Guest writer Mabrouka shares her appropriately titled piece, “Struggle Towards Light.”
It was the year 2002, I was fourteen years old. After nearly eleven years in Europe, my family and I returned to our Muslim country – alhamdulilah.
I wore t-shirts, tight jeans, hair hanging loose. I was athletic and played many sports. On the outside, I was a teenager; however, on the outside, I was merely a child.
I studied in a mixed school, with Muslim boys and girls. I was the popular girl. Everyone knew me. To them, I was “cool.” Boys wanted me to be their girlfriend. They wanted to hang around with me. They thought I was cool because I was westernized. However, what they didn’t know was that I was opposite to what they thought. I wasn’t the girl who hung around with guys! I dreaded them. Rather, I was a Muslimah. A follower of Islam. I was an extremely shy person, who tries to be conscious of Allah, who knows her religion, and who especially hated to mix with the opposite gender. I realized that how I showed myself on the outside did not reflect who I truly was on the inside.
When I wore the hijab, I didn’t tell my friends. My parents said it was nice. I remember wearing a long denim jacket and headscarf, and going to school – heart throbbing.
I will never forget this situation: One of my three friends saw me in the hijab and laughed. She told me that when I came to school, I should take it off, and when I leave school I could just put it back on so nobody would notice. Then a boy heard her say this and told me not to listen to her because “she’s a devil.” That day, I went home with a crushed heart. Sitting on the computer, I cried and cried and cried.
Once, I was crying and my mum asked me what was wrong. I told her boys said things about my hijab. “What did they tell you?” she asked. “They told me I was like an angel,” I said. My mum smiled and I got more upset. Back when I was fourteen, I thought they were making fun of me:)
I got used to wearing the hijab. It slowly made me a better person. I thought people would judge me, but they only respected me more. I thought I would look ugly, but it only gave me modesty and nour, and this is the best type of beauty. Hijab is beautiful and Almighty Allah asked us to wear it so we would be protected.
MY (so called) FRIENDS
The girls in my class all spoke their own language which I didn’t understand, except for three girls who, in addition to English, spoke Arabic. Therefore, these were the only girls I could befriend.
The three girls I hung around with also didn’t wear the hijab; their clothes were tighter than mine, hair blow-dried nearly daily. They would talk about music, boys, and bad things I didn’t know about before. They usually ignored me. I dreaded being with them, but they were the only ones I could communicate with.
Being with these girls made my self esteem drop. Inside, I hated myself. If you could rate self-esteem, mine was about zero. I thought of myself as a loser. I would try to fit in by wearing cool clothes and make-up. These so-called friends of mine encouraged me to have a boyfriend. They did so much to me. But I was patient.
After school was over, I wanted to become a better Muslimah. I left the fake make-up. My hijab became better. And I focused my attention on doing what was right, increasing my knowledge about Islam. Slowly, slowly I was spiritually climbing towards Allah – alhamdulilah.
My “friends” dropped out. I kept studying and now I want to do my MA. My four years in university, I didn’t put make-up on. My hijab was always aimed at wearing the most modest clothes, not colorful, not attractive, and in a manner that would please Allah ta’ala. The friends I choose feared Allah; they were good Muslims who uplifted and encouraged me to do good, alhamdulilah.
TO MY SISTERS
Wallahi, to all my sisters in Islam, hijab is nour (light). Don’t let men gaze at your beauty. You are too precious. Your beauty is like a rare diamond, protect it by covering yourself. Wear the hijab for Allah, so that Allah will be proud of you. Our Creator doesn’t tell us to do something unless it benefits us. And as I am a proud Muslim hijabi, I can be first to tell you there are so many benefits.
Some females who don’t wear the hijab worry about what people will say. I ask you, are you not worried about what Allah would say?
When you choose to not wear the hijab, you choose to follow the devil. You choose to make the devil smile because you disobeyed Allah. Who is deserving of your worship? Doesn’t Allah deserve it, when all Allah wants paradise for us.
May Almighty Allah guide everyone towards the righteous path. And may Allah give every girl what He gifted me, the strength to wear hijab. May Almighty Allah fill all Muslim girls’ hearts with nour and love for the hijab, and keep those who wear it firm in their obedience.
Find more from Mabrouka at her personal blog, http://Be-Islam.yolasite.com.