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MUSLIMS AROUND THE WORLD: Life of a Muslim in Long Beach, California

MUSLIMS AROUND THE WORLD: Life of a Muslim in Long Beach, California

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Recently, we had the chance to interview one of our customers, Mrs Nurasyikin Abdul Jalil who was previously a Singaporean and now currently resides at Long Beach with her American husband.
We will be sharing more interviews with #MuslimAroundTheWorld as we believe that there are many things to be discussed and shared among us globally.

 

Please tell us a little bit about yourself

My name is Nurasyikin Abdul Jalil. I'm a full-time housewife living in Long Beach, California, USA. My husband is an American with Egyptian ancestry. We have one offspring, a 10-year-old son.

 

 

Are u born there? 

I moved here right after marriage. I have lived in the US for 12 years - 8 years in Long Beach, California and 4 years in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Which part are you from initially? (Malaysia, Singapore, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh) or other parts of the world. 

I was born in Singapore and had most of my education in Australia. I now call three countries, Singapore, Australia, and U.S., home as they are all close to my heart.

 

How do you lead your life as a Muslim there? Is it easy for you to perform your prayers anywhere you go?

 I live my life normally like everyone else, trying to balance the demands of dunya and the race of preparing for akhirah. As a housewife, I don't have the worry of finding a place to perform my prayers outside. My husband has a flexible work schedule so he's not as affected either.

We are lucky, Alhamdulillah. However, there are many mosques across the country. Living in Los Angeles has its perks. The community is diverse and tolerant. Despite that, I personally am still wary about praying openly in a public area.

Considering the current climate and the misperception of Muslims among the western world, I just feel safer if I conduct my prayers at home or in a masjid. 

How do you cope with Islamophobia in US? Or there is nothing to worry. 

 

I have not come across any Islamophobia so far. I actually started wearing the hijab a few years after moving here, in 2014. I guess I was comfortable enough with my surroundings to start my hijrah here. At first, I was very conscious. I would think people are staring at me.

But they are not, it was just my mind playing games. Alhamdulillah, it has been a smooth process so far. I do get a lot of questions about my scarf and I use it as a way to educate about our religion. I volunteer at all the schools my son attends and I am probably the first and only hijabi Muslim that they've been close to. So I get silly questions from the kids and adults alike.

Questions like if I shower with my scarf on or if it's hot wearing it and if I wear it at home too. The adults often think I am forced to wear it by my husband but they are surprised when I tell them my husband has never imposed on me and it was my own decision as a way to be closer to Allah.

Wearing the hijab makes me stand out, it's like a declaration that I'm Muslim and I'm proud. I have been able to discuss with some people and answer their questions.

One of them even said I changed their perceptions of Muslims. The Western media can paint us a certain way but I'm glad I somewhat contribute to change the mindset of some. I think a lot of people here get confused about religion and culture.

Ultimately, there is religious freedom here. I am allowed to practice my religion freely as there are laws in place to protect me. Over here, there are nurses, doctors, police officers, others who hold high positions, and still wear the hijab. Sadly, even in my home country, wearing a hijab can be a deterrent for certain jobs.   

Do you shop in any Islamic shop in US? If yes, can you share with us some names for us to collaborate. 

I don't often shop at the Islamic stores here as I get to fly back to Singapore once a year. I buy whatever I need there or when I visit Malaysia. There's also the convenience of online shopping.

However, certain areas that have a large Arab community (Detroit, Michigan for example), usually have a few Islamic stores. There's a store in Anaheim, California, Al-Anwar Islamic Fashion is where I go once in a while if I need tasbih or a new sajadah. 

What surah/ ayat in Quran that you’d like to share and why do you choose this. 

"Allah does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear."

Surah Al Baqarah, Verse 286.

 

I chose this because, at the age of 28, I was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease that affected my kidneys. I later lost the function of my kidneys in late 2015 and had to undergo dialysis treatment for 3 years.

At that time, being told that I need to rely on a machine to stay alive, I was devastated. It was not an easy journey. Everything seemed dark. But that verse has kept me strong and positive.

 I kept going back to it. Whenever I feel down, it reminded me that Allah is always there to guide me through this difficulty. I took it all as a test because Allah loves me. Alhamdulillah, my prayers were answered fairly quickly. 

In December 2018, I was gifted a kidney from a cadaver.  I received a call on Dec 22nd that a kidney that matches me is available from a pediatric donor. It's almost two years since and I have been very thankful for Allah's blessings. Indeed, Allah will not burden a soul beyond their means. 

What would you advise to the Muslim ladies across other regions? 

Do not apologize for who you are and do not be afraid to have a voice. Historically, Islam is full of women who are strong. Khadija, Aisyah, Sumayyah bint Khayyat...so many more. Take time to read the history and use that as a motivator in your life.

What motivates you every day to do what you do? 

I believe Allah has a perfect plan for me and I shall not worry. Also, my son is my main motivator. He is an amanah from Allah and I will do my utmost best to perform my responsibilities. Plus, the dunya is only a small part of our life...there's a long journey before Jannah. 

Who's your everyday hero... and why? 

My Ibu is my hero. I believe I am a strong woman I am today because of her. She's just a normal mom but her gentle guidance up until today is what shaped me. 

 The interview is amazingly beautiful especially " Do not apologize for who you are'.  We wish Mrs Nurasyikin the best in her life and may she inspire more woman in her community and also the world, InsyaAllah.

           

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