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 Misunderstood Adventures

Quarantine Days

I can’t believe all this time in the house and I’ve barely written anything. I have tons of notes and ideas scribbled down but haven’t actually written a post. So, I’ll just tell y’all what I have been up to.

I decided to go home and spend the stay at home order with my parents and younger brother, which has its pros and cons. For the most part, it’s been nice, and I am enjoying my time at home. I don’t, however, enjoy hiding food from my hungry hippo of a teenage brother who eats everything in sight. I’m extremely territorial, so the food I pick out for myself I feel this internal rage when someone else eats it, but then I must remember I didn’t actually pay for it, so I calm my broke self down. To reduce my desire to snack and just eat out of boredom throughout the day, I have increased my daily water intake drastically. As a result, I can officially put peeing as one of my hobbies, it’s crazy!

Not only did I increase my water, but I have been eating relatively healthy. I still, of course, indulge in some comfort food, but I haven’t been eating out and I’ve been cooking all of my meals. Since all of the gyms closed, I’ve been trying to keep active. So I decided to become my little brother’s personal trainer and I make him workout with me every day for at least 30 min. When it’s nice outside we do the workouts in the backyard, I know one day he’ll be grateful for this, even though now all I get is complaints and backtalk. I am loving this bonding time I get to spend with him and going to miss it when life goes back to normal.

Now I have binge-watched so many shows and currently re-watching every single Marvel movie in order. I guess during that time I could have been doing something productive, enhance my knowledge, or even just do some type of maintenance with my blog, but I didn’t feel like it. I’m at peace and don’t regret any of my choices. However, I am now ready to make better use of my time and I can’t think of a better time since Ramadan has just begun. Hopefully, these next 30 days will be healing and help me find some inner peace. 

Ramadan Mubarak to all of my fellow Misunderstood Muslimahs and Muslims!  

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 The Afro Muslimah

Happy First Anniversary

Never did I think I would start a blog, and let alone fall involve with being a blogger. I initially started this journey not expecting anyone to actually read or care about what I have to stay. I thought only my friends and family would occasionally read to be supportive, but it’ll just be some online diary I rarely tend to. As a pleasant surprise, that isn’t the case.

Through each post, writing out my experiences, I’m discovering my voice and realizing my words and opinions matter. The goal of my blog is to share a different perspective of being a young, Black, and Muslim woman. Express how there’s no standard experience, and regardless of my appearance, both are part of my identity. 

Today marks the one year anniversary of The Misunderstood Afro Muslimah, and I couldn’t be prouder of my blog! I’m so honored and grateful to all of the people who’ve taken the time to read my posts. Thank you to all of my followers and readers; y’all have left some wonderful, thoughtful, and heart filled comments throughout the year. I’ve received emails from people sharing similar experiences, or just continuing the conversation past my initial article. I’ve had the privilege to speak on a panel in London, about my post, Diary of a Problematic Brown Skin Girl, and that was truly out of my element, but one of the highlights of my blogging experience. Also as a novice blogger, I’ve had the opportunity to be a guest blogger and do collabs on other bloggers website.

This has been a wonderful year and so excited about the future endeavors of me and my blog! Thank you again to everyone who has supported me throughout this journey!!

Posted in The Afro Muslimah

Born Feminist​

As a little girl, I always identified as female before anything else. Above all of my other characteristics, religion, and ethnicity, I knew being a woman is my superpower. 

I don’t recall at what age I realized I was a feminist, but I believe I was born one. 

I remember when I started attending public school and would share my strong feminist views, people would assume it was because I was Muslim, and came from an oppressive home. Honestly, that’s the furthest thing from the truth, my father has always made me feel like the most powerful and brilliant person to walk this earth. 

What made me a feminist, is viewing television, reading books, and any other media outlet, that sent me a subtle message that I am not equal to a man. What made me a feminist is learning history and realizing every society has underestimated or belittled women’s strength and intelligence. What continues to make me a feminist is being a young woman, and society constantly telling me my number one value is my physical appearance, and no matter how hard I strive for “perfection” I still will never be enough. 

Regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, culture almost every woman at some point in their lives, unfortunately, had a man belittle, disrespect, take advantage, mentally or physically abuse them. That’s why Women’s Rights and  Women’s History Month will always have a number 1 spot in my heart. I constantly see women’s accomplishments being overlooked or belittled, but in reality, especially women of color, we have double or triple the number of obstacles any man will ever have to face. 

I’m a powerful Young, Black, and Muslim Woman, and no matter how many obstacles life continues to throw at me, I’ll always keep getting back up, but just a little bit stronger each time.

HAPPY WOMAN’S HISTORY MONTH!! 💕

Posted in The Afro Muslimah

Not Black Enough

As a child, I was extremely quiet and passive-aggressive.  Al Humduillah, I grew up and started speaking up for myself. As I talk to my younger brother about his middle school experience, I can’t help, but sit back and reflect on my completely different experience. 

I actually don’t have too many fond memories of middle school, it was an awkward adjustment period of my life. Wearing the hijab, and a modest uniform did not help the situation either. One memory that has been sticking out lately is the time I had a substitute teacher in Music. 

He was an older Black American man, really laid back and the majority of the students loved him. He was leading a discussion about music that our parents play in the car. So everyone is pretty much participating and having fun, cracking jokes. I attempt to participate, but before I get a full sentence out, he cuts me off.  Informing me that I’m foreign, and my people don’t listen to regular music. 

I was way too shy and quiet to speak up, and say, “no, I’m black, I am just Muslim”. At that point, I remember feeling so embraced and a sense of not belonging anywhere. I wanted so desperately to blend in, and not always stick out as different. Now I realize how idiotic and toxic his statement truly was. Instead of embracing me, and taking the opportunity to potentially learn about a new culture; he just shot me down because I didn’t appear “black enough”. The saddest part is, he’s not the only person who’s made me feel that way. Even though I grew up in a black community, I still was made to feel like a minority amongst my own people. 

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.