Being American


We were walking, a friend and I, through Town Center, when I heard the voice of a woman yelling angry words. I turned around and found she was looking dead at us. Only then did I register what she was saying.

“YOU DON’T HAVE TO WEAR THAT YOU KNOW, YOU’RE IN TEXAS!”

Funny, did she think I was under the impression that I was walking the streets of Saudi Arabia? She caught me a bit off guard, but I replied to her none the less.

“I know! But in Texas we have freedom and so I CAN choose to wear this!”

The conversation, after this, just disintegrated and it was quite clear that she had no idea what she was talking about, but these words (although she wasn’t muslim) made something click in my brain…So many times when wearing Hijab/Abaya/Jilabab/ Niqab Muslims are the ones who attack me. DON’T YOU KNOW YOU ARE IN AMERICA…or…IF YOU WANT TO DRESS THAT WAY YOU SHOULD HAVE NEVER COME HERE…and variations of this. SubhanAllah, what I don’t think they understand is that I am the one who is actually living the ‘true American spirit’. I am the one being ‘truly American’. America is the land of the free, home of the brave. If you don’t want to be brave, if you don’t want to be free, then why come here in the first place?

In general we have no excuse to obey a CREATION over the CREATOR, much less in America! Why then will we conform to their way of dress, their way of work, their way of socializing (!!) when we don’t even “have” to?! Living in America is not about fitting in, nor is it about hiding what you believe, its about being you.

All throughout elementary school we are taught about how the “forefathers” of this country fought for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and unalienable rights. This is not something we should be proud of, at least not in this day and age. No longer does anyone care about what these people fought for unless they are giving it some simple lip service. If what an American looks like can be defined, then you should know that the original American figure has been destroyed.

Its about time that Muslims all around America WAKE UP and realize what they are doing. They should realize what they have and what exactly they are losing. Muslims all around America should try to be American. What is being American? It isn’t dressing up like Halle Berry trying to hide your accent. It isn’t only praying Dhuhr when no one will see you, so they don’t end up asking you what you are doing. It isn’t being apologetic about what Islam says and what Muslims should do. It isn’t being “typical” by day and Muslim by night.

Being American, is being YOU.

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12 Comments

  1. VM says:

    Excellent post! Mashallah at the sabr, it’s really sad to see how Muslims themselves are so ignorant about their religion.

  2. Asmaa says:

    >>Being American, is being YOU.<<

    But will you, or Mr. Webb, or the readers of this blog extend this same freedom loving, live and let live spirit to women who choose not to wear hijab or — eek even worse — don’t believe it is mandatory? You know, those who *choose* not to “fit in” with the masjid / MAS / ICNA crowdd? Unfortunately, anyone’s experiences with the conservative masjid Muslims shows us that this is not the case.

  3. Zubair says:

    Asmaa, I apologize if you’ve had bad experiences with some “conservative masjid Muslims.” However, as Imam Suhaib (Mr. Webb) said, “we’re inviters, not indicters.” So to answer your question, yes, everybody deserves this same freedom and “live and let live spirit”, regardless of whether or not they wear hijab or have a beard. Unfortunately, what happens, a lot of times, is that we have immigrants running the masjids who try to be “more pious than Islam” and shun away a lot of people away from the masjids and the communities. They mix their cultural baggage with Islamic teachings and label the whole thing “Islam.”

    As for whether or not hijab is mandatory or not, that’s a different discussion. According to the overwhelming majority of the Muslims scholars, from the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him) until now, hijab is considered obligatory. However, whether someone wears the hijab or not, what binds us together is believing in Allah and the Prophet (peace be upon him), and that bond is greater than any differences that we may have.

    Let there be no compulsion in religion. Truth stands out clear from Error; whoever rejects Evil and believes in Allah has grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah hears and knows all things.” (al-Qur’an 2:256)

  4. TAK says:

    Assalamu alaykum,

    I agree about not indicting or judging. My wife only recently decided to wear the hijab. It came from her own heart, but she herself had the desire to do what Allah wanted. So she researched the matter instead of relying on misinformation or a lack of information or her own logic (minus all of the facts needed to make an informed decision). For the longest time we both believed it was optional, but after my wife researched it, she realized that it was mandatory. No culture and anything else created that. That came from Allah and all of the facts from the Quran and Sunna. If you choose not to wear, that is your choice, but that does not mean it is not obligatory.

  5. MR says:

    Being American, is being YOU.

    Depends. This statement could be very halal and also very haram. Instead of being a good Muslim one could “be themselves” and just hit up a club, because they are “being YOU”.

    I’d rather say, Being American, is being completely free to submit to God and if you don’t want to Submit to God, then may God guide you, but it doesn’t make you less American than me nor does it make you more American than me. We’re all Americans but I choose to put my religion first then my citizenship second.

  6. shakib says:

    why does a girl cover her hair, or not? let her speak her mind, let her doubt. men, with all due respect, its not your call. let the girls talk. we need to know when not to talk.

  7. Qas says:

    shakib…right back at ya

  8. Kadijatu says:

    Well said! This is what I’ve been thinking for the longest time!
    As for mistreatment of women, the cultural baggage really needs to go, esp. in MSA settings, where a group from a certain background will try to recommend to the sisters how to behave, when these sisters have their own parents and background to learn from. Of course, college is a growing and learning experience, but not at the expense of WHO YOU ARE.
    Salam.

  9. Aimee says:

    I could not agree with you more! I had a similar situation with one of my husbands friends not to long ago. She said basically the same thing, and she is Muslim. I informed her in America we have the freedom of choice but as a Muslimah it is our obligation. The conversation quickly went down hill from there.

    Another thing I get a lot is people here in America automatically assuming you are from another country if you are covered, although most of them have actually been funny like a lady walking up to me in the laundry matt and asked extremely slowly “Do you speak english?” not in the mood for this I responded “No” and turned around, another was a man practically jumped out in front of me in WalMart and said “Welcome to America!” I responded “Gee thanks I don’t think I’ve been told that since I was born here!”

    I’m sure also that I’m not the only American hijabi that has an immigrant husband and has gone to INS and instead of asking my husband for his papers they ask me instead, “Why do you want my birth certificate?”

    People sometimes just do not think before speak and tend to show a lack of knowledge. Hopefully they will learn from their mistakes *sigh* we will see.

  10. "Under Cover Muslimah says:

    MR:

    Yes i totally see what you are saying–i did NOT say “Being American Is Being You”. In America you CAN do as you wish, it wont take you to Jannah if you pick haraam over Halal. I was simply saying that the excuse that we should be more “American” and not wear hijab/br. no beards/no niqab is FLAWED because if that is who you are then that is BEING American.

  11. maryam says:

    excellent reminder to keep firm on our deen, regardless of the difficulties we face!…esp from our own communities :/

    jezakiAllahu khayran

  12. Mev says:

    Aimee,

    Your post was hilarious, i simply can’t stop laughing hahaha, your reply to those two people painted the funniest picture in my head, (some people really don’t get it). GREAT ARTICLE mashAllah.

    Aalamualaykum

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