"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Michael's take on hijab

Note: I can count on one hand the number of women wearing hijab that I've seen in my county during the entire time I've lived here which is all except the first few years of my life. Keep that in mind when you read this...and why seeing a (most likely) Muslim lady was noteworthy to me.  Oh, and Michael is my nine-year-old nephew.

Michael a few Halloweens ago covering his cuteness

Yesterday we were leaving my grandparents' apartment when I saw a lady with hijab walking with a young girl.  They, like Michael and I, were loading the car in order to leave.  Discreetly (read: without pointing) I said cheerfully, "Oh, there's a Muslim lady over there." Michael glanced across the parking lot. 

"Why isn't the little girl wearing one of those things?" he asked.

I explained that children didn't have to wear them.

"But her parents might make her when she's older?" he pondered.

"Maybe. But it's supposed to be the individual's choice."

Michael again, "I don't see why they want to cover their beauty."

I chuckled inwardly. Did he just actually say "cover their beauty"?  Where did he hear that?

I do remember when we returned from Syria over two years ago that I showed him photos from our time there. I explained about the women covering their hair and that they felt God required this of them in order to be modest.  Maybe I used that phrase back then, but that's been quite a while ago!

"Oh, you think women's hair is beautiful, huh?"

"Oh yeah...there's not much better than good hair." 

And what would I know about that?

Then we went on to discuss Muslims a little bit since he's never met any.  He said, "Don't most Muslims want to kill us?"  *groan*

I'm thinking he really needs to take a trip to Syria!

(Or at least back when I was there. Now it's in a bit of turmoil...for freedom's sake.)


Unknown said...

I love your stories about Michael...so adorable! :)

Only sort of related, I went to help my mom clean out her office (at an elementary school) for the summer, and saw a bunch of the kids who are there for summer school. There was an adorable little girl with a pink hijab, and I was both excited and surprised. I have seen kids wearing the headscarf before, but not often (and I'm in an area where I do see women in hijab fairly often). It was cool to see, and I'm happy no one seemed to give her a hard time about it.

I find the "covering their beauty" comment really weird because I've always thought hijab was beautiful. I was jealous of Muslim women before I realized there was really no reason I couldn't also put on a scarf. I still miss it and sometimes will wear at least a tichel because it's so much more interesting than my normal hair in my opinion, even if I'm just wearing plain black. I have odd tastes, I think. :D

Ze2red said...

the "Covering their beauty" comment is interesting but not so surprising to me - maybe from a young boy it is - .

I don't know if you know this, but there are lots of muslium women who wear hijab in a very elegant way that they are able to show their beauty way better than without it. I have friends whom i've known for years and we rarely met in houses and when i did and they took of their hijab I went like, oh god you really know how to put on a scarf and shine.

Suroor said...

M is such a sweet little boy. So smart and observant!

You could show him pictures of Jewish women and Amish and the nuns and point out that there are many women in this world who like to continue their religious traditions because they love them and it makes their faith stronger. Muslim women are one such type of women who want to retain their religious tradition although there are also many women who don't wear hijab.

His question why do they want to kill us reminded me of that article by Medearis and there's a sentence in it - "I'm sure you've heard the story. A guy gets beat up, left for dead. A priest and a Levite look at him ... and pass on by. A Samaritan picks him up, dresses his wounds, takes him to the hospital, and offers to foot the bill. The Jews thought of the Samaritans as the violent heretics of their day, much like some Christians think of Muslims today. To put it in today's terms, it would be like Jesus saying to an evangelical Christian, "If you want to be right with God, act like that Muslim down the street that always seems to do the right thing when someone is in need.""

Poor M is too little to understand how sad this world is. Many Muslims do want to kill Americans but America has killed more Muslims than the number that want to be violent with America. It just makes me so sad. Too sad that this is where we have come in 2011 years.

Susanne said...

Thanks for your comments. I'll reply more later, but it's a busy morning. I did want to include what my sister wrote on my Facebook last night when I shared this post with her there.

From Michael's mom:

"This one made us laugh a lot! Michael does LOVE long hair and likes it down. (not up in a pony tail) I've figured that out over the years. When I got to the the picture of you with your hair he said, "Maybe she should be muslim!" (so you'd have to wear a hijab) ;) I asked him about the Muslim comment (them wanting to kill us), and he said, "Wasn't Osama Bin Laden Muslim?" I guess most of what he's seen (even though we rarely watch the news) is the violence."

Thankfully I am able to tell him of wonderful Muslims I've met that are NOTHING like OBL and assure him that most Muslims, in fact, do NOT want to kill anyone! :)

Ze2red said...

M is so adorable and his comments made me laugh :D

guess what? he has cool-smart mom and aunti ;)

Susanne said...

Sanil, I think many women look good in hijab as well. I've seen some very lovely looks. That was just Michael's opinion. Apparently he likes hair showing. :D Really I don't know where he got that phrase unless I told him that a LONG time ago. And I don't remember using it because I think some women probably look better in hijab. It's sort of a decoration and I think many of them use it as such.

Thinking of you and Amber a while back was one reason I modified to him that it was *likely* a Muslim woman, but not 100% positively one. I know some nonMuslims wear scarves and such and maybe that woman was one.

Yeah, I think some little girls like wearing hijab so they could look like the grown ladies. Maybe it's like little girls wanting their ears pierced so they can look like mom and the teenagers. A Mormon blogger wrote about her 5 year old daughter wanting to wear hijab last year when they lived in Cairo. She saw it so often, she wanted to try out the look for herself apparently! :D

Thanks for your comment. I'm sure the girl in pink hijab was adorable. :)

Ze2red, yes, I agree. Some women really look GREAT in their scarves! I've seen some very very beautiful ones that make the women's faces practically sparkle with beauty! So it's not really covering beauty at all...it's drawing attention to the beauty of women! Maybe Michael will one day see it that way! :D Thanks for chiming in on this topic!

Suroor, that's a good idea about showing him photos. At the time we were riding in a car, but sometime I will have to bring up the Amish example. He went to Amish country about three years ago so maybe he'll remember the women there also "covered their beauty." :)

Good point about Americans killing Muslims. It's a shame we always think of Muslims as enemies that we must destroy before they destroy us. :-/ I try to stress to him that we should love our enemies and bless them and pray for them rather than seek to destroy them. Actually I don't think Michael wants to destroy anyone. He just hears bits and pieces of news or adults talking and draws his own conclusions. He's much more interested in playing with his Legos or action figures at this point in life. :) Thanks for the Medearis quote! Love that! :)

Thank you all for your feedback!

Suroor said...

Your family is so well-brought up Susie that I have no doubt little Micheal will learn to love his enemies and will know what is right. I'm sure he already knows what is right. He is a sweet little boy :)

Susanne said...

Thank you! YOU are sweet. :)

Rebekka @ Becky's Kaleidoscope said...

I'm happy that M has such a sweet and smart aunt who can help him understand the nuances of the world better. Such a cute story! Thank you for sharing.