February 13, 2011

A confession

A'salaamu alaikum ya'll. I know you must be groaning, Whaaaaat? Another post about HIJAB? Yes I share the same sentiment as many of you; it is not the most important aspect of a Muslim woman. However it is something that is so much a part of me, something that has been mandated on me by my Rabb, and something that I do think on from time to time. And now I get to share my musings with you all. :-)

Do you ever have that feeling like your spirit cannot be contained? Wild rushes of joy, an intense desire to burst out of your skin, to break into a billion tiny prisms of light and be blown about by the wind? I feel this way sometimes. Often, actually, before I became serious about not listening to music.

Oh how those notes can carry us away, transport us on the wings of ecstacy (or agony, as the writer dictates).  Make us forget our cares while we hum along to our favorite tune, recalling a more carefree time. How we long to recapture those moments, to relive that moment again and again and again! This, my sisters, is the lure of music. It is beautiful, haunting, melodic, heartrending and absolutely addictive. I would be unable to name even my favorite style of music as so many held a place in my heart.

Please, before I get accused of waxing raphsodic ;-) know I am saying this to make a point, not to glorify music. Music arouses an animal passion inside us that is difficult to contain. It can, by virtue of a few notes, make us on the brink of yearning for what we can never have again, the past. We cannot recapture moments in time nor can we recreate them at will. We have to be content in the present, to make this day, THIS moment, be the one that counts, the one that we are living in.

And in that moment we need to have remembrance of Allah. I've heard many sisters say they just can't find nasheed that excites them as popular music does. I am here to say I don't think it should. We are not Pentecostal Christians or A.M.E. members, we do not speak in tongues, and fall into wild faints, and sing and dance shamelessly to glorify Allah.

We should glorify Him, His name be PRAISED, with every breath in our bodies, with our thoughts, our salaat, and yes even our intimacy with our husbands. In all ways, we as Muslims submit to and glorify our Creator. Subhanallah.

Uhhh excuse me, Umm Aaminah? Weren't you going to talk about hijab? :-D Oh yes, dear and gentle reader (big LOL here) I was. Please let me continue.

I was driving to get the kids from their religious studies on Saturday, having left Aaminah at home with Baba while they both napped. (Lucky ones!) The car was to myself, I had some peace and quiet. I switched on the public radio channel and thought, oh let me see what else might be on.

B I G mistake. As I was scanning through the stations (it used to be dialing, remember THOSE old radios?? lol) I heard the unmistakable sound of a great song. Oh me oh my, yes I did. "American Pie" a folksy song by Don McLean, an anthem to teenage angst before it was en vogue. I started humming along (feeling guilty mind you) and then here came the chorus...

"Bye bye Miss American Pie, drove my chevy to the levy but the levy was dry, them good ole boys were drinking whiskey and rye and singing 'This'll be the day that I die, this'll be the day that I die'".

By this point, right as the song moves into how he watched his girl dancing it up in the high school gym, I was singing along merrily, nay, lustily, loudly, happily, giddily, carefree and with wild abandon.

And I glanced at myself in the mirror. I saw my hijab, my symbol of SUBMISSION to Allah, this outward sign which cries out to all: "Here is a woman who honors her Lord first and reserves herself for only those who are worthy". And yet, I was giving way to my animal passions, to the lure of the music, driving a little faster than before, smiling and singing and looking a little crazy.

I don't mind that last part so much, looking crazy. I'll gladly do it for my daughter, to make her smile and laugh. In my home to amuse my husband or friends or family, I am silly and fun-loving and well a little weird at times. :-)

I had an epiphany. Yes my hijab is to remind me of Allah and my submission to him, to remind me to be modest and quiet, to help me remember I represent Islam to most anyone I happen upon that day.

However for me, it holds another dimension. It restrains me. It keeps me together than I feel like flying into a million pieces and disappearing. It keeps me from giving into those animal passions: lust, desire, greed, selfishness.

I am sure some of you reading this (mostly non-Muslims I hope!) are thinking, what a drab and dull life. No, not at all and that is NOT the point! My point is, as a Muslim especially, we are not to be ruled by our baser desires. I do not want to be ruled by lustful thinking or be lead around by my emotions. We know this life is about more than just doing what feels good, what makes us happy. Muslims are not part of the counter-culture movement where all is free love and groovy.

This is why our marriages are stable, our husbands (for the most part, I KNOW there are exceptions) are not looking to trade in their "starter wives" for a newer model. We are in it for the long haul, we are committed to each other and to our deen and that, THAT, is what will keep us on the course when things get tough.

So my sisters, my hijab also keeps me grounded when I might otherwise (figuratively) fly. It is my visible anchor, it keeps me grounded. I am grateful to Allah for all His blessings and I am grateful for my hijab.

Ma salaama ya'll....


The Black Jubah said...

Assalamualaikom sister, Maybe you should try Maher Zain, Sami Yusuf, Yusuf Islam, Mesut Kurtis or even Malaysian nasheed groups like Raihan, Rabbani, In-Team, maybe you might like them. I do agree with you about the hijab being a very good chaperon for us from doing unIslamic thing, I don't underdstand why some still go to the movies when you can have home theatres now?

Umm Hamza said...

Masha'Allah! What an enlightening post! Barak Allahu Feeki, habibty!

Umm Aaminah said...

A'salaamu alaikum sis. I do like nasheed myself and many of the ones you listed above. :-) I simply meant I don't think we should look for nasheeds to replace the type of music we grew up with as I don't feel that is what we, as Muslims, really need in order to grow. :-)

Jazaki Allahu khair for your suggestions!

Umm Aaminah said...

Umm Hamza, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I wanted you to know I've been thinking of you and your family and praying all is well. Insha'Allah things will improve now!

HijabiMommy said...

Great reminder sis. I have to admit, I've fallen into the whole music trap quite often. My car is loaded with Surahs and Nasheeds for the kids and I try to listen to those only. But once in a while, especially on long road trips, the radio lures me in. May Allah give me the tawfiq to stay from the haraam. Ameen.

And sis, I love the imagery in your writing!

Umm Aaminah said...

HijabiMommy, thanks for the comment! You know, as a convert, I think I too often *assume* that most born muslims do not face the same pressures as I do. A fallacy, I know, but something that is in my mind.

I guess I tend to see ya'll (the PRACTICING born Muslims, I should add) as some kind of Islamic super-hero, with a fitnah-proof shield of Iman. :-))

I can say a great think for me is the fact that my husband has NO affinity for music. None. From his earliest age, it was never played in his home, it was never a part of his upbringing, a part of the fabric of his life.

As this is a very easy thing for him to avoid that helps me as well. I also do not want to stand before Allah swt and be guilty of allowing my daughter to be influenced by such things and this is why, when I am alone in the car, the temptation is greatest.

May Allah swt guide us all, amin!

The Black Jubah said...

Assalyamualaikom Sis, thank you for your reply, I do agree with HijabiMommy, its mainly for the children, but then life without entertainment can be... we are allow to listen to those musics that remind us about Allah and indirectly reciting zikr, May Allah bless all of our effort to remember HIM..

Anonymous said...

assalamu alaikum sister,
mashalllah nice post.
some muslims say nasheed with music is not good,bad or haram.

what do you think about this malaysian nasheed (?) .

jazakallah khairan.

Umm Aaminah said...

Black Jubah, yes you are right, may Allah accept our efforts amin!!! :-)

Anon, I did view the nasheed link you sent. I have a few comments: one, I don't speak Malay but it was nice seeing the text beneath so I got the gist of it.

I do not agree with women singing nasheed where men may view them and I don't like music with it but I also do not like to judge other Muslims. I would say for myself I would not listen to it but I am not here to judge anyone else. :-)

I am sure those sisters are much more pure than I with more iman and taqwa, but we all do things we should not. Maybe mine are hidden and maybe there's are on youtube. :-)

At any rate, it isn't something I would listen to but I only police myself and my daughter, and I leave the rest up to others to decide what is haram/halal for them.!

Ma salaama sisters...

Sabirah said...

Ahhhh...I'm from NY but I used to love that song. I confess...that radio...when you are alone in the killer.

I made a habit whenever I get into the car to read the du'a...and when I'm alone I just tell myself to start with the du'a and keep going with dhikr.

The best thing I found was a cd that has the morning adhkhaar on it. I didn't know it at first...but the more I repeated it over and over again...Subhanallah I memorized it.

Um Zakarya said...

Assalamu Aleykum dear sis,

I know I'm late on this one (sorry as you know I was in Pakistan).But I thought I defintiely have to comment on this post, as this looks exactly like ME.Lol how many times did this old music demon come back to tease me, and how many times did I forget for a moment that I'm a muslimah and I'm not supposed to enjoy it AStaghfirULLAH.
Music is definitely a Jihad.