Guess what! I went from home to Manila and back wearing hijab. 🙂 It felt sooooooooooo right!
At the train stations and on the trains I would notice some people looking at me or hesitating stand or sit near me. I felt like they were all on their guard. It was weird when I shared the train with a nun. People seemed more at ease seeing a nun than seeing a Muslimah in hijab. Anyway, It’s okay.
I saw one Muslimah on the train to Manila. She was frowning the whole time. After seeing her, I thought I should not be like that. I remained pleasant during the trip and would smiled at those people who looked at me. A lot of them smiled back. 🙂
I was able to go and pray at the Golden Mosque in Quiapo Manila, and was able to get my prayer mat and Qibla finder at nearby stores. I also was able to interact with some Maranao Muslims. They recognized that I’m not from any of the tribes and that I am a revert. People who knew were just so happy and kept offering help.
The Golden Mosque looks beautiful outside and in the men’s prayer area. The ablution area and prayer area for women, sadly are not well maintained. It looks like the prayer area for women have not been visited and cleaned for months. I have an impression that no Muslimahs really go and pray there regularly. Because if there were, they would for sure help out clean and maintain the place. When I was there, the men at the gate were surprised when I asked where the ablution and prayer areas were. And I was the only woman in the mosque.
It made me a bit sad. The mosque is at the center of a big Muslim community and no Muslimahs go there.
After my visit to the masjid, I went around Manila. How people live there is completely different from how people live in my city. I saw a lot of beggars, and people desperate to sell things or offer services for money. I didn’t see much pleasant faces, everybody seemed poor, tired, worried.
Then I realized my problems are too small compared to others. How can I be so blind and selfish?