I have a fascination with hijabs. In fact, I’ve had one in my Amazon shopping cart for over a month. It’s not for public or spiritual reasons but to prevent my wet hair from dripping on the hardwood floor. Despite this, I’ve been intrigued for years by the thought of wearing one, partly for convenience. And since exploring fashion, I now know that longer hijabs suit round faces like mine and shorter hijabs suit oval faces. And the hijab I’m going to buy is a pretty peach color. This sounds like satire, but it’s genuinely not.
Today I asked a Muslim grocery store clerk whether it’s okay to wear a hijab for non-religious reasons. I don’t know the social issues or propriety surrounding hijabs, although I’d like to know. She smiled and said it was okay. But I’ve also longed to read the Quran over the past twenty years. So, later in the day, I asked a Tim Horton’s clerk, also Muslim, if it was okay for a non-Muslim woman to read the Quran. She grinned beautifully and said, “Yes, of course!” I had previously thought a Muslim needed to give a non-Muslim the Quran for the reader to be acceptable in the Muslim community. So, I was hesitant to read one. However, today I bought a Kindle Quran. And it is beautifully written. The version I have and highly recommend is The Clear Quran: A Thematic English Translation by Translator Dr. Mustafa Khattab.
So, why do I want to read the Quran? I’m curious, as I’ve read most major religions’ texts except the Quran and Judaism. I read about eight short books on Sikhism, for instance, which didn’t convert me but gave me a deep respect for the Sikh community. I have had many beautiful conversations with Sikh women since reading their spiritual books. And when I watch Sikh movies at the theater, I now respectfully know why the audience may break out in chanting.
As for the Quran, I work with many oil and gas engineering clients in countries like Dubai and Saudi Arabia. Once, a group of prospects from Dubai questioned me to see if I was acceptable from a spiritual perspective. They asked me my views on alcohol, seafood, non-halal meats, and many other questions. I wished I had read the Quran to know the proper protocol and behaviors. Now I can learn about my Arabic clients in a way that makes me better at meeting their needs. And I can savor the spiritual beauty of the Quran and develop that deeply profound respect for their holy way of life.
The Quran is based on many of the stories that appear in the Old Testament. I’m curious to see how they are similar or unique. I also look forward to speaking with my clients in an entirely new way once I’m immersed in the Quran.
The next book I aim to read is on Judaism. The Jewish community is a role model, particularly from what I’ve heard of their work ethic (which I wholeheartedly admire). And I’m excited to learn about their spiritual foundation. It seems that Judaism is similar to the Old Testament in the Christian Bible. I’m also eager to learn what Hanukah is and means. But most of all, I can hardly wait to pay homage to this beloved community and all the Jewish figures who have magnificently improved my world. They, too, are incredible people who deserve respect and love, just like everyone else.
What better way to love our neighbors than to pay respects to what matters to them? And a spiritual text is a means for bonding with our fellow people. In a near-death experiencer’s account, I saw that all religions have a home in the afterlife. So, why not love them all while in this realm? That way, there is even more to love and appreciate in the afterlife.