Identity and Responsible Behaviour
I use the local bus, and funnily I admit I even enjoy it. The local bus or local train gives a medium to observe a wide range of people. And over the last few years, this very means of transport helped me witness a change in the Muslim society, at least in my city. I term it as the “return of the hijab”. Over the years, a larger number of women have taken to donning the hijab. My issue is not with those who do not follow the hijab or the Islamic dress code for men and women. Strangely my suffocation is caused by those who do so and which I would like to share with readers of Islamic Voice through this letters page briefly. Let me explain…in her mid-forties, a lady rushed into the bus. It was evident she was angry at someone. She still wore her burqa, totally disheveled, head uncovered, hand clutching the bus window and a string of abuses overflowing. Another young girl, and I found her prettiest in hijab, until I saw hear hurriedly tearing out her scarf and shoving it in her bag. To everyone who wears the hijab, I want to say that the hijab does not need to be justified, questioned or proved! It is an issue related to identity. But with this identity comes responsibility. The people in buses, trains, malls, roads may all not know Islam. The only Islam they know is You and your behaviour. Each time a hijabi abuses, yells, cheats, or a bearded Muslim man misbehaves, it spells out the Islam they follow. To the people of other faiths, it is the only version of Islam they see. So Muslims need to be cautious that they behave responsibly, not just in their personal lives, but also when they step out into the world. For after all, our behavior, our manners, our etiquette and dealings with all others in the society have to be respectful and orderly. That’s the Islam we should present.
Dr Irum Abdullah