Living Behind the Veil
Muslim woman: I am a wife, a mother, a Muslim woman living in Oman, a small country bordering the United Arab Emirates. My faith, my home, and my children are central in my life.
Christian woman: I am a wife, a mother, and a Christian woman living in Oman. My children attend school in a town that is nearby, but across the border in the United Arab Emirates. I feel called by God to this people, to this country, to the women whom I am slowly coming to know, yet I cannot openly share my faith with them.
How, then, can they call on the One they have not believed in?
And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard?
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?
And how can they preach unless they are sent?
As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Muslim woman: I am up before the sun. Each morning, I prepare for prayer by personal cleansing and purification, for as the sun casts its first light on the sand, I will hear the voice of the caller, and I will bow low to the ground in prayer.
Christian woman: I am awake with the rising sun and the haunting sound of the call to prayer, at once so familiar and so foreign. God, let it be a daily reminder to come to You, to rely on You. Please let the light of Your love shine through me, even when no words can be spoken.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth (Isaiah 42:16).
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save, He will take great delight in you,
He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing (Zephaniah 3:17).
Muslim woman: Though the day will be hot, and the streets made of sand, I dress as is required—fully covered in the black abaya. I must not display the shape of my body and must guard myself from being seen by any man other than my husband. It is as I am instructed in the teachings of Islam.
Christian woman: As I dress for the work of the day—for the heat of the sun, and the expectations of my neighbors—I once again wrestle before the Lord. Is it Your purpose for me to cover my head, to wear the shayla? How am I to be? How am I to live out God’s light before the people to whom He has called us?
May Your unfailing love come to me, O Lord, Your salvation according to Your promise;
then I will answer the one who taunts me, for I trust in Your Word.
Do not snatch the word of truth from my mouth, for I have put my hope in Your laws.
I will always obey Your law, for ever and ever.
I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out Your precepts (Psalm 119:41-45).
Muslim woman: The structure of my day is set before me, for I live by the Five Pillars of Islam. In my culture, the family’s honor is most important, and appearance is more important than reality. I must maintain a beautifully decorated Medjula, or reception room for my husband to entertain his guests, even though we may have no electricity in the private spaces of our house.
Christian woman: Even though I choose not to have my head covered, I am coming to learn that in this culture, we are required to live behind an invisible veil. Though I strive with all I am to meet the expectations of the people in this culture, I find that I cannot; that I feel confined and oppressed by them. Though I know God has called us to this people, there is a cultural and religious barrier, and it has created for me a veil that separates my heart from theirs.
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts
than your thoughts. As the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return to it
without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower
and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth: It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”