Ya Ummi: Is it Too Late?

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When we’ve been doing something wrong  for so long, how do we turn it around and make it right?

Not too long ago, I was checking site statistics, and something caught my eye.

One thing our site statics show are “search engine terms,” those words people search for before landing on the website. We don’t know who searched for what, or why, but it gives us some idea of the things people are looking for. Sometimes these terms are straightforward, sometimes they’re strange, sometimes they’re funny. And sometimes they really touch you.

As I was looking across the list of terms for that particular day, it was this string of words that caught my eye:

Too late to put the hijab back on?

Like I said, there’s no way for us to know who made that search, and the anonymity provided by the internet can be a blessing. But somewhere out there, it seemed, is a person – a sister, perhaps – wondering if it’s too late for her to put her hijab back on. Maybe she’s young, and maybe she’s old. Maybe she wore the hijab for years before taking it off, and maybe she wore it just one day. Whatever her circumstances, she’s wondering now if there’s any way back.

To the sister who’s searching, wondering – to any sister who’s searching, wondering – “Is it too late?”

Why would it be too late, when Allah Himself says,

وَهُوَ الَّذِي يَقْبَلُ التَّوْبَةَ عَنْ عِبَادِهِ وَيَعْفُو عَنِ السَّيِّئَاتِ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا تَفْعَلُونَ

And it is He who accepts repentance from his servants and pardons misdeeds, and He knows what you do.” [42:25]

Why would it be too late, when we read,

قُلْ يَا عِبَادِيَ الَّذِينَ أَسْرَفُوا عَلَىٰ أَنفُسِهِمْ لَا تَقْنَطُوا مِن رَّحْمَةِ اللَّهِ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ يَغْفِرُ الذُّنُوبَ جَمِيعًا ۚ إِنَّهُ هُوَ الْغَفُورُ الرَّحِيمُ

Say, ‘O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.”’ [39:53]

Sister – every sister wondering – it’s never too late. Whether you used to wear hijab and then stopped – whether you’ve never once worn it yet – whether you’ve never once in your life worn it – as long as Allah has given you life, why not repent and start a new page? Why not start wearing it now before it really is too late?

Don’t say, “I want to wear hijab, but…” Don’t say, “I want to repent, but…

Repentance, seeking forgiveness, turning back to Allah – they’re all part of our existence as Muslims. And no matter what our sins or what we’ve done, Allah’s Mercy is greater than all that… and as long as you still live, it’s never too late.

If anyone has any words of advice, any pieces of wisdom they can offer a sister asking “Is it too late?” please share them in a comment below. Somewhere out there are sisters who are searching, and maybe you can help provide an answer.

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“Ya Ummi” is an IGIC column for asking and giving advice, so named because the person we often turn to when we don’t know what to do next is our mother. If you would like to submit your own “Ya Ummi” post, you can do so via the Contact form. Please note that this is not a place to seek fatwas, but rather a place to seek advice from others who may have gone through similar experiences. If you would like answers to fiqh issues, you can visit IslamQA.com or contact your local imam.

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