February 6, 2014 § 6 Comments
The English countryside was a realm of endless imagination for me. As a child, long drives to Birmingham and other cities consisted mostly of me staring out the window spotting horses and sheep. Driving through winding and twisting country lanes was thrilling, the sky covered by overlapping branches made it seem like a tunnel to another world. Of course no countryside daydream was complete without a mansion, or horses. Something out of Pride and Prejudice perhaps.
Fast-forward 9 years or so, I began to understand the prejudiced opinions and stereotypical looks that came with wearing Hijab. I suppose the idea of a country life moved to the back of my mind,with being busy with school and exams. I was always self conscious of what people would think of me, and ever aware of any one staring at me longer than they should.
My family then decided to move house. More out of necessity than choice, and some how the search lead us into the Chiltern Hills, Hertfordshire. A whole new way of life, new people and new habits. So different from the cultural suburbs of London. It was thrilling but lonely. The sunset on the canal across the road, the snow on the hills, the field of horses I would walk through. The woods. The deer. To me, it was like being in an epic fantasy novel (without all the fantasy stuff). It was pondering Allah’s (SWT) creation when I was walking through it. It was more beautiful than sitting in a room and thinking about it.
Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. Quran 3:190
The walks were the best part, we hardly came across anyone, and the neighbours were friendly enough. However going into town was a completely different affair. I would often get nervous of what the townspeople would think of a girl walking an Abaya. I hardly ever went into town, even going to the library was terrifying. (Imagine what the secretary was thinking when she saw me walk in with 7 other siblings. She probably thought I was their mother).
Fast-forward a year and a half. My family now live in a town on the border of Wales and England. My confidence has grown, and now I can walk through the town with my head held high. The walks are very different. And the winters longer. And I want to share my experiences with you all. I can only thank Allah SWT for the blessings and opportunities he has given me. Alhamdulillah.
Your sister in Islam