Tuesday, October 24, 2006

The Strangeness of the Veil ...

The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

"Islam came a stranger to this world and will leave a stranger from this world."

(Hadith referenced here.)

There are very few statements that have the effect of reducing me to tears. This is one of them. I cry with tears every time I read or hear this hadith. If only some people could know what is the meaning of pain ...

But I don't cry when some secular person says that he feels uncomfortable with the feminine veil and then a whole nation joins him in chorus. When millions of people who are completely unfamiliar with the veil start casting aspersions on it and bicker about how the veil is so "strange", then know that the stranger has come and he is here to stay.

Ahlan wa sahlan, marhaba, marhaba.

Eid Mubarak :)


Keith (Qoheleth) said...

I understand the depth of the emotion you feel at the reading of this passage. It is a beautiful way of describing the gulf between people who live in faith and secular persons. We who live deeply in our faith have what I call an "eternal perspective" - we see things not from the point of view of this brief life, but in terms of eternity, and what significance and meaning they have long after this brief life is over and we go to our reward. Secular persons can't appreciate that; not regarding faith, nor the teachers of the faith, nor the followers of faith.

I know - I was raised for the first eighteen years of my life as an atheist, believing that religion was for fools, that secular science would have the answers for all of life's questions, and that this life was all that was. I did not discover faith until adulthood, and living on my own. So I have lived on both sides of that gulf.

In my own faith, there are also writings describing this gulf. I think you would also have the same feeling in response to this, from early in John: "The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it." A few lines later, this is also written, regarding Jesus: "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him."

Does this describe how you feel when you are confronted by the gulf between faith and non-faith? Do you ever feel that you are "in the world, but not of it"? (also from John).

Thank you for sharing the passage you did, and the stirring you have within you at hearing it; I'm moved by it, and yes, faith and unbelief will indeed always be strangers to each other. It's certainly obvious from world events in the news just this week that those words, written centuries ago, are true today. I hope you will share more, and I look forward to this in the future.

I hope the Ramadan period just completed has been joyous and prosperous for you; I hope you will accept from me the wish (and please feel free to correct my spelling it I get this wrong): "Allah yubarak feek!"

- Keith

Renaissance Scientist said...

Thank you for your wish.

The concept of being in the world, and not of it is central to Islamic dogma and practice. I feel it all the time :)

George Carty said...

The reason I started reading Muslim blogs in the first place was a feeling of guilt after recoiling from a niqabi shop assistant...