Death and a Promise

15

Although wearing the hijab may begin early for some, bumps can occur along the way. Guest writer Shahida Rahman shares her story, triumphs and bumps, and all.

Behind the veil I am the queen,
I have a body that nobody’s seen.
Many people think I am oppressed –
And wonder how I got myself into this mess.
My veil is my cure,
And makes my heart pure.
It earns me my love from Allah, my Lord,
And makes me strong against any sword.
Behind my beautiful veil lies
My savior from the temptation of guys!
“Behind my veil,” I begin to say,
“Is where I shall forever stay!”

MuslimahPrincess

I started wearing hijab when I was five years old. I would see my mom, my two older sisters, and my aunt wearing it; I thought it would be cool to wear it, too, and I wanted to be like them. I was five, mind you, so I never really understood the meaning behind wearing the hijab. All I knew was that it would cover my hair, and I was a Muslim. As I grew older, I slowly began to understand the meaning behind wearing the hijab and what it was for.

It’s a veil that covers our hair and body, yes, but it is also so much more than that: clothing that is worn with respect, to represent modesty.

All my life, I grew up watching these females in my family wearing hijab, and I always wanted to know why they wore it. So I asked my mother one day, “Mom, why do you wear a scarf on your head when you go out?” She told me that she wore it because she didn’t want any other man to see her hair except my father, and because she wanted to. Most of all, she wore it because it was a command from Allah, and she did it in order to please Him.

Wow, I want to wear it too, I thought to myself. I want to please Allah and be on His good side. So a couple of days later I began wearing it on my own to school, to my relatives’ houses, and wherever I went. Everyone was quite surprised to see me wearing hijab at such a young age (don’t worry, I enjoyed the attention!)

As the years went by, I continued to wear hijab and it became a habit. I would go to school and my classmates would ask why I wore it. My response would always be because: I want to, and so I can please Allah.

Eventually, I also learned that to please Allah, I would have to do a lot more than just wear a scarf on my head – I would have to pray five times a day, fast during Ramadan, recite the Holy Qur’an as much as I could, cover my body, and dress in a way that wouldn’t be showing my figure either.

At first, dressing modestly for me meant baggy clothes and no sense of style, but I soon realized that I could dress nicely yet modestly at the same time.

When I reached high school, I felt as if I was missing out on a lot. I wanted to know what it would be like not to wear hijab, so before I began high school, I stopped. I still prayed five times a day and fasted, but I stopped wearing a hijab. My parents never said anything, but I knew inside they were disappointed and upset at my decision. So I passed my freshmen year and sophomore year without wearing a hijab; it didn’t feel right inside, yet I continued on in that manner for a while.

In the middle of my sophomore year, I became really good friends with someone, and talking to this person made me want to start wearing a hijab, but for some reason I just couldn’t. My friend made me see things in a different perspective, and I learned a lot as well. I couldn’t really tell anyone that I wanted to wear a hijab, but I would wear it at home and see how I looked. After seeing how I looked with a scarf, I promised myself that once I started college, I would begin to wear hijab again. I thought, I’ll be starting fresh in college, so I’ll begin by wearing a scarf.

November of my junior year, an unexpected accident and death occurred in my family. My father’s uncle had gotten hit by a car and had passed away. It was one of the biggest shocks of my life. I was extremely close to him and he meant a lot to me; to know that he was no longer alive killed me inside. He was also one of my family members who would have been happy to see me in hijab, and even when I didn’t wear it, he was still proud that I prayed and fasted. He used to tell me that he wanted me to wear it again one day, and I promised him that I would when I went to college. An hour after we received the news of his death, I remembered what he had said, and I thought to myself: Wearing hijab in college and wearing it now is really the same thing. The only difference is the timing, but the reasoning behind it is all the same.

So starting that very night, I began wearing hijab again, and since then, I haven’t taken it off. Many people have asked me why I began wearing it so suddenly, and my response is, “Because I want to, and to fulfill a promise I made to my grandfather, and most of all, to please Allah.”

My mother was shocked when I began wearing hijab within the span of an hour, but she realized this time I was determined to wear it. It’s not easy to start wearing hijab, but the fact that I was able to do it on my own amazed her and made her proud of me. My dad came back from the funeral to see his daughter fulfilling his uncle’s wish, an uncle who was like a second father to him. I felt the honor of wearing hijab, and I thank Allah every day for giving me the strength to start wearing it again, and I ask Him to keep me always on the right path. Ameen.

After beginning to wear a hijab this time, I’ve come to realize so much Islamic-wise, and I’ve become more interested in Islam in general. It changed me as a person and more importantly, as a Muslim, as well.

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