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2015-11-06

"Why do you cover your head?"

When we travel to any place (even in Malaysia), there is always a lot to learn; from every sights, conversation, observation and taste. Food, cultures, people and the nature itself can be good teachers; you will always gain a lesson. Travelling will offer you those, but has it ever crossed your mind, what have you got to offer in return? 

This is a story when I was in Taipei, Taiwan. A country where Muslim is a minority. The first day we arrived at the airport,the taxi driver asked, "......nali...?" My sister and I looked at each other and frantically searched the dictionary. Yes, language was a barrier here. We could not speak nor understand Chinese language, and neither could him speak English very much.

The next day we went to a park and met some old ladies doing gardening jobs. They looked up and asked something that sounded the same as yesterday. We still could not fathom (because we failed to dig the sound out from the dictionary. Lol) that but we just had a guess maybe they were asking where we were from. So when we said "Malaysia" we scored 1 when they said "Aaah" and a thumbs-up. Ok nice!

We had a small tour in the park, admiring the beautiful nature and the flower blooms. We came across a group of 6 ladies sitting in a picnic. They seemed to be local people. I was taking a photo very near to them when they waved at me to come closer. I could hear them talking in a language I could not understand. 

The lady who waved said, "She said you look beautiful." She pointed to her friend. The friend nodded and said "Meili". Some other friends said the same, while putting their hands encircling their heads. The lady who could speak English translated. "They say what you wear on your head is beautiful. They want to know how do you wear that."

It was my pashmina that had gained their attention. I gave them a brief idea of how this thing on my head was placed. They seemed excited. It was a brief meeting but it sure had a small impact there. After saying thank you and goodbye we went off to our next pit stop.

The last day we were at the airport, waiting to check in. There was a Korean family behind us. They greeted us and asked, "Where are you from." "Malaysia," I answered the lady. Then the husband asked, "Why do you wear hijab?" 

Hijab. Yes, that was the exact word he mentioned. We were quite surprised the Korean knew the word 'hijab'. This, we need to answer. 

"I am a Muslim. I wear hijab because my religion tells me to." The husband and wife nodded. He seemed to want to ask more, but it was our turn to stamp our passport, so they bid goodbye.

Those were some of the short encounters that you might be facing in one of your travels. Most people will 'mark you as an example of a Muslim when you wear hijab. They observe what you wear, and do; while some don't even care. Some of them see the beauty in our religion's order of hijab, while some are enthusiastic in knowing more as to why is there such an order. Thus, what has you got to offer? 

I have my lacks in practicing as a good Muslim myself, and I am still learning how best can I answer to some question thrown by Non-Muslims. But I guess, even if we do not know how to answer to those questions, the least we can do is to show good manners (or better known as Akhlak) as a good example from a Muslim. That is the least we can offer.

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