The Whole Plunge

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Standing at the edge of a commitment, sometimes it seems like a long way to dive. Is taking the whole plunge worth it?

Alhamdulillah, a few days ago, we had our webinar with Habibi Halaqas (don’t worry if you missed it – the recording is now posted alhamdulillah). As the questions started pouring in towards the end, I felt there was a similar theme among those asking. Some of our sisters are ready to take the first step, but not necessarily the whole plunge – and I wanted to address that issue.

If we look at the way Islam was revealed, we’ll see it was revealed over a period of 23 years. First, the heart-softening surahs came, strengthening the eman (the belief) of the believers. After that, the commandments came. It makes total sense – until you whole-heartedly believe in something, you won’t follow its rules. Why would a woman cover herself if she doesn’t know who Allah is and why she should obey Him?

So after hearing about the fiqh of hijab during the webinar, some sisters were unsure about going all the way, and it’s understandable. Sure, some of us are ready to wear the scarf on our heads – but we’re not ready to wear a skirt or abaya, or an item of clothing that might make us stick out more. And if you’ve never worn a skirt or jilbab or abaya, yes, of course it’s going to be different and maybe even scary. It just takes time and practice to get used to it! Besides, if you’re doing it for the sake of Allah, He would never let you down – He’s on your side and will always Help you!

One story that comes to mind when I think of taking the full plunge is the story of a righteous woman, the story of a great scholar named Hafsa bint Seereen, rahimaha Allah. The story is narrated to us:

Even in her old age, Hafsa bint Seereen would put on her hijab while she was teaching men. One of her students said to her, “O my great scholar, didn’t you already reach the time when you do not have to wear the hijab, where Allah has excused you from wearing it at all time?” Hafsa said, “Did you not read the end of the ayah in Surat an Noor:”

And as for the women past child-bearing who do not expect wed-lock, it is no sin on them if they discard their (outer) clothing in such a way as not to show their adornment. But to refrain (not to discard their outer clothing) is better for them. And Allah is All-Hearer, All-Knower.” [Noor:60]

Subhan Allah, she had reached the age when the commandment for hijab was relaxed on her – but did she stop? No – because like the verse says, not to discard their outer clothing is better for them. She chose the path that’s better – where she could get more reward, where she could please Allah more.

What is it that we usually do? We pray the minimum number for salah. We fast only the required days in Ramadan. We want to do the minimum amount of worship and later expect the maximum reward – the highest level of Jannah. How does that make sense? If scholars like Hafsa bint Seereen went to the next level, always striving higher to get more reward, why can’t we? No excuses – we’re people just as they were, and we have the Message just as they did. All it takes is a constant battle with the nafs, the constant will to always be striving for His sake.

In the end, Allah loves ihsaan – excellence. He created everything with ihsaan – just look at everything around you, beginning with yourself – and we’re encouraged to do deeds with ihsaan. Take a look at your ‘ibaadah, your worship. Are you doing it with ihsaan? Could you be praying your salah with better khushoo? Fasting more? Learning the Arabic in the Qur’an? Is your hijab at the best level it could be? Once we get our deen established with ihsaan, the dunya will only follow – with ihsaan and nothing less.

So taking the whole plunge may seem like a difficult, daunting task, but in the end, isn’t it worth it? And shouldn’t we work up the courage to eventually take it?

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