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Feeling Muslim

(02/16/15 11:56am)

Before college, I never felt Muslim. I feel a lot of things, all of the time—but very rarely do I feel Muslim. On good days, I have the privilege of taking Islam for granted. I forget I wear hijab and I assume that people are staring at me because I’m just so damn beautiful. On good days, I get to bask in the comfort of Islam being my way of life. I get the security of a faith that preaches “beautiful patience,” that teaches me to not ascribe intent to the actions of others and that consoles me with the emphasis on God being the most merciful. On good days, I just assume that people see my hijab as a symbol of my love of God and my desire for humility. On good days, I don’t worry what people think of my faith, because I assume my actions speak on behalf of my religion.

Unboxed choices

(10/30/13 8:31am)

As I switched from desktop to desktop, I examined carefully each of the necklaces on the screen. My younger sister was turning 10, and this year I wanted to get her a gift that she could have forever. Two hours later and I was still eight websites away from picking the perfect necklace. They were all almost exactly the same. After another 30 minutes of indecision, I haphazardly chose the necklace that I was staring at. “I’ve just wasted almost three hours of my life,” I thought. I paid for the necklace and acknowledged that it would likely end up snuggled under rubber gravel on the playground somewhere at her elementary school.

The spirit of Eid

(10/16/13 8:00am)

In the Muslim household I grew up in, Eid meant getting up at 6:00 a.m. to put on your very best clothing for the morning prayers two hours later. While my siblings always seemed way too eager for the celebration of the holiday, I was always the last child to slug out of bed. It was only out of fear of admonishment that I’d get up and put on whatever way-too-girly outfit I was told to wear.

Growing pains

(10/02/13 8:00am)

When I was nine-years-old, my mom dropped my two brothers and a small backpack crammed with clothes off at my dad’s house. As my brothers walked inside, I proclaimed that I wasn’t leaving the car. After five minutes of crying, arguing and finally compromising, I decided that I’d go inside if my mom came first thing in the morning. She kissed my head and promised to be back before I woke up. After a week of no contact, it was evident that my mom wasn’t returning.

Silence is complicity

(06/13/13 6:56am)

While anxiously awaiting my order of frozen hot chocolate from Serendipity Cafe in Georgetown, my friend Shajuti remembered that she hadn’t prayed Maghrib—the fourth of the five required daily prayers of the Muslim faith. Desperate to start praying before the call for the next prayer, Shajuti proclaimed that she was stepping outside of the restaurant to pray.