Family reunions or School reunions – whatever the case may be. I’m wondering if any Muslims attend reunions with the kuffar (or non- practicing Muslims) and what their experience is like. 

Nine years ago, I was living in Virginia and my High school alum had their 10 year reunion. I briefly considered going. At the time I was considering going, the number one obstacle was that I had recently started veiling. I started covering my hair and wearing an over-garment…properly in 1996. The reunion was in 1999 (c/o 89 Swoop Swoop Swoop!). By then, I was wearing the face veil, socks, gloves and dark color (black, brown, Navy Blue, Gray) abayahs (overcoat). I was totally comfortable wearing it, because really most of the people I knew dressed the same way, and I was not in Chicago around my family and old friends. So the possibility of returning to Chicago for my 10 year class reunion, got me to anticipating the response of my classmates. I remember seeing one of my classmates, who is from a Muslim family, at my cousin Yusuf’s funeral and she asked me why was I dressed like that. At that time I had on a pretty floral scarf and a pink jilbab, but I was the only person covered at the funeral and it was supposed to be a Muslim janazah! I thought about her response and wondered how I would be received dressed in all black from head to toe with only my eyes showing. These were not people meeting me for the first time. These are people who knew me and what I looked like and still had pictures of me.

I eventually decided not to go, after getting advised by Dawud Adib. He informed me of things that i had not taken into consideration. How there would be no way for me to avoid the haram (impermissible). There would be music, alcohol, intermingling of the genders…just to name a few of the obvious. The music and the alcohol would be reason enough, but those would not have been much of a fitnah (test) for me. Yes, it would be haram for me to be in that environment, but it’s not like it would have been calling out to me. However, the intermingling would have been a HUGE problem. I have recently joined four different alumni networks (Grammar School, High-school, High school Class, and University). Although, I never hung out with any specific clique, I was well known by most. imagine how flattered I was when the FINEST boy in my High school class asked ME if I still had a pretty smile! This was the finest boy – who dated the prettiest girl and he actually remembered me for having a pretty smile. I was more than flattered, considering here in Saudi most people can’t figure out how I got my husband and assume that my kids got their good looks from their father…mashallah. Now had that happened in person…lol…I probably would have whipped up my niqab and said, “what do you think?” Blush Blush… Naw I wouldn’t have done that, but you get my drift. Not to mention…it would be hugs and kisses for days. We are a touchy feely group where I hail from. Course, I know my limits and I would not even shake hands, but imagine how awkward and uncomfortable I would make everyone.

Even with my own Muslim family it’s difficult. I last saw my family eight years ago. At that time my cousin had been recently released from prison after serving a 10 year sentence for murder. My cousins are more like my brothers and this particular cousin looks EXACTLY like my brother. When I drove up, he saw me and came to the car. When he saw how I was dressed, he simply gave me salaams and took my daughter from me. I can still see the expression on his face. It was like he wanted to hug me, but something told him it would not be appropriate. All my cousins did the same thing and it was probably weirder for me than it was for them. I never once told them that they could not hug me, but some how they knew and kind of just left the room and let me sit with my father, Aunt and Uncle. When my cousin Yusuf was killed, my other cousin Shaheed was shot up pretty bad. This was shortly after I first started practicing Islam. I went to the hospital to visit him and out of all his visitors he reached out to hug me! I was like I don’t want to hurt you, because he was all bandaged up and hooked up on equipment, but in my mind I was like, “Oh no…I’m not suppose to hug you!” That was really weird because he was my little cousin all grown up. I was really close to him, because when he was 11 years old his 10 year old brother got killed and after that he stayed with me a lot. So ten years later when his older brother got killed, it was difficult for me not to comfort him the way I did when his younger brother was murdered.

i guess none of this really matters, because I am in Saudi with no plans of ever returning. i do miss my friends and family. However, I don’t miss my old lifestyle. I wonder how difficult this is for those of you who are still around your family and friends. I will admit that moving from Chicago, made practicing Islam a lot easier for me. Fortunately, most of my family and old friends have a lot of respect for my lifestyle and would try to make me as comfortable as possible. In turn, I would not want to make them uncomfortable. Even though it would be nice if all of those dear to me just accepted Islam! Open invitation!

My 20 year High School Reunion is approaching and I wonder how my classmates would react if I walked in looking like this: