Saturday, March 28, 2009

Question at the Craft Show

Today some sisters and I went to a craft show. I love going to these things. There are so many creative people with beautiful things they have made. I am addicted to really nice pottery (although I can't afford to buy it anymore) and I love to see what the jewelers do as well.

I went to pick up 2 sisters and we were going to meet a 3rd at the show. We were there a bit early so we agreed to wait at the entrance for the 3rd sister. Time for question #1 from a perfect stranger:


Question #1: A group of women and children walked by. A little boy in a stroller said 'who are they, mommy?", she said they are ladies! One of the women in the back of the group turned around and came back to us and asked if she could ask me something. I said sure, and she said "How do you wear glasses when you roll like that?". So the question was, how does a niqabi wear glasses when wearing a veil. I answered that some of the niqabs are cut back wider just for that purpose. She thanked us and went on her way. So that was not so bad... A nice question from a curious person. No biggie.

Now on question #2, which really was not a question but more of a statement and greeting:

Question (statement) #2: We were still outside waiting when an older woman walked by and told me my scarf was pretty. I said thank you, and her husband said salam to us.... we said it back and that was it. They were not Muslim, but knew enough about us to say salam. Another nice interaction at the craft show.

So the 3rd sister arrives with her cute and cuddly baby, and we make our way into the show. We soon get sort of split up but we are not too far from each other. As we are looking at a booth, some other ladies come to us and ask question #3.

Question #3: First they asked if they could ask us a question, which is always nice (do people ever say no?). Anyway, they wanted to know why I wear a face veil and the other women don't. This was a bit more tricky but I explained that I think its an obligation in our religion but there is difference of opinion. I also said some women wear it and don't think its an obligation but wear it for additional modesty. They seemed happy with that. Asked if it was hot and then happily went on their way.

So another pleasant question from the masses.
So now for more shopping fun. We really get split up now, and I'm with one sister and the other two are off looking at things on their own. I walk by a booth selling almonds with Cinnamon on them and the man offers me a sample to try. So I try it and like it and decide to buy a bag. Now on to question #4.

Question #4: The almond vendor asks if I'm pretty under there! My friend comes up and says yes she is and
thats why she is wearing it. Only her husband and other woman and her family can see her. He joked with us some more and asked 'what about almond vendors, do they get to see?" I politely said no and we were on our way. A bit later when I walked by again he shouted out "come on, just one look, don't make me chase you!" I laughed a bit and kept going. Eeek.... not too bad but a bit scary.

So we keep shopping and we are now in the food isle of the show. There is a booth selling these HUGE eclairs. Of course we have to look at them! The woman behind the counter asks if she can ask me a question - Question #5!

Question #5: She asks, what is it called what you are wearing on your face? So I tell her its a niqab, she asked me to spell it, so I do. She said she met a woman from Iran that said she wears it to honor her... what do you call your God? I tell her Allah. She says yes, right Allah. Then she asks why I wear it so I tell her. Up until now its ok, but she then she says she feels sorry for me. I told her not to and that I'm very happy to cover and be modest like this. She says 'but men don't have to!' and I explain that they have a dress code as well. Then she brings up multiple wives. We explain to her that men can have more than one wife for many reason but that he must treat them all equally or he answers for it on the day of judgement. Finally she says 'well we were all born naked, and we were meant to be seen by the bird and trees and people'. I smile and say that the birds and trees can see me, but some of the people can't. So that was the end of that. Not too bad, but she was kind of argumentative about it.

I don't know what it is really. Perhaps people that go to craft shows feel more open and curious. It was such a
surprise to get asked so many questions all in a couple of hours. It was kind of nice actually. Inshallah we were able to show some people what Islam was about. May Allah subhannah wa t'ala guide them to the straight path.

12 comments:

hannah said...

salam alaikum

wow that was like an interview there, you handled yourself so well mashallah. at least the majority of questions were with good intentions

cairo, lusaka, amsterdam said...

hi! just came across your blog and it's great :)
it's nice that so many people approached you with questions; like you said at least they're willing to understand and at least you were able to put a positive image of Islam out there...

Me said...

Assalam-o-alaikum,
I think what u have described proves that if all the present Muslims would start practicing original Islam more people will come to ask such questions and this positive questioning will InshaAllah bring them closer to Islam and those who will justify their knowledge InshaAllah they will revert to Islam like u did.
I wish u best for your future.
may Allah help u to keep it going.
Ameen!
Assalam-o-alaikum.

jana z. said...

oh jen i really enjoyed reading this!! i laughed the whole time thinking of the people sitting around with questions in their heads. can you imagine the questions that people had in their heads that didnt dare ask?? but you did great!! and with humour to boot. i think thats the best way to handle people is to be pleasant, smiling and friendly..
i guess the almond vendor tweaked your nerves a bit but i think he was having a bit of fun.
but the one comment that stood out was "we were all born naked, so..." well was the person that said that naked?? looool. i think not.
good job.
jana

Jamilah said...

Thanks to all for comments

yes it was a pretty good experience. The almond vendor made me laugh, but it just reminded me that there would be no way he would have done that if my husband was around! haha

The woman who said we were born naked... I thought that was strange too.. would she rather we be born in jeans and a twinset? :)

Asha said...

Salaam Sister,

Lol @ born in jeans and twinset! If we were meant to be born naked, then why isnt she walking around naked anyways?

That is so cool.. niqaab is a good da'wah for others. At least people were polite to you.. masyaAllah! :)

Asha

parda86 said...

Q#6 From a sister who wants to start wearing niqab!!! Assalamu Alaikum sis! Great blog! This is my first time reading your blog. mashAllah it's very nice! i will innshAllah read your posts regularly! Pray for me that I will start wearing niqab aswell..last year I started wearing abaya and my mother bought me a niqab from Makkah Muazzama when she was there on Hajj! How should I start? You are a revert, Allhamdulillah, how did you start wearing it...I'm living in the states moved here couple of years ago, in New Jersey, and I'm kind of afraid of how I sould manage to drive the car (and maybe get stopped by the cops..I or doing groceries, that someone would say you can't wear this here...or in the library...I'm really just scared if someone would stop me and say nasty stuff to me...how should I get prepared..what should I read, could you give any suggestions about how you started and managed the first months?? I believe that niqab is obligation for muslim women, i know I'm going to start wear it, but please I need help to start...and my husband is not that into the thought of me wearing it..he says to the masjid it's okay to wear it, or where there is many men, but not otherwise... but my husbands sister wears it mostly, she lives also here.. so Allhamdulillah I don't think that would be a problem for him after i start.. , InnshAllah! Please please help me!! jazakAllah Khairan kaseerah for all answers! :)

azarre said...

Assalamu'alaikum....

Hello Ukht Jamilah...
I'm From indonesia also a muslim. I like to read ur articles on this blog...Not many people who dedicate himself / herself for blogging on islamic topics...And u do...

Btw, I came to see ur widget that is the Qur'an Reciter...Yet I don't see a link to where i can get it. I do want to install it to my blog cuz im sure it will bring advantage to visitors as they can be remembered of the Holy qur'an verses a.k.a we can do da'wah while blogging...
I hope u would help me with it...ur answer can be sent to my E-mail : azarre.tokcerlab@gmail.com

Thanx very much and keep blogging for da'wah...!!

assalamu'alaikum...

Mina said...

Mashallah sis, looks like you had a great exprience:)

Its sometimes hard giving good da'wah, i love the way you handled it...

Jamilah said...

Parda86

Sorry it took so long to respond.. I really don't have much of a problem here wearing it. For the most part people just leave me alone. They don't know what to say so they don't say anything.

Its also perfectly fine for driving in. I can see fine and have not had a problem with the police on the issue.

Do what you feel is right in your heart. Ask Allah to guide and help you.

Pixie said...

Jamilah: eeeeeeeeeeeah creepy almond vendor.

I work in public so I get to answer a TONNE of questions too. I always say that (to the born naked woman) why aren't ya naked then? I personally don't feel comfortable naked unless I am with my husband, and for me, everything but my hands and eyes can make me feel naked in public.

Also, I am of the opinion that niqab is mustahaab. Why do you think it is wajib? Hope you don't mind me asking? I have just discovered your blog? And I wish to wear niqab all the time one day inshaAllah sooo

Jamilah said...

Pixie, I have another post on here that explains my views

http://revertmuslimah.blogspot.com/2009/02/when-people-ask-me-about-niqab.html

Try that :)