Tell us a little about yourself: Your name, grade, personality/interests, a
little background on where you grew up and your family.
As a young person, you seem interested in Islam. How did that start and what
role does Islam play in your life?
What are some of the challenges you face as a young Muslim woman?
Another thing I face is stereotypes. I have had people at school dare each other to tell me racist jokes and ask me racist questions like, “Your mom is so stupid she thought the twin towers were runways,” and, “Have your parents ever belonged to a terrorist organization?” Of course they did get caught, but I felt sad that this is what they think of Muslims.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Her: Yeah, I can see that but like what part of India are you from?
Me: It may seem surprising but I am not Indian. I am from Canada. I am just Muslim. It’s a religion, not an ethnicity.
Her: So, why do you wear that on your head?
Me: I’m obeying God’s orders. And it’s not just in Islam. For example, even in your church, you never see a picture of Virgin Mary with her head uncovered.
Her: I understand. But aren’t you hot?
Me: Honestly, yes. I can get a bit sweaty, but the human body’s an amazing machine. It can get used to anything. And besides, it’s just like a hat protecting me from the sun.
Her: I wish I was you. It gets really hot here in South Carolina.
I felt really excited and gave a smile.
Her: Hey, do you know that guy Osama bin Laden?
Me: I know what you’re going to ask. And no, I don’t look up to him. Even though he was Muslim, he was also misguided, got lost, went astray.
Her: Oh ok. Hey, my sister told me you guys pray 500 times a day. Is that true?
Me: [giggles] No, it’s only five. One at the break of dawn, one after midday, one when the sun is at eye level, one when it sets, and one when the sky is completely dark.
Her: Oh, so do you pray at school?
Me: Before the time change, I used to go behind the curtain to pray at lunch. When the clocks moved forward, I could pray my noon prayer as soon as I got home, if my bus was on time.
Just then, a boy tapped me on the shoulder.
Me: Could you please not touch me?
Her: Oh, you don’t like being touched?
I quoted directly from the seminar: In Islam, there is no touchy-feely, no try-it-before-you-buy-it, and such. I am the one in control of who touches me.
Her: So are you allowed to have, like, a boyfriend?
Me: No, but-
Her: Then how do you get married?
Me: If I like someone, then I tell my parents. It’s their job to invite his family over and find out from who’s in their family history, all the way to what do they post on instagram. So basically the parents do the dating for you.
Her: I thought that the parents choose for you?
Me: That is an option though.
That girl and I ended up becoming good friends.
Please share a story of a time where you explained Islam to someone else.
What did they ask, what did you say and how was your experience?
I would also like to share a few good books (other than the Qur’an, of course) that I have come across. There is “Reclaim Your Heart” by Yasmin Mogahed and “The Prophet’s Methods of Correcting People’s Mistakes” by Muhammad Salih al-Munajjid. I also follow @islamicquotes on Instagram and would like to give them a shoutout.