I became a Muslim on October 20, 2020 – so today is Day 29. When one becomes a Muslim one becomes a BeeBee again – so I am 29 days old. Yes, indeed I am. Some people view with amusement the accouterments of my conversation to the faith. My hair stylist Kim laughingly calls me the Muslim Virgin, she dubbed me that when I was having a blow dry on Sunday. By the way she said I could give her name and location. She is excellent (and she is funny) So it is Kim P at Altogether Different Hair Design, 47 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, Telephone number is 510-418-4559.
Me: But what if all kinds of people start calling for appointments and you have no time for me.
She: I will always have time for the Muslim Virgin.
Me: OK then
The photograph appended to this blog is her latest creation. She is also very good with head scarves. No it is a little unusual to get one’s hair blow dried once a week and then cover it with a headscarf. When she learned of the head scarf requirement she said:
She: Do you have to wear a head scarf?
Me: Well there are no head scarf police or anything but I believe if you are going to do something – you do it right. Throw yourself into it, otherwise why bother?
She: You make a good point.
I feel comfortable wearing a head scarf in Marin – not fearing humiliation because people in Marin are very politically correct. San Francisco is another matter – particularly the neighbourhood in which I currently reside (for two more weeks). Then it is back to Marin for me, where I lived from 1973 until 2014 (when I went to London). The move back seems like a new chapter of my life, not a resumption of the old for many reasons. A primary factor is that I have lost touch with my former ‘friends’ and have no particular urge to renew their acquaintance. The years away changed and transformed me – they want the Old Alexis back but they ain’t getting her. Instead there is Ayla, which is my Muslim name. I do not think they would be happy with that, not happy at all and quite frankly, I do not really care. I need to be making new friends, friends in the faith. Allah says that this is important – it is in the Quran. It does make sense, because one’s values change when you are observant. It is best to be observant, otherwise why bother? Personal Driver’s wife and daughter are in Pakistan – having clothes made for me. So I shall look like a woman of the Islamic faith – except for my blue eyes. Oh well!
I have very recently learned of an Islamic scholar, through the auspices of Personal Driver and his son. His name is Zahir Naik and here is some of his teachings and viewpoints. The quotes are taken from Wikipedia. I do give others the courtesy of quoting my sources. By the way auspices has further words to describe it: patronage, aegis, umbrella, protection, keeping, care; support, backing, guardianship, trusteeship, guidance, supervision.
“Naik has called the media “the most important tool rather the most dangerous weapon in the world, which converts black into white and a villain into a hero”. He suggested that, “We should use the same media to remove the misconceptions, misquotations, misinterpretations, and misrepresentations about Islam.”He claimed, western powers and media play a double-standard strategy, who describe Muslims as extremists and fundamentalists to defame Islam. He said, “The maximum damage done to the image of Islam today is by the international media which is bombarding misconceptions about it day and night using an array of strategies. International media, be it print, audio, video, or online, use a number of strategies to malign Islam by first picking up the black sheep of the Muslim community, and portraying them as though they are exemplary Muslims. Naik also claimed the “third and fourth” strategy by international media is “to pick a word from Quran or sunnah and mistranslate it” and “to malign Islam by saying something that does not belong to it”.
Naik also said, “If a Muslim woman wears hijab or veil it is labeled as women subjugation, but if a nun does to the same it turns into a sign of respect and modesty. A 50-year-old Muslim marrying a 16-year-old girl (willingly) is a headline, but a 50-year-old non-Muslim raping a six-year-old girl appears as brief news or filler. They say Islam does not give rights to women, and is an illogical religion. They portray Islam as the problem of humanity though it is the solution to all man’s problems. The same applies to the misinterpreted words ‘fundamentalist’ and ‘extremist’ which are basically western words. A true Muslim must be an extremist in the correct direction, by being extremely kind, loving, tolerant, honest and just. While Indians were fighting for their freedom, the British government was labelling them as terrorists; same activity, same people, but two different labels. The same happened with Muslims who are labelled as terrorists in media, so we should look into backgrounds and reasons for an activity before labelling people.”
He criticizes the portrayal of Muslims in films saying, “Hundreds of movies were made in Hollywood to malign the image of Islam that a non-Muslim gets scared when he heard a Muslim saying ‘Allah Akbar’, thinking that he is going to kill him. If anyone really wants to know how good Islam is, he or she has to study its authentic sources; theglorious Quran and Hadith rather than looking to its followers (Muslims) as is the case with a motorist whose reckless driving should be blamed for an accident rather than the latest Mercedes car he was driving. The best exemplary Muslim is the last and final messenger prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.” He also criticized media for “pick(ing) up Muslims who criticised Islam like Salman Rushdie, and giv(ing) them awards”, saying, “If a Muslim does something great, they may give him credit but ignore his religion or change his Muslim name like the Aristotle of the East, Avicenna, whose real name was “Ali Ibn Sina”
So the two men gave me care, support and guidance and it was possible for me to discover and savor Zahir Naik.
Now you have reached the end and shall see a photograph of me, taken by Kim. I have a head scarf but it is possible to show a little bit of hair if you are post menopausal. I certainly am that at the ripe of old age of 77.