I’ve lived in Canada my whole life and I can honestly say there’s no place in the world I’d rather be. Many say it’s too cold – not for me!
Others say living here as a Muslim is near impossible, but I couldn’t disagree more. I’m a Canadian Muslim and no, that’s not a contradiction. Living in a non Muslim country as a practising Muslim definitely comes with its challenges, but after 19 years here I’ve learned that I don’t need to sacrifice my religion for my national identity. A good example comes in the form of a ski trip I went on during my break.
As a Canadian I’m used to snowy winters, and one of my favourite pastimes when the wonderful white season comes along, is alpine skiing. The trip was organized by the MSA (Muslims Students’ Association) at my university. I had the whole day to ski on the hills but made sure to meet up with my group halfway to pray Dhuhr Salah. Out on the slopes everyone looks the same: bundled up in winter jackets, snowpants, mitts, hats and scarves – it’s a sight to see!
At one point when I was waiting for the chair lift to take me up to the top of the mountain, a girl waiting next to me noticed my Hijab. She pointed to it and said, “That must be so useful this time of year, you don’t even need to wear a hat to keep your ears warm!” Her remark made me laugh, and we dove into a friendly conversation. Up until that point I hadn’t even noticed that I was one of a few Hijabis on that particular hill, I was too busy having fun skiing.
When the time for Dhuhr Salah came around, I headed back to the main lodge to meet my group. We prayed in Jamaa’a in a room on the second floor of the building. After finishing, I hit the slopes once more. I didn’t give it much thought until later, but that trip was an example of how I stick to my Canadian ways and at the same time incorporate my religion into every part of my life. Standing shoulder to shoulder in that lodge I prayed with my Muslim sisters, then right after, I got on a chair lift with a young Canadian girl who loved skiing just as much as I did – and we talked about our favourite places to ski on the way up.
I guess what I’m trying to get at is that living the Islamic lifestyle and living the Canadian lifestyle don’t have to be mutually exclusive – I live both and have had a great experience so far Alhamdulillah.