For the Right Reason

11

Even as the daughter of an imam, guest writer KNX shares how difficult it can be to keep our intentions in check.

I first wore hijab when I was fifteen years old. In the beginning, my reason for wearing hijab was wrongly grounded.

I was born into a practicing Muslim family – alhamdulilah. I was bought up seeing the elderly females in my family wearing hijab. I was led to believe hijab was meant for older females. So I thought I would wear it when I became old. I also believed hijab was a cultural thing. How wrong was I?

As I grew up and neared the age of puberty, people suddenly started to look down on me. They seemed to feel sorry for me. They would laugh at me. They would gasp and gossip when they saw me just because I was not wearing hijab.

“You’re the daughter of an imam? How can you walk around like that?” they said.

“Don’t you feel ashamed? Your dad is the religious man, the imam!” some commented.

“How can you walk around ‘naked’ like a devil?” some jeered.

How can people be so rude? They should have used kinder words to explain to me. Or at least encourage me to wear hijab. The people who made those remarks are from my community and are among my relatives. I was thirteen back then. I was trying to learn about Islam. But those unfriendly attitudes pushed me away from Islam. Alhamdulilah, though, I had iman- faith in Allah.

In the next two years, their attitude gradually became more hostile. People continually judged me. People looked down on me. They would treat me differently. I could not handle it anymore. So I made a plan that I would start wearing hijab when I returned to school once summer was over. I was going to do it to please people. Just to stop feeling degraded. But what about Allah? I never even thought about pleasing Allah. How ignorant was I?

Even though I intended to wear hijab, my heart wasn’t in it. I was not ready. I was hesitant. I worried “What would people in school say about me?” So that summer, I decided to read a book about hijab that my brother had recently bought. It was beautiful; I read it all over again and again. When I closed the book, I was full of confidence. I knew that this time, my decision to wear hijab was based on the right reason –  purely for Allah. I finally grasped the meaning of hijab. I would wear it not to please people in my community just because I’m the daughter of an imam. I also no longer worried about what people in school would think of me when I wear hijab.

So rather than waiting to wear hijab until school started, I wore hijab immediately with pride, with meaning.

I have noticed the difference. I am happier and I feel protected. I feel that people, especially men, treat me with respect. They do not judge me based on my looks. Rather, they judge me beyond the way I look. I thank Allah that He has blessed me with the beauty of hijab.