Friday, January 8, 2016

Religious Muslim Women

But some Pharisees said, “You shouldn’t be doing that! It’s against the law to work by harvesting grain on the Sabbath.” Luke 6:2

Hadil started attending ESL school shortly after arrival in Canada. Never before had she been around other people than her own. The students were from China, Korea, Japan, Ethiopia, Somalia, and Iraq. It was hard for her to process that there were unbelievers in her class. Only a couple of the Muslim women wore scarves. To Hadil wearing  a hijab signified that a woman was a pious or religious Muslim.  It was the first time ever for her to have this exposure and she didn’t know what to make of it. In her mind religious women should  pray five times a day, wear a hijab, and not be in a mixed gender situation. She felt uncomfortable and shy speaking with men in the class. Her daily routine was drastically altered. She couldn’t say her nimaz at the prescribed times and the guilt from that overwhelmed her. Attending school during Ramadan was exhausting. Hadil was unsure of allowing me to visit her initially. Everything about me was being watched to see if I was religious or not which mostly revolved around what I ate or how I dressed. "Hadil, why do you always wear your hijab in the house even when no man is around?" I asked.  “Habit,” she said. “My teenage daughter wears her hijab even going into her bedroom.” One time I took a cake to her but she was suspicious of it because it had vanilla in it. When I asked her if she ever drank alcohol she literally shuddered and said, “I don’t even get close to it. I will never touch it.” Her life revolved around rules. Keeping rules meant she was pious or religious. Questions were not asked. Obedience to the rules should be kept. It was hard to detect if she really was spiritually inclined wanting to know God personally or simply living by rules and fear of condemnation from God if they were not kept.

It was fascinating listening to Rahima share her journey of faith towards Christ. There was little mention of keeping rules; although I knew that she had been a practicing and pious Muslim woman. Rather Rahima was desperately trying to find God and discover if he loved her. She wanted a relationship with God which she understood was found through reading the Qur'an and honoring her prophet Mohammed. I was amazed that there was not much fear of God's punishment and condemnation but rather a deep longing to know God. When she prayed or read the Qur'an she found peace but when the praying and reading were over the peace would vanish and that plagued her. Why did the peace always vanish? Then dreams which had spiritual meaning to them started coming. One day a believer gave her a Bible in her language. Through reading the Bible she discovered how her longing to have a relationship with God could become a reality. "I discovered that Jesus is God."  

I am always searching for spiritually inclined Muslim women. Just because they act or look religious does not mean that they are spiritually inclined. It is helpful to discuss the difference between being a religious woman and a spiritual woman. A spiritual woman wants to find and know God.  She just needs to be told how that is possible.

Dear heavenly Father, lead me to spiritually inclined Muslim women so that I may point them towards Jesus Christ.