I am Muslim by conviction. I am Muslim by appearance. I am Muslim by the choices that I make and the risks that I take. I am Muslim every step of the way. I have been Muslim since the start of my life, till the present moment and during every phase in between. That, however, does not mean that I did not struggle.
I wear my Hijab and I pray my five daily prayers and people automatically think, she must have it all. She must have been born with the Islam package already downloaded in her system. They couldn’t have been more wrong. It was a struggle.
I have had moments when I questioned my faith, too. I’ve had moments when I was angry at being Muslim and what it made me go through. I’ve had moments of weakness, embarrassment, humiliation, depression. I’ve had them all just like any average teenager or young adult in any average western city. And often, I ask myself, is any of this even worth it.
Of course my hijab doesn’t tell you how difficult it was for me to put it on, let alone keep it on. It doesn’t tell you how many nights I cried in confusion of why I had to be so different. It doesn’t tell you how afraid I am when someone stares at me in the metro or when someone throws a racist remark at me as I am walking through the mall. It doesn’t tell you how painful it is to fit in, or to find the right people to hang out with. It is a silent statement of my submission to my Lord, my love for Him and my obedience to His commands.
I was born a Muslim, but I had to build the conviction in spite of many doubts. I had to build my appearance after many battles with my desires. It was an honest struggle every step of the way, since the start of my life, till the present moment and during every phase in between. But I am proud of what this struggle has made of me. And I thank my creator for every time He has guided me.
– January 3 2017