“I can’t marry you!!” He said with an astonishment as she reached him.
“Sorry? I don’t get you.”
Marylin asked unbelievingly, who just came to the cafe.
“You!!! Marylin – I don’t want to marry you.”
He cried again.
“We’ve been engaged for 7 years. Everything was fine between us even though we stayed in separate states. I thought you’ll be happy to see me. You told me that you missed me..”
Marylin said with disappointment.
She couldn’t believe what he just said.
“Yes! It has been 7 years to our engagement. And I’ve always missed my love. But you aren’t the one I fell in love with. You’re changed.”
He looked at her glowing face on which the shades of agony were obvious.
“I still don’t get you Ray. I’m still same. Your Marylin.” She tried to hold his hand.
“No!!” Ray pulled away his hand.
“You aren’t her. She was beautiful. You’re so…
covered”, he completed his sentence looking at her Hijab and she knew what was his concern.
“Are you talking about my Hijab?”
“Of course ! Since when you started covering head and chest? And you never told me about it?” He complained.
“I started wearing it recently. And I wanted to tell you but I knew that you’ll never understand my feelings. So I waited for you to come and see me.”
He was listening to her quietly.
“This isn’t wrong, Ray. I’ve been studying the religion of Islam for six months and believe me after reading the verses and the quotes from their Holy book, I just loved Hijab. I feel myself very special and very secure.” She smiled.
“You’ve been brainwashed. I don’t know who is behind this but you aren’t the girl I loved and I wanted to marry.” Ray said rudely.
“Nobody brainwashes a strong soul. I’m a well learned girl. I’m independent and invulnerable. I always took wise decisions; either that was to marry you when I was Marylin who was unaware of this beautiful religion or that is to wear a Hijab today and tending to convert into a Muslim.”
Ray flinched as he listened to her.
“What’s wrong with you? I’m warning you to stop being an idiot and get back to your normal being.”
She looked at him sarcastically, “Normal? What is normal to you? Wearing short skirts? Showing off my skin? Unveiling my cleavage? To be an eye candy for others? Is that being normal to you?
I want to keep myself covered because it makes me feel happy that I’m not being a pleasure for someone. You think if I’ll wear Hijab and if I’ll convert into a Muslim, practicing the Islamic teachings, I’ll be an idiot?
No ! Whatever I’m wearing, however I’m praying that is between me and my God.
Islam never pressurizes us.
It expands our thinking.
I’m still studying it and learning a lot. When I used to wear exposing clothes I was actually sating other men, sometimes women too. But since I’ve started covering myself I feel secured. I feel pure.” She went on saying knowing not the restless Ray was feeling.
“You’ve got insane. I don’t why am I trying to convince you..” He stood up.
“Exactly!” She started saying before he could leave.
“Why are you trying to convince me? You call me brainwashed. I’ve been studying and trying to implement the basic principles on myself for last 6 months. How many times did I say to you that I’m going to marry you only if you’ll also accept Islam?
How many times did I ask you to change your lifestyle? Did I ask you to avoid drinking and music and to start researching on the religion which inspired me so much? I never did that. Because to accept Islam doesn’t mean to force others for something they aren’t ready to leave.
Nobody forced me to accept it but my heart wished to know about it, learn it and adopt it.
I never tried to talk to you about this in these six months. Then why do you want me to be changed?
I knew you don’t have great views about Muslims like many of us but I was still waiting for you, looking forward to our marriage but you just said in one glance that you can’t marry me.
So tell me now who is more flexible and more open to accept differences.
Who is more narrow-minded here?
Who holds the grudges inside against a religion that one is totally unaware of?
So listen to me now I don’t want to marry anyone who discriminates between religions and religious practices. I don’t want to marry a man who doesn’t respect a woman when she’s covering her head.
Wearing short and exposing clothes isn’t modernism. Modernize your mentality which doesn’t allow you to let your woman live the way she wants to. If she isn’t comfortable in wearing broad necks, short dresses then accept it. Don’t treat her like a whore. Value her and her purity.
She is your woman. Don’t display her. Make her feel special not only by loving her but by respecting her choices and by not publicizing her as your property.
Ray, I loved you and wanted to marry you with a belief that you’ll eventually understand because you love me, trust me. I don’t know but now I don’t even want to explain you more about m feelings towards the religion I’m completely going to accept.
To me all the religions are same from the beginning. They’re highly respectful and esteemed. But now I want to be recognized as a Muslim. I want to follow the Islamic teachings. I want to learn the way they offer prayer. I want to feel the power of that belief that the entire universe is controlled by one energy. That’s unseen, unheard but is there around us – taking care of us, strengthening us. I want to feel the completeness and glory after I cover skin and when no one else can see it but the only one who’ll be my husband.
You know, your modernism is limited till the clothing while my modernism makes me explore why two religions are different? Why people even after facing so much negativity are always ready to pray on a mat as soon as they hear a call from the mosque.
My modernism tells me to respect every person either comes out of a church or a temple or a mosque. My modernism makes believe that people may have different choices but we can’t claim that others are wrong only because our ideologies differ. Alas you won’t understand this because you’re mentally caged. I can’t marry a caged man.”
Saying this, she walked away leaving him behind with many questions.