Advice from a Friend

13

Guest writer “M.” shares how a friend’s advice, unwelcome at first, became a catalyst for change in her life.

It’s funny how less than eight months ago, I would cringe at the thought of dressing more modestly. I looked down upon friends of mine that were practicing Muslims, and considered them to be on their way to “extremism,” may Allah forgive me for thinking this.

One day, I was making my way through the mall when I bumped into a girl who was wearing the niqab and all black. I paused for a moment, confused as to who this woman who was staring at me was. After a few seconds, she recognized me and jumped.

“Yoooo… M., how are you?!”

I recognized her voice; it was my childhood friend from elementary.

“Oh my gosh, is that you?… You wear niqab now?!” It would be an understatement to say I was surprised.

“Yeah man, I decided to take the next step.”

She told me that she was going to be transferring to the school I was attending, and that a few months after she would be leaving for her country of origin to study Islam. I was really happy that we would be going to the same school, even though she was going to be leaving in a few months.

After that day, I ran into her a few other times, and every time I did, she would “lecture” me about religion, and about how hijab was important. I remember feeling annoyed every time she’d bring the deen up, may Allah forgive me.

She eventually transferred to my school, and was in most of my classes. Since she wore niqab, it seemed that the students and teachers were afraid of her. Almost everyday, she would bring up the topic of hijab and how the skinny jeans I was rocking to school everyday were haram. My response would always be, “I’ll stop soon.”

Even though her lectures bothered me, it seems that they did not go to waste; she was part of the reason I started to think about my lifestyle at that time. Allah truly guided me through her.

A few weeks later, she set off for her country where to study the deen. Soon after she left, I began pondering over the things she had told me, and the way I was living life. During that time, I was wearing a khimaar with skinny jeans and tight shirts. I didn’t think anything was wrong with what I was wearing until this friend had started explaining the term “hijab” to me. She had told me that hijab wasn’t only covering the head, but the whole body. I was shocked that I didn’t know this before. After my friend left, I started feeling horrible about the way I had treated her. I would ignore her advice and change the subject every time we started talking about Islam. May Allah forgive me for the way I treated her.

After she left, I also started doing research of my own, and I began attending conferences. Around the month of Ramadaan, a couple of friends of mine informed me of a halaqa at a house near by, and I was definitely interested. The sister holding the halaqa, who was about twenty years of age, made a deal with us. The deal was that we would wear the abaya to school just to see how it felt. I definitely wasn’t enthusiastic about this, but I agreed anyways.

At first, I was so bothered by the abaya that I actually took it off at school many times, or just didn’t wear it altogether. But I started to think about what I was doing, and I felt guilty for rejecting something Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala commanded us to do, because Allah only commands what is best for us.

Eventually, the halaqa stopped, and throughout Ramadaan, I continued seeking knowledge. Alhumdulilah, near the end of Ramadaan, I started wearing the abaya. The self-confidence I suddenly felt was indescribable. I realized that I wasn’t happy with my previous lifestyle.

How can a person be happy while rejecting Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala’s commands?

I also realized that Muslims and non-Muslims alike were respecting me. Male classmates of mine would be careful not to touch me or say inappropriate things around me. My advice to those seeking respect is to wear the correct hijab! How can we hope to receive respect, if we don’t respect ourselves? Wearing form-fitting and revealing clothing sends out the wrong message. If we are seeking true respect, we must follow Allah’s commands, for that is the only way we will receive it.

Alhamdullilah, six months later, I now proudly wear the jilbab, and insha’Allah the niqab someday. It is crazy how just a few months back, I was ignoring Allah and His commands, as thought my former lifestyle would get me to Jannah.

I have a long way to go and many things to learn, but I hope I inspired at least one person through my story.

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Submitted to I Got It Covered for our May 2010 reader-takeover month.