Hi Guy’s This weeks Women’s Wednesday is about life in general and how faith can help us face the problems life gifts to us. No matter what you believe in, I think we can all agree that faith provides hope in a certain way and can help overcome life’s troubles. This lovely post was shared by the lovely Zulaiha (The Empress Of Tea), who is such a talented individual. Seriously you guys need to check out her feed! aesthetic heaven. She posts daily stories that are not only educational but are also beneficial. Check her out! and I hope you guys enjoy this post.
Learning About Him
When I think about the past, I smile to myself. Ah the struggles I went through to find my place. I had dreams, you know, just like everybody else. To be famous; to become a part of the popular elites. To have my name up in the stars. To change the world. But if anything, what I truly wanted was to grow up and gain my independence.
The day after my 9th birthday, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. That was a life changing moment for, not just me, but my family as well. It was all new to us. My parents were always worried about me and my health. As time went on, their love brought forth a method of oppressiveness into my life. They began to restrict my childhood shenanigans in the hope to keep me safe. To keep me alive.
At the age of 10, I moved to America. I was excited since I had never been on a plane before or another country. But as a year of living in America went by, I began to see the struggle of my parents. Not to mention, I was experiencing a great cultureshock. America was so different in everything compared to my conservative native country, Sri Lanka. And because of this, my parents began to fear for our safety and restricted us even more, specially me.
When I got into 5th grade, I hit puberty and was told to wear the hijab. This was such a sudden change. Here I am, a girl living in a completely different world. Who struggled to make friends in 4th grade and now I am to wear a hijab in 5th grade? What will my friends think? I am going to be laughed at! These were the thoughts running in my head.
Realizing that I could not escape this, I agreed to my parents’ wishes. However, I did not act on it. As soon as my mom walked me to school, I would go inside and remove it and when she came to pick me up, I would wear it again. And so I kept doing this until my guilty conscience caught up with me. So in middle school, I began seriously wearing the head scarf even though deep down I was already struggling with low self esteem and feeling completely ugly.
Once I was done with 7th grade, my family moved to a town that was predominately white. And during this time I was high dosed with depression and thrown into an identity crisis. I began to be ever more rebellious. This fact, I am not proud of because I put my parents through a lot. Specially my mom, who cried a lot. However, there is no regret in my heart except for her tears. I feel that because of my rebelliousness and my bluntness I was able to make my very conservative parents into more open minded and accepting. And now, my mom is my best frienx even though we disagree and still fight a lot.
When I went to high school I was the only Muslim. I had to handle so many stares and questions about the scarf on my head. It made me feel small. I mean, I have always wanted the spotlight on me but not in this way. I wished to be invisible.
During my junior year of high school, I was called a terrorist by an underclassman. I was mad, angry, ready to pounce at him for making fun of Muslims. But with my classmates help, I reported it to the school. However, my school did not handle it via policy. He was only suspended for a few days when he was to be expelled. This whole experience of prejudism and injustice really impacted me. I began to struggle inside even more than before and this resulted in failure of two classes and the uncertainty of graduating in time.
After high school, I fell more and more into depression. Something no one really knew about except for my best friend during that time. Things got so difficult that sometimes I felt that death was the ultimate answer even though I was scared of dying.
One night I had a severe breakdown. I locked the room and I was crying my heart out. Even now, when I think about it, I do not feel like I have ever cried like that before. I wanted help. I needed help. But I was scared of judgments thrown at me. So I did what I had to do. I turned to God. To Allah.
Through out my life, my relationship with Allah has been neutral. It is not that I didn’t believe, but more like I was not interested. I called myself a Muslim but I barely knew anything about Islam. Other than what I have heard and my own feelings of oppression. That day, out of anguish I called to Him. I cried and I cried to Him. Asking Him, over and over, to save me. And with tears in my eyes and witn His name on my mouth, I fell asleep.
The next day, I felt brand new. As if I could take on the world. It was such an incredible feeling. And with all my heart, I knew that it was become of Him. And thus began a path of this new self discovery I’ve made. I began to research about Him in order to know Him. Everything I learned about Him was just beautiful. A being who was full of mercy and love for His creations. I began to see Him in a completely different light than what I heard from scholars, my parents, and relatives.
I did, however, feel conflicted about Islam’s treatment towards women. This is something I had trouble researching about because most of the information I came across was not something I agreed with and was surprised that it was part of Islam. Suddenly, Ramadan came about and in the middle of it, I heard a lecture from Mufti Menk, who was a very popular religious scholar. It was a lecture about women’s rights in Islam. What I heard in this video blew my mind. It made me so happy. Never have I felt so emboldened and proud to be a woman. And then a few months later, never have I been so proud in my life to don my headscarf and feel so liberated as a woman.
And once again, I journeyed to learn more new discoveries. I met people, I researched many different sects of Islam, hadiths, the Prophet, even anti Islam ideologies. And it made me realize that we should not always believe what we hear or see.
After making that connection with Allah, I felt at peace. I still struggle definitely, but I find relief at this knowing that He is there for me whenever I need Him. Even if I leave and then come back to Him, I know He will greet me with nothing but kindness. And with His grace, my knowledge of Him, His creations, His trials, and His religion has only increased and will increase.
Learning about Him made me realize that nothing is truly as it seems. Not even the highest religious leader knows the truth of Islam. Nor can he always be right about certain religious decisions he makes. This includes every scholar and haraam police out there.
Learning about Him made me realize that Islam came about when patriarchy was at an all time high. Even now, patriarchy rules behind the scenes. Hence my unsurprise of ridiculous Islamic theories made by certain scholars. Specially the ones that have to do with women.
Learning about Him made me realize that one’s knowledge and increment of that knowledge in Islam is of importance. Not just the learning only of the religious aspects but also learning and understanding every other resources that Allah has bestowed upon us. That is how we find the truth of Islam and Him. And that is what scholars have yet to do. I know for sure, that I will keep searching for that truth until my breath leaves this body and returns to Him.
Learning about Him, I have finally realized that this is where I belong. That this is my place. My destiny. My freedom. That I am a proud servant of Allah and nothing more.
The Empress of Tea
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