By SAIMA USMANI
August 15, 2017
“If you are proud of who you are and you think that the US of A is the center of the world then you are already fully American.”
What does it mean to be fully American? Call me a thick-headed USA-centric patriot but America is the only place in the world that to be proud to be yourself is to be American. What does it mean to be fully American? White? Native? Christian? Protestant? Straight? Meat-loving? Does that mean we have had commanders in chief that weren’t fully American?
Taken from a scholar’s Facebook post:
“I was at an airport gate and I had to pray. Since I didn’t want to alarm anyone I asked the security lady, and she said, ‘You do you, honey.'”
If you are proud of who you are and you think that the US of A is the center of the world then you are already fully American.
By most people’s definition, my life is “fully Muslim.” I wear a scarf and am heavily involved in my Islamic community and my most of my best friends are Muslim. Here are a few examples of a typical day in my life (collected from actual moments in my life):
Typical Summer-during-Ramadan day:
Wake up at noon since you’re fasting and you’re tired. In your sweatpants, you go to the grocery store and buy everything, since you’re fasting and you think you can eat all of that tonight after sundown. Stop at Rite Aid to buy a new toothbrush, and the lady is just as angry and depressing as usual, but you think, “Damnit, I’m fasting, which means…” you smile at her and ask her how she is. She warms up immediately and is smiling when you leave.
You go to the mosque to pray Dhuhr prayer (prayer #2) and stay for a Quran class, during which all the teenagers are almost snoring (since they have been up since 6:00am to volunteer to cook for the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen–while fasting). You pray Asr (#3) and go home, where you change into your bathing suit (usually leggings and a t-shirt) and go to the Jersey shore with your friends to break your fast with style.
You buy some boardwalk pizza and funnel cake, take out Coke and Snickers from your bag, and after some intense swimming, finally break your fast with a date and water. You lay out a picnic blanket and pray Maghrib (#4) in congregation right by the waves.
You eat, you watch the fireworks. You rush back to the mosque for Ishah prayer (#5) and the post-Ishah-Ramadan-specific night prayer (Taraweeh). You grab a brownie from the bake sale and some delicious grilled cheese and pigs-in-a-blanket from fast-breaking potluck leftovers.
After the prayer, you play football with the guys in the parking lot. Actually, it’s July 4th, so you and your girlfriends grab some sparklers from your trunk and climb to the mosque’s roof access, light the sparklers, and sing the entire National Anthem in beautiful unison.
After all the prayers are over, you invite some of your friends over for a Ramadan-sleepover, where you play capture-the-flag on your lawn until the neighbors yell, watch the new episode of Korra and discuss the effects of cursing on American Muslim teens.
You stay up till dawn, so you pray Fajr in congregation (#1), and then everyone crashes wherever they fall.
Typical College day:
You wake up for Fajr (#1). You jump back into bed. You snooze your alarm 30 times until you think “F* it, not going to class today.” You wake up at 3:00pm, show off to all your friends that you missed class, and quickly pray Dhuhr (#2) before the time runs out.
You wear your bicycle-patterned-scarf and denim jacket, and bike to the protest happening on campus against inviting a controversial political figure to your commencement. You protest, and then you pray Asr (#3) in congregation with some of the other Muslims there.
You eat some burgers from a halal truck. You and your girlfriends dress up for the Muslim Student Association event that evening. You go, pray Maghrib (#4), and engage in meaningful conversations about spirituality and what it means to be Muslim in this climate and day and age.
Then you go to Tent-State, where you and your friends (the only sober ones there) listen to some good live music and sing a few songs yourself. You jump in your Mini and joy-ride with your roommates. You notice a punk concert in one of the student centers; you crash it (again you guys are the only ones sober there). You convince your roommate to crowd-surf; she disappears.
The band says, “Oohhh, crowd-surfing is dangerous, folks.” You guys take your roommate to the ER (she fell on her head) and over-hear an old man deciding to pull the plug on his wife because “that’s what she would have wanted.” You guys go back to your apartment, and you make late night (early morning?) waffles for your slightly concussed roommate while you all watch a cheesy romance.
You pray Ishah (#5) minutes before the dawn-prayer time starts. You email your Friday morning lab professor that you will not, due to a rather…cumbersome Thursday night, be able to come to lab.
Yeah, it’s harder to get more American/Muslim than that.