In a time when the world is fast headed to adopting western culture by and large, it takes a toll on you to keep your genuine values and beliefs intact and not let your faith succumb at the mercy of modern trends especially when everyone around you is upbeat about it. My mother used to observe full Purdah (Niqab) despite of living in a community of non muslims who considered such dressing as backwards. Coming from the only muslim family in the area, my mother did not let other’s judgement, stereotype and being identified by only one aspect of her identity, negatively impact her. Not even an iota of her faith faltered when people questioned and belittled her choice of dressing the Islamic way.

I remember a woman once asking my mum to take off her Niqab and justified it by quoting “Jaisa desh, wesa bhes” (like country, likewise attire), to which my mother politely replied, “Ama mai burqa tab utaarungi jab aap humare desh (ghar) burqa pehen ke ayeingi” (I’ll take off my Niqab the day you start wearing it whenever you come to visit us). The woman’s jaw dropped at such a boldly confident counter. Never again did she put forth any bullying statements.

My mother’s resilient spirit gave me the courage to wear Abaya unashamed. She instilled the pride in me of carrying around my Muslim identity unapologetically.

#MuslimAndProud,
Shua Siddiqui

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