To Be the Red Crow
Posted by Rebecca Salman
There is a report narrated by Ahmad and Abu Ya’laa from ‘Amr ibn al-’Aas who said, “Whilst we were with the Messenger of Allah (saw) on this mountain path, he said, “Look, can you see anything?” We said, “We see crows, and one of them stands out because its beak and feet are red”. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “No women will enter Paradise except those who are as rare among them as this crow is among the others”” [Silsilat al-Hadith as-Saheehah, 4/466, no. 1851]
To be a woman of Jannah means to be notably different from other women. Even to be ostracized by other women. Your habits, manner of dress, likes, dislikes, pastimes, are all radically different from that of the crowd.
What is the most common habit of women in gatherings these days? They chit chat about dunya matters and they backbite. A lot. They have tendencies to exaggerate, to boast, to be suspicious of others, to complain about their loved ones (most notably their husbands) and to assume things of other people that they have no reason to assume. The woman of Jannah avoids all this, and forbids others from doing so as well.
The dress of the woman of Jannah is modest, it covers, she does not wear loud colors, she does not follow the “fashion” of these times of jahiliyya. She stands apart, and she stands strong, with her faith as her companion.
Sometimes, it is your only companion.
Nobody said going to Jannah was going to be easy. To be “the Red Crow” you have to resist that basic, human instinct to “blend in.” Women, by nature, are eager to please, and I assure you, there is nothing more displeasing to the average person than someone who calls to the haqq, enjoins what is good, and forbids the evil.
Making the decision to wear nikaab and practice shariah pardah was easy. When I realized it was what I had to do, I did it. Alhumdulilah. Dealing with the aftermath was difficult. Everyone was looking to me, the girl born and educated from the West to lead my family into the Jahilia concept of so-called “modernism.” My pardah was met with some stiff opposition, and I often found myself alienated by people I considered close to me. People didn’t want to hear why I chose to do this, why I changed my life so completely. When I started a religious thread of conversation, people’s eyes started to glaze over, or their faces would take on a “there-she-goes-again” expression.
But here’s the thing I got out of that experience: the friends that stayed, or the friends I made because we recognized each other as fellow “Red Crows,” are the best friends I ever had. We may go years without seeing each other, but Alhumdulilah, when we meet, the sisterly bond is there. We meet, we speak, we love each other, and we separate to go back to our lives all for the sake of Allah (SWT) alone.
So yes, being a Red Crow is difficult. But know that you are not alone.