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On Being with Krista Tippett is a public radio project delving into the human side of news stories + issues. Curated + edited by senior editor Trent Gilliss.

We publish guest contributions. We edit long; we scrapbook. We do big ideas + deep meaning. We answer questions.

We've even won a couple of Webbys + a Peabody Award.

Flag-Raising My Hijab: An American Woman’s Decision

by Amanda Gormley, guest contributor

Amanda Gormley with Horse

The first time I prayed the Islamic prayer, or salat, I stood in my living room in the silvery morning just moments before dawn. I was self-conscious and unsure of what to do. I had prepared flash cards to help me through the complicated process of standing, sitting, and bowing while reciting verses in Arabic. I stood facing Mecca and folded my right hand across my chest. My left hand clutched a flash card that read:

Bismillah ah Rahman ah Raheem
In the name of God, the most gracious, most merciful

Alhamdu lil-ahi rab-bil alamin
All praise be to the Lord, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds

Ah rahman-ah rahim
The most merciful, most gracious

Maliki yawmid-deen
Master of the day of judgment

Iyyaka n’abudu wa-Iyaka nasta-in
You alone do we worship, and to you alone do we turn to for help

Ihdi-nas sira-tal Mustaqim
Show us the straight path

Sira tal-ladhina an-amta alaihim
The path of those who went before us with your grace

Ghair-il Maghdubi ‘Alaihum
Who did not deserve your anger

Wa lad dal-in
Nor went astray

The awkward syllables filled the back of my throat like a swallowed cry as I struggled to make the foreign sounds. But as my mouth worked away at the words, I felt my spirit enter a world that existed outside of the senses, a dimension beyond time and space where the body does not confine the soul. I felt a deep, unending sense of mercy and forgiveness surround me.

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