Instead of just enjoying her cake and
presents, 9-year-old Marwa's stuck with making a decision she feels may be
too hard for someone her age: Should she don the hijab, or veil, as her
"I would have to change all my dresses! That's too hard to do! And, I'm too
young," Marwa tells the teacher.
As if the choice isn't hard enough, in a fitful night of sleep, she is
visited by devils who tell her the veil is "old fashioned," and that she's
too pretty to cover her beauty. Then, the angels come. "What's important is
you soul, not your body," they urge.
"How long is this path?" she wonders, as she wanders down a road that she
hopes will lead to the answers. "Is this life? How could this be life when
we don't know where we're going."
Marwa's symbolic struggle is presented in a play entitled "The Path." Like
any other play, her decision is predetermined. But at a recent celebration
organized by the Muslim Scouts of Michigan at the Islamic House of Wisdom,
43 girls ages 8 to 11 followed in Marwa's footsteps with no script.
Watching the play, they knew how Marwa felt. It's the traditional battle of
secularism versus religion, fought in the minds of prepubescent girls.
The celebration, known as a Takleef festival, marks their entry into
spiritual adulthood, a stage where they have accepted the responsibility of