Assalamu aleikum dear bloggers and ummah,
Eid mubarak! Yup, that’s me below. I finally decided to show my face as an Eid present. Alhamdullilah for the fact that I felt ready at last.
On 7/11/2017, a trucker chased me on the road and I swerved and sped in by the gate of our apartment complex almost running over a neighbor. I slammed on the breaks the minute I realized it was the husband of my Muslim neighbor. I apologize to the husband and told him why this had happened. Then I seized the opportunity to ask about my Fofky’s box. They received it and they were grateful alhamdulilah. May Allah forgive me if I overreacted here or misunderstood anything, ameen. It’s not uncommon for me to overreact lol…
So I gave him our apartment number on a Fofky’s business card and we chatted a bit. He told me their names, what he does for a living (Finance) and where they are from; Pakistan. All is forgiven on my end and I hope they forgive me if I put them on blast unnecessarily. The wife called me right away a few minutes after we got home alhamdulilah. She’s a recruiter and she seemed nice masha’Allah. I’m hoping and looking forward to interact with my new Muslim neighbors insha’Allah!
In the end, the whole ordeal made me think of this quote, “Just because you have to wonder what someone means doesn’t make them fake. Be easy. Just ask. Or let it flow. The meaning may come.” Maryam Miller—@be_loveletters
Eid in our household was not too different than the previous years. If you read my past posts, you know that I still haven’t quite adjusted when it comes to celebrating Eid in the USA. I’ve just decided to start new traditions with my nuclear family that aren’t biddah. This is me in my ancestral clothes. I’m a hoarder and a penny pincher as the the good accountant that I’m alhamdullilah. The outfit is over 15 years old and it was a gift from a distant cousin. I wear this outfit once or twice a year these days so it looks like brand new. Another thing Eid in the USA has taught me is that you don’t need to tailor new clothes every year and that your old clothes will just work fine!
Having said that, my African family members are a bit different. They splurge EVERY YEAR. It’s their pocket and I laugh at them when they say they have no money. I have two other sisters who are like me. We have the means of our politics and we keep it at the minimalist level. Often times people think we are very poor and we let them believe that. My nuclear family and I live wayyy below our means and that’s what has helped me become a traditional publisher as I put my money where it’s more beneficial alhamdullilah. Pray for me that Allah purify my intentions, increase my rizq, and put barakat in it, ameen. We (my sisters, hubby and I) aren’t billionaire but we know how to handle our money and only spend money on what’s necessary. And fancy stuff just for the heck of it is not our style.
To come back to Eid, I made the usual big breakfast, showered the kiddo and I, and got us dressed. We took pictures, called relatives around the globe, revealed myself and the kiddo on FB (Yea, I went there again because I had no choice. Djarabi Kitabs business …smdh) and IG, argued a bit with the hubby as that’s marriage, and ate in silence and gratefulness. Alhamdullilah.
Later in the day, I decided I would fulfill a promise I made to myself during Ramadhan; send a Fofky’s gift box to a Muslim family I had noticed in the apartment complex. See, the first time I spotted the hijabi chic sister of that family it was about exactly six months ago when we moved to this place because we needed more room.
It was after 4:30 pm as that’s when I log off work and take a stroll around the neighborhood with the kiddo to check the mail, check out the library and the mailbox for a minute and walk to the park to get more fresh air. She had just arrived from work. I could tell because she had a lunch bag, a corporate access key card, and was dressed professionally. I tell you this sister picked up the pace so fast so that we don’t strike a conversation or the sunnah salam we could have least extended to one another.
I sensed she was avoiding me so I slowed my pace with the kiddo behind her and let her be. I saw the building she went up to but not the door. As we crossed the road to get to the library, an older Muslim man was walking back from the grocery store which is five minutes down the street by foot with bags. He seemed nice and smiled to us. He might have salamed us but I don’t remember.
I thought, “Here is a Muslim to restore my faith in the Ummah.” I also suspected that he was related to the hijabi chic earlier and he was (They looked South Asians). I saw him enter the same building and as we reached the other side of the road I turned and saw him enter the door. I knew where they lived now.
But for many more afternoons, the same scenario happened and that hijabi never extended me a salam from a few feet ahead of me. It’s like when I come out from my building, I can see her parking her car and she can see me from afar. So I’m always behind her but we both know I’m there. A couple times when I was with the hubby, I saw her walk around (for exercise, there is trail there) the library with another man which I assumed is her husband.
We each went our ways. See, this is sad. Instead of us trying to know each other, we avoid each other. It could have been many things like mahram issues when we both had our husbands next to us but I’m going to say it wasn’t. If the hijabi and I had exchanged salamed once maybe, it could have been a different ball game. I met another South Asian down the street with a lovely name masha’Allah and she is much nicer and reached out to me first when she saw me the first time at the park. It was a breath of fresh air!
Anyways, so one day I saw all three family members together and this time, the Dad whom I thought was so much nicer, gave me the stink eye while the hijabi chic finally smiled to me. You think they need to read ‘Tight Rope‘ by Sahar Abdulaziz? Yes! I’ll come back to that insha’Allah.
So, as Ramadhan drew to a close, I decided I will send them an Eid present even if we have not been much of Muslim neighbors to each other. I made a box for four people when I only saw three people or a least to my knowledge. ”You never know who else lives with them,” I thought. It’s sunnah to have more food for musafeer.
Then I went and knocked at their door with my present. At first noone was home. So I went back home and returned later. Allah was with me when I returned because their White tatooed neighbor from downstairs came up behind me and said that he was returning a plate of food they had given him for Eid. He also brought a small spice present in exchange. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions on how we treat people in the ummah. One ummah, one goal? Hmmm, idk…
Anyways, he also said he knew for a fact they were there. After I knocked a couple times and noone answered, I left the box in front of their door step as my eyes burned with tears. My heart was crushed. I tried to compose myself. I wasn’t trying to invite myself in their homes. I was just delivering a box and leaving. The neighbor went back downstairs with the two empty plates that belonged to them plus his gift a bit embarrassed too of the situation.
He even asked me my name which I gave him. Then I said, “It doesn’t matter. Just tell them a Black Muslim woman came and left the box for you when you see them. They will get an idea.” In the box, there was a wrapped copy of ‘Tight Rope‘ by Sahar Abdulaziz and a note where I said something along the lines of “…may the book give you ilm and the snacks shifa that is mubarak for you, ameen…” and I meant those words. If they failed to open the door because of our racism issues in the ummah, may Allah open their eyes, ameen.
This is why Sahar’s book is important and why I was not afraid of publishing it. These issues are rampant in the ummah and many people will pretend we are all happy Muslims who don’t discriminate. Many people have a lot of deen -I saw the father go to the mosque many nights- but they have an immense amount of jahil (ignorance). May Allah make us all better Muslim, ameen. Hide the sins of your ummah, you might say to me? Hmm Hmm, we can’t hide such behavior, it needs to be corrected.
“In the world we live in today, making connections are easier online than in real life. Most of us don’t know our neighborhoods’ names. And admittedly, many of us don’t care to know them either. One glance, one size up, or one head nod and we can tell that them folks across the way aren’t our type of “people” nor our cup of tea! Sad, yes! But it’s real. As a minority within a minority – with a hijab on, it’s an everyday occurrence for Muslim women, especially Black Muslim women to be overlooked.”
I went to their door late at night after we came back from eating more at the Middle Eastern restaurant where I saw more disturbing things I will point out in another post and realized the box was gone. I hope a deserving person appreciated it. If they return it to my PO Box as I had my business cards in them, oh well! I tried to be a good Muslim neighbor. That’s life you know. For every snooty Muslim I meet in Dallas, there is also a nice Muslim to compensate their behavior alhamdullilah I noticed. I actually became friend with a mean looking hijabi but our friendship didn’t flourish as she wasn’t reliable. C’est la vie! And she lives close by too. You think old people in their 60s who look like teenagers would have more sense and wisdom? Nope! And that’s all I’m going to say on this matter.
I hope this rant wasn’t too bitter and long to read. EID MUBARAK :)!!! May Allah accepts from you and us, ameen.
Jazakh’Allah khair for reading,
H. bint Youssef aka Papatya*