Monthly Archives: March 2012

Thirty Nine

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Being veiled is part of my identity , it is part of every veiled woman’s identity and we live in a country where this identity is threatened every single day . A veil is not an accessory, it is within us , it is part of us , it is not a bracelet or a necklace showcasing our religious beliefs it is our religious belief.

The truth is that  we are not treated equally and yes we do get rejected from jobs for being veiled . But on 21/3/2012 something alarming happened, the world was able to see this truth on T.V. and in Newspapers because 39 women were rejected from a governmental  job which they were qualified to do because of their veil .

What really matters in this story is not that they were discriminated against because of their veil rather it is the fact that  the story was able to reach the media and this is what truly makes  people think and ask questions. This is crucial in the formation of a public understanding of a controversial topic because only then will we as change-makers be able to act.

The Lebanese public is now aware that yes veiled woman do get discriminated even though this has been happening for years , we are now  more capable of speaking up and having a voice.

When I first the read the news article I knew that I should do something , I was so disturbed and I knew that it was time for change .  I will call these 39 women , I will blog, tweet, write , I will protest if I have to, even if I am on my own. Imagine what this job could have done for these 39 women , imagine their families and how their lives would have changed.

The true problem is not lack of jobs but lack of minds that are steering us away from a community that grows together towards a community that is destroying itself.

 

The Answer to my Prayers

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The fact that we are consumed with our daily lives sometimes makes our religious duties part of our daily routine  and we stop enjoying them .They are tasks we must complete before a period of time  and sometimes we might feel that they are a burden . I have felt like this for quite a while and I have struggled in finding answers as to how do I integrate religion into my life ? This question puzzled me and little did I know that I was to find the answer very soon .

In an attempt to free my self from this mentality , I forced my self to put a religious schedule , listen to Islamic lectures etc . At first it was so exciting and gradually the routine would catch up to me and I would have to start all over again. It was really depressing , at days I would feel paralyzed and I would constantly pray to God ” Make me closer to you ” ” Please God make it easy for me to become more religious” .

In a point of my life where I was merely an ” Islamic Robot ”  I traveled to Iran- ( for those of you that do not know ,Iran is considered as a holy land , a place where the graves /shrines of the Holy Prophet’s Grandchildren lie ) going there is a big deal , it is almost as important as going to Mecca although it is not part of our Islamic obligations) .

Unfortunately my intentions at the beginning were not to free from my self from this religious dilemma , instead I was going for business. I was to complete my work, visit the Holy graves and come back . No religious agenda was planned , I was simply going.

The moment where you see the Holy Shrine in Iran , your heart aches and tears will flow on your face whether you are  religious or not there is something magnificent that happens. At that moment I knew that God had answered my prayer , I had not come to Iran for business, God was bringing me closer to him as I had requested from him for so long. I was there , this was my chance and I was determined to live this religious journey .

We had a Sheik with us and we had a religious program that we followed . It was exhausting yet beautiful and I was beginning to feel that spirituality I had been longing for for years. Praying with thousands of Muslims , reading Quraan with so many people , the humming sound of people praying god  that you hear as you enter the shrine brought warmth to my heart .

I left Iran after 7 days , I was on the road to change and in my final prayer at the Shrine, I realized that I had found the answer to my puzzling question ” How do I integrate religion into my life ? ” The answer was that you don’t , You integrate Your life into religion. Because that is how I was living for the past 7 days .

Religious journeys are not for Muslims or Christians or Sunni or Shiaa , they are for Humanity because we are born with questions and we are looking for reassurances, we are looking for Faith  . And if you are ever lost or in doubt pray to God and he will answer .

I was lost , I am still lost but I have found my key –  I pray to God that you find yours.

With all my love and Prayers ,

Esraa