Sunshine, Lemons and Your Choice
Bismillah Hir Rahman Nir Rahim (In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)
Amidst many heart-breaking life’s twists and turns, keeping an optimistic mind and noticing the humor in the most unexpected event in our lives make us an admirable individual. Who among us have this funny clown stance in life where no one notices that he/she is a grieving person inside? In my perspective, such quality is strength rather than a weakness. Our Noble Qur’an taught us ways on how to deal when life gives us bitter-sour turn out of events and we should learn it well.
“I only complain of my suffering and my grief to Allah , and I know from Allah that which you do not know. – Qur’an 12:86 Sahih International
When I am asked to describe myself, I normally say, “Well I am a clown!” and I get a usual jaw-dropping reaction each time. Then next I will find myself giving little description why I think like that of myself. When I started walking as “hijabi” and dressing up modestly, it was a “big bang” event for the majority who knew me. Despite the negative behavior towards it and non-acceptance, several occurrences amused me to the point that when I remember, still would find myself with a wide grin and I shrug my shoulder of such thoughts.
THE OBVIOUS QUESTIONS
- Dai ka nainitan? Hindi ka ba nainitan? Don’t you feel warm??? (Referring to my fully covered outfit, when it is obvious that I feel warm because we are in a tropical country)
- Nagatrabaho ka palan, puwede magtrabaho ang babaying Muslim? Nagtatrabaho ka pala, puwede magtrabaho ang babaeng Muslim? You are employed so Muslim women can work? (Asking me when I am in the office that particular moment)
- Muslim ika Ma’am? Muslim ikaw Ma’am? Are you a Muslim Ma’am??? (when it is obvious already because of my hijab) and when I confirmed “ Yes po I am a Muslim indeed” then next question is…
- Nata??? Bakit??? Why??? Then I be… Nata po dae pwede? Bakit po hindi ba puwede? Why can’t I be one?
THE YES OR NO QUESTIONS
- Masulog ka pa din costume sa aga? Magsusuot ka pa rin ng costume bukas? Will you still be wearing your costume tomorrow??? (Referring to my hijab and long dresses as costumes)
- Dae ka puwede magblouse na lang? Hindi ka puwede magsuot ng blouse na lang? Can’t you just wear a blouse??? (Referring to my long sleeves top all the time)
- Nakabalabal ka maski pagturog? Nakabalabal ka pa din pag matutulog? Do you wear shawl when you sleep? (Curious If I keep my hijab even when I sleep)
- Maray ta matibay ka na magbikol. Mabuti at magaling ka na magsalita ng bikol. Good that you can speak bicol language well. With surprised face reaction then I be, Siyempre po Bicolano ako. Syempre po dahil Bicolano ako. Yes of course because I am a Bicolano. They all thought Muslims are from Mindanao only.
- Maboot man palan ang muslim… Mabait din pala ang muslim… Muslim turns out kind too. (Surprised to see the kindness in me being a Muslim)
- Ah, agom mo Muslim? Ah, asawa mo Muslim? Oh, your husband is a Muslim? (Conclusion that I was married to a Muslim man that’s why I became Muslim too)
- Dae tai ka namidbidan, ano nakaon mo? Hindi kita nakilala, ano nakain mo? I hardly recognize you, what have you eaten? (Not able to recognize me because of my hijab and I am fully clad)
- Ang ganda naman ng suot mo terno sa balabal, sa amin sa Cotabato muslim ang nagsusuot ng ganyan. Your outfit is nice paired with your shawl, in our place (Cotabato) Muslims wear it like yours. (Gazing at the unsure nun, I confirmed with a smile, “Yes Sister I am a revert Muslim.”
It is definite that many hijabis are familiar with same encounters, how we react in every circumstance describes how we are as person more or less. It is elicited from our conscious choice. Oftentimes our upbringing, attitude, values and religious influence shape how we portray ourselves together with our responsive behaviors. We are but the only person responsible of our own selves, liable of our own necks, accountable of our own actions and others we can never blame. Significantly we should not fail to notice that Allah opens a chance to shed light and change the dark misconceptions about Islam everytime we face such, hence perceive it as favor where we can gain rewards in the hereafter.
No soul bears the sins of another soul. Quran 53:38
We need to make sure that despite the brawl we never must forget to keep our composure. A hijabi is a clear representation of Islam to others, losing our poise will definitely make a bad impression. Right choice comes from careful judgment which emanates from trusting Allah, The Al-Mu’min (The trustworthy, He who gives tranquility).
Without a doubt, a good laugh is sunshine in the house and when life gives you lemons, then think more if you want a lemonade, lemon shake or just pure lemon water.