Hello all! Hope you’re all starting to get out your warm weather clothes!
This week at Saint Xavier our Muslim group had a Muslim culture week like thing going on. I approached their table and they informed me of some common misconceptions about their heritage, and I ended up participating in the week’s activities. The first, is that opposed to what people may believe, men are not said to be any more superior than women- they are simply stated to be the protectors of their wives. This is how men are generally thought about in our society as well, a husband is supposed to make sure nothing happens to his wife. Another really interesting thing I learned is that Muslim women aren’t forced to wear the hijab. But more so, because I kind of already knew that, they choose to do so at whichever extent they feel comfortable in because it is empowering and makes them feel like it results in more of a personal representation as opposed to physical.
For the week I participated in a dawn to dusk fast while in hijab for four days. I’ve never tried to fast before and can I tell you, it was hard. Especially because in Muslim tradition when one fasts they are not
allowed anything in their body- yes, water is not allowed. However, it also reminded of the power of one’s will and that perseverance is always an option. I am also a practicing Buddhist, every time I felt too hungry to do anything and like I couldn’t make it I would meditate. It was surprisingly easier to be at peace and still while I was fasting. My brain and body were more than happy to have the opportunity to stop thinking and acting not just to take a break, but because I needed to; it instantaneously felt like a release.
Another thing that I did differently this week to observe and gain insight into the Muslim culture was wear hijab. I do so by wearing my long skirts with some of my more baggy tops. This was interesting because people could physically see that I was doing something differently. I would catch people who were giving me weird looks and some of them even said something. Maybe they weren’t even being mean or rude, my male Muslim friend in passing said to me “wait, I’m confused.” It ultimately did the same for me as it did for others: culture shock. I appreciate Muslim women in hijab so much more now. It is in fact empowering. There is a sense of both being refined and mystery. I had a heightened sense of awareness for, as weird as this may sound, my head; I felt proud. However, there is of course the inevitable judgments of others and failure to understand the nature of our differences.
Don’t be afraid to try something new! Especially when it comes to exploring more about the human race from a different spectrum. I find myself appreciating our species and feeling insightful more and more after every expierence I choose to take advantage of!
‘Til next time!