Editor’s Note: It's time for our annual #LikeYouMeanItHH end-of-the-year reflection time when we discuss what it means to renew our intentions around hijab and various aspects of our lives. While in past years, we’ve reflected on what it means to "wear it [hijab] like you mean it," this year, that focus felt too narrow and out-of-touch with the realities of our current world and lives. These are difficult, challenging, painful, somber times - for a number of reasons. And we want to explore what it means to live and focus “like you mean it” against the backdrop of everything we are enduring. We invite you (and ourselves) to renew our intentions and reflect on what our faith, families, and commitment to fighting for justice mean to us.
Something is happening.
As Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank (and other places) are undergoing genocide and constant war and bombardment in the weeks since October 7, with thousands upon thousands of Palestinians and children martyred and millions more displaced from the rubble of their homes, so many of us around the world are learning impactful lessons through the immense strength and faith of Palestinians.
We are witnessing parents in Gaza say Alhamdullilah after losing their children to bombings. We are seeing medical professionals risk and lose their lives to give every single last bit of care that they can give to their patients. We are bearing witness to parents writing their names and their children's names on the limbs of their sons and daughters, so they might be identified if their body is blown up in the yet another bombing attack. We are seeing journalists providing coverage of the war losing their lives at an alarming rate.
And through it all, we are seeing in real time the almost other worldly faith and strength of Palestinians as they face genocide and destruction, their utter reliance on Allah (S) to protect them and provide them justice either in this life or the next. We see non-Muslims reading the Quran and making videos on social media, trying to understand where this trust in Allah and faith is coming from.
Bearing witness to all this is changing us. Something is happening, and as we explore the depths of what is important to us and where our intentions like in this month around our #LikeYouMeanItHH campaign, we asked you a question: What you have learned from Palestinians the past two months?
This is what you had to say:
Our former social media manager, Bayan Fares, at a protest last year. Image source: Bayan Fares.
1. I think collectively our perspective on what it truly means to have tawwakul is altered.
Absolutely. Tawakkul is defined as "the belief in the sufficiency of Allah (God) that invokes patience and efforts to achieve goals while accepting the outcomes unconditionally." Palestinians are a living embodiment of this.
2. It has given me a new purpose to my postgrad research - humanity in political economy.
Alhamdullilah. We hope this research will help affect positive change.
3. Oppressors say truth and justice are complicated. It isn't; it's covered up and we accept.
So true. Of course to understand the history of the region and what has happened, one must read, gather information, seek resources and take the time to learn and understand. But at the end of the day, oppression isn't a complicated thing to understand.
4. The du'a, Hasbunallahu wa ni-mal wakeel has engrained in my soul. I will live by this.
"Allah is enough for me, and He is the disposer of my affairs." Indeed once we truly accept that for ourselves, we can face anything. We will experience pain and grief, but we know Allah (S)'s plan is greater.
5. I talk to Allah (S) and do more du'a for others. I am reevaluating my life what I do and don't do.
Alhamdullilah sister. That's what our #LikeYouMeanItHH campaign is all about. What really matters to us? Why is social justice and fighting oppression important? What matters to us in our faith? The rest is dunya.
6. Palestine liberated me of my worldly desires of more money, bigger house. It changed me to the core.
Ameen, ameen, ameen. We think this has been happening for so many of us. There's nothing wrong in having nice things, but what benefit is there in always desiring more material goods and focusing solely on that? We must center deen and balance it with dunya.
7. I prayed tahajjud after three years, despite my personal issues with God. I did for the Palestinians.
Alhamdullilah. So many of us are becoming more regular and stronger in our prayer, even praying tahajjud.
8. My dhikr has increased tremendously, Alhamdullilah.
It's like we all are being shown that anything can happen, anything can be taken from us . Our lives and loved ones aren't promised to us. So we return to dhikr and prayer.
9. I feel like Palestine is literally re-wiring my entire brain. Forever changed.
May Allah (S) forgive us for our failures and wrongdoings of the past and accept and keep us on the path we are on .
10 . I have understood the need for us to be confident and unapologetic for the sake of Islam.
Ameen, sis. Being confident, strong, kind, compassionate and unapologetic in who we are is something we've always strived for at Haute Hijab and something we have tried to instill in the communities we serve. We are proud to be who we are, and we are unapologetic about our authentic selves and our place in this world, as a part of our global humanity.
What lessons have you learned these past few months? Share with us in the comments below.