Assalaamu ‘alaikum warahmatullahi wa barakaatuh
My dear sisters
Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would one day be one of the many flag bearers of Islam, representing myself as a Muslimah before anything else. With that representation came a responsibility that was subconsciously imposed by my choice to don the hijaab, a responsibility to uphold what I am ultimately representing, my true beauty, my Islam!
Well, this is my story. I used to be a typical modern girl with blow dried hair, wearing tight jeans, short tops and fancy shoes. I never once considered wearing the hijaab, except when the circumstances called for it, like as a school uniform (I attended an Islamic school for a few years) or to a funeral, etc. But as soon as the bell rang, or the funeral was over, I was back to being “ME”. My family was quite open-minded and I was never questioned about my dressing, my “friends”, or my choices.
But at some point in life, you grow up and become answerable to yourself, and then you grow up some more and you realize that you are only answerable to the Almighty Allah.
Anyway, I got married a few years ago and decided that I would wear a head scarf from that day on, which I did and haven’t taken off since. Not long ago, I attended a family wedding and on that same night, there was a funeral that we had to attend. Not having come prepared for a funeral, we had to go to the funeral house trying to cover our tight jeans with the longest tops we could find. I have never in my life felt more embarrassed, more foolish and more “naked”. Maybe that was what stirred the urge within me. If I had been wearing hijaab, I would have been prepared for anything, even death.
The hadeeth of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), reported by Imaam Muslim (rahimahullah), kept ringing in my head: “There will be two groups (in my Ummah) who will be punished in Jahannum whom I have not yet seen (i.e. they will emerge after my demise). One group will carry whips with them resembling the tails of cattle, with which they will (oppressively) lash the people. The second group will be those women who despite wearing clothes will still be naked (i.e. they will wear tight fitting or flimsy clothing), they will attract men to themselves, and they themselves will be inclined towards them, their heads will resemble the humps of the Bukhti camels (i.e. they will wear buns which will be high like camel humps). They will neither enter Jannah nor smell its fragrance despite its fragrance being perceivable from a great distance away.”
“Clothed, yet naked” – I kept feeling like this hadeeth referred to me, clothed in tight jeans and tight tops, covered and yet revealed. Was I fooling myself into believing that I was dressed decently just because my top was a little longer, even though the shape of my body was still apparent?
So about a month later, I decided to don the hijaab. My husband and I discussed it and I had two options; either I would wear it a few times a week and slowly ease into it, or I would dive right in and take each day as it came. I decided that if I was going to do it, I would do it properly. So I took the plunge and Alhumdulillah, it’s been an amazing year.
Yes, I’ve had challenges, the first day out, the first function, the first family gathering, the questions, the looks. I remember one day when I went out with my husband. It was extremely hot, but I surprisingly didn’t feel the sun burning a hole through my head like everyone else. But I heard a comment that hurt me. A little boy was standing next to me and his father called him and said, “Be careful! Don’t stand next to the ninja.” It was the first time that I had to deal with the stigma. But I soon brushed it off and figured that people will always have something to say and you can’t change their attitude – but you can change yours. You can either speak out and create a scene but in the end, ignorance will still prevail, or you can not only wear your hijaab but act upon it too, by just being modest and humble and not drawing unnecessary attention to yourself. Remember, hijaab is a command from Allah so even if people don’t understand it, that doesn’t justify not wearing it!
It hasn’t always been easy. Considering that my family is very outgoing, there’s always some or other gathering to attend. Our extended family is very diverse so it’s sometimes hard to adapt, but I figure that you don’t have to be like everyone else to fit in.
Considering that I was very fashion conscious and a woman living in a western world, where it’s drummed into our heads that a woman who is wearing something tight or short is attractive, and that it’s this type of dressing that men like, I have fallen prey to insecurities. So I voiced my concern and amazingly, my husband didn’t want me to be like all those other girls who show themselves off for everyone to see. To him, my hijaab has become a part of both of us, a part of our marriage and our family.
Wearing hijaab has opened my mind to the responsibilities I have as a Muslimah. Wearing hijaab means that if it is time for salaah and I’m not at home, I need to fulfill my obligations because I have identified myself as a practicing Muslimah. I am by no means saying that I read salaah for the sake of others or to show others that I am better than they are, but my hijaab and dressing reminds me that I have duties, it reminds me that I need to read more, that I need to be more punctual, and it’s a reminder that I carry with me wherever I go. I have changed a lot of things in my life because of it.
I have covered up my external beauty, and in the process, I uncovered my inner beauty. I don’t see myself according to how I look in the mirror anymore. I see myself according to my worth, and my worth is measured by how much I do sincerely for the pleasure of Allah Ta‘ala alone. Do I wear hijaab because my husband forced me into it? No! Do I wear it because my in-laws will think less of me? Did my father force it upon me? No! I wear it because I fear my Creator, because I love Him and because He has asked me to wear it. I use to be one of those people that say, “I may not wear a scarf on my head, but I have imaan and my heart is clean and that’s all that matters.” How wrong I was! It’s because I wear hijaab that I try to cleanse my heart and soul daily; it’s because of my hijaab that I am more conscious of sinning; it’s because of my hijaab that my life is no longer about vanity but instead about beauty.
Remember sisters! Hijaab shouldn’t be a choice; it is a command. We so often make the mistake of thinking that “I will wear hijaab when I’m ready”; “I will not force hijaab onto my daughters, they will wear it when they are ready.” How I wish that someone had forced me to wear it from the time I entered adulthood as it would have saved me from so much of sin, so much of heartache! When I think about how many non-mahram men have seen my hair, the shape of my body through my tight clothes, have heard my voice, have smelt my perfume, I want to crawl up into a little ball and sob in the hope of Allah Ta‘ala’s mercy.
May Allah Ta‘ala forgive my sins and grant each of us the courage to stand up against the western idea of how a woman should dress and the courage to stand as proud Muslimahs in our hijaab instead, aameen!