The Nun and the Muslimah

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You respect her,

While you suspect me.

You smile at her,

And you widen your eyes at me.

You don’t question her lifestyle, so different from yours,

Yet I am alienated despite having more in common.

She vows never to marry,

While marriage and children is encouraged for me and you.

Her head dress doesn’t bother you at all,

But mine is abominable.

Her choice is accepted, life long vows and all

While I am viewed as oppressed, lacking free will.

Even you, o nun, question my hijab

While I have nothing but respect for you.

What is it that makes her so acceptable

And me so suspect-able?

We both love our God and our religion.

We both cover our hair and protect our modesty.

We both pray in our own ways.

Yet such different treatment,

I am forced to experience.

You respect her,

While you suspect me.


I work in an environment where there are nuns both working with me and being cared for and looked after by me. I have a first hand experience of how differently nuns get treated compared to myself. I won’t lie, sometimes this hurts, but I’ve learnt to accept it and be patient with it. However, I needed to express this experience in some way.

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32 thoughts on “The Nun and the Muslimah

  1. hiddenpositives says:

    This was so powerful and beautifully written. I’m sorry the world is so unfair to you, I live in constant hope of a better tomorrow. So wherever you are in the world, just know I’ve got your back and my contact page is always open🙏🏼❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. thetoleranceparadox says:

    I am sorry that you feel the object f suspicion. There is no excuse for treating a person badly because they hail from a different culture and inherit a different heritage.

    Your poem takes as its central theme the contrast between the way non-Muslims react to the hijab and the nun’s habit, and presents this as irrational as both garments are similar. But the difference is not due to the garment as an item of clothing at all: it is in the meaning the item is worn to express.

    Why do you think many non-Muslims (such as myself) are suspicious of Islam as a value system? In your opinion is it due to simple dislike for the unlike (in which case do you think it would be the same if you wore a traditional Hindu/Sikh headscarf); is it because of a widely held misunderstanding about Islam or is there a genuine clash of values going on – and if so where do you think the crux of the difference lies?

    Your poem presents how you feel, but might such a poem have added depth if you could express how you think the people who are suspicious of you feel.

    ‘To understand all is to forgive all.’

    Liked by 1 person

    • Safiyah says:

      So please tell what is the meaning of a nun’s habit worn to express?
      At the end of the day, the reasoning behind people’s suspicions is based on prejudice and fear mongering media portrayals. They’ve got nothing to do with me. I treat everyone with kindness and respect and excuse me if I dare to expect the same regardless of my religion.
      I wrote this poem on my blog to express my own feelings… Why don’t the people who are suspicious of me think about how I feel as well then?

      Liked by 2 people

      • thetoleranceparadox says:

        The nun’s habit represents a decision by the wearer to devote her life in peaceful prayer in the Christian tradition. The Christian ethic is to love one’s neighbour – by which is meant everyone one comes across – as oneself, to forgive wrongs and to examine one’s own conscience rather than judge others.

        The hijab represents the wearer’s committment to Islam: which is primarily expressed in the words of the Quran and the example of Mohammed. It is clear that the later Medinan verses of the Quran assume a violent campaign of conquest against unbelievers and enforcement of strict, often quite arbitrary, laws with severe punishments.

        Now I didn’t write the Gospels and you did not write the Quran. I am sure from your writings that you mean no one any harm. But the values of Islam as it is stated in the Quran and practised and preached by Mohammed are, sadly, a threat to a way of life based upon secular democracy and individual liberty.

        Again, sadly, this is not prejudice or fear mongering. I set out my thoughts in considerable detail in The Tolerance Paradox, without any hatred or polemic: just undisputed facts and inevitable conclusions.

        If you think I have said anything in that tract that you feel is untrue or unjustified, then please let me know. I really want to be accurate and fair. But, for your part, don’t simply demonise non-Muslims for feeling threatened.

        Thank you for your response.
        Conversations such as this are rare, but I feel valuable. Even if honestly held opinions are difficult to hear, understanding one another by expressing them respectfully must better than retreating into echo chambers.

        Like

    • beardedgeezer says:

      Am sorry mate but the principle of the hijab and the habit is the same so I think you should learn a bit more about that and then talk.that’s 1.
      No one should suspect none because of what they are wearing or because of their faith.are you telling me that more than a billion muslims around the world should be suspected just because they are muslims?
      When really if you really wanna know the truth muslims are the first affected by acts of terror.in some cases even from western governments.thats 2.
      And I wonder if you ever been abroad or have you ever been to a Muslim country where we all know the British and the American troops in a way invaded that country?
      I bet people don’t suspect you just because you are white when probably their family members are being bombarded by “white troops”
      Last but not least,My man,I think you should think before you say anything because your words say a lot about you.
      If I respect you and treat you nicely I think the least I expect from you is respect let alone if I care for you.
      You,and the people like yourself,should know and really start thinking about what’s going on around them bruv and I don’t want to go into much details.
      ‘To understand all is to forgive all’
      And this is mine…
      ‘To understand all is to try and learn about all’

      Liked by 2 people

      • Asiya says:

        I disagree with you, The Christians will go to hell if they don’t except Islam the one and only true religion. I think that it’s not fair for the Muslims that they are any different than anyone else. I mean, people are always trying to make it seem as though the Muslims are in the wrong or that they should be looked down upon. Even in the news, they do so, May Allah guide us all, Ameen.

        Like

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