Climbing Up

4

I had a strange dream last night.

My recollection of the dream begins with me climbing up a steep hill, with many others both in front of and behind me. All of us were struggling to get to the top as though there was something up there we were seeking. And there really was. As I climbed and climbed, I felt as if I would never reach the top, although I could see that others before me had.

hillside

Right next to me, I saw a young man let go of the patches of grass he hung onto, plunging into a fast and painful fall. Before this he had vocalized his lack of patience, giving up before he reached the top. It had taken him too long and he had gotten nowhere.

Seeing him, I thought I should do the same as my patience was nearing its end and I didn’t think my body could carry me to the top. I decided to take one last look down before I plummeted to the bottom of the long hill. As soon as I had taken that look, I realized how far the drop would be.

I could only think of how painful a fall it would be if I were to let go. Had I really climbed up this far? It didn’t feel like it. I knew it would still be a struggle to get to the top, but I also knew that it would be worth the pain. And so fear got the better of me and I decided against my earlier intentions and continued to climb. I guess you could say I was more afraid of the pain of falling than the pain I would have to endure as I continued the climb.

Was this right, now that my motive was no longer to get to the top, but simply to avoid pain? When it comes down to it, we all have different motives for getting to where we want, some of us for the triumph of success and others for the fear of falling back. With either choice, we learn lessons along the way.

I looked back up to continue my climb and realized I still had a long way to go. I reached up, grabbing a turf to steady myself on, and then reached for another. As I lifted my weight up, the image before me began to form. A soft breeze blew in my direction and I knew  I was no longer climbing a grassy wall. I had finally made it to the top.

And to imagine that just two steps back, I had actually thought of giving up and letting myself fall! My fear of falling had paid off in the end.

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You see, that is the hijab.

It is the strength that defines who we are no matter where we are. Our hijab marks our strength and determination in climbing to the top, in taking that extra step to reach the pinnacle. To wear hijab is to show that strength, that solitude and lack of fear (that fear I experienced in my dream) and we need in that in life to overcome its obstacles.

You may wonder, how can a piece of cloth placed above our heads help us overcome these obstacles? Well, was it not strength of character that brought us to wear it, a strength that obliged us to wear hijab – to please Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala – no matter what  others around us did? It is this very characteristic instilled in us that will carry on for the rest of our lives. The hijab is our reminder of the strength we  have that will accompany us for the rest of our lives and allow us to move even farther than others.

This really is what my hijab has given me. And it’s a blessing from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that I have this as a constant reminder. I do not need to please anyone but Allah ta’ala. First and foremost, the hijab is a command of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and I am grateful for it.

But here is something more the hijab has offered me in my life: the strength to be who I am and do what I must do, without worrying about the thoughts of others. Sometimes my strength does falter, sometimes I do want to give up and let go and fall down the mountainside because it seems easier… but my hijab is still there for me as a reminder from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that I have taken a step in the right direction. And I pray that the steps to follow will be the same.