I was born a Muslim, and like so many of my generation and background, I was taught by elders and blindly followed. Didn’t stop to question or dig deeper. The only thing that seemed untouched and unaffected by what others said, the thing that was unshakeable, was my sense that there was a God.

9/11 marks a horror. And the opening up of my mind. What exactly IS Islam? What is a Muslim? Like so many, I began questioning. Apprehensively at first. I could read the Qur’an but had only been taught to read in Arabic, not to understand the meaning. Accessing the Qur’an and Hadith in the English language was the key to my search for answers. One sentence led to another.
My journey isn’t over but the more I learn, the more I feel that this religion is right for me.

I was born this way and I made a CHOICE to remain this way.

My name is Rabia and I am a Muslim.

A Year In Hijab

I knew I embraced the hijab early last year because I remember my first ‘holiday in hijab’ – Abu Dhabi, March 2013. But, I wasn’t sure exactly when I began to wear the hijab. So imagine my pleasant surprise when I got an email reminder yesterday telling me that today was to be the anniversary of performing Umrah and deciding – this is it – I want to wear a hijab. My past self must have sensed this was a momentous decision and worth recording for the benefit of her future self. I’m glad she did this for me. Continue reading A Year In Hijab

God Is Everywhere

I’ve always imagined Allah (swt – the Exalted) as a huge figure up beyond the clouds somewhere – a shift in my perspective happened this morning.

I was recalling a very touching scene from an Iranian movie ‘The Colour of Paradise’ I watched last night. Mohammed, a blind boy, had said:

Our teacher says that God loves the blind more because they can’t see…but I told him, if it was so, He would not make us blind so that we can’t see Him. He answered, “God is not visible. He is everywhere. You can feel him. You see him through your fingertips.”

Now I reach out everywhere for God till the day my hands touch Him and tell Him everything, even the secrets in my heart.

The scene was memorable and keeps repeating in my head. The philosophy (albeit, an English translation) was thought provoking and developed my understanding of how God may be. For me, this explanation goes a long way to explain why Allah (swt) uses the pronoun ‘we’ a lot in the Qur’an, as opposed to ‘I’.

If Allah (swt) was to be EVERYWHERE in order to watch over EVERYTHING, as is my understanding, then imagining Allah’s presence as many particles rather than a whole being makes more sense. I know it’s not in our human capacity to grapple with the image of God, but wondering about Him comes naturally doesn’t it? I wait for a time when I no longer guess what form Allah (swt) exists in – a time beyond this fleeting life.

© Rabia Bashir 24th November 2013 All Rights Reserved

Image: Scene from ‘The Colour of Paradise’ written & directed by Majid Majidi

It’s My Hijab – It’s My Choice

I recently began practicing hijab (wearing a headscarf, dressing and behaving more modestly).

Women wear the hijab for many different reasons: to show devotion to Allah (swt – the exhalted), to be identifiable as a Muslim, to make a fashion statement, to hide their hair/skin problem, to keep others happy, to show obedience to their husband/parents/government, to fit in with their friends/family/culture/community, or to …… (the list can go on). Continue reading It’s My Hijab – It’s My Choice