- Remembering someone who followed the music that enchanted her
By: Aman Nadeem
Maryam Jamilah (formerly Margret Marcus) was a native American girl and was brought up in a typical westernized culture. As a small child, she was fond of music, opera and symphonies. By chance she one day got to listen to Arabic music. Arabic music left such a great impact on her that at once the Western lost all of its appeal for her. And I fancy this is where her journey began which led her all the way across the seven seas to her adoptive homeland of Pakistan.
She didn’t leave her parents in peace until her father finally took her to buy a stack of all the recordings for her gramophone, and it is a bit strange but fascinating that out of all the recordings she fell in love with was the rendition of Surah Maryam and she grew up to love tilawat. It is very much engrossing that a girl not knowing Arabic found peace in tilawat but as I have said it was a mere start of her journey. Well, she was asked this question and later on kept on answering it that “Allah guides whom he please”. So, this American girl, who was born in 1934, turned Muslim in 1961 and this initiated a great offensive criticism on her and her changed lifestyle. Soon she realized that she couldn’t adopt this lifestyle, so for the sake of her religion and for the sake of light that was embedded in her chest, she on the advice and invitation of Jamaat Islami Amir Maulana Abul Ala Maududi decided to move to Pakistan.
This is where her journey initiated in a true sense, as the ship in which she travelled to Pakistan having stops in different parts of the Muslim world, and where she was keenly observing all the things. She said in the letter home that when the ship arrived in Alexandria, she was desperate to have a glimpse of the Muslim world. There in Muslim world nothing was different but letter said it is a fact that the normal standard of life was very much low than in the USA, her homeland, but she got a small thing in the Muslim world, a sense which made her fall in love with it, which was the sense of freedom to follow her embraced religion, which was the happiness she gained to do what she wanted to, and this was the light within herself.
She was a true model for today’s girls and women and she could be called as a true postmodern woman who knew her rights and what to do and above all, she actually did what she had to. An American girl who got to the age of maturity in a westernized culture adopted Islam and started to follow it. She had to teach herself to leave all her Western visions, idea and philosophy behin=
On her way, in the hellish torch, her fellow travelers tormented her mentally, criticized her for wearing hijab, for doing and believing in the Islamic stuff, and they all kept on asking the question that why an American girl wanted to wear hijab when she could wear an almost complete body exposing outfit in the USA, why she wanted to offer prayers when she could party, why on the earth she turned a Muslim when she could be a Christian or a Jew. To all these questions she managed to have a single answer, that it was all for the love of Islam. She continued her journey and many things happened to her but all she did was to keep on moving. On her way, many remarkable and worth remembering events also happened to her, motivating her to follow Islam. By the grace of the Almighty, she completed her journey, reached Pakistan safely, married Yousuf Khan, lived a graceful life as the author of over 30 books and died peacefully in 2012 (may her soul rest in peace). According to her own words “my discovery of holy Quran was tortuous and led through strange byways, but since the end of road was supremely worthwhile, I have never regretted my experiences”
She came to Pakistan but never went back. She embraced Islam for the love it and led her life according to it. She was truly an epitome of courage, devotion and worthiness. She was a true model for today’s girls and women and she could be called as a true postmodern woman who knew her rights and what to do and above all, she actually did what she had to. An American girl who got to the age of maturity in a westernized culture adopted Islam and started to follow it. She had to teach herself to leave all her Western visions, idea and philosophy behind.
We should notice the contrast between her and a so-called modern girl of Pakistan today. She left her home behind for the sake of an adopted religion and our females are leaving far behind the Islam they were born with for the sake of that westernized culture. She put on clothes for Islam she knew nothing about and our girls in so-called modern areas of Pakistan are gradually removing their clothes in the name of fashion. She forgot all her westernized philosophies because they were nothing for her but merely an obstacle in the path of her love for Islam, and our postmodern girls are making new philosophies in order to cast off their veils along with their abayas so they can wear tight-fitting clothes. She was a true Muslim and we are nothing but people with Muslim tags on us, having skin deep religion and watered blood running down in our veins.
May the Almighty help us to remember that what we have in Pakistan and in Islam is something bigger than life. May he help us to remember that we have a reputation to uphold and a legacy in our blood may this venom of westernization which is trying to swallow Islamic teachings get wiped up altogether.
I Still See a Hope
In the Skin-Deep Love
I still feel a Spark Somewhere
In the ocean Of Living Dead
I Still Dream a Miracle of Resurrection
I Still See a Hope
In the Watered Blood
I still sense a Bit of Warmth