Lately I’ve been thinking about my life in the US and what I hated about it and what I loved. I remember that one thing that always made me so upset was how there were always individuals who would be rude to Muslims, especially Muslim women who cover. Ditto for staring and just in general being ignorant. I was really so fed up about that! I always felt so “hyped” up and stressed out and on the offensive, ready for the next verbal attack. I was in an urban area and we all know urban areas get the adreniline rushing anyway simply because of the way everyone acts in small confined spaces. This was one reaosn why I pushed so hard for my husband to accept the job here in KSA. I wanted to get away from all that and be someplace where noone would call me a rude name for being covered up, or where I’d have to deal with annoying and ignorant evangelist types. When I arrived I finally felt able to breath and chill out. It’s a similar to how I feel when I’m in Iran. I’m around other Muslims, here I can be myself! alhamdullah.
But…the more I think a bout it, I do miss being a Muslim and a muhajabat in the US for a few reasons. First you’re free to choose how you want to dress! One day you could wear a black abayaah with a lemon yellow skirt peeping out nd bright yellow scarf or next day switch to a green tunic and jeans with a pretty scarf and no one would really bat an eye (they’d be staring anyway, regardless, because of the scarf). And sometimes you’d get random strangers compliment you on your style. I used to really like that because it showed to me that some people have respect for women who cover and think that our sense of style has value too.
You can go to the masjid and be actually involved in a Muslim community. like I remember the commeraderie of us all being gathered at the masjid for ramadan iftaars. As much as I was annoyed by how rude many of the women were, butting into the lines or their obnoxious children…still, we were united, in our little masjid and we all had that connection…Or being able to scoot up to the masjid for jummah, or just stopping by for a lecture, socialization or some extra rakaat. No matter the irritations, there is still a sense of community.
Unity, seeing the Muslim brothers in the thobes and beards vending oils & incense on the corners always made me smile because they were always saying a big salaams and always gave dawaah to those interested and anytime I saw another hijabi or Muslim sister I always got happy and excited and tried to give my salaams. Regardless of all the women who would just ignore the salaams and walk away, still…there was that connection of…wow…another Muslim!!!
r-e-s-p-e-c-t…yeah I know a lot of men have little respect for women, even a lot of women have little respect for themselves…but generally…if you were modestly dressed and “looked” like you could be a Muslim, men tended to not gawk, stare, try to talk to you and there was a sense of respect. Like, she’s a religious women, don’t bother her. Even a lot of Muslim men had hayaah, those who openly practiced tended to have a well developed sense of hayaah (modesty)
I could go on but those are the biggies of what I miss about being a Muslim in the USA, i’m not forgetting about all the hassles, hardships and rude people I had to contend with on an almost daily basis, but still…the feeling of community trumped all and thats something I really miss.
Don’t get me wrong, I like being here in KSA, definitely some perks to life here is that I can hear the adhan 5 times a day! Everyday I love listening to it. It really moves me and definitely sets the tone for life but what annoys is how much Islam is taken for granted. Islam just is…people are Muslim just because…the women wear abayah and shaylah just because…there seems to lack the same sort of effort that Muslims in the US have. Muslims in the US have to make a concerted effort and choice to live as Muslims. They can choose to either party and drink or NOT party and drink. Eat pork or NOT eat pork. Here there isn’t really any choice. Pork and booze aren’t available and you have to wear an Abayaah outside.
I donno, basically I’m just blathering on but these are some thoughts of mine I wanted to get out there. I can definitely understand how life is EASIER here for a practicing Muslim (who makes an actual effort to follow their deen) but I think being someplace like the US really TESTS the practicing Muslim and makes them realize how much effort must go into their deen and maybe even makes them more conscientious about following their faith!