Kid in a Candy Shop: Support, Knowledge and Hijab

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What do online forums and candy shops have in common? For one sister, they both represent happy ways to satisfy a craving for something sweet!

My journey of Hijab began early in life. I was 12 and in the seventh grade when I first observed full Hijab. My mother always encouraged me to cover even before that. She would say in the sweetest way, “You are growing now, you have to start dressing more modestly; you have to start wearing Hijab.” (Back then I understood Hijab to mean only the scarf.)

This might seem like a very young age, but after reading later in life I found out a Muslim woman should start to observe Hijab when she hits puberty. So in fact it was the perfect age! My family is also very traditional, as some would say ‘conservative Muslims’. All throughout elementary, even though I didn’t wear a khimaar (scarf) over my head, I still dressed modestly. All the women in my family only wore skirts, dresses and on occasion salwar kameez, and I did the same. I remember the last time I wore ‘jeans’ and a shirt was in the first grade. So you can say I was used to covering my body, but adding the khimaar was a big step for me. I thought, “Isn’t it enough that I dress differently from every girl, now I have to stand out even more?!”

I “negotiated” with my mom, and we agreed as soon as I went to middle school I would start wearing Hijab. My intention? Well, I wore it because everyone in my family did, I wore it because I loved my mother and never refused anything she told me; I wore it for many reasons but not for the sake of Allah.

Middle school began and so does my observing of Hijab. Middle school was a really rough period for me. I was one of only three Muslims in the school and the only one who observed full Hijab. Oh yes! I got the dirty looks, the whispers as I passed and sometimes the very rude remarks. I also got the strange questions like: “Do you always wear that… thing? Do you take a shower with that on? Are you bald? Are you allowed to grow your hair? What’s under there?” My khimaar got nicknamed many things like “rag,” “thing,” “bandanna,” etc. I always responded after being asked why I wore it that “It’s my religion.” Nothing more. I couldn’t come up with a better answer. It wasn’t easy going to school each day.

My old elementary friends told me I became withdrawn and quiet. I didn’t make an effort to “fit in,” really; I just kept to myself and a close group of friends. This worked for me to some degree until I entered high school. High school was a nightmare. I always tell my siblings, “Parents don’t know it, but high school is like a battlefield… they just throw you in there and expect you to come out alive!” Ok, it wasn’t that bad! But it was really hard dealing with so much pressure and influence from every “clique.” The rockers, the punks, the preps, etc. I didn’t fit in with any of them. In addition to this, I only had my siblings to relate to. I never really had other Muslim friends other than family to give me support.

I found that support I was looking for in the most unlikely of places: online forums. I remember one in particular; I used to visit it every day. I bonded with other Muslims who were going through the same things I went through; it really filled the void I was feeling. There were so many types of Muslims there. Some were very deen-driven, masha’Allah and others were just concerned with fun and games. I looked up to the former. I looked up to one sister in particular; she actually wore Niqab, masha’Allah. She was so strong, I just wanted to be like her so much. To have as much confidence and love for Islam as she did. I loved everything about this sister, the way she talked (or “typed” actually), how every post she had increased me in knowledge and love for my deen. I was on this forum for almost 2 years.

It was during this time that I fell in love with my deen. Madly, deeply in love! This love led me on a search for more knowledge. I read everything I could get my hands on. I was a bookworm already so I loved reading the books, pamphlets and online posts I came across. I downloaded lectures and filled up my mp3 player; I would fall asleep to them because I didn’t want to turn them off. I would get so excited when I found a new lecturer; it was almost like I was a kid in a candy shop.

Through these lectures and reading, I learned about the true purpose of Hijab. Not for culture, not for subjugation of women (as many said to me); rather it was a liberation for women. It was a sign of obedience to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala over anyone else. It was a way to protect and preserve us, it was a sign that we are honored Muslim women. I also learned that Hijab wasn’t merely a covering of the head but a modest covering of the whole body.

I gained knowledge about Hijab, but more than this I started to have confidence in my Hijab. I started to love myself and how I chose to represent myself: a Muslimah fully hijabified for the sake of Allah. How can I describe this feeling, this confidence and happiness with Hijab? I simply can’t. Not in words. But I know many sisters can relate.

Alhamdulilah, I’m now 21, and I observe Hijab fully and happily for the sake of my Rabb. I look back and am so thankful for the online support and encouragement I received from Muslims. They probably don’t know it, and thanks is due to Allah, but they changed my life. They helped me to fall in love with my deen, seek knowledge about not only Hijab, but many other topics, and they helped me become the person I am today. Alhamdulilah!

I hope insha’Allah that my story motivates you my Beloved Sisters in Islam. I truly love you all for the sake of Allah, even if I have never met you. I love you because you are my Sister! I want for you what I want for myself.

So, my Beloved Sister, if you do not observe Hijab, please take the first steps. Seek knowledge. Talk with Sisters. Get support, yes even online! Take the first steps and may Allah bless you!

If you do observe the Hijab, take the time now to refresh your intentions, my Beloved Sister.

Make it so that every time you step out of the house in full Hijab it’s only for the Pleasure of Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, and not for any other reason.

May Allah reward you for reading. Ameen.

Any good I have said is from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, only the mistakes are mine.

May Allah subhanahu wa ta’la send his peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad salla Allahu alayhi wasallam, his family, companions and all those who walk the path of righteousness until the Day of Judgment. Ameen!

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, Lord of all that exists.

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This story was originally posted to The Ideal Muslimah fan page during their “December: Hijab Month Project.” It was written by one of the Ideal Muslimah Admins. Our thanks to The Ideal Muslimah for the permission to repost and their continued support for this website.