Just tuning in to listen to the daily news one can’t help but be struck by the bombarding array of fear associated with Muslims; the terrorist plots, the Sharia Law, and the fact that Muslims, and in particular a Muslim Woman who wears the hijab (Islamic headdress), can’t really be called “modern” as they are choosing not to assimilate. That is what I see each day while watching the news. Although I am a
modern Muslim woman
, and I am a Muslim woman who chooses to wear hijab, I can see how if I weren’t Muslim I would begin to fear “those people.” What is surprising is that on a day-to-day basis I feel no such thing from non-Muslims; I sincerely feel that the greater majority of people either overlook me completely as they are frantically trying to live their own hectic lives, or see me blend into society. I am usually just as frantic as they are, running around with at least one of my three small children in tow.
I feel I symbolize a modern Muslim Woman although I’m sure both more conservative Muslim women and the more liberal would differ. I wear hijab, pray five times a day, fast during the month of Ramadan, and I’ve been to hajj. But I also love music and movies, all different kinds of books, magazines, and blogs. I can’t really claim to be a fashionista but I do love girly clothes, makeup, and jewelry. I’ve found that through my style of dress I’ve broken many stereotypes and further have opened many non-confrontational discussions. I have had many of these conversations meander into “are you Muslim?” and the ever popular “why do you wear hijab?”
For me being a modern Muslim woman means many things. It means that I do not fear those that do not share my faith. It means that I behave in accordance to the book of God, and not try to politicize my religion. It means doing my best, although many would criticize my style of hijab and my love of fashion and material goods, and at times my libertarian style of interaction with others. The live and let live philosophy drives one only so far before being viewed as meek and overly mild. I am neither, and I hold very strong and yes at times very conservative views on certain issues, but I do feel that people deserve a certain amount of space to exist without others manipulating them or pigeon-holing anyone into a specific stereotype or belief-system. To be a modern Muslim woman, in my eyes, is to be at peace within yourself, to see how others view the world, if they are salafy or right wing. It’s being able to accept work that you do not agree with and yet you are respectful of the time and effort it took. Practicing religion is intended to bring one peace, to allow one to be devoid of prejudices and bigotries, and to allow one to remove their burdens and put them on something greater than anyone living. Peoples’ relationship with a higher being is so deeply personal and to criticize or debate the morals or ideals of anyone takes the debate outside of religion itself. That balance which allows everyone to thrive is the true state of being a modern Muslim, and from my travels and personal interactions I’ve found that there are quite a few of us roaming the globe.
Ghada was born in Cairo, Egypt and lived there to the age of four before coming to the United States at such a young age. She feels immensely blessed that she has been immersed in the traditions of a different culture, and able to tap into another world in her creative endeavors.
She finds that her children inspire her by the simplicity that they perceive the world. From that, she is able to let go of her complex views and see the world simply as it is.