Lifestyle of a Muslim
I was born and raised in America. My parents, both Jamaican natives instilled their culture upon
me until I was old enough to make decisions of my own. My father has always had strict teachings;
certain things he would not tolerate, like back talk, or cursing, or any kind of attitude. As his child and
as his daughter, I had to know what my role was, I had to know what to do and when to do it. My father was a single dad. My mother passed away when I was two. I’ve always had tough
love; girlfriends and step mothers never stayed around long enough to teach me how to be woman. Dad
tried to teach me by showing me what other women did, but it never really got through to me, I guess I
needed my mothers approval. Not having her approval affected me growing up, culturally, and
religiously, those things you usually get from your mother.
My dad wasn’t very religious. His beliefs was more of a movement and an ideology. He’s a
Rastafarian, very spiritual. He worships Haile Selassie I also and most commonly known as Jah, the
formal emperor of Ethiopia . There were pictures of him around our home growing up. My dad would
pray to him before eating his dinner. Haile Selassie I is seen as the second coming of Jesus Christ on to
earth, but to others, he is what they believe what is God’s chosen king. My dad shared his culture with
my brother and I through the music he would listen to on Sunday mornings and by the food we ate and
the clothes he would wear or the speeches he would give us whenever we had done something wrong,
but never did he tell us that his teachings had to be ours.
I’d stay with my Grandparents from time to time when my dad was busy working and trying to
find his Miss right. They were very strict, but easy going. My Grandad never came out of his room
much, but my Grandmother was always out, cooking, cleaning, doing all of the labor. She’s a Jehovah’s
Witness, yes, she knocks on your door at 7 O'Clock on Sundays mornings. She takes her religion very
seriously. She doesn’t celebrate any kind of holidays and she refuses to donate or receive blood or take
part in military service. Growing up in my grandmothers home, I would see a lot of ‘Watchtower’ and
‘Awake!’ books around her room and in the common room. Certain things she didn’t tolerate, like
when speaking to her, I must always remember to not put my hand on my hip, or roll my eyes, or raise
my voice in the slightest. She was grandmother and a simple grunt from her would reinstate that.
When I would wrestle with my male cousins, she would scold me and tell me that I should be in
the kitchen with her, learning how to cook and clean, but in the back of my mind I would always say to
myself, that is not where I belong. I may have not known where I belong then and there, but I knew the
kitchen was not it. I was a rebel without a cause.
I was told to always have my hair done and to wear skirts and dresses, but I could never
wrestle in a skirt and dress. They weren’t for me. I used to wear my brothers hand me downs; my dad
didn’t really care, but my grandmother hated it. She would call me a little boy. Me and her never really
had a good relationship, I told myself that this is not where I want to learn to be Woman. Growing up, I
saw the image that the woman’s place was in the kitchen, but manual dexterity was just not my calling.
When I got to a certain age, I started to piece things together on my own and came up with things I
believed to be right and wrong, I taught myself. In school, I met a very interesting Muslim woman name, Khadejah Aziz, meaning Pious woman,
daughter of Ali Abdul Aziz. She was born Muslim and her parents were Muslims from birth as well. As
her and I began to talk, I asked her a series of