Hana Abdullah is a 20-year-old Palestinian Muslim American born and raised in Atlanta. But above all that she describes herself as “simply human.” Currently studying Mathematics at the University of Georgia (Go dawgs!), she likes to laugh out loud with her loved ones, enjoy nature, and spin tracks at the studio. Be on the lookout for her mixtape.
This story and photograph was produced by Carlos Khalil Guzman, a photographer and activist currently based in NYC.
For most of my life, I grew up confused and unbalanced, struggling to figure out my true identity.
When I would visit relatives in the Holy Land, I was deemed too westernized, despite our similar complexion, cultural practices, and family name. In the States, I had a different complexion, name, and cultural practices, yet wasn’t viewed as an American. This sense of otherness was strangling me.
I was torn and lost; however, this isolation brought me to a realization. The realization that the most vital component of my life should not be my Palestinian descent nor American identity, but my Islamic identity. Once I started living for the sake of Allah (God), all that mattered was my character, intentions, and interactions with our source. Once I came to this understanding, everything else became more clear and enjoyable. Throughout the various stages of my life, I have met such resilient and inspirational people whose traits I wish to emulate and incorporate in my life. I have learned many invaluable lessons from them, especially my parents. I would not have wanted to inherit my perception of life and work ethic from anybody other than my father. His selfless aura, determination, kindness, and strong sense of right and wrong, of equity, and of responsibility are truly inspiring. Despite what everybody says, my mother is the strongest woman I know. Her loving, understanding, hard-working, passionate, and lively nature has shaped me in ways I could never repay her. One thing I would like for people to know is that we, Muslims Americans, are just as outraged and horrified as any other American (if not more) by the violent and hateful crimes committed in the name of Islam.
When we start to believe that we are capable of dealing with everything – pain, confusion, and suffering are bound to greet us. However, during times of difficulty and ease, the ones who truly believe and call on Allah (swt) will rest assured knowing The Lord of Heavens, Earth, and everything in between is in charge. They trust His plan and allow their hearts to focus. They know they are not capable of everything for they are simply imperfect humans. I try every day to live life to the fullest and strive to become the best version of myself. In a simply human way, I hope to be remembered one day for my mixtapes and tweets. On a more serious note, hopefully many years from now, I will be remembered as a respectful, just, selfless, honest, optimistic, patient, and giving individual. An individual who put her heart and soul into everything and an individual who made a positive lasting impact on all the lives of everyone she came across.