Hey There, Hijabi


One day, I was going home from my school, sitting in my car, dreaming, sleep deprived, and thinking about working on my dissertation when something suddenly hijacked my thoughts. It was the reflection of a girl in the window – a hijabi girl.

I kept looking at my reflection in the window, my headscarf, my outer garment and my makeup-less face, and I thought of why I did all that… Why was I covered up like this?

When you wear the hijab for years (and all praise is due to Allah), it becomes your second nature. But that particular day, when I saw my reflection, my heart questioned my intent and so I had to answer it.

I told myself that it is “Tawheed” – the belief that there is no deity worthy of worship but Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa, reiterating what Nouhad said. And then I told myself that ‘hijab is the flag of Islam.’ And then I told myself that this is Islam, and as a Muslim, it is obligatory upon me to dress modestly… “Lower your gaze and guard your Modestly,” is what popped up in my head. [24:31]

Hijab is not just the name of the cotton scarf on my head in summers, or the woolen one in winters – but hijab is the also the name of an aspect concerning my eyes, my ears, my tongue, my soul and my intention.

If I am wearing hijab externally and not practicing it internally, my hijab is just a useless “formality” on my head. Just like a useless piece of cloth on my head, that holds no significance. If I am a hijabi and I flirt with random guys online or in public; or if I dance in mixed gatherings or weddings; or if I show my skin when I wear a desi (saris with really short blouses exposing the waist) or pardesi (three-quarter pants, or skirts that show the bare legs), if I wear dresses or clothes that are sometimes too tight or translucent; and if I shake hands with non-mahram guys, etc. – then I cannot be classified as a true hijabi. My hijab is not yet complete.

Hijab has no shortcut. It is straightforward. Ali radiya Allahu anhu said that “The pious is not the one who has pious company, but the one who is pious when alone.”

Thus, only Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa knows of what we do when we are alone; hijab is worn for the sake of Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa, and that is the bottom line of hijab. It is not a culture, not a tradition, not a mum\dad\grandparent said “wear hijab” and so I’m wearing it. Hijab is for Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa alone.

So next time when your heart asks you, why you are wearing “it,” tell your heart that because you are a Muslim, you have submitted your will to Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa, and subsequently, His Will takes precedence over yours. If He says “Obey,” you obey; if He says “Pay Heed,” you pay heed; and if He says “Preserve your modesty,” you preserve your modesty.

Thus, there is this gravity in hijab: the command of the Sovereign is obeyed through Tawheed, Tazkiyah (purification) and that level of Iman – and when you accept that primary stage, you follow with the secondary one – you wear that “piece of cloth” on your head.

The next time my own heart asks me, “Why hijab Maryam?” – I’ll say, simply and confidently: “There is no deity worthy of worship but Allah subhanahu wa ta’alaa, the Lord of the Universe, Who calls me and I obey – Labbyk Allahuma Labbyk.”