Quranic exhortations to be a wanderluster ❤

“Say: ‘Travel in the earth.’” [Quran 6:11]

O mankind! We have created you from a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. [49:13]

“And Allah has made for you the earth a wide expanse.” [Noah:19]

“Do they never travel about the earth (and view all these scenes with an eye to learn lessons), so that they may have hearts with which to reason (and arrive at truth), or ears with which to hear (God’s call)? For indeed, it is not the eyes that have become blind; it is rather the hearts in the breasts that are blind.” [22:46]

“Verily! In the creation of the heavens and the earth, and in the alternation of night and day, and the ships which sail through the sea with that which is of use to mankind, and the water (rain) which Allah sends down from the sky and makes the earth alive therewith after its death, and the moving (living) creatures of all kinds that He has scattered therein, and in the veering of winds and clouds which are held between the sky and the earth, are indeed Ayat (proofs, evidences, signs, etc.) for people of understanding.” [2:164]

I’ve always loved traveling, meeting new people, seeing new places. It may have started in high school, as a nationally-competitive Lincoln-Douglass debater, and traveling to places like Texas, Illinois, Harvard, and Yale for debate tournaments. By college, I was ready for the journey ahead: a summer in Brazil, a spring break in London, and then returning later in the fall for a full semester.

Traveling is an expensive but rewarding privilege. Being in Abu Dhabi is no exception. It is an Oriental melting pot of cuisines, colors, languages, religions, and nationalities. I’m eager to meet others, anxious even, because it’s such an exciting time.

I know that these moments do not create themselves–one must go out, speak, be present.

Abaya Swag?

Often times when you tell people you’re going to Abu Dhabi they respond with amusement but also assume that they would have to cover up, wear a black robe, or at least cover their hair.

The reality, however, is quite the contrary. There are more foreigners here than local Emirates. And there are more Indians here than probably any other ethnic group- just call it Abu Delhi.

With such a diverse population and a haven for European and American sun-worshipping expats, imposed hijab and Islamic attire requirements are unreasonable–if not out right impossible–with this heat.

Today, I threw on my abaya and black scarf out of sheer convenience. Even in 100 degree heat, it is still more comfortable than many other clothing options, and I plan to wear it for most of this month. TQ doubts that I’ll wear an abaya for weeks straight. He knows how much I love colors, jeans, dresses, fashion in general. But the abaya has its benefits. While he takes 5 minutes tops to get dress, I can now take about 15 minutes instead of 55. It’s certainly nice to pray in when I’m out and about because it’s long enough to cover my toes, and it covers everyyyyything!

Wearing abaya, or a black robe to most people, may seem drab, restricting, if not outright oppressive. But that’s the thing about Abu Dhabi. You can never assume anything. Women here don their all-black garments, yes. But they also  pair them with 6 inch stilettos, designer bags, a Broadway-caliber display of makeup, and freshly blown-out hair standing tall and big above their makeshift head scarves.

The materialism is real. The fashion here is real. The abaya-swag is real.