Unapologetic Black Muslim Woman
“Take me as I am,
fashioned from Gold Dust,
an awareness embedded
in the blackest blackest skin,
soul shining brightly,
a facilitator of joy,
and life and love.
Take me exactly as I am,
just a beautiful black woman.”
Black Muslim Woman. I’ll ‘say’ that again. Slowly this time. Black. Muslim. Woman. How do these words sit with you? Do you see yourself in them? Or are they perhaps disquieting, jarring?
I find myself thinking so much more about these intersecting elements these days. For me they form only a portion of who I am, the things that make me, me; Though these particular elements of my personhood are outwardly very apparent and easy to decipher upon first setting sight on me. They have often come with a sense of otherness here in the UK. A sense of not fitting into the norm, apparently a challenge to so called “British values”. A quick search for the definition of identity on the internet offers this as an explanation;
1 1. the fact of being who or what a person or thing is.
(Source: Oxford Language)
There’s something very fitting, about this definition. The fact of being. In other words, “I am who I am”, just by my very existence. It also brings to mind the concept of Kun fa-yakun, (Surah Ya Seen ayah 82), speaking on God’s practice; that He, subhana wa ta’ala, merely says to a thing Be, and it comes into existence, ( a translation of the meaning). What does that mean to you, when you really think about it? How does that feel? The knowledge that every single one of us, exists by the utterance of God.
To me it’s incredibly powerful. Set against a backdrop of racism, which questions the very humanity of Black people, with variances to the quality of that questioning the closer an individual’s proximity to Whiteness is. My humanity, my identity, my right to exist, here and now, exactly as I am, Fashioned by the hands of al-Khaliq, (the Creator), is not, and never has been up for debate, no matter how many people and systems benefit in putting it into question. Blackness and humanity are not mutually exclusive, though the systems that seek to make them appear so, have never been fully dismantled.
The way the world is spinning on its axis at the moment, many of the societal inequalities levelled at different peoples are being made clear and apparent. From the global pandemic, which has exposed the systemic inequalities in the very foundation of this country (in fact globally), to the prolific and ever more virulent murders of Black people by institutions supposedly set up for the good of societies as a whole, there is no way anybody attuned to themselves, and the fact of their humanity as something that is connected to all that exists, can not feel the impact of current events.
And feeling it is where it all starts, right? Isn’t it in being able to feel, experience and move through our emotions, that we are motivated to action? Our emotions are what connect us. From that sense of united feeling, and understanding, we can find determination, and motivation. It’s here that we can begin to understand our collective power to bring about lasting structural and foundational change.
There are definitely questions about what this change looks like and how to ensure it occurs at all the levels that it needs to. When it comes to the question of personal individual capacity to affect change though? I think it’s vital that we get clear and specific as to what that looks, sounds, and feels like to each of us.
Ultimately, I am reminded and soothed by the knowledge that the events of the world are under the decree of the Lord of the Throne.
That said, I personally believe that this, what we are experiencing right now, is a call to action. A call to living boldly in faith and unapologetically in our skin. Moving in this world, connected to purpose, intention and a full embodied knowledge of the undeniable fact that our joyous, bold, vibrant existence is not only a birthright, but an act of worship.