Hijab Hero


We all draw strength and inspiration from somewhere, and the fantasies of childhood give way to the grounded hopes of an adult.

Image credit: Chiot’s Run

I sat beside her, looking at my off patterned socks as I spoke. “You’re my hero,” I whispered. My words echoed in the hollow room. “Thanks sweetheart,” was her earnest and loving reply.

Classically, a hero is the archetype of courage, and is someone who knows that battles are won with the heart. It is said that a hero is someone who is selfless. When I was a little girl I had a string of heroes and heroines. There were times when I dreamed I was part of a clan of mutants called the X-Men, that I could be like the coolest kid in second grade, and that I could be a heroic dreamer like Roald Dahl’s protagonist in one of my favorite novels, James and the Giant Peach.

As I grew, my aspirations changed and so did my heroes. My dreams and life evolved and my heroes shifted more from imagined characters to real people. Real people who had impacted my life in some way and today I call them my real heroes.

My journey to donning the hijab is not only a personal triumph but also a celebration of my hero. It’s a day that I look back fondly on because my hero was there with me every step of the way.  She provided words of encouragement and showered me with love. She had bought me my first hijab and was there to calm my fears as I wore it for the first time.

My hero was the one who always reminded me of my intentions to please my Lord. She was the epitome of a superhero and had the power of washing away my anxiety with a simple smile. She wore that superhero cape of hijab with such pride and conviction that it radiated to all those around her. She was a hero in her own right, and I no longer wished to be like the heroes of my childhood. I wanted to be her sidekick and a newfound hero to others. Looking back now, I realize how truly blessed I was (and still am) alhamdulillah, to have had a hijab hero who helped me realize a dream.

With the passing days of Ramadan, it’s time for a renewal, my dearest sisters. Let’s take this opportunity to thank and make dua’ for our hijab heroes.  It is in this month and beyond that we ourselves must become a hero in another’s life. It is our duty to pay it forward. Just as Benjamin Disraeli once said, “Nurture your mind with great thoughts; to believe in the heroic makes the heroes.”

We have to go into the world and be that hijab hero. We have to be it for our sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts, and for each other. We need to be that smile of encouragement and that shoulder to lean on. We need to be that unwavering support for a sister striving to wear the hijab today and a grateful well-wisher for a sister who has been wearing it circa twenty years.

Just as Abdullah ibn Mubarak (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “How often it is that a small action becomes great by its intention, and how often it is that a great action becomes small by its intention.” It is the ordinarily heroic things that we do that can change someone’s life. Thus, we have to do it for our ummah, for our hijab heroes and, most importantly, for our Lord.

As for my hijab hero, this piece is dedicated to her inshaAllah. I love you, Mom.