Reader Take Over Month Comes to a Close

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Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh, dear readers,

Alhamdulillah, as May 2010 comes to a close, so does our reader take-over month. We wanted to take the time to thank everyone for participating, whether it was by submitting a story, commenting, or just dropping in to read. As one of our staff writers commented on this month’s submissions, IGIC has some very talented readers, masha’Allah! Going through your stories, and seeing what you had to offer of wisdom and joy and tears, was a beautiful experience for us, and we ask Allah to reward you on our behalf, and on behalf of everyone who stopped by here.

Remember that our doors are always open to submissions, so if you have anything you’d like to share with the site, get in touch with us.

Starting tomorrow, insha’Allah, we return to our regular posting activity. If you sent in something during May and it wasn’t featured on the site, please know that it was only because we had more stories than we could handle for the month, walhamdulillah! Don’t worry, though – we’ve held on to all your stories and ideas, and will publish as many of them as soon as we can, insha’Allah.

May at IGIC was fun, and we pray that everyone benefited as much as we did. We hope to have more take-over months (maybe on different topics) in the future, may Allah make things easy.

Just in case you missed any of this month’s personal hijab stories, here they are again, in the order they appeared in (click on titles or images to be directed to the full posts):

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When I Asked Allah to Help Me

by Mariam Sabr

Some 25 years ago, I was growing up as a teenager in Midwest America like most teenagers were.  Although I was more conservative than other girls my age, I was accustomed to wearing jeans and T-shirts and occasionally a nice dress. I lived in a small community, and although we were quite secluded from other cultures, we did follow movies with great interest. During high school, the need to be “cool” was very important to me and my friends, and we had to wear the right clothes to fit the part.

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Sorority President Dons Hijab

by Amy

I must’ve spent an hour in front of my mirror trying to wrap that bland, brown, wool scarf around my head that night. I tried wrapping clockwise, counter-clockwise, pinning above and below, finally satisfied with my first attempt at “professional dress” with the addition of a headscarf. I then had to sneak out of the house – my parents didn’t know yet, and they wouldn’t understand – and conquer my fear. I had to present myself, the president of my sorority, as a Muslim; and not just a Muslim, but one who wears hijab!

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A Story About Waiting

by Selma

My journey to hijab is a story about waiting. About months and months of waiting, wishing to wear it and still not doing it out of fear of others. I was waiting for the perfect moment, but one, day I simply got tired of waiting. The beginning: I grew up in a non-religious family in an upper middle class district of Berlin, Germany. My father being Turkish and my mother German, I always felt I had to prove to my German friends, teachers or people in general that I was just as good as them.

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After 9/11

by Salvy Ahsan

Living life in this dunya is not easy for the Muslims. Muslims face so many difficulties, right and left. I also faced many hardships in my struggle to practice Islam. Often when I go out in public, I encounter very pleasant people who give me uplifting remarks such as, “I love your culture and traditions. I always wanted to know more.” Other times, people do not make feel as comfortable when they give me strange and stealthy stares. The first thing that people notice about me is my hijab, a scarf that covers my hair and neck.

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Advice from a Friend

by M.

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.

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Out of the Ordinary

by Iman

I grew up in an “ordinary” family. What is “ordinary,” you may ask? “Ordinary” as in not praying, listening to music, not wearing hijab, and leaving my heart to blacken while distancing myself more and more from Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. Over the past few years, Allah ta’ala has strengthened my eman and that of my family, and may He continue to strengthen it. Ameen. Over the past few years, Allah ta’ala has strengthened my eman and that of my family, and may He continue to strengthen it. Ameen.

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Death and a Promise

by Shahida Rahman

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.

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Words in My Heart

by Dewi

I would like to share my story about how I came to observe the hijab. I am an Indonesian woman. I am now thirty-eight years old, married and have three kids. My story began in November 2007, while my family and I were living in Courbevoie, France. My husband had received an international assignment from the company he worked for in Indonesia, so we moved to France in August of 2004. When we did, all my day-to-day activities changed. I took care of my family without any help, unlike in Indonesia, where I had a helper. My youngest was only four months old at the time.

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I Was Waiting to Die

by Nazeeha bint Renard

You can ask me what I had for dinner yesterday, and I will stop and think. But ask me at any time, on any day, when I reverted to Islam… and the answer comes quickly to the surface of my mind. Before I tell you “when,” I will answer the question of “why?” I was waiting to die. No, there was no illness of the body. My heart and soul were dead. My body felt like it existed without purpose. It was not a morbid feeling; I just didn’t connect spiritually, in my mind, to any faith.

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Like a Shattered Snow Globe

by Anonymous

My journey to hijab is a fairly recent phenomena. I was born in a middle class immigrant family. My parents had come to the States in the late seventies, early eighties, from conservative middle class homes. My grandparents from both sides were farmers, who lived on meager incomes, and my father came to America with the hopes and dreams for a brighter and better potential future.While growing up, my brother and I were taught salah, Arabic, and recitation of the Qur’an.

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If Tomorrow Never Comes

by Mdm Z

The hijab is not just a covering to me. It is a reminder to me that I belong to Allah and to Him I will return. That He is my Creator and I have to respect that which he has entrusted me to care for – myself. It is such a simple concept and yet as a twenty year old, it was not a concept that I was keen to think about. At twenty, life was so full of excitement and new experiences and adventure. There was just too much to do – college assignments and research, my social life and family commitments.

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“Someday, One Day, Insha’Allah…”

by NPV

As a teenager, I remember my father reprimanding me if I did not have a scarf on when I left the house. Being a typical teenager, with no thoughts of accountability, it did not take me long to realise that I could wear it when I left the house, but there was nothing compelling me to keep it on. And so it carried on. I would wear my scarf when I left the house, and if I was not with my father, I took it off. I was rather consciously blocking the ayah, “…and whatsoever good you do, Allah is aware of it…” [2:215], from my head.

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On My Way to the Masjid

by Aseel

When I was a child, about 10 or 11 years old, I was so excited about wearing the hijab. I wanted to wear it as soon as possible. It was something you obeyed Allah with, without caring what any other person thought. Unfortunately, I was in a private Christian school where hijab was forbidden! Although the Muslims and Christians in my country live in peace to some level, some said that the school I was in forbade hijab in order to get financial aid from France. Anyway, it was only a matter of time for me.

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I Hated the Hijab

by Nadia

This is my hijab story. I’m afraid to tell it. Afraid of what people will think of me. You see, for me, wearing hijab wasn’t all blooming roses and rainbows and inner peace. It was blood and tears and a nafs raging and rebelling. It was the hardest thing I ever did for Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala. I pray it was sincerely for His sake, that He may accept it from me, otherwise all this hardship will be in vain. I tell this story for the others out there who feel the same, who feel like aliens in the midst of women overjoyed at wearing hijab.

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Before Hijab, I Was Scared

by Shuma

Before hijab, I was scared. I was scared of what people would think, I was scared of what people would say at work, I was scared of scaring away potential husbands, I was scared of losing friends, I was scared of not being beautiful anymore and standing out in the crowd. All of these things stopped me from wearing hijab sooner, and now I wish, so much, that I had done it sooner. Because I could have saved myself from a lot of fitnah and lot of confusion had I done it sooner.

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Cleansing Tears

by Heba Youssef

It was difficult to distinguish between the tears streaming down my face, and the warm, comforting water flowing out of the showerhead. Quietly sobbing as I bathed had become routine for that week; it was the only outlet in my day where I could mediate the painful battle that ensued between my heart and mind. Just weeks earlier as I poured thoughts into my journal, I convinced myself that I would wear hijaab in two more years when I was done with school.

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Summer of Contemplation

by Yahsmin Mayaan Binti Bobo

It was a summer of contemplation for me. Turning the idea over and over in my mind was like turning over new soil for better cultivation and growth. Not every young woman made such a shift but evidently, it had been written. I thought about Islam every waking moment of every day. During this deliberation and with a bit of resistance still, I went to the movies with a male friend from high school. It was strictly platonic but I wore something that attracted a great deal of attention, none of which was positive.

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The Hardest Year

by Bint Sadiq

I used to say that the eleventh year of my life was my worst one, but now I know that I needed to go through that year in order to be who I am today. That year was the year my family moved to a new city. It was the year my mom returned to university for the first time since I was five years old, and the year my dad had to constantly travel overseas to visit his sick father. It was the year my grandfather died. But believe it or not, the thing that had the biggest effect on me was that it was the year that I made the change from Islamic to public school.

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Thanks again, everyone!