A Muslim Migrant in a Land of Rising Islamophobia Makes a Choice
Islamophobia in Germany, and increasing racist hate crimes against Muslims in Germany did not scare Seema from choosing to begin fulfilling her religious obligation – to don her headscarf.
There I stand, at the bathroom sink, making my wuhdu to pray Salat-ul-Dhur on the day of Eid-al-Adha. Seema walks in. She looks very different. So much so, that I am forced to do a double-take. Seema is wearing a hijab – a brown colored one with small ornaments and designs on the front. Her new appearance donning a hijab is unexpected so naturally I am surprised by it. Admittedly, I am shocked. Not only does she look different, she has a serenity about her I have not observed before. My mind’s thought is that she is probably wearing a hijab today for Eid. It’s true – Seema made the choice herself to wear a hijab on the first day of Eid, and to wear it in public forever.
“When I came here, I didn’t wear hijab, but the thoughts in my mind always kept after me to wear it. My mother and my brother always said wear hijab, but I said to myself that if I wear it, I will for Allah’s sake. Why should I wear hijab for my parents, or my brother. Luckily, this Eid I am wearing a hijab and I said to myself, now it is forever. I am really satisfied. Thank God!”
Seema moved to Germany from her homeland of Pakistan after marrying her husband, who has lived in Germany for 15 years. Her husband would like to eventually return to Pakistan to live. Seema on the other hand would like not to. “I want to see the world” she says.
Seema initially thinks her decision to wear a hijab doesn’t warrant pomp and circumstance. She doesn’t see it as anything special. I do, on the other hand, and I tell her so.
“It’s an Eid miracle”, I tell Seema, as we stand together in a hall outside of the bathroom. Seema initially thinks her decision to wear a hijab doesn’t warrant pomp and circumstance. She doesn’t see it as anything special. I do, on the other hand, and I tell her so. I tell Seema it is special given the timing…it being Eid day and because God (Allah) helped her to start doing something for Him that she was not doing for Him before. Her having chosen to start wearing hijab on Eid day is a symbol/an example of what Eid is all about. Her decision, followed by her action is a testimony of Allah hu Akbar – of Allah’s Greatness, His Power and Authority, His Rahmah (Mercy), and His Baraka (blessings beyond one’s expectations).
Seema agrees eventually, and adds, “Not too many people talked with me today about me wearing my scarf. I shared it with you because we have a commonality. Having something in common is important in a friendship.” Listening to Seema, I can’t help but be distracted by the light on her face. She looks like a little girl with her sweet-looking face.
Seema’s choice to wear her scarf echoes to her, to me, and to others that Allah (God) is bigger than dissatisfactory looks from some people. Seema’s choice is a reminder that Allah is greater than Islamophobia.
Seema’s choice to wear a scarf as of the first day of Eid – a day that epitomizes the meanings of Allah hu Akbar – is hugely significant. Seema’s choice to wear her scarf echoes to her, to me, and to others that Allah (God) is bigger than dissatisfactory looks from some people. Seema’s choice is a reminder that Allah is greater than Islamophobia. That Allah is greater than a Muslim female not being hired for a job, or the possible loss of her job because she practices an important part of her religion. That Allah is more significant than many Muslims’ lack of self-confidence, and inferiority complexes. That Allah is more important than many’s desire to be accepted by the mainstream, or fear of looking different from society’s majority. That Allah is bigger than our limitations, and our shortcomings. That Allah is more influential than the influence of those who practice hate and commit horrendous crimes against innocent people; against Muslims.
In a land where instances of Islamophobia and xenophobia are frequently manifested, and a time where many Muslim women are removing their hijab, Seema choosing to don a hijab in public forever is triumphant, and speaks to the jaw-dropping power of our dear Lord, and the truth that God (Allah) guides and directs whom He pleases.
Later in the day as I sit at the computer, I see Seema outside a window. With her petite frame, she wears her headscarf, and with eagerness walks to her destination. Seema is free now. She has responded to God (Allah) and she is free now.
“Here everyday I see one person with a scarf.” Seema remarks. This is comforting for her. She doesn’t feel as alone wearing a hijab also.