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And I Will Not Bow Down My Head

Posted: February 8, 2019

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“Mom, I could never get why I needed to bow my head in prayers. If God is what we say He is, all he needs is our faith. When I look down I feel fear, and I do not want to fear God.”

Rehana visited the mosque every Friday with her mom, Aisha for prayers ever since she was five or six. While the entire congregation had their heads bowed while praying, she looked straight in front.

Aisha, an otherwise modern woman, never understood what went on in Rehana’s mind when she chose to stand out of the crowd just to be smirked at.

However she never questioned her.

During her high school days, Rehana would tell Aisha, how she was eve teased by boys. As a lot of mothers would advise their daughters, Rehana’s mom too asked her to just keep her head down and walk away. Rehana did walk away, but she never held her head down.

Year later, when Rehana got married, she had the misfortune to deal with a difficult mother-in-law; who could taunt her to tears. When Rehana could not take it anymore, she talked about it to Aisha; her mom was heart-broken. She asked Rehana to discuss it with her husband, and till he finds a solution just keep her head down and hear it out.

Rehana did almost just as her mom told her to. She heard her mother-in-law out each and every time without uttering a word. But, she did it looking straight in to her face even when her eyes welled up with tears. Her mother-in-law took this as defiance and made a huge hue and cry about it.

Rehana’s husband knew that it was his mother at fault, but he still wondered out loud as to why Rehana would not look down just so that she did not seem the rebel that she was not.

When Aisha came to know about all the drama, she finally questioned the otherwise quiet Rehana as to why it was so difficult for her to just look down at times when there is not much she can do but just that.

Rehana stared at the ceiling in thought for what seemed like a very long time and then said, “Mom, I could never get why I needed to bow my head in prayers. If God is what we say He is, all he needs is our faith. When I look down I feel fear, and I do not want to fear God. When those boys whistled and passed inappropriate comments, my looking down would not stop them. But, holding my head high and looking them in the eye gave me a lot of confidence that they do not scare me and in a matter of days the eve teasing stopped too. When I look in my mother-in-law’s eyes when she passes hurtful comments, even though I am saddened enough to cry, I see in her eyes her insecurity of losing her son to me. It is just because I look her in the eye, I do not hate her.”

Aisha stared at her daughter for what seemed like a very long time, and then hugged her tight.

Her daughter taught her a lesson which years or experience didn’t, which was that, bowing your head does not always mean respect and looking in the eye doesn’t always mean defiance.

Image Source: Pexels

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