• The Conversation
    Monday, 11:05 am - 12:00 pm
    [ - ]

Radio Islam Logo

((( Listen Live )))))
Radio Islam Logo

From a Bathing Suit to Hijab

From a Bathing Suit to Hijab
By Christian Hauser, Islamic Voice

SOMAYYAH was educated in a convent and as a teenager worked as a model and in cocktail lounges. Growing up in Ireland and Britain, she tried drugs and liquor land supported alcoholic and sometimes abusive parents. Years later the 25 year old Irish woman moved to the Gulf Arab Emirate of Dubai where, through books loaned by friends, she learned about Islam.

“I would go to the beach in my bathing suit and listen to Quran on my Walkman,” she said. “One day I was going to the beach in a taxi driven by a Pakistani who had Quran on the radio. I got there and put one foot on the ground to get out. “Then I looked at the taxi driver and said: ‘No, take me back home.’ I couldn’t go to the beach and take my clothes off.”

Now Somayyah, a school teacher who adopted the name of Islam’s first female martyr, will not leave her flat without covering herself from head to toe in Hijab. Since she converted her family has refused to see her.

In interviews, some said they converted because they were disillusioned by changes in their own religious traditions. Others said they were influenced by husbands or relatives or that they liked the sense of community.

Bilal Philips, 49, a Canadian who had worked for the Saudi air force religious affairs department in Riyadh and who was well-known as a TV religious presenter, said he belonged to the communist movement in Canada and the United States. “I became fed up. Basically I was searching for something meaningful,” he said of his conversion 24 years ago. Some US military personnel were exposed to Islam when they served in the Gulf war. Philips manned an Islamic information centre in a tent at an air force base in Dhahran. In the six months after the war 3,000 Westerners converted at the centre, 98 percent of them US servicemen or women, he said. They gave up alcohol but wearing Muslim attire and praying five times a day clashed with military duties.

“You got out of uniform as quickly as you could land put Hijab back on,” said one convert, Asma Markusson, a former US army reservist who grew up in Illinois wanting to be a nun. As for prayers “I had to catch my prayers when I could.”

An organisation called Muslim members of the military has now been set up in Washington to tackle such issues as prayer timings and wearing the Hijab.

Markusson said that when she arrived in Saudi in 1990 she had “strange ideas” about Muslims. “There was this chop-chop business,” she said, referring to amputations as Islamic punishment for crimes. “And then what about all of this harem stuff?” She now lives in Bahrain. Markusson gave up figure skating after she converted. Others stopped wearing cosmetics and bathing suits.

Jumana Sharpe, British woman who is the second wife of a UAE national, lost her business. “Putting on Hijab has been difficult for me. I had my own beauty salon and it did cause a stir with my mostly Western clients,” she said.

Westerners who converted say the hardest part is not the change in lifestyle but alienation from family and friends or discrimination when they return home wearing Hijab. Some women say they have had objects thrown at them. Jan Lifke said her passport was held at a US airport because officials couldn’t believe she was an American. “My mother told me I was going to hell when I told her I converted,” Markusson said.




Prime Spot!!!


Related Articles

ThE StyLe oF RaSuLuLLaH’s GaRmEnT…

  THE TROUSERS The Books of Hadith contain many authentic Hadith clearly explaining the style of Rasulullah's izaar. There is absolutely no difference of opinion among any of the innumerable authorities of the Shariah from the very inception of Islam that Rasulullah...

read more

Time Management

  INTRODUCTION You must have heard the stories from many people that as soon as I have more time, I shall enjoy life, buy a new house, publish a book, memorize the Quran, will give more time to the family members. In most cases, these "wishes" are not fulfilled. Have...

read more

Visiting the Ill – An Act of Great Reward

by Mufti Zubayr Bayat It is an established Sunnah and part of good Islamic etiquette to visit a sick person. The purpose of visiting can be several:1. To be reminded of one's won good health and to increase in Shukr (gratitude) to Allah for this bounty.2. To provide...

read more

Is your Ghusl Correct?

  CHECK THESE FACTS: ALL of YOUR PRAYERS ARE INVALID IF YOUR GHUSL IS NOT CORRECT. CLEANLINESS IS HALF OF FAITH. HERE IS THE METHOD OF GHUSL ACCORDING TO SUNNAH.Before making Ghusl one should make Niyyah (intention) thus: - "I am performing Ghusl so as to become...

read more

Salaam and the Handshake

  By: Haafiza Rayhana Omar-Muhammad Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullah, as Muslims we need to daily introspect - our lifestyles, our habits and our character - building (or breaking) etiquettes that form the essence of every human being..."Hath the story of Ebrahim's...

read more

Before It’s Too Late

  By Abu Iyad One of Satan's favourite tricks is to make people think and say, I will do such-and-such soon, in a little while, maybe tomorrow, or next week and so on. He makes them delay their actions making them feel secure and happy with the present. Some people...

read more

Subscribe to our Newsletter


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *