Running…my form of “Da3wah”
I entered the children’s Museum on Sunday November 8th with my kids and husband, just one day after running the Monumental Marathon. (My fourth marathon). We walked through the World Religions gallery and a huge sign at the beginning of this exuberant gallery was a sign that read “When we learn about the religions of our neighbors, we’re better able to respect and communicate with one anther” Made me think to myself about the whole Runner’s World cover search contest and how that message carefully outlined one of my main goals for entering.
Being a stay at home mom for ten years to 3 great kids, really had me eager to get out and join the running community. Stay at home moms are so under appreciated. Connecting with the running community at large not only helped me get out of my comfort zone, but it has eased my apprehensiveness of running in hijab.
I had entered the Runner’s World Cover Search Contest on May 23, 2015. I gave this contest my all. Worked hard to gather up votes from Muslims, Non Muslims, and other faiths to support me in my endeavor to be picked as the Cover Winner. Even though I was not chosen for the cover, I thank God for this experience and I don’t regret a second of it!
Some muslims maybe thinking, how futile of you to think of running and marathoning while Muslims are drowning whilst escaping dictatorship and war. To them I respond, yes maybe thinking of running 24/7 may seem a bit naive to a non runner, but think about it this way; islamophobia is on the rise, what are you doing to defend islam? Our beautiful religion is being attacked. Through running I am hoping to change some opinions about hijabis, to dispel stereotypes, shed light on Muslim Americans who cover like me. And to most importantly, rid the negative image the media has portrayed about covered American Muslims.
Through every mile, marathon, and race I am finishing I come out renewed, refreshed, and rejuvenated with a little bit of hope that maybe I just changed someones mind about us. wouldn’t that be crazy?
Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian American social activist said activism is everywhere, anyone can be an activist for islam. It’s not by how many Sunnah’s you pray, or how long your skirt is, or by how many chapters of the Quran you’ve memorized (though all are significant). For me, da3a is when i’m lining up say at the Paris marathon, or the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, being the only hijabi representing my religion and my Muslim Americans. That is my form of activism and I’m using marathon running as my Platform.
I hope to inspire other Hijabi and stay at home moms to get out there. I hope to see major fitness retailers (Hello Nike!) represent us covered sisters in their ads and cater to our modest fitness needs. Wearing hijab means I’m guarding my modesty and respecting my body out of deep devotion to my Faith.
I know not everyone is a runner (unfortunately) and not everyone can understand what 16-18 weeks of training for a marathon is like, but just because i’m not a scholar or preaching the Quran shouldn’t undermine my cause. This is my form of Da3wah (spreading of positive message about Islam).
To my Muslim Americans, to my covered sisters, Go out there, find your form of Da3wah, and show your selves!