A Jihad With My Hijab

I was trying on tarhas or the head cover that I bought lately. I don’t usually buy things for myself but specifically for these items that I found cheap and really nice, I decided to get a bundle.

I am not the “feminine” type who would enjoy looking at herself in the mirror sporting all those aesthetics, but just a few minutes ago I found myself in front of the mirror on my crumpled metallic gray hijab. And then I imagined going home to Manila in that…. and meeting my friends in that…. and meeting my family with that too…. and imagining what all their reaction would be.

Everyone who knows me must know that I am not the fancy type of the female species. I don’t care much how I look. What is most important to me is that I can carry myself comfortably with what I wear, with how I look. I don’t mind being in heels, or in my favorite open Skechers, or in the native brown flip flops that I miss. I don’t dress to impress. But this time, it would really feel different to be in a hijab in Manila…. in my place where there are no fellow Muslims around that I know of.

And then the smiling reflection that I see in the mirror turned out teary-eyed. I have never been this emotional my whole entire life!  But these were tears of joy should they have rolled on my cheeks.  I am happy to be a Muslimah. I would have settled for nothing less. But the emotions came from the feeling, which I may be preempting, of being alone in my place.

I am the FIRST MUSLIM in my family. And by my ancestors, I trace my roots from Spanish origins. Meaning not one drop of blood from among my genealogy was ever raised Muslim. In fact historically, they are the Muslims’ worst enemies. Inshallaah, that I described myself as the first, there will come a second, third, fourth. Now how I wish I had a brood of a football team so that instantly, I would have a lot on my side.

Fortunately still, I got two. Two beautiful, intelligent and strong young Muslimah’s. Remembering that I got them on my side no less, I must be confident enough that I will not be alone.  Allah SWT bless me too.  And Allah SWT bless my Amatullah and Jannah. So that we three can stand proud, respectable, honorable, and admirable in the midst of the community wherein we will surely spell a difference.

I have to cut short this narration and get back to that mirror to return to my Hijab Rehearsals. I was never good at this I know. I won’t just give it a try, but for Allaah, everything is worth doing.  Bismillah Ar Rahmanir Raheem.

Ya Rabb, make me worthy.


Out Of The Shadow

This trip was so unplanned.  At least by me.  Everyone in my family didn’t approve about my coming to this specific country.  Even my friends warned me that I may not be able to survive out here where there is no freedom.  Saudi Arabia has had this notorious reputation for cutting off heads of anyone who fails to obey their rules.  I must say they all know me.

I have always been a nonconformist.  I would always be a devil’s advocate.  At times, I was considered a rebel.  Had I lived in the Spanish Era, I would have been called this term for non-believers who would always question teachings.  That term though escapes me at this moment.  But yes, I am known to be that, too, especially in school when Catechism was taught.  I would throw a lot of questions that would pester the class at times and challenge the teacher as well.  But I sincerely wanted answers.  I just feel that there is more that I should know.

Not that I feel like I am a genius who does not get satisfied with shallow discussions hence I philosophize.  Nope.  My education inculcated in me this hunger for growth.  My teachers have always seen my potentials for reaching farther than just ordinary tertiary level education.  As I come from a very reputable Spanish exclusive school whose products have shone in different fields of endeavor.  We are the cream of the crop.  And beauty and brains is an ordinary experience.  Yet, in spite of all that, I remained lost somewhere.  Especially when the topic is about religion.

Should my siblings read about this, they must surely be confused.  My brothers are products of Jesuit education.  Another devout sect.  Strongly Christian.  Our parents sent all of us to the best schools in the country.  Alhamdulillah.  I know our parents wanted to secure us also spiritually that we were sent to Catholic, not just Christian, schools.  Because our schools must reflect the culture that we lived with at home.

At home, we pray the rosary.  Since I am a first born, I was taught very well early in my childhood about how to pray and to lead prayers like how old Spanish families are.  I memorized the Litany, responses to prayers, novenas, and even responses and the course at the Mass.    Yet on my own, I had a very personal relationship with my God that I have kept all this time to myself because I know had others known, they would think I’m all nuts.

My family and friends love me.  Alhamdulillah.  They all know me.  I have grown with them.  They know that I can be so strange at times with my ways.  Inshaallah,  when I break the news to them about my “homecoming”, they will understand that the strange ways headed to a better direction, if not the best.