The Story of “I Don’t Care”


A short, intriguing story about who to please by guest writer Saalika.

I sat in the room, alone, observing my new dress that I wore, and carefully examining my accessories. I was dressed in the most stylish of clothes with perfect matching accessories, and along with my new haircut, I thought I looked the most beautiful of all.

But would others approve? As I asked myself this question, I started to perceive many flaws in my appearance.

Suddenly my best friend entered the room, looking very graceful and elegant; I smiled at her and remarked, “You look beautiful –as usual.”

“Thanks,” she replied.

“But the makeup is too heavy,” I continued in a frank tone. “I mean people are going to be like: why is she so dressed up? She looks like a bride.”

“I don’t care what people think,” she retorted back.

I looked at my friend in wonderment; how can you stop caring about what people think? This had always been an unresolved mystery in my mind. I could never understand the reality of the “I-don’t-care” phenomenon, and a very big reason for this was that my heart was a captive to the love of this world. I had spent a large part of my life pleasing  people, but I would never admit this to myself.

“Let’s go” my friend shouted, and my train of thoughts stopped with the “let’s have fun” signal.

We both went to a family dinner, and as usual, these dinners are more of a family type fashion show: where everyone from the toddlers to the grandmothers is dressed in the most stylish way. The aunties are like the fashion analysts who are just too busy eyeing every girl for their sons, and merely judging the girls on their dressing sense. While the young ladies are like social butterflies, mingling with everyone, be they from amongst the men or the women.

In such a gathering, I was talking to my friends, enjoying the compliments I received, constantly refreshing my makeup, and eating as less as I could so as not to ruin my dress.

As I was eating I said to my friend, “why are those aunties staring at us?”

My friend turned to look, and then replied to me, “Why do you care? Stop caring so much about what people think.”

Again a series of questions sparked off in my mind. I silently continued with my dinner, but suddenly my attention was drawn towards someone sitting afar, covered from head to toe in black. She was wearing a niqab and eating her dinner in a way that seemed to be very difficult to me.

I stared at that lady, who appeared very obviously to be isolated by everyone as no one dared go near her. Everyone just walked and talked around her as if she didn’t exist.

But I was too much in awe of her character, her attire, and how she was just sitting there in a black burqah –giving up all her desires that every girl has to dress up.; how she preferred her Lord over the world, how easily she seemed satisfied with her decision, how true she seemed in front of her Lord. As I observed her, I took a deep sigh, and prayed: Oh Allah! Allow me to reach such a state where I also stop caring about the world and give up everything for You.

My friend turned to me and said, “Hey look at that ninja! I wonder how she can dress like that.”

I replied, “She doesn’t care what people think about her.”


A year later, I returned back from my best vacation ever which was spent in Egypt. I used to believe that that trip gave me a new sense of liberty, but I little realized that it actually made my soul restless.

When I returned back home, I felt empty. My friends tried counselling me but I would always reply with a silent nod to their kind words. My family could not understand my deep silence and I myself could not recognize what my heart searched for, even though everything seemed to be in the right place.

I started living my life by the “I-don’t-care” rule: wearing more immodest clothes, listening to music, doing what the entire “I-don’t-care” crowd does. But inside my heart, I knew what I was doing wasn’t right.

I could feel the guilt of breaking my promise to my Lord –though I knew that no matter how much anyone claimed to understand me, only my Creator could understand me. In the middle of sleepless nights, I would cry and try to make sense of my life. I had everything but I wanted something else. I knew this world was temporary so why was I allowing myself to be fooled by it?

I would think to myself that my grave would be dark just like this room; in fact it would be so much darker and smaller. I could still call out to my parents for help if needed in this room, but in my grave who would I be able to call out to?

Then I would confess to my Lord, indeed I have wasted my life, and a tear would roll down my cheek. And then I would assure myself, I still have time, I can change, but Shaytan would make all this thinking useless by making me feel hopeless again.

But one night, as I was crying, I told myself I can change; and just as Shaytan started messing with my mind, I firmly told myself: I am a slave of Allah. My job is to take a step and it is Allah’s will if He wants me to get to the end of this road, He will help me through it. I promised myself that this time I will change, and even if I failed, I had firm faith in Allah’s mercy, and that no matter what the end result would be, at least on the Day of Judgement I would be able to tell Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala that at least I tried, at least I took a step.

A month later, I joined an Islamic course, and with the mercy of Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, and in the company of my pious and beautiful teacher, I changed. I became a completely new person. But this process of change didn’t come easy. You have to really struggle a lot to overcome your own desires. It is easy to achieve triumph over things in this world but it is extremely difficult to defeat your own self.

One of the biggest battles I had to fight was starting the hijab. Everyday I would ask myself, when will I start wearing hijab? I would then answer, tomorrow.

After which the arguments would begin in my head: what will people say? What if I stop wearing it suddenly? What if it doesn’t suit me? and a series of “what-if’s” would change my mind every time.

But I continued to make immense du’a to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and finally, by His Mercy, I started hijab and the niqab.

The first time I went to a dinner party with my hijab and niqab I was extremely nervous. As I entered I kept looking at my feet, trying to avoid the negative vibes that came from the fashion-conscious aunties. I felt that I didn’t have the courage to face them. My mind kept telling me, don’t look up, don’t look at them, just ignore them. I secretly made du’a to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to create ease for me in this step, and my heart then told me: it’s time to face them.

Something in my mind instantly replied, no, what must they all be thinking about you?

I humbly looked up, smiling to myself, and answered that daunting question with a simple reply: I don’t care what people think.

And that was the day when I actually understood the reality of these words. That was the day when these words came from my heart and I understood that when you do something for your Lord, then it is His Mercy that surrounds your heart and thus you give in to true submission to Him; and that is when He makes the trials of this world very easy.

When the hearts are fully submerged in the ocean of submission to Him — that is when the high tides of this world cause no harm to the one who is already overcome –overcome by the storm of Hubbu lillah (love for Allah).