Feeling Annoyed With Myself

{ Sunday, March 20, 2011 }
I just had a huge discussion with my mum about the headscarf. This took me by surprise, and it seems to indicate that maybe my mum is aware of my conversion, but just doesn't literally want to bring it up.
What frustrates me in discussions like this, is how poorly I can defend my points of view. I'm not good in standing up for myself. I want to change, but how? I feel like I was born with this inability to orally defend myself.

My mum brought up points like how Muslim women who wear headscarf in our culture and society only draw more attention to themselves, and how it would be wiser for them to just wear long clothes. It's true that in this society, people will look at you if you wear a scarf on your head, for surely you must either be a terrorist or oppressed. I told her that the hair of women can also be beautiful and an attraction to men, but she dismissed this, and said that the headscarf was an invention by men to oppress women. She also believes that a god would never keep himself busy with which woman wears headscarf and who doesn't, and that it was all ridiculous. I just sat there, not knowing what to say. Of course I didn't agree with her, but it all felt pointless. I couldn't find my words, although I perfectly know why I would like to wear headscarf, and it isn't to draw attention to myself or to be ridiculous.
I also think it's rather arrogant of her to assume what God will "keep Himself busy with". Ok, I don't believe you will automatically go to hell if you don't wear headscarf, but He told us women to wear it, so if we wear it, we do it to please Him. My mother doesn't believe in the Quran, or its verses, so what's the point really? I don't know how to change her mind, and I know if I would name the reasons why a Muslim woman would wear headscarf, she would find them ridiculous.
I dread the day that I will tell her I want to wear headscarf too, because she will find all sorts of reasons why I shouldn't, and maybe I will just sit there not knowing what to say. That doesn't mean that I think she's right or her arguments make sense. My mind is just blank at that moment, and all the reasons why I want to wear it, are suddenly out of my reach to remember.

Hmmpf.

11 comments:

Nikki said...

I understand. I go through the same thing with my parents. I am home visiting and had planned on being more open about how practicing I actually am....it didn't happen.

They equate me converting to Islam with me totally not caring about God anymore. I didn't go to church with them this morning and they just kept letting me know how disappointed they were and they didn't "raise me that way."

There are so many things I could and should say in defense of myself and Islam, but I don't. I just quietly take their disappointment which makes it look as though they're "getting to me." They think I feel guilty because God is making me feel guilty for not going to church...no it's THEM laying on the big fat guilt trip!

They constantly bad mouth Islam and especially hijab and I never speak up. They even read Bible stories to my son and I still can't speak up. I hate conflict, but they're taking away my rights as an individual, to practice what I believe, and as a parent, to pass that on to my child.

Where is my voice?

The Light of Islam said...

Salaaam!!! :)

Aww..I'm sorry to hear that! You sound like that convo really left you distraught. Well one suggestion is if you can't orally talk to her maybe you could write her a letter/email/note something explaining your reasons. IF she knows how strongly you felt about hijab and Islam she would be more accepting (at least I think). && I'm pretty suree she knows or has a good idea that you want to be a Muslim. Don't let your mom change your opinion or make you discouraged. All that should just make you stronger on the deen. Remember when Allah loves a person He tests them. *Even though wearing a scarf brings attention to oneself but its a living proof that being a Muslim isn't something to be ashamed or shy about. Al-Hamduililah ya Rabbi Alameen we have been guided to Islam. Many people are walking are around in short skirts, drinking, partying, depressed, having premartial sex, concieving babies without wedlock, taking drugs etc (all the western problems) not knowing what there purpose in life is. Al-Hamdulilah we know what we were created for. Representing Islam by wearing hijab is a stand against oppresion and showing beauty of the heart rather of the skin. I know it will be hard for you to tell her. May Allah give you the strength and courage to tell your parents. May He fill your heart with happiness and contentment as well. Ameen! Keep strong sis!! :)

-Sorry for the long comment haha :D

The Light of Islam said...

btwww;

<3 the new layout on your blog!!

Safiyah said...

@Nikki: I'm sorry to hear that your parents try to make you feel so guilty. I understand about the inability to speak up. A lot of times I wonder where my voice is too. Every weekend when I go home, I intend to tell my parents that I'm Muslim, but it never happens. I lose my courage. And with discussions like this, I realise that it will be very hard to endure all their criticism. They seem to forget that it's MY life, and that I'm old enough to make my own decisions. I really hope that you can find your voice, and have the strength to stand up for yourself, but I know all too well how hard that is.

@the Light of Islam: Thanks for your compliment on my blog! :)
I think it might be the only way, to send an e-mail or a letter or something. But I'm still afraid that she will verbally attack me when I come home, and criticise me and ask me all sorts of questions, and that my mind will go blank again. I'm proud that I'm Muslim, alhamdulillah, but I know how different my mother's view on Islam is. My values are also different than hers, and I think she's afraid that I am Muslim, and the more convinced I will be, the more afraid and defensive she will get.
Ameen! Thanks for your dou'a, I really appreciate it :)

MoOn said...

Safiya, I think a sweet person can help, I follow her blog , it's the little auntie. I am sure she can be of great help inshallah.
May things get easier for you dear sister xx

Safiyah said...

Thank you, Moon! I will definitely check her blog out inshaAllah! :)

MoOn said...

You have received the stylish blogger award sis, in www.themoonsmile2.blogspot.com :)

Safiyah said...

aww thanks sis! That's really sweet of you! :)

Mimi said...

Aww Safiyah! Sorry to hear about that.

I don't know how to say it. I just hope that you'll be comfortable with whatever you believe in.

Sis, I was born muslim, and honestly, last year I found myself believing that a woman doesn't have to cover her hair. All of a sudden it appeared to me that hijab is not clearly stated to be obligatory neither in the Quran nor Sunna. I'm really sorry to say this. It's confusing, I know, and I know that I'll be in trouble if my family knew about that, but seriously, when I thought of it it sounded like what your mother said "an invention by men to oppress women" is just true. Women are oppressed in many ways, and I think hijab helps us stay oppressed.

I wear niqab by the way as my society expects from me. Sis, I care so much about spirituality. Sometimes I wonder why God made muslim women different from the rest of the world's women in CLOTHES. I can't understand that! I just don't believe in material things. And as I said above, hijab wasn't clearly stated to be Islamic. Not a single verse or hadith states its obligatory. We learned a few things in school, but as I grew up I realized that they make no sense.

I don't want you to hate me, but I couldn't help it. I had to think of what I'm wearing right now, what I've done with it, what my mother has done with it, and what my obstacles are because of it, and lots of things. It just didn't make sense to me any longer.

Do some reading, and be comfortable with whatever you chose.

Please don't hate me :(

Louise Taylor said...

Hi Safiyah!

I feel your pain!

I have been a muslima for close to five years. My mom gave me the same commonsensical advice as your mom on hijab: just dress modestly. I have been happy with that advice since.

I guess what made my transition easier was that I discovered an islamic website at about the same time http://www.ourbeacon.com . There I started reading the Koran, transliterated by Dr. Shabbir Ahmed, and I found all the answers I was looking for.

Since the Koran was revealed to our prophet in the Koreishi dialect, and since Dr. Shabbir had learnt the Koreshi dialect from the bedouins in saudi arabia, his transliteration is just awesome. If you are interested, just go to his website and then click on "library".

There you will find the Holy Koran: As It Explains Itself, in addition to many of his other books available free online. BTW, kongrats on the award, Safiyah!!!!!!

Hugs,

Louise

Safiyah said...

@Mimi: of course I don't hate you, sis :) I do understand where you are coming from. I think if a society forces women to do something, whether by law or social pressure, than yes, this is oppression and not good. Spirituality and inner life is the most important, I agree. Whether the headscarf is obliged or not doesn't matter so much to me. I just feel it would add to my identity as a Muslim, and it would remind me to stay focused on Islam and God, and to not get caught up in worldly matters too much. I also think there is a difference between hijaab and niqaab, although I know that in some societies it's considered one and the same thing. I think that yes, niqaab can cause obstacles to women and can cause them to feel oppressed. Like they are turned into some forbidden fruit, and by that, become objects again to men, which is something that hijaab should avoid rather. That's just my personal opinion anyway. I respect your opinion, Mimi, and there is certainly no harm in voicing it here ;-)

@Louise: I will definitely have a look at his translation :) Thanks for the congrats!

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