When We First Met

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Sharing with our readers how this website started, “When We First Met” is about the beginning and development of IGIC.

(c) zainubthewayfarer. Used with permission.

I Got It Covered (IGIC for short) is a blog about hijab, but for those of us involved in the project, it’s so much more. IGIC is a perfect example of how we should never belittle the smallest of ideas, never underestimate the power of a simple suggestion. It’s a lesson in taking time out to plan and work behind the scenes, like a seedling which grows underground before poking its head out of the soil. It’s an illustration of the beauty of teamwork and sisterhood, and working together for the sake of Allah.

But let’s back up for a minute. What is IGIC, again, and how did it all start?

The Start

IGIC began as a simple suggestion. It was during an AlMaghrib class on the Sciences of the Qur’an taught by Sheikh Muhammad Ibn Faqih. If you’re not familiar with AlMaghrib Institute, do a google search on it, and the website will come up first thing on the list.

Sheikh Muhammad’s suggestion was that sisters “Should start a website that demonstrates Muslim women’s willingness to wear the Hijab.” He suggested that “We gather signatures from all around the world so that we could prove once and for all that Muslim women willingly wear the Hijab.”

None of the sisters currently involved in IGIC were in that class. None of us actually heard the suggestion.

But one sister attending the class heard the suggestion and took it to heart. She posted the idea on the AlMaghrib student forums, adding, “Does anyone know if this project has been initiated yet or at least who might be interested in initiating it?”

AlMaghrib has a sizeable student body, masha’Allah. And when an idea gets posted on the forums, especially a good idea with a lot of potential, people start buzzing.

People read that first post with interest and added their own thoughts. “There must be something else we can do to help others understand us instead of simply collecting signatures, which might not make a huge impact,” another sister who had attended the class said. “Someone suggested we start a blog and have as many sisters as possible contribute to it by sharing their stories, reasons and benefits of wearing hijab, niqaab, abaya, jilbab, etc. If anyone can think of any other ideas regarding this, then please do share!”

From there, things took off. Lots of people got excited. We shared ideas. We brainstormed on possible names for the project. A domain name was registered. A team was formed. So many small suggestions followed that first small suggestion by the Sheikh, until the idea for IGIC was born.

We had a lot of material to work with, and a good group of sisters willing to do it. Now it was time to get to work, to put it all together.

The Seedling

The beginning was a rough one for IGIC. We had a lot of ideas, a lot of enthusiasm, enough resources and volunteers. But we were at a loss on how to put it all together.

As volunteers, we didn’t know anything about each other. We were sisters who had met online on an internet forum, united by our love for Islam and knowledge and hijab, and the hope to do something for the sake of Allah. We lived in different cities and countries, across different time zones, and the internet remained our main way of communication.

But there was a lot to discuss. And we didn’t know where to start. We’d never done anything like this before. Sure, we had sisters who were skilled in their own areas: writing, editing, web design and development. But how were we supposed to put it all together?

May Allah bless and reward the sisters who stuck with IGIC in its early days underground as a seedling. They were rough days for the project, but blessed by the mercy of Allah. Every time we started a discussion, things would come to a sudden halt. It was a jarring experience, and after months of starting and halting, starting and halting, it didn’t seem like we were going anywhere. There were days when we thought the project would never take off, moments when we might have thought of giving it up entirely.

But by the mercy of Allah, we pushed forward. There was always one sister or another to ask what the next step was, to remind us to keep moving, to inspire and encourage us forward. “Renew your intentions,” they’d say, or “Think of the reward lying ahead!” If anything, our IGIC experience gave us a profound understanding of Surat al-Asr:

“By time, * Indeed, mankind is in loss, * Except for those who have believed and done righteous deeds and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” [Al-Asr, 103].

Truly, we would have been lost, and IGIC would have been lost if, through the blessings of Allah, we hadn’t had a group of sisters, striving in belief and righteousness, and advising each other to truth and patience. We ask Allah to make us so, and to purify our intentions.

We took our time with IGIC. We took time to get to know the other sisters on the team, developing a sense of sisterhood. We discussed our vision and our plans at length. We fussed over kinks and details. We made timelines; sometimes we stuck to them. And then one day, nearly a year later – it was such a long year in the time of IGIC! – we found ourselves setting and announcing a launch date. Allahu Akbar! What a blessing from Allah.

The Vision

One of the things we really took our time with on IGIC before the launch was developing a vision and a written mission statement. We took a hint from Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. We had each member send in their own personal mission statement for the project, what they hoped to contribute to and see come out of the project. Then we took all those individual statements and put them together. What we ended up with was this:

I Got it Covered is an online network that personifies women everywhere who willingly respond, with love and dedication, to the command of their Lord in wearing the hijab. Through the stories and voices of these women, IGIC exposes the realities behind covering, correcting stereotypes about hijab and becoming a source of inspiration and support for women who wish to pursue wearing it. Doing so, IGIC hopes to create bridges of education, respect and understanding, ultimately sharing the beauty of Islam with the world.

It was a statement we were satisfied with, because it began with the concept of sincerity (doing it for Allah), because it focused on hijab, because it ended with a broader spectrum and vision of supporting Islam. And because we’d worked together as a team to perfect it.

We officially launched IGIC on December 29th, 2008, corresponding to the 1st of Muharram, 1430 AH, over a year after Sheikh Muhammad’s first small suggestion was made. We’re not even sure if Sheikh Muhammad is aware of the project, but here is IGIC, moving and growing and expanding, and all praise and thanks are due to Allah.

The Future

IGIC has been on the web for over a year. It’s hard to believe, subhan Allah! Any good in the site, we acknowledge is from Allah alone, and any mistakes or problems with it are from the evil and imperfections of our own selves. We ask Allah to forgive us and guide us to what is better.

We’ve come a long way at IGIC, but we still have a long way to go. And we’d love to have your help along the way!

What can you do for IGIC? Read, comment, and share with friends. Send in your submissions, your own stories about hijab! Remember to never underestimate the power of a simple idea; never belittle the reward that can lie behind a small word or the sharing of a single link. Let us know your thoughts and ideas on the site and how we can improve – we love hearing from our readers! And make du’aa for IGIC. Lots, and lots of du’aa.

We ask Allah to accept from you and from us, and to make us leaders for the people of taqwah. Ameen.

The IGIC Team

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This article initially appeared in the October/November 2009 issue of the Modest Beautiful Muslima Magazine. The section called “The Future” was amended to reflect the time difference between when the article was first published and today.