Guest Post by: Fariha Siddiquie. Fariha is a life-long learner and an avid browser of bookstores. With an ambitious captivation of reading and Islamic learning, she immerses herself in the perspectives of countless worlds. After graduating with a degree in Health Science from Benedictine University, she currently endeavors to become a speech pathologist.
So you’ve read the inspiring stories at #ProjectHijab. You spent your Ramadan focusing on bettering yourself and becoming closer to Allah (swt). You are starting to think about maybe starting hijab but…..
These are the top ten excuses I’ve come across that Muslim women use to stop themselves from wearing hijab. Most of them I even dealt with myself. I pray that we can open up our minds, be honest with ourselves, and come out of reading this one step closer to our purpose in this world: worshiping and obeying our Lord.
1. I don’t I have to do it, it’s not an obligation in Islam…
Unfortunately, many have strayed from traditional sources of Islam and have created their own faulty opinions regarding hijab. Looking at the primary sources themselves, Quran and Hadith, we see that the commandment of Hijab is quite obvious. Allah (swt) Himself states:
“And say to the believing women, as well, that they should lower their gaze from men that are forbidden to them and safeguard the chastity of their secret parts, and not exhibit their own physical adornment except what must necessarily appear thereof. Thus let them draw veils over their bosoms and not exhibit their own physical adornment (…)” (24:31)
These are the words of our Creator commanding the believing women to cover themselves. Plain for all 14 centuries of Muslims to see, understand and apply. The obligation of covering for a Muslim woman is agreed upon by all major scholars. If you are still having trouble believing in the obligation of hijab, I would recommend the following sources for a more detailed explanation:
The Hijab of Women and its Boundaries: http://www.deoband.org/2010/06/hadith/hadith-commentary/the-hijab-of-women-and-its-boundaries/
Is Hijab an Obligation, Don’t Religious Laws Change? http://www.suhaibwebb.com/islam-studies/islamic-law/is-hijab-and-obligation-dont-religious-rules-change/
Hijab: The Islamic Commandments http://www.al-rashad.com/Hijab-The-Islamic-Commandments_p_3479.html
2. Islam is in my heart, Allah knows my sincerity…
Yes, Allah (swt) alone knows our intentions and our sincerity. I’ve met many uncovered woman who have put me to shame in other aspects of Deen. Just because I wear hijab doesn’t make me better than someone who doesn’t. You don’t have to be hijabi to feel the love of Allah and Islam in your heart. However, that is still an incomplete form of love. Don’t get me wrong. Nobody can judge your relationship with Allah. However, Allah can and will. And Allah (swt) Himself states through a hadith qudsi that “My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him,” (Bukhari). You say you are close to Allah in your heart? The measure of that is how much you follow what He tells you to do. And among these obligations is hijab. A pure heart, according to Allah (swt), is that heart which follows His commandments both inwardly and outwardly. May He (swt) grant us all such purity of heart.
3. My parents/husband won’t let me or won’t support me…
Sadly, this is a real concern for so many people in our times. However, just because you are told not to wear hijab does not mean you are required to listen. In a hadith narrated by Bukhari and Muslim, “There is no obedience to creation in the disobedience of the Creator.” Still, do this with wisdom and with caution. Ask a knowledgeable individual who is familiar with your case. Talk to your family calmly and patiently about why you want to start. Understand that they want what is best for you even if they have a distorted understanding of what that is. Making dua’ is crucial. Make a lot of dua’ that Allah open up their hearts to the idea. I’ve noticed that the best way to get your family to become more accepting is to treat them with the best of character. They will then realize that becoming religious means becoming a better person overall, and will inshaAllah begin to support you in due time.
4. I’m afraid…
Afraid that I won’t get a job. Afraid that I won’t be taken seriously. Afraid that it will stop me from what I want to do. Afraid of what people will think and say. Afraid of Islamophobia and hate crimes. Afraid of being different. Afraid of being labeled. Afraid of representing Islam. Afraid of the responsibility. Afraid afraid afraid..
Ok, I’m at that point where I’ve said the word “afraid” so much that it’s stopped making sense. And really, how much sense does it even make? No matter what aspect it is in your life, never let fear prevent you from taking a step forward and challenging yourself. Anyone can stay within their comfort zones, but it takes courage to step out and do something a little different. These are the people who learn and grow to become better people from their experiences. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face… You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
Sure, you might come across some of these problems. But don’t you remember Monster’s Inc? Monsters always appear bigger and scarier than they really are. Allah (swt) says, “Indeed, that voice of despair is only from Satan, prompting your hearts with fear of his patrons. So do not fear them, But fear Me, if indeed you are believers!” (3:175). Think about it, what is the worst thing that could happen if you started hijab? Even that is temporary, because Allah promises with every hardship there is ease. If Allah (swt) can take care of people who revile and disbelieve in Him, why would He not treat with extra special care someone who is sacrificing so much for Him? This world is a place of tests, and you have to be courageous and willing to be tested in order to attain the everlasting reward waiting for you in Jannah. To get this conviction and courage, I would suggest surrounding yourself with positive and good company. Also, read Quran often with translation. You have nothing to fear once you realize that Allah always has your back.
5. I’m not that religious yet, I want to wait till I’m a better person…
I’ll admit, I used this excuse myself and lost out on years of reward. It sounds like it’s very logical. Why should anyone start hijab when they do so many other sins? Shouldn’t they work on those sins first before they put on something that represents themselves as a Muslim? My answer to that would be, do two left turns make a right? No, instead you just end up completely going the wrong way! No matter how many sins you commit, hijab is still fardh on you as a believing woman. Hijab does not become an obligation once you are sinless. It becomes an obligation once you have reached puberty. It’s not for people who are perfect, it’s for people who are trying to perfect themselves. As many negatives as there are in your life, it only helps you to add something positive. That shame you feel when committing a sin in hijab, don’t run away from that. It is better to wear hijab and feel ashamed over your sins then to not wear hijab and feel no shame. Embrace that guilt, use it to ask for forgiveness. Harness it to help you grow into a better person. You won’t just magically become religious one day, it happens by making some sort of effort. Make wearing hijab your step towards Allah. And like the hadith says, if you take one step towards Him, He comes to you at speed.
6. I’ll do it later, when I’m older…
Yeah hijab is cool and everything but I’ll just start once I’m in college. Then when you get to college, it’s once you graduate. When you graduate, it’s once you get a job, or get married, or have kids. Eventually, Allah forbid, you put it off for so long that you meet the angel of death without ever having followed this commandment of Islam. Allah (swt) knows how hard it is to live life the right way these days. He knows that we have every opportunity to sin at our fingertips. He knows that the age of youth is when temptation to sin is the greatest. So would He not reward you accordingly if you sacrificed all those things for Him? For every time you are mocked, for every time you are stared at, for every awkward feeling you get, for every time you want to do something bad but you don’t, your reward is waiting for you. Don’t think Allah doesn’t notice. His love for you increases in proportion to how hard it is for you to make an effort in obeying Him. If you want to have fun now and wear hijab later, be my guest. But remember that one of the people who will be shaded by Allah’s throne on the day where there will be no shade is a youth who spent his days in the remembrance of Allah. That is because Allah knows that the age of youth is when the desire to sin is the greatest. It’s the age where controlling that desire is the hardest. Anyone can put off living a life of obedience for when it’s easier, but the real reward is for those who put in the effort when it’s hard. Don’t get so lost in the illusion of this world that you forget your real purpose, to earn your akhirah. And the best way to do that is to sacrifice the best years of your life for the One who gave you life.
7. I like boys and still want to be attractive…
Let’s not be afraid to get real. Many avoid wearing hijab because they want to feel attractive and they want attention from guys. They don’t want to wear hijab because it makes them look and feel ugly. Because it turns guys off from them. Why are women so obsessed with getting a guys attention? Why do we need to feel pretty in order to feel good about ourselves? We live in a culture obsessed with the external shells of people. We are forced to live up to a standard of beauty that is impossible to reach. Everything is retouched, photoshopped, and fake. And you aren’t worth anything until you can get to that unreal level of beauty. Your self-worth is dependent upon how good you look and how many boys like you. Society teaches you that no matter how much you try, it’ll never be enough. Islam teaches us that even the smallest effort will increase how worthy and valuable you are to Allah.
When you have something valuable, you hide it, you cover it, you protect it from other people. You keep it safe so that someone unworthy can’t steal it from you. By all means, be as beautiful as you want. But cover your beauty because you are a valuable person. Don’t let the thieves of this world steal you for less than what you are really worth. Don’t let someone else define your self-worth. Don’t let something that is out of your control be what decides how you feel about yourself. Allah says that people are not better than others by the color of their skin, by the brand name of their clothes, or by who has the best messy bun. People are only better than each other solely by how much they sacrifice for the sake of Allah. That hijab you are wearing that makes your face look fat and your shoulders look broad makes you beautiful to Allah. And honestly who else is more important to impress? Prioritize gaining the attention of Allah over anyone else, and that’s what makes you beautiful!
8 . I don’t have a support system
If you are blessed enough to live in a city like Chicago, then you can’t use this excuse. Alhamdulillah even though there were barely any Muslims in my high school, I was surrounded by options to build a strong Muslim identity. Go to a speech, join a class, holler at your MSA. If you can, try to get a halaqah group going with your friends and share inspiring discussions with each other. If you don’t live in an area where there are many Muslims, turn to the internet! Listen to your favorite speaker online. Read websites that spread knowledge, join an online class. And everyone should establish a strong connection with dhikr and the Quran. If you don’t have anyone to support or relate to you, remember that Allah is always there to support you. Raise your hands in dua’ and talk to Him about your struggles, and you’ll come out feeling stronger than ever.
9. People will judge me…
I know if I start hijab, I won’t wear it right and people will judge me. Who cares what people think? Whether you are called a bangjabi, hoejabi, part time hijabi, if you show your arms or neck or ears or whatever, who cares? Yes those things are wrong and you should strive to attain a more perfected form of Hijab. This is not a license to incorrectly label a wrong thing as right. But Hijab is such a dramatic change in lifestyle and such a sacrifice, if you need to go at your own pace then do it. If you can’t be at 100%, be at 75%, 50%, 10%. If you need to, I say it’s better to even be at %0.0001 than at zero. There will be people who will tell you what you’re doing is not worth it if you’re not going to do all of it. But I say, it’s better to meet Allah with proof that you made some kind of effort than having nothing to show for yourself. And like I said before, a little bit of effort goes a long way. Allah will see your sincerity and will eventually give you the tawfeeq to grow in courage and action.
10. I’ll do it when I’m ready…
Newsflash: nobody is ever ready. I put off starting hijab for years waiting for a day when I was ready. Guess what, it never came. I realized that if I wasn’t going to push myself to get out of my comfort zone and just do it, I would never be able to. So with a lot of dua’, I decided to just wear it on one random day of the week in high school. No, I was not ready for the weird looks, the awkward walk through the bus, the questions, the disappointing looks, the comments, etc. But I just pushed through that day and the next day was easier, and the day after that it was completely normal. Now I don’t even have to think about it Alhamdulillah. If you want to lose weight, you have to fight your hunger and diet. If you want to go to a good school and get a good job, you have to fight your laziness and study hard. If you want to wear hijab and identify as a Muslim, if you want to attain the gardens beneath which rivers flow, you have to push yourself. There won’t be a day when things will suddenly become easy, until you finally push yourself and make yourself used to the change.
My advice is to now go make a fresh wudu, pray 2 rakat nafl salah, sit down and reflect. Why exactly can’t you start hijab, or what is making it hard for you? Then make dua’ that Allah swt give you the strength, courage and conviction to make this step or to keep persistent with it. I hope and pray that Allah uses #ProjectHijab as a means to inspire at least one person to live in a way that pleases Him. I also ask for forgiveness for anything wrong I may have said or if I have offended anyone. May Allah strengthen our Iman, complete our faith, and join us together in Jannah! Ameen