My friend recently read my blog and suggested I do a post on hijab. While I’ve been planning on sharing my experience with hijab, she specifically requested a post that might be insightful for potential hijabis, especially during Ramadan. So this post is directed to you, “So, you’ve been thinking about Hijab?”
First of all, I want to congratulate you. You may not realize this, but even the very thought of (potentially) wearing hijab has been written down for you as a good deed with great enormity. And more importantly you are inspired by Allah (SWT) in your heart to begin this journey. That in itself is something to smile about, I’m serious!
Now, where to begin? If you’re inspired to begin to wear hijab—the natural place to begin is your heart. It’s gotten you this far already. The heart is where you make your niyahh (intention). Every act for a muslim should begin with an intention, because we are not just rewarded for our actions but for our intentions as well. Our intentions lead to our actions and are manifested in the outcome of our actions. Maybe you are afraid of being “That hijabi” the one that wears hijab one day and not the next, or “the bangjabi” who covers her hair part way, or the “tight-clothes-hijabi” put your fears aside! You’ll make your mistakes (it happens to the best of us!) but your intentions will keep you on track.
How? Well think about why girls get ‘off track’ with their hijabs? It’s not because they are “bad”. It just depends on their niyyah. Sometimes we can forget our original intention and it is recommend to recall why we are doing the things we do consistently. In fact, the sahabahs would remind themselves of their niyyahs daily! Ask yourself WHO you’re wearing hijab for and more importantly WHY? If the answer is Allah (SWT) and to please & obey Him then you are not going to get off track, and if/when you do, you simply need to recall your intention. Allah (SWT) is Ar-Rahman and Ar-Raheem, don’t ever forget that! Even if you mess up, you simply repent whole heartedly (without arrogance!). REALLY ask for change. Don’t be knowingly ignorant of your situation (as in you have some idea that you’re in the wrong and are possibly in sin, but would rather not know what it is you’re doing wrong thus making you knowingly ignorant).
Now that you have made the intention to wear hijab is the actual action of wearing it. Covering your hair, what does that mean for you? I want to say something about strength. It is important that once you make your niyah that you pray that Allah (SWT) strengthen your heart so that when you wear hijab it is made easy upon you. I’m not saying this to scare anyone, I am saying this because, Alhumdulilah since I began hijab-I have never felt it a difficult burden. And I know many girls who look at it from the outside feel like it is a difficult feat. While it is a big deal, Allah (SWT) makes the difficult very easy for his believers. I’ll share with you an example of the well known story of Prophet Ibrahim (A). Ibrahim (A) was thrown in a fire when his people grew angry with him and his preaching, but Allah (SWT) cooled the fire and it was the most peaceful feeling for him. Similarly when Ali (R) was asked by Prophet Muhammad (S) to stay in his bed the night the Quraish planned to ambush him in his sleep, he recounts the night to be the night he experienced the most peaceful sleep! SubhanAllah, when you take one step toward Allah (SWT) with the right intentions He makes the most difficult tasks become the easiest. Just keep that in your intentions and you will find it to be rewarding.
Now, let’s get down to business. There’s society, family, relatives, boys, friends, media, OH MY! So how do you navigate hijab with all this? First off, talk to your family. Tell them you’ve been thinking about hijab. You can get two reactions: ideally your family would be your support system. They will know your dedication to Allah (SWT) and (a few jokes or concerns aside) they will support and encourage you. If you have a family who is supportive of your choice, say Alhumdulilah and don’t worry about the rest. However, there is a chance that your family may not be supportive of your decision, particularly your parents who are worried about you causing ‘unnecessary trouble’ upon yourself. This will be your first test, but remember Allah (SWT) only tests those whom He loves! You may recall the story of Mustab ibn Umair-better known as the “player” of Makkah. Mustab (R) was rich, wealthy, good-looking and well cared for by his family. When he accepted Islam his mother opposed it so incredibly that she began to starve herself in hopes of shaking his faith. But he stayed firm to the religion of Allah (SWT). Our job is not to please everyone, but to please Allah (SWT) through obedience to Him. And disobideance to your parents when it comes to obeying Allah (SWT) is allowed all the while being respectful towards them.
Now, there is a society that will look at you completely differently. Without a doubt wearing hijab in western society will make you standout. You are a beacon of Islam. When people see you they will see Islam, there will be questions as well as confusion and there may sometimes be fear. People fear that which they can’t understand. And you will receive a myriad of questions, whole groups of people who maybe didn’t notice you before will open up to you! A host of questions that almost every hijabi gets include: “Are you hot in that?”, “Who makes you wear that—your husband?”, “Why did you decide to wear that?”, “Do you shower with it on” and it goes on. None of these questions threaten you in anyway and chances are you’ll meet new people who are curious about Islam—who have heard about it on the news media but want to know a Muslim first hand.
Another important aspect of hijab is respect. They say respect is earned, not given. SubhanAllah, once you wear hijab—you’ve earned a lot of respect. I’m not saying that there is not the occasional snide comment/hate/predjuice (which I’ll discuss later) but there is a great deal of respect from both men and women. The beauty of hijab is that it can get a point across without you ever having to say anything at all. Hijab in our country is constantly advertised as “oppression” but when you actually meet people in your daily life they see it for what it is and what it shows— strength, determination, and purity. These are all conveyed when you wear hijab. You have the strength to show society that you can exercise your freedom of religion in a country without obligation. You show society you have the strength to stand up to social media that is constantly telling women how they should dress and what they should look like—no one has the right to tell you that except God. You show determination that by covering your beauty you are not an object, but a being with intellect. And you show purity—which is by all means almost nonexistent in a society that encourages multiple partners before marriage. All these are attributes of hijab that speak for themselves when you wear hijab.
Sisterhood. I think one of the best parts of hijab is a global sisterhood. The best example of this is the current 2012 London Olympics. You don’t have to hijabi to feel pride for you Muslims sister from team USA and sisters from the many countries in the world, standing up and competing in the games while wearing hijab. It is a big deal and it is enormously unifying for the entire ummah. You don’t have to wear a hijab to feel this way! But when you do wear a hijab you contribute to the ummah. Your achievements are yours but they also make the entire ummah proud, look good, and feel good! A friend recently met with the President of the United States. While we all have our personal political opinions, we can all truly say that we’re proud to see our muslim sister accomplishing big goals while remember and representing her faith, Islam.
A final word about prejudices and judgment, because it is important to understand how to handle this. If you experience something like this-rude comments, unfair treatment, please, please remember you can share it with friends. We have almost all been there at one point, you are NOT alone! Also please, please, please don’t take it personally. When Muhammad (S) would give dawah to Quraish we can’t even begin to imagine his ill treatment—but we are advised not to take it personally. No one is attacking you; chances are they don’t even know you! They’re attacking Islam and Allah (SWT) is their judge, so leave it to Him.
Also, as you do not want to be judged, don’t judge others who are trying out hijab! Wearing hijab is fard that is best done whole heartedly. We all make mistakes, but inshAllah Allah (SWT) will guide us to that which is better and pleasing to Him. I started out hijab very early age before it was fard for me and made a lot of clothing mistakes then. I didn’t fully understand how to wear hijab or what it meant-but I learned it on the way! It’s harder if you make mistakes when you’re older because people assume you are doing it on purpose. Just as a refresher here’s some clothing advice: wear loose clothing. It’s an oxymoron if you wear hijab and tight clothes. Why cover your hair when you’re showing your body? It is not logical. Hijab is not just the head covering, but covering of the body as well! The best way that this had been explained to me was by Ustadh Wisam Sharieff who said Allah (SWT) had created us as insaan (human beings) and created the animals as animals. We are told to dress as individuals with a higher level of intellect. Animals wear their clothes (their furs) close and tight to their skin. If Human beings do so, they degrade themselves to the level of animals by dressing in tight clothes (not just women but men as well).
This doesn’t mean you can’t dress well. There are a lot of well dressed women in hijab, it’s just more of a shopping challenge but some people have it down to an art. And remember the reward and ajar for your struggles is with Allah (SWT) and is better than anything the world can offer you. It’s a struggle but you’ll get there, inshAllah!
You don’t have to be perfect to wear hijab-we are people and are created with imperfections. If we were supposed to be perfect we would have been created as Angels. This is a fact. Don’t let the fear of “creating a bad impression” on Islam stop you from obeying Allah (SWT) the best that you can. If you’re waiting to become a better muslim-well, aren’t we all? It’s like thinking that if you are not physically fit; working out a little each day won’t make a difference, so you don’t do anything at all. It makes a difference, slowly you’ll become stronger, and you just need to trust yourself and Allah (SWT) to take the first step.
I hope that you find this article useful in your journey to hijab, inshAllah. If you are seriously considering it then you are most definitely in my duas (prayers). Just to keep you supported this Ramadan, I’ll post guest posts from individuals with their personal stories about how they came to hijab that will be up one each week, inshAllah. So please share the khayr with any sisters taking this step inshAllah!
Just received word from a friend Haute Hijab is giving all new hijabis a free hijab! Just follow the link: http://www.hautehijab.com/blogs/hijab-fashion/6306366-ramadan-mubarak-first-time-hijabis-receive-a-free-hijab