Memoir

Quran 9:51

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Say, “Nothing will ever befall us except what Allah has destined for us. He is our Protector.” So in Allah let the believers put their trust. Quran, 9:51

The wind blows my scarf around my head. The silky brown material tears across my vision like a whip, ready to defend me should anyone come too close. Gardens to my right, the arches of a closed courthouse to my left, I silently recite my Takbeer. The pavement beneath me leaves scrapes on my bare palms and face as I rest my head down in submission to my Lord. 

I am content. In this moment, it is just me and Him. He sees my strife, my effort to worship Him wherever I am. I try to focus despite the street noise distracting me and the discomfort of the sun lighting up my actions for all to see. I let everything go. The world is my mosque, I remind myself. I am thankful for prayer, for its ease, and for my Lord’s mercy in allowing me to speak to Him anywhere.

I say my Salams to the angels on my right and left, feeling at peace. Having done my duty, I stand up and turn to my friend waiting behind me. Despite, our religious differences, she stays true to our friendship. She watches out for my safety as I seek The Protector’s guardianship. I smile at her in gratitude, a smile that quickly vanishes. A strange man in uniform stands close behind her. His arms crossed, a police vest jutting from his chest like offensive armour, he refuses to meet my gaze.

My surroundings come back into sharp focus. I hear the hum of birds and insects clashing against the banging and drilling of construction. I stand up straighter. The once peaceful park with just the two of us, now feels crowded with his overbearing presence. Eyes wide, pupils dilated, I speak to my friend without words. Why is he here? How long has he been watching? I know he can’t be here for anyone but me. Within a second, my body decides he is a threat.

My friend walks to me slowly. Between us, not a word is said. Neither her mouth nor mine utters a word, but our faces say it all: we’re in danger. My muscles clench. Tightened and taut, they suffocate any feelings of peace my prayer had just brought. I think of all the brutality my community has sustained. Will I join the ranks of the many protestors wrongfully detained?

I look down at my kuffiyeh, having worn it in spite of the new ban. I left the house today proud to represent Palestinian land. I start walking, exiting the park in silence, baffled at how these few minutes have shaken my insides with such violence. 

“He knows I’m dangerous,” I joke, though my voice trembles. Turning around, I look to see if he still stands guard, only to find the wisp of a ghost haunting the air with its sinister presence. He left as if he was never there; as if he hadn’t just changed my life; as if he hadn’t just come to watch a lone Muslim woman pray; as if her prayer would bring down the Earth itself in blasts of destruction and fiery rain; as if I posed a threat to him.

These days, it seems my voice has become obsolete. What people see defines me wholly. The wind blows again. My hijab whips my face, reminding me I am one of many. Persecuted, profiled, discriminated against – this incident was small but still significant. My anger boils, my face hot. Let them judge, I think. I fear not. Maybe that’s what makes me a threat. For I hold a power they can only dream of: all by simply asking Al-Muhaymin for strength.

Javheria developed a passion for literature at a very young age. Her mother started reading to her long before she was born, naturally fostering Javheria's interest in the written word. Raised in Mississauga, Javheria earned a B.A. in Professional Writing from York University. With a goal to inspire others through her words, she is on a lifelong journey to become a bestselling author in both fiction and nonfiction. She continues to live in Mississauga with her mother and two cats.

1 Comment

  1. What a sweet reflection that encapsulates the feeling of prayer. Like bobbing under water for a moment of serenity and coming back up for air. 🌊

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