February 13, 2011
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....