Running into you at the farmer's market last Wednesday was so unexpected - for both of us, I suppose. You hurled insult after insult at me in front of my young children, to all of which I calmly but firmly responded. I know that you were in a big hurry to leave, maybe because you didn't expect me to speak English when you decided to begin your barrage of verbal assaults, but left without giving me time to explain.
Looking at my clothing and asking if I am "serious" is obviously not what you really meant to ask. I mean, look at me, do I look anything less than serious? I am serious. If I wasn't serious about my religion, and didn't hold it as close to my heart as I do, I certainly wouldn't be walking the streets of Fresno, California, covered head to toe. You see, to me, the way I dress is a symbol of who I am - a proud and strong Muslim woman. But, you didn't have time to hear me explain.
Maybe what you meant to ask was why I am dressed this way? Ah, now that is a question that I can actually answer. Muslim women cover their bodies and heads as an act of pure obedience to Allah, our creator - a symbol of piety, if you will. It is also a sign of the high place that women should hold in society - not lowered to the lewd and crude depths of objectivity. Much the same as Christian and Jewish women did up until the last hundred year or so - and some still do. Can you tell me what the blessed virgin Mary's hear looked like, or describe the shape of her hips? But, you didn't have time to hear me explain.
You asked if I had ever heard of Jesus? Why, yes, actually, I have. The Qur'an talks extensively about Jesus and his blessed virgin mother, Mary, and of Jesus' singular message for mankind - to worship God and not associate partners with Him. Go and look for yourself in your Bible, and you will see. But, you didn't have time to hear me explain this either.
You called me a crazy person. . . this one I'm not sure I can even address. Is it crazy to be passionate about the one thing in this life that will be there for you after you die - your faith? Is it crazy to openly express your faith in a "free country"? Or, is it crazy to randomly assault perfect strangers who are different from you? But, no, you didn't have time to hear me explain.
Insult after insult you hurled at me, and my children are still asking what it was you wanted from us. . . so. . .what was it you wanted?
Did you need to get some grudge against Muslims off of your chest? Well, is your heart lighter today because of it?
Did you think that you could just make a comment and walk away because I wouldn't understand it anyways? Well, God, your Lord, hears you.
Did you think that I would be to passive and timid to answer you back? Well, God, your Lord, will hold you to account for every word that you utter.
Did you think that your crass attitude would cause me to open my heart to a personal savior? Try to look at Prophet Jesus (peace be upon him) and his glorious example - he who would not even spurn the prostitute that his own followers wanted to expel from their meeting. What would Jesus do?
Yes, truly, what would Jesus do?