Leena

Leena – The stranger on the train: Da’wah everywhere

The other day, on my commute home, I was seated next to someone who began asking me about Islam. Although I usually try to find the most vacant car so that I don’t have to sit next to anyone, I arrived at the station 3 minutes before the train was due to leave, so I reloaded my card in record time and hightailed it down to the platform, getting into a car a minute before the train departed. I also usually just stick my earphones in my ears for the duration of the trip, but sadly I had forgotten my earphones at home – seriously one of the worst things ever, especially if you have a long commute or wait.

Completely winded after all that rushing, I messaged mama to let her know that I was leaving, and proceeded to just slump against the seat. When we’d reached the first stop, the man sitting next to me began to make polite conversation, inquiring if I’d come from school (because the bag and lack of school uniform wasn’t a dead giveaway) and claiming that I look like I’m in grade 10 even though I’m  a third year university student!

Nevertheless, he began to ask why I dressed the way I did (abaya and scarf), why some Muslim women covered their faces, and, the funniest/craziest of them all: how to hit on a woman who covers her face. I had a bit of brain freeze for a moment there because seriously, who would have expected such a question?

He also asked a question that got me thinking a bit. He wanted to know why Muslims didn’t want to speak about, or answer his questions about Islam. I was a bit taken aback, but I think I’ve come up with a few reasons since then:

  1. Muslim women/men don’t want to interact with the opposite gender
  2. They don’t know the answers to these questions, or
  3. They are afraid to say something wrong because they don’t have enough knowledge to give a proper answer

I gave him the last 2 reasons because I hadn’t thought of the first one yet. But something else that really bugged me is that non-Muslims actually have to ask questions pertaining to aspects of our religion that we practice often and publicly. We know that Islam and Muslims are represented in the media, but this is obviously not representative of us normal, ordinary people who don’t claim to be Muslim and then perform acts of terrorism in the name of Islam. It’s completely disturbing that others don’t see us as citizens, as students, as family members, because of this distorted perception of “Muslims” that they have been fed by the media.

I see that there are followers from all around the world reading this blog. Do share your opinions/experiences below! I know that the country I live in is a lot more tolerant (sometimes people straight out ignore you but it’s better than being verbally abused) so I really want to hear from you guys.

 

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Leena ❤

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10 thoughts on “Leena – The stranger on the train: Da’wah everywhere

  1. There’s not a lot of islamaphobia where I’m from, although there are an odd few who will stare you down for wearing a hijab in public. On campus I usually get asked “how do muslims get married if they’re not allowed to date?” It’s sad to have to think that some muslims don’t follow the not dating rule but I’d have such fun watching their bewildered expressions with the answer that Allah guides you to one another and then you get married after the first meeting ! Haha, needless to say they have a tough time believing how that’s actually the most blessed way to do it❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Although the area I stay in is a distance from the campus I attend, you get people who are tolerant and good towards Muslims and some just cannot stand us. On campus though, some of the lecturers are actually more Islamophobic than students, and will actually avoid looking at you or interacting with you. I find that extremely offensive but like I said, if the media portrays all Muslims as terrorists and if they want to believe that then they’re just close-minded people!
      The question about dating – I get that question a lot on campus too.
      As for Muslims not following the not dating rule, I see that everywhere. Just the other day I was sitting outside my test venue and studying and a Muslim couple walked by, deciding what to tell their parents about how they met. What irks me the most is when these couples stand right by the Jamaat Khana and chat away, or walk around holding hands. But to each their own, and we can just make dua for the ummah 🙂
      Sorry for the long comment, I tend to ramble on!
      Thank you for your comment ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  2. The other day, i had to go to the traffic department to renew my licence. . Anyway, it came time for the lady to snap a photo, she said i must put the scarf as far back as possible. . So i told her, sorry but if i am to get stopped on the road, the officer is gonna find me in the niqaab & if i have to flip the niqaab for I.D purposes, then that is how he/she will find me not with my scarf off. . Bare in mind, i was stopped routinely 2 weeks ago & was hassle free. . Didn’t even have to uncover my face either. . Also the lady at the department was so baffled at Islam . . She even went as far as saying the religion is so difficult, etc. . So helped to explain to her that we cover up for our own good & it earns us protection by the Almighty as well as respect since nobody interferes with you. . Yes in South Africa we do get lots of stares especially from the younger kids. . I live in a predominantly white farm town & shukr in the passed 5 years that I’m in Niqaab, i haven’t had any bad experiences. . In South Africa especially we should make shukr & seize the bounty to be allowed to do so as well. .

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know that they do tell you to put your scarf back as far as possible..my mum is in niqab and when she went to apply for her passport they told her to do so..something about the entire face having to be visible. Nevertheless what you say about the officer seeing you like that-the way you normally place your scarf-is totally true. Sometimes you get those officials who are fussy but that doesn’t happen too often..A lot of people who ask about us covering up do get baffled, even once you explain it to them – fellow students always tell me “that’s so difficult..don’t you feel hot” and when you explain to them that God commanded us to cover for our own protection they still say “but it’s so difficult..I wouldn’t be able to do that”..
      In South Africa, especially when you go to the malls, younger kinds stare and point, some tell their parents “there’s a ninja!” lol..once a kid came up to my mum and began to ask her something about it but her mother quickly came and dragged her away..it just goes to show how innocent kids are whereas adults instantly fear anyone who’s covered…
      Alhamdulillah that we have the freedom to practise our religion here though!
      Sometimes in Muslim/Arab countries they can actually be more difficult..when we went to Dubai a few years back, at the airport, they have a little curtained partition off to the side where niqabis can uncover their faces privately and a female official checks your passport..but you won’t believe it, they made us wait for hours at the airport and female officials were standing in front of us and chatting away in Arabic..lol they didn’t know my dad speaks Arabic..I guess what I’m trying to say is that every situation is different and you really don’t know what to expect! Anyway, I’ll end my comment here, I always end up typing too much!
      Thank you for sharing your experience ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I can totally relate to this topic! I attend a private college where there aren’t really Muslims. In total there’s round about 5 Muslims in our entire campus. Very frequently I get asked such questions especially about dating and covering up. Many people can be quite understanding once I’ve explained, but then there’s that fair share who just pulls up their noses and makes as if there’s something wrong with me. Once I’ve even got told “omg you’ve got a (insert terrible k word here) religion. I was not very happy with that rude comment but at the end as long as I’m happy with Islam is all that matters 🙂 I consider being born into Islam to be my biggest blessing ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whoa, such few Muslims! Alhamdulillah I am surrounded by quite a lot of Muslims on my campus…Alhamdulillah for Islam 🙂 definitely, it is a blessing Subhanallah. Thank you for sharing your experience! ❤

      Like

  4. Maybe all that happened for a reason, so that guy could ask and you could think. I am a pakistani living in cayman island and people had been asking me abt islam too! I think we represent islam specially when we don abaya and scarf! We tell people we are muslims! Cayman is a tolerant place too Alhamdolilah and mostly people are just curious! I think we are responsible to answer them as per our ability and direct them to proper resources if they are interested 🙂

    I blog at amuslimmama.com

    Like

    1. Indeed the way we dress allows us to represent Islam, and Alhamdulillah that people are curious enough to ask us instead of blindly believing the media. Thank you for your comment, it’s great to see international readers here 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! I was searching WordPress because I need to connect to like minded Muslim sisters! And found you, and I am glad I did

        Like

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