Bismillahi ar-Rahman ar-Rahim

My 9/11 Story


By Al-Muhajabah


My story isn't very exciting. I had that day off work thanks to a last-minute rescheduling. Woke up briefly for fajr but went right back to bed then woke up for good around 8:00 a.m. Pacific time and went online while eating breakfast. Usually I like to check the news first but I happened to go to a discussion forum first only to see a thread called something like "omg!!!!!!!! two planes flew into the world trade center!!!!!!!!". I couldn't believe it was true, but I went to Yahoo news and confirmed it. I was just in shock, it didn't seem real that something like that could have happened, it was like a movie or something. I called my mom and ended up being the one to break the news to her; she had just woken up herself. I offered a salat and made du'a for some time then spent some time listening to the radio but then I decided I couldn't be alone all day so I went over to spend the day with my mom.

It was so awful wondering if Muslims were behind it and listening to all these so-called experts on the radio and TV going on about Bin Laden and how supposedly only Muslims are suicide bombers. (note: the majority of suicide bombing attacks have actually been committed by the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka, who are not Muslims)

Later in the day I had a job interview that had been previously scheduled. I was pretty nervous but I wore hijab like usual. My mom took me over so I didn't have to go alone. Al-hamdulillah nothing bad happened, but I figure that must have been about the worst day of the year for a hijabi Muslimah to try and get a job! Needless to say, I didn't get that job.

A funny thing was that about a week or so before that, a Muslim brother that took the same bus as me had given me a videotape of "Ar-Risala"/"The Message" (the story of the Prophet Muhammad) in Arabic (the brother is Syrian), but I hadn't gotten around to watching it. So I watched it at my parents' house after coming back from the job interview. When my dad came home from work he joked that this wasn't a safe time to be watching Arabic movies. But my parents were pretty cool about it and even asked some questions what the Prophet's (sAas) story was about.

The next day I went back to work. My mom suggested that I shouldn't wear hijab and jilbab but I told her I would keep doing it unless I actually felt in danger. She accepted that; it wasn't that she actually wanted me to take them off, she was just worried for my safety. At the bus stop, brother Hamza and I talked about how we couldn't believe that anybody who called himself a Muslim could do something like that. We hoped it wasn't really Muslims.

At work, my co-workers showed a lot of support for me. My supervisor said that if I ever couldn't come in to work because of danger to me, that was OK and we'd work it out later. A lady who works part-time called the office just to make sure I was OK. I was really touched by all their support. I also felt like maybe I had done a kind of da'wah in a way to show them that Muslims aren't alien or "weird": Muslims are ordinary nice people like their co-worker.

On the bus ride home that afternoon, people were talking a lot about the whole thing. There was a conversation on the bus, one guy was saying hateful things about Islam but this other guy said not to believe everything in the media and to listen to Bin Laden's side before judging him. I was nervous that somebody would say something to me, but they didn't and I got off the bus right after that.