My Self Expression


Eliminating excuse after excuse, the little doubts still remain. Examine them closely, and blow them away like a layer of dust off your heart.


Do you remember where you were fifteen months ago? If you’re anything like me, you might have trouble recalling what you had for breakfast this morning. However, somewhat surprisingly, I am able to recall vividly and clearly the precise events of a week belonging to that specific time, some fifteen months ago.

It was April, and characteristically for the region, the remnants of winter still perched on the edge of streets and front lawns, reminding the city’s dwellers that the snow could still return for an extended visit. Within those winter-like spring days, I was trying to confront every barrier my mind was constructing to prevent me from observing the hijab in its complete and correct form. I had managed to overcome a majority of my larger unfounded concerns. And after eliminating the last of those aforementioned concerns – my fear of how my friends or the public at large would react – the shaytaan, it seemed, had tapped into a well of trivial reasons to hinder me.

You see, I am one of those people who sees the opportunity to express themselves in every situation. I express myself through my writing, through my photography, and, more pertinent to the issue at hand, through my wardrobe. I feared that if I were to exchange the wardrobe I naively thought expressed my personality for a more God-conscious look, I would be loosing some expression of myself, some part of me that the hijab would distort.

Before, my wardrobe had consisted of skinny jeans and other pants of form-fitting styles. I donned shirts that ended just above my knees with sleeves that I usually rolled a quarter of the way up my arm. I possessed the belief that as long as I had the khimar on, the portion of hijab that covers the hair, ears and neck, I was fulfilling the requirements of hijab. Anytime I went out in those kinds of outfits, however, my Mother taught me that this was not hijab.

So as I struggled to make a change, I decided to discuss my reluctance with my Mom; and as the words came out, I realized what a petty reason it was. Nonetheless, I told my Mom what point I had reached in my journey to hijab. After telling her, a somewhat amused look began to inhabit her face, mixed with an “Oh, the folly of youth” sort of expression, may Allah bless her patience.

My Mom said a number of things that day as we sat in my living room, all of which I remember; but the lynchpin of her sentiments was this, “But now your personality has been updated. Now you realize what Allah expects of your dress.”

I was tempted to smack myself upside the head at the obvious realization that finally coloured my mind. The garment that I somewhat dimwittedly thought would stunt my personal expression was, in fact, the very thing that would enhance it and make it truer to who I had become!

Now, returning to the present, I believe I have grown fifteen months wiser. Alhumdulillah, I’ve been observing the complete hijab for little over a year and I’m happy to tell you that – if you’re likewise concerned – your fashion sense won’t be afflicted negatively. In fact, you’ve scored a new accessory called Modesty, and it’s always in style.