I never imagined the kind of impact there could be on one’s emotions and behavior by accepting and celebrating your own identity.
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Wanting to fit and please the standards of others makes us slaves to those individuals we are trying to please. This can often be very difficult to recognize and, more importantly, can have serious effects on an individual’s mental health by causing feelings such as anxiety and sadness, leading to the persecution of our souls and harming our relationship with God (Allah SWT).
Yasmin Mogahed explains that “when you let fear control you, you are a slave” and it used to be the case with myself, because I was controlled by the prejudices in my mind that are rooted in the present-day society.
In most cases, the aim of “fitting” and satisfying others, even over our own interests, is due to fear, and in specific, fear of being rejected and fear of being alone.
This idea originates from our own minds and hearts, which are relentlessly searching for the purest of love and satisfaction; the love and satisfaction of Allah (SWT).
Pleasing other people (including our loved ones) can build a mental jail, in which we are both the prisoner and the guard.
The submission to the standards of an “automatized” characterized by the absence of consciousness, and for having people that blindly follow what is the ideals of what is trendy and highly accepted. This standards are subdue to the market and, therefore, are in constant change…
As a response to the disconnection created by this mass behavior, many people are starting to follow spiritual paths to create a connection with God or with something greater than themselves. This is done in an attempt to increase their consciousness and the consistency of their thoughts and behaviors so as to eventually reach a state of happiness.
In my own experience, I connected once I reverted to Islam and started to practise it from the heart allowing myself to identify what makes me happy by basing my standards on what my Creator says is right, because He is the one that knows me best, loves me best and, therefore knows what is best for me.
One of the most powerful foundational statements within Islam is the one that expresses pure monotheism, in “La Ilaha Illah Allah” (there is no diety except Allah), and Allah is the only one truly worthy of all praise and all thanks. As a consequence of that, one has to stop the pursuit of the ideals of the consumptive society that have been the main cause of depression and anxiety, among other negative feelings, affecting many people who are chasing something unreal and unhealthy for the mind and for the heart.
I have found peace in Islam, a beautiful path that hasn’t been easy. However, it’s always worth asking when referring to a life decision: What right path is ever easy? and/or What right path is short? Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that the journey is not gorgeous and filled with learning and blessings as a gift.
Being a Muslim and following what God commands has become my identity as well as for many Muslims from different backgrounds and from different past beliefs that strive to get closer to Allah in every action and in every thought, because the behavior as the prayer is also an act of worship.
The code of clothing that includes the hijab or islamic veil has been a determining factor in the Islamic identity of women, because it makes them visible to others, making them responsible (and empowered) for their actions.
Evidently, the hijab has been targeted with critiscism and even hate from the non-muslim community, for being seen as an oppressive garment on women. The question is Why? And from what point of view is this accusation being made? Because wearing this garment, at least in the West, only depends on the decision of who is wearing it. Therefore, in my opinion this is more an act of freedom than of oppression, because this implies facing the consecuences of contradicting what is considered (for the majority) as good and modern in a woman.
Accordinging to the Qur’an (the sacred book in Islam) the veil makes part of a code of clothing that goes along with the modest behavior with the opposite sex, that is not excluded of this norm. Which means that men and women have to dress and behave in a modest and respectful way reserving their intimacy, beauty and affective actions to their wives/husbands and closer relatives.
In the case of Muslim women, Islam facilitates us to demonstrate that we are more than a pretty face, and not an object to sexualize: our worth comes from our principles, knowledge, persistency, among other things. The hijab has become a very powerful tool to express our value in what we really are and not in how beautiful/attractive we may look.
There is nothing better than celebrating your identity and behaving according to what you consider is best for you, in this life and in the other (the one that really matters)
I will write more about the meaning of the hijab in subsequent articles.
Image from @Rubyalicerose: https://www.instagram.com/rubyalicerose/
Translation made by Abid Farooq