At Her Graduation


A struggle with what to wear ends in tears, a mother’s wisdom, and finally, tranquility.

The end of June was rolling by, and it was graduation season. Even though it wasn’t my time to graduate, my best friend was finally done, and I had to be there. It was a nice, breezy evening, and another friend and I had planned to go to the ceremony together. As I walked to my closet, shaytan went into action.

Everyone is going to be there, everyone is going to have their cameras. I just have to look my best, I thought; and mind you, it wasn’t even my graduation. Was that me really talking, or was that shaytan? As I put on my abaya, shaytan’s whispers increased rapidly. Take a break from your abaya and loose fitted clothes, maybe you should wear that pink skirt, you always look good in that. But wait? I hadn’t left my home without my abaya for a whole year; today was certainly not going to be the day. I tried to battle these on-going whispers; I couldn’t give in.

I looked through my clothes, trying to find that right jacket to wear over my abaya, and I finally found the nice long pink one. As I draped it on and looked in the mirror, shaytan began with his snickering whispers once again. This is way too big on you, look at how fat you look! Hmm, maybe I don’t look that good in it, after all? No! I told myself again, you look absolutely fine, it’s not too big and not too tight.

Now it came down to the hard part of finding the right hijab. I found the one I usually wore with that jacket, a simple striped scarf. But wait, why does it look so tacky? Again, shaytan rambled on. I spent a good hour with this internal dialogue, agonizing in the closet. I eventually felt tears finding their way down my cheeks. Why is he beating me down so much today? I felt totally insecure and unable to make a decision. I felt so insecure, I was going to even abandon going to the graduation.

My mom walked in and saw the huge pile of clothes scattered on my bedroom floor. She was shocked, as she’d never seen this happened before. She sat me down on the bed, and looked genuinely into the eyes.

She began to tell me about a graduation she had once attended: it wasn’t her own, it wasn’t her best friend’s, but it was her husband’s, my daddy’s graduation. When the time came, she got into her elegant jilbab and put on a nice hijab – nothing too fancy, but a decent outfit. She went to the graduation, and everyone was decked out. Chilling with her friends, they were dressed up beyond what the occasion asked for. But it didn’t really bother my mom; she was happy for my dad, and happy in what she was wearing.

The following day, my mom told me, one of her friends was talking to her, one of those ladies who had been all dressed up for the graduation. She told her with all honesty that she had felt “this small,” making a gesture with her hands to indicate the smallness, compared to my mom that day. She went on stating the fact that they had both had fun, they had both enjoyed their time. But one of them had displeased her Lord, while the other had pleased Him, and pleased herself as well. My mom. Alhamdulilah.

I was astounded, subhanaAllah. Verily, Allah guides whom He wills. You see, after my mom told me this story, I felt total relief taking over my heart. My soul was content. Why am I fretting over an abaya I have been wearing for a good seven months now? I’ve worn it all that time – I’ve volunteered at the hospital with it on, I’ve worn it for Eid, and I wore it every day at school. How are these two simple hours of my life going to be any different?

Tranquility overtook me. I looked in the mirror one last time, I made sure I still matched, but more importantly, I also considered what would please my Creator, and not His creation. We all go through ups and downs, we have our days where shaytan over comes us, but if you are upon the truth, then you know there is no other way. Shatyan was merely created as your enemy – so we should take him as one. It’s hard, and it takes time. But if Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala brought me this much to the task He has ordained upon me, why would I suddenly chicken out, He will beyond doubt bring me through it.