Looking Back


Guest writer Anonymous shares with us her story about how her past didn’t hinder her from making a positive and empowering change in her future.

Usually when people look back at the old days, they feel joy because the past was such a beautiful time for them. Their days would be full of fun and laughter, and carelessness wouldn’t be much of an issue. ‘Those were the days’ for them, as they always say.

As for me, however, whenever I look back, I am full of regret. It’s not as bad as it sounds though, and in fact out of all the kids my age, I was probably the most innocent. I was good at studies, and didn’t do anything immodest; I didn’t date, I didn’t humiliate people openly or anything like that. Yet I still regret it a lot. And so what is it that I regret?

Truth be told, I ignored my religion. I was a typical girl born into a Muslim family, who would always be reaching out for the Dunya – this world rather than the hereafter. And I never performed salah, the five compulsory, daily prayers. From a young age I was taught the way to pray but due to my negligence, I forgot many verses that we were required to read. I also lied to everyone that I actually prayed on a daily basis. The lies weren’t very hard to cover either; it was a routine for me and I was completely used to posing as if I prayed. I did this for a long time, years actually. But I still felt remorse for the way I acted. I knew how sinful it was to neglect salah and on top of that to lie about it! But I was still young and I didn’t quite know what I was getting myself into.When I realized it was time to change, I needed help, but I was too ashamed to tell anyone what I had been doing all along.

There was only one thing that kept me going: every night when the lights were turned off and my siblings were fast asleep, I would pray to Allah while lying awake in bed. I would ask Him to show me the straight path, and to help me out of my problems. I’d pray, most importantly, that He show me a way to learn how to perform salah again. My negligence of salah was my biggest concern at the time. I would ask Him this every night for a good year or two.

And then one day subhanAllah, I found a prayer book lying around my house, and I said to myself, this is it! I made the intention that I had to change then and there. So when no one was around, I sat in a corner and started memorizing the verses. I recalled them for the most part, but re-learned the few things I had forgotten overtime.

The first time I prayed was the first day of Ramadan. And that day I even prayed Taraweeh – the extra prayers performed with the night prayer. I felt like a convert to Islam that day, as if Islam were active in my heart for the very first time. I felt pure, and I felt proud; extremely proud of myself for overcoming my biggest obstacle.That was the point where it all changed. I started noticing many of my personal flaws, and was glad of that. It is said in many narrations after all, that a true indicator of a person’s salah being accepted is that he or she recognizes their own wrong behavior and rectifies it. On the other hand, if he or she prays regularly but continues to sin, it may mean that Allah is still not satisfied with their worship.

It was at the point that I also realized how important hijab was in my life. I understood the beauty of a woman covering herself, knowing that she is not just supposed to display herself to the opposite sex. Rather, she is a pearl, and a pearl is something not everyone should be allowed to see. I understood that and I stopped caring whether men thought of me. In a way, I earned self-respect; I wanted to start emulating what all the Muslim women did at the time of the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. I was willing to be a part of that bold minority in today’s world that wrapped a head scarf around their hair not caring what others would think of them. I wanted to be a hijabi!

I had a few scarves at home with no one to wear them. One day when I was alone, I tried one on. It was then and there that I knew I just HAD to do this. I felt pure, beautiful, and completely secure by this one meaningful piece of cloth. Most of all, I felt like a Muslimah. There was just one thing that stopped me from starting abruptly: the announcement. I was nervous about how people would react to my change.

It probably took me a month, but in the end things just worked out perfectly. I prayed to Allah that He make it easy for me, and subhanAllah, trust me when I say this, I could feel the help of Allah throughout the entire phase of my transition. When the time came for me to tell everyone, the words came out of my mouth like water. It was effortless.

The hijab was a whole new start for me. I realized how much people started respecting me for who I was and what I was doing. This act of mine changed a lot of things in my life: it was a 24/7 reminder of the fact that I was a Muslim girl, and most importantly, it drove me closer to my faith. After I realized how easy this was, I started doing a lot of other things for the sake of my deen – faith.

It was the salah, and then the hijab that changed me. I went from being the girl who had hated everything related to religion, to the girl who realized the beauty of the faith that she had ignored all her life. I’ve now become the girl who tries to implement Islam as much as I can.

All I can really say right now is that I love my hijab. And I really don’t think I will ever want to quit it. Initially it did bring some trials in  terms of the dunya, but to get past the obstacles was completely worth it. Now I just smile every time I think about how people had asked me what had gotten into me, and why I’d become such an extremist. At the end of the day, I’ve realized all of that doesn’t matter a single bit.

If there are any sisters out there who think they “doubt the concept of hijab” or that they’re “just not ready”, trust me, this is one thing that you will never regret. For some of you it might be hard in the beginning, but remember that this is one thing that pleases our Lord.  What’s more bounteous than pleasing Allah? And secondly, if these thoughts against hijab ever come in your mind, remember these aren’t the thoughts of a true slave of Allah. Instead they are the thoughts of Shaytan and his followers. May Allah save us from being amongst them, and show us the right path to Jannat-ul-firdous. Ameen.