There Is Nothing Wrong With America That Cannot Be Cured by What's Right With America

As mentioned by Hijabee in D.C. , while many tourists flooded Washington (D.C.) to attend the 4th of July celebrations, to honor America's 233rd anniversary, I, along with about 35,000 Muslims had other plans. I attended the 46th annual ISNA convention merely blocks away from the Capitol. Sprinkled with speaking greats, Imam Siraj Wahaj, Zaid Shakir, Suhaib Webb, Shaykh Hamzah Yusuf, and talent like Baba Ali, Ms. Latifa, Native Deen,  and The Great Seneca there was no shortage of Muslim pride.

To walk away from the convention broke in pocket, rich in soul, and not afraid to stand alone, I'm glad we were in the nations capitol. Just shy of of President Obamas' humble estate, we stood proudly gathered, celebrating the very ideals this country was founded on, freedom of religion, the right to assemble and the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

That was our story but, this is my story. And my story involves one of my best friends, Zahra and one of our closest family friends Saffiyah.

Part I- The Approach

The Infamous Leggings
I knew D.C. was about a 10 hr trip but, it never occurred to me that we'd actually be in the car for 8+ hrs. So when we left at about 3:3o am the sun was down, and it never crossed my mind that eventually the sun would come up.

This fact may or may not have influenced our decision to wear grey-1986 inspired-leggings. Meaning by hr 7, I was left to pump gas in a city with 1500 people in nothing but a hijab, grey leggings, and an MSA national shirt.



Part II- The Arrival

We arrived safely only to realize we had to pick up other people so we parked in a lot advertised for 6$ that apparently, "meant to say 10$" I tried telling the operator he was ripping us off by not only 4$ but, since we didn't park there, the entire 10$. "10$" he replied, "not my problem."

I made it his problem and we parked for free.

Part III- The ISNA Convention

Saturday ,we attended some lectures/made ourselves useful to society. Most of our day was spent volunteering with MSA [Muslim Student Association] and MYNA [Muslim Youth of America] and when I say volunteering.
bazaar pics

Black Henna

The Bazaar this year was interesting. It was a bit weak-- which can easily be blamed on the economy/recession. But, that didn't stop me from splurging on hijabs, pins, and unnecessary accessories.

Part IV- The Spark (Light Upon Light)

Waiting for our signal to begin Shaykh Hamza Yusuf finally stood and firmly mounted the podium. He calmly began staring out across the masses of 6-56yr olds poised with precision and spoke, "Never apologize for who you are, aren't, or were," and with those words my eyes filled to the brim. How could they not? Whether is was arguments with friends, foes, professors, or prostitutes, for the past 6 months of my life I've blamed their shortcomings on my insecurities and accepted blame for the Muslim I am. I allowed my self to be every mans scapegoat and every woman's whipping boy. But, how could I? How, in good faith, could I apologize for the very religion that made me who I am? How could I back down from who I'm becoming because, I'm afraid of who I was? I swallowed the tears and wrote with fierce texture moving from my palm to the back of a program. If I gained nothing from this conference but, this moment, it would be a moment I will never forget.He continued, telling stories of animated cartoons like Pinocchio, who spent too much of his youth in fantasy island and not enough in reality, allowing the characters he was to be tempted by who he despised. And that, he says is why the problem with youth, is that it's wasted on the young. I'm far from fantasy island yet treat this life like it's permanent, allowing the whored-up sororities girls of my party-harty university in the sky to influence the woman I'm becoming.

He shared with us that July 4th is actually an Islamic holiday/Independence day, as it's the day that Jerusalem was liberated (Crusades). So much history, so much pride, and this is what I'm afraid to express almost 234 days out of the year. I'm afraid of just one name being called, or stone being thrown. But, it was in his statement, "Never apologize for your religion," that I realized I am an embodiment of this deen (religion). And so when I deny who I am physically, I'm denying who I am entirely.Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. And with decisions come, again, the very foundations upon which this nation is founded, the ongoing struggle to maintain life, liberty, and that pursuit of happiness. I'm just as American as Pablo, Pedro, or Ahmed from down the way so why is it that I have to apologize for what I am, when it's everything you need.

It was in the that moment I realized, I'm taking my very life, youth, and freedom for granted. Or at least, I was. Freedom means choosing your burden, for freedom, is not enough. Every man dies, but, not every man lives. And so today my heart rings of liberty bells, and spiritual wells. I am free, not because I claim freedom, but because I practice freedom.

Trip Highlights//Inside Jokes

  • Introducing Zahra to the world of Slurpees and Big Gulps
  • Meeting a 35(ish) yr.old woman in the bazzar asking about whether or not I was single. I did the honest thing and replied 'yes,' to which she introduced me to her husband :|
  • Loosing 2 lbs!

Best Part of D.C. Road Trip 2009

Knowing who I am; because the best part to leaving home is coming home.


Anonymous said...

How beautiful, Mashallah! Looks like you girls had a great time, I read you alot and wonder if I saw you :)

ModestJustice said...

Glad you had a great time!
That seemed like so much fun dangit! I was spent in the back of the family car watching fireworks from across the bridge.

And the threatening part? O.O Seriously?

Either way, you came back learning more! :D

iMuslimah said...


Marwa said...

Black Henna? I'm officially jealous.
Your mother is STILL hilarious, and those leggings are sexy, the MSA should be proud.

Constructive Attitude said...

I didnt know ISNA was going to be so early in the year. thats weird.

Lisa said...

I just awarded you at my public blog! Love you lots!

Sukkar&Filfil said...

profound; the whole "never apologise for who you are/your deen", and it was even more interesting to see how that affected you. btw, your sisters are funny (the one with the police man on speeding, and zahra)

Yo Bro Fa Sho said...

How exactly did you not anticipate the sun coming up?


z-dizzle said...

the leggings were one of my favorite parts, i mean at least you weren't wearing shorts ;)

Black henna is beyond awesome!

S.H.Y made me cry a bit too, his words really hit home for me

sounds like the BEST trip EVER!!!!!!

hijabee said...

LOL,that was a great report :) Glad you had fun! and S.H.Y is so inspirational as usual

LiLu said...

DOOD, I live a block from the Convention Center and saw them all weekend! Too funny.

PerplxinTexan♥ said...

Ano- We did have a great time, next time you'll have to email me so we can meet up or something!

MJustice- Haha, the sad part is we didn't even see the fireworks although people were setting em' off EVERYWHERE around DC, was kinda illegal actually. But, great fun.

iMuslimah- Thanks, it really was a great experience to be had.

Marwa- MSA National would probably curdle if they knew a state rep was parading around in such a way. I mean at least I was representing. ;)

CA- ISNA during Ramadan? lame. Get with it missy.

P.S. How was your trip ?

PerplxinTexan♥ said...

@ Lisa- Thanks will be by to make it up later, hopefully!

@ Sukkar- Didn't think anyone would actually read that, it was a moving moment for me and glad I could share it.

@ Brother Dearest- Thanks for the comment. You still suck. give me money.

@ Zahra- Way to never comment you lame. I love Fifi too. Those leggings made the trip, don't hate. Lets eat and do the stanky leg in public again soon.

P.S. Jamal got shot.

@ Hijabee- Thanks! Yours was equally as exciting. Next time inshallah we'll have to meet up, get chai, shop, or just salams will do.

@Lilu- yeah "we" were every where just infesting your lovely little drunken town. Which I knew you lived so close woulda stopped by and brought you some booz...er...a surprise!

Yasemin said...

I wish I went with you especially to see Siraj Wahaj! I was amazed by your composure as you were pulled over. Love the henna as well! Love you sweetie.