A studentís journey with the Islamic faith


By Kharman Aidun
October 17, 2005

http://www.lavozdeanza.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/10/17/4352965c07ee8

The first day I wore the hijab to work, one of my
managers looked at me in shock and asked if I was
really going to wear it. When I asked if that would be
a problem, he shook his head and told me he wasn't
allowed to have a problem with it.

I had decided that when Ramadan came I was going to
live like a Muslim for one week, and in order to do
this effectively, I packed some clothing and moved in
with my friend Hala Hyatt and her family.

As it does for any practicing Muslim, my days began
around 5 a.m. I would stumble down the stairs and into
the kitchen for breakfast and afterward I would make
wudoo, which is washing before prayer, find my scarf,
and get ready for prayer at 6 a.m.

There is always a comprehensive method to how things
are done in Islam. When making wudoo, you start with
your right hand and end with your left foot. If one is
new to Islam then having to make wudoo at 6 a.m. could
take a while.

I also needed to learn prayer etiquette. Muslims pray
five times a day, at specific times, and with specific
directions. The words to the prayers were very
confusing, considering I didn't know any Arabic, but I
caught on to the actions pretty easily.

Ramadan is a celebration and a sacrifice. During the
month of Ramadan, Muslims fast during the daylight
hours and eat when the sun sets. The purpose is to
give up something that you would need to survive for
Allah. When it is time to eat, you are supposed to
feed not just yourself, but the people around you. The
fast isn't only from food, but from other things such
as profanity, intimate relations with your spouse.

Fasting wasn't as difficult because I had done it
before. Remembering to wear the hijab was difficult. I
wasn't used to covering my hair and body and my
friends, family and co-workers weren't used to seeing
me in a hijab either.

I was nervous about going to my dentist, too, because
she is related to my dad. Because my family is
Zoroastrian and from Iran, they don't like the hijab
very much. When I explained what I was doing she
smiled and told me that fasting was a good way of
cleansing the body.

I received responses ranging from, "It's great to meet
you and I think what you are doing is beautiful," to
"Why the hell are you wearing a towel on your head?"

Because I wore a hijab, I discovered that four people
were fasting where I work, and one of them even
carries a small rug and prays in a backroom.

I gained insight I would not have had otherwise by
immersing myself in this culture for only one week.


Terms

Hijab - a woman's head scarf, a word used in the
Islamic context for the practice of dressing modestly.

Muslim - believer of Islam.

Islam - "the submission to God," monotheistic faith.

Wudoo - the action of cleaning and cleansing water
upon certain body parts.

Ramadan - month long celebration.

Allah - Arabic term for "God."

 

The Five Pillars

Shahadah - profession of faith in Allah.

Salat - five daily prayers.

Zakaah - the paying of alms.

Sawm - fasting and other prohibitions.

Hajj - the pilgrimage to Mecca.

 

(Source: http://Wikipedia.org)





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