Posted on June 13, 2010
Peace! Fifteen years ago, I started calling myself “HijabMan.” Dissatisfied with the community of Muslims surrounding me, I donned this new moniker to attract attention and created a web site chronicling my struggles as a first-generation American Muslim of South Asian descent. But a lot has happened since then… read more
A Little History
Idthkar Allah, “Remember God” commands the graffiti at the end of one of the tunnels that ease the passage from Al-Azhar mosque to Khan al-Khalili bazaar. I used to crave those tunnels, despite their eerie feel. They provided both a cool refuge from the sweltering Cairo summer as well as recording studio-like acoustics for the blind Qur’an reciters who sat in them. The recitation of the revelation would embrace me each time I passed through. It was hard to let go until the day I looked up and found a reminder. Idthkar Allah.
My name isn’t HijabMan, but you are free to call me that. At 14, I began this site as a way to reflect on the sights I’ve seen, the people I’ve met, and my life as a whole. Now, over a decade later, HijabMan has expanded to include expressions of my own creativity through a shop full of products, wedding and event photography services, and a blog. It functions, quite literally, as a forum through which I can discover and pursue what I love and maintain friendships with people all over the world— some of who I still haven’t met. It should go without saying that I am thankful for all of this, and for all of you.
Right around the time I finished my Bachelor’s degree, I mentioned on this blog that I wished to be a spiritual leader of a mosque, and so I began on that path, deciding to live in Syria for a little bit, in search of some sacred knowledge. If you can call self-knowledge sacred, well then that is what I found. I thought a lot about what I would be best suited for, On my return to the US, I landed what I like to call my ‘holding pattern’ job as a technical support specialist at a small legal services company. It was there that I stayed for 3 years until I was laid off due to the worsening U.S. economy. Ultimately the pink-slip was for the best, and I knew it. In fact, when my boss told me I was being laid off I started laughing happily. She was confused, but glad that I was taking it so well!
The positivity paid off, and I used the free time to leverage the network I had built (and continued to build) through this web site to become a wedding photographer. Within a few short months, I had made enough of a name for myself that a couple flew me to Malaysia to photograph their wedding.
“The Wheel weaves as The Wheel wills,” as they say, and I just happened to meet my wife and daughter at the wedding of that same couple. I ended up moving to Malaysia for a year to be with them, and now we’re back in the States a year and a half later. We’ve just bought a house, and I’m in love with my [relatively] new roles as husband and father.
You may use my writings, if proper credit is given to me with a link back to hijabman.com. If you do happen to use one, let me know. I’d be curious to know where it has been.
I hope to make hijabman.com a resource center. My passions are many and varied, you’ll see that reflected in the posts.
On my approach to islam
“But as for those who strive hard in Our cause -We shall most certainly guide them onto paths that lead unto Us: for, behold, God is indeed with the doers of good.” (Qur’an 29:69)
Namely, the word “Islam” is used in the Holy Qur’an with a deeper dimension than a creed to be compared to other creeds, or a set of social or cultural customs and traditions of certain societies who carry this label. Rather, Islam in the Holy Qur’an points to a living Truth that transcends names, labels, languages, and/or religious affiliations. – The Book Of Character
If you walk into your average mosque, you’ll hear, “Islam is a way of life!” And then they’ll go on to tell you the “islamic” way of blowing your nose. They see Islam as a way of life in the “It-Tells-You-How-To-Do-Everything!” kind-of way. I do not see it that way.
For me, being a muslim means to being a champion for all good, just causes on Earth. Read more about my approach. I highly recommend that you do so, since this approach is the reason hijabman.com exists.
HijabMan is also referenced in:
How Does It Feel to Be A Problem?: Being Young And Arab In America by Moustafa Bayoumi
Encyclopedia of Muslim-American history: Volume 1 by Edward E. Curtis
Osama Van Halen by Michael Muhammad Knight
From Imam to Cyber-Mufti: Consuming Identity in Muslim America by Saminaz Zaman
American Muslims: South Asian Contributions to the Mix by Karen Leonard (full article)
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