big deal Christmas is. I started watching Christmas movies, listening to songs and just learning the whole culture. Although all of those things entertain me, I have no desire to celebrate the holiday. 

My family and I have grown our own Christmas tradition, we forget every year that everything is closed. So, we scramble to figure out what to eat and go to the movies. I enjoy my day of sleeping in, and not having to be bothered by the stress of Christmas, but Merry Christmas to all of my readers, who do celebrate the holiday. 

Posted in The Afro Muslimah

The Misunderstood Afro Muslimah

You know I never took the time to introduce myself as a blogger, and just dived right into my content. I am the Misunderstood Afro Muslimah, navigating through my early 20s and making lifelong memories. 

I am a young black woman in America, and truly am bicultural. For a long time, I struggled with my identity and beliefs. I was raised to believe I was Muslim first and then black, but I learned quickly society sees my skin color first. Sadly, so do most of my Muslim brothers and sisters. I also questioned a lot of things in my religion. Especially regarding wearing hijab, modesty, male/female relationships, and just religion period, that no one gave me a satisfactory answer. 

As a result, I started leaning towards my black culture but learned Christianity is embedded in Black American culture. I honestly knew nothing about Christianity, and felt completely lost! Especially during my first semester in college, attending an HBCU. I saw at the start of any major week event, was a church service. It seemed like everything around me was founded on Christian values. 

I realized it was time to educate myself and cultivate my own faith and values. I learned and studied different religions of the world and not just the 3 monolithic religions. I came to the conclusion all religions have the same goal, to be a good human being. They’re all just different guidelines and rules to achieve that end goal. Although I still prefer Islam the best, I have respect for all of them. 

I have grown and learned to embrace being an Afro Muslimah, who is often misunderstood. I live my life the way I want to, and often times not according to the Sunnah or hadiths, but my goal is to be a good person and make a difference in the world. 

Posted in Misunderstood Adventures

Hair Journey

For the majority of my life, my hair has never been a big concern of mine. When I was younger, my mother always did my hair in a cute braid style. By the time I hit middle school I was wearing a hijab, so people rarely saw my hair. My biggest concern while getting dress was finding a hijab to match my outfit, and making sure my make up looked nice. I enjoyed the convenience of never having a bad hair day. 

Although, that all changed when I decided to no longer wear the hijab. For the first time in my life, I had to concern myself on a daily basis what to do with my hair. At the time I had my hair straight, but with natural hair in the summer, so I knew that wasn’t going to last long. I decided it is time for a drastic change and a brand new look. 

I cut my hair off and truly began life outside of hijab in a short natural cut. I absolutely loved it, bold, easy, and cute! After the first cut, I decided to grow out my hair, and see how long it’ll grow by the time I graduated college. That plan did not last long, my hair was growing back quicker than expected and I no longer felt like doing and maintaining my hair. 

Once again I cut my hair off, but this time a cute cut with a relaxer. I truly regretted that decision, and it was not easy or cheap to maintain! After three months, I missed my natural curls and was ready to cut the creamy crack out of my hair. 

I braided my hair up, and at the first sight of new growth, I cut all the creamy crack out, and swore never again! Leaving me back where I started, rocking a short natural cut, but this time a lot shorter and blond. I wore the cut for about a year and playing with different colors and styles until my mother convinced me it is time to grow it back out.

Here I am today, six months into my new hair challenge. A year of protective styles, and letting my hair truly grow out. I don’t know how long I will last until I have the urge to cut it again, but I’m ready to have my fro back. 

Posted in Hijabi Adventures

Coming out of Hijab

I remember the day my mother sat me down and told me it was time to start wearing the hijab full time. I don’t recall having much of a reaction, because I knew the day was coming, and in a way, I thought I was mentally prepared. I was about 12 years old, and at the beginning stages of puberty, and I really had no clue, what I was getting myself into. 

I initially began wearing a hijab with the correct intentions and reasoning. I knew, wearing the hijab was a sacrifice I was making for Allah(SWT), and I will seek the rewards in the afterlife, insha’Allah. In the meantime, middle school was not the best stage of my life, and being the only hijabi did not help the situation. Looking at the rest of the girls using their hair and revealing clothes, well uniforms to help enhance their beauty; I felt like the ugly duckling. I was going through a very awkward stage with my body, from chubby to skinny, and my face was filled acne. The only thing the hijab did in my opinion, highlighted my imperfections and make me stand out. With all of that being said, I was still happy and proud to be a hijabi, because it was in my heart. 

One thing I did learn with age and maturity, wearing hijab is not just placing a piece of fabric on top of your head and covering your hair; you also need to dress modestly as well. That was actually a hard lesson for me to understand. I could never fully wrap my mind around covering my arms, and other clothing requirements. 

As a result in high school, I began to ask questions and do research for myself. Wearing the hijab was still in my heart and I loved being a hijabi, but I realized it was no longer for the love and sacrifice, I was making for Allah(SWT), instead of for the identity and style I created for myself in hijab. I spent my senior year researching modesty and hijab in Islam, and formed a new definition, and was ready to take a step out of my comfort zone.

I decided to go into the next chapter of my life, I’m going to become an overall improved version of myself. I wanted to impact the world around me and make a difference in my community. Knowing and still valuing the lessons and principles I learned as a Muslimah, modesty was still very important to me. I finally came to terms with my definition, and realized wearing a hijab may not be apart of it. I was ready to test out my new theory, and experience life without the hijab.

I  may no longer wear hijab or clothing that covers my body, but my actions and how I portray myself to the world is how I am a modest Muslimah. I care more about the way I carry myself and treat people around me, than necessarily what I wear or don’t wear on my body. The question of whether or not Muslim women are required to wear a hijab will always be a debate. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be back in hijab. Regardless, I am still a proud Muslimah, and happy with the decision I made.