I think the most beautiful thing about humans, is that we adapt. A concept of survival of the fittest that’s coded into our very being. We go through external and internal wars on a daily basis, fighting to grow, to feel, to want, to give and to achieve.
We take our innate capacity to survive for granted, not realising that as a perfect creation of our lord, we were designed to thrive.
Our lord did not make us to fail, and stay in failure. He did not bring us into a world of such perfection and sustenance to decay and wither with the dust. He made us leaders of this earth to survive and create and flourish.
From the day we leave our mother’s womb to the day we are lowered into our grave, we are promised to break and to heal and all over again. The resistance and tenacity of a child in war. A mother in loss and a yearning heart. All broken and put together again with a divine glue of hope. A hope that carries us day by day, flickering through the storms and at times much brighter.
Growth only has one direction as survival only has one outcome, and it is to heal and to become.
I am a feminist because I am Muslim, not in spite of it.
The west has drawn a portrait of the “Modern Muslim Woman”, then the east chose to follow blindly and the north and south decided to watch in silence. So here we are trying to fit into a too small frame, but never quite feeling right. Parts of us are spilling out and other parts are screaming in pain of confinement and suffocation.
I refuse to conform.
They will keep painting my face with their insecurities and I will keep washing it off.
They chose to define my faith as backward. They decided that my veil is oppressive, my obedience to God an irregularity and my choice a formality.
But with what right?
Muslim women are not modern, they are more. They are a constant revolution. In every day and age, they have created ripples in the history of mankind. Starting from Eve, to our beloved Hajar, to Maryam mother of Jesus, to the wives of our beloved prophet, to inventors in the heights of the Islamic era, to the scientists, engineers, educators, healthcare professionals and entrepreneurs of today. So many names, so many victories, so many accomplishments. They are not modern, they are the past, the present and the future all together. Their existence is the preservation of a rich heritage, a plethora of greatness, perseverance and passion. Their hearts filled with the love of a divine so great, none could break them. They are believers of a faith that revolutionized the world. They are the followers of a prophet that brought light amidst darkness.
I am a feminist in my passion for truth. I am a feminist in my belief in one God and the prophet as His messenger. I am a feminist in my five daily prayers, my fasting, my charity and my every worship.
He feels my pain more than even myself. He celebrates my joys more than anyone else. He hears my thoughts, even when unspoken. He loves me more than a heart can ever love. He is ready to forgive my mistakes and embrace my faults. He reveals my goodness and conceals my imperfections. He guides me with His grace and consoles me with His wisdom. He empowers me with His faith, and protects me with His justice. He was my beginning, will be my end, and is every step in between.
At times, I feel that my prayers float in a vacuum of uncertainty. Not because I don’t believe Allah SWT has heard them, but because I believe I have not yet let them go. They are still tied to my heart with strings of doubt and confusion. And so begins my internal tug of war; a Lord that is ready to receive, a human that is afraid to deliver.
But that’s OK, because as long as the sky is above me, and earth is below me, my Creator has blessed me with another day, another chance to cut those strings and to let a part of me reach seven heavens above.
Sometimes a void digs so deep into your heart, even a breath becomes difficult. You become vulnerable to the external pressures of this world. Materialistic desires and worldly concerns begin seeping into your mind and soul until the slightest push or the softest wind can break you. This is your spirituality screaming for help. It is starving, neglected and forgotten. This is when you dim the lights, close the doors and lift your hands in prayer and repentance. You have wronged yourself for having forgotten He who has never forgotten you.
We live such prideful lives thinking that we could self-sustain. We may be able to feed our bodies, still under the shade and mercy of our Sustainer. But only He can feed our soul. To Him we belong, to Him we shall return and to Him we entrust our internal chaos.
The sweetness of faith is that all doors may close, except that of prayer. A few desperate words leaving your mouth, as painfully as a portion of your heart being torn apart. The agony of having no way…the sweetness of having One God. He, to whom we belong, to whom we shall return, to whom we entrust our broken pieces and imperfections.
For me, Islam alone is a blessing worth a lifetime of my gratitude. A holistic faith, that provided me with both external and internal support in all aspects of my life. It mended my broken pieces with its soundness and beauty. It embraced my imperfections and tamed my insecurities. It lit me a path of potential and ambition. It taught me to love, to smile and to pray. With it I see a world with seven heavens and beyond. Without it I am a body with a dead soul, a starving spirit, a yearning heart and a weeping mind. For me, Islam is life.