Menu

Yemeni Journey

Guest Post: If Only You Knew

 

Today’s post is a guest post from my neighbor and landlady, Alice. She wrote this in response to a visit we made to a local Dairy Queen a few weeks ago.

———-

I winked at you, slowly, and you relaxed.

From where I sat in the Dairy Queen with my neighbors, I had watched
anxiety play over your face. You had never seen a covey of Muslims in full
regalia.

Khadijah and her daughters in their flowing black hijaabs. Her sons in
their Muslim men’s clothings, long wrap kilts over slacks, and long sleeved shirts
in the middle of summer. Her family had lived in Yemen, going to school while
Khadiah taught, and they adopted the clothing style there that sets them off from
the Ozark crowd of folks coming in for a quick ice cream.

Your bewilderment showed. Thoughtful blue eyes in a wrinkled face. The
white bushy eyebrows of an older gentleman. The questions of who, why, and
where-are-they-from flickered as you looked from one of them to the other. Eight
women in black; two young men in whatever-that-is.

Your eyes moved to me, the red haired, obviously non-Muslim, with arms
exposed by my sleeveless dress as I sat among my friends. I caught your eye
and winked. Smiled.

Your tentative returned smile led to relaxation, and the questions were left
unasked and unanswered. You felt safe, reassured by my small signal.
Imagine for a moment, kind sir, how they feel every time they leave their
home, dressed as instructed by their religious beliefs. Their choice of religion is
protected by our Constitution, but they are in peril every time they appear in
public. Rudeness, hostility, the cold stares of people who spend too much time
on the news channels, swallowing propaganda of hate. Imagine the bravery it
takes for everyone in the group, from the mother to the four year old daughter, to
venture out from the sanctity of their small farm. Imagine the courage and
dedication.

A smile would be nice next time, and I’ll save a wink for after.

Post a comment

11 comments

Kareema on September 7, 2015 2:20 pm Reply

Alice thank you for your understanding and lack of fear. More winks are needed! For as you exhibited, a wink can actually lead to an open eye, which can foster
acceptance and good relations.

Umm Yasmeen Shakirah on September 7, 2015 2:49 pm Reply

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmahtullahi wa barakatu.Kaifa Haluki ustadah? What a wonderful experience alhamdulillah. I am glad to know that she knows the truth about the Dawah and not what the media puts out. May Allaah guide her to Al Haqq, Allahumma Ameen.

Khadijah on September 7, 2015 2:56 pm Reply

Wa Aleikum Assalam wa Rahmatullah
Alhamdulillah, I am fine! Yes, mash’Allaah, Alice is open minded, and is never afraid to ask questions! If more people would just ask, and truly listen to the answers, things would be much easier, mash’Allaah.

Paula on September 7, 2015 4:03 pm Reply

Fr. Steven said in his homily yesterday that love begins with listening. Simply listening. Alice gets that, as do you, Khadijah. May we all strive to be more like both of you! (((((Hugs))))), sister!

Khadijah on September 7, 2015 4:55 pm Reply

My mother always told me that anyone can talk, but very few people can really listen!

Katherine on September 8, 2015 9:18 am Reply

Thank you for this. I feel much relieved that you have a neighbor like Alice. I pray that you are wrapped in God’s love.

Khadijah on September 8, 2015 11:50 am Reply

My neighbors have been really great, alhamdulillah, to be honest. They have all had to overcome some of their preconceived ideas and have welcomed us on our little part of the mountain.

Umm Yasmeen Al Isbaniyyah on September 8, 2015 9:27 am Reply

Thank you so much for this post Alice, such a delightful reading Ma shaa Allah. I find comfort reading you because I am now also wearing my full hijab and, although I am already used to cold stares as well, I think those may increase when people can’t see my face. Despite of this, I wouldn’t exchange my great feeling of freedom,closeness to Allaah, strenght in my heart and my happiness for absolutely anything on this earth. WHat I feel now it is far greater than any rude and ignorant treatment I may get. This feeling is just..so great subhana Allaah, I just don’t care. I asked Allaah to give it to me and he did alhamdulillah. I wish the same for you Alice. Thank you again because it is so nice to know that there are people like you out there Alhamdulillaah.Take care!

Amina on September 11, 2015 4:35 pm Reply

Mashallah really amazing. May allah make her become muslim and make all the non-muslims like that amin.

Kellie Tinnin on September 19, 2015 4:28 am Reply

judgement comes easily to people, being who you are takes courage because you are vulnerable.

Mike Luster on November 12, 2015 4:57 pm Reply

Alice, this is beautiful and so deeply true. It makes proud of these brave friends and of you. May we all rise to your example.