Once Upon an ‘Hayaa-lifting’

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An important lesson in getting back up even after the severest falls, by guest writer Amatullaah.

As she was about to step out of the room, she looked back at her reflection in the mirror: a face devoid of makeup framed by a hijaab that draped over her bosom stared back at her; her whole body was enveloped in a black abaya that flowed down to her feet. Yet, she thought sadly, I’m not complete –I hope for the day that I won’t have to expose my face in front of the world either.  As she walked with slow but steady steps down the street towards the Masjid, she looked like the ideal Muslimah: gaze lowered, well-covered, tall, strong, and confident. She had come a long way to get to this stage; hers was a story of a rise, a fall, and a rise again. How did she get to this stage? This is how it all started…

She was a whole lot of fun: the cool chic around the block who knew all the latest songs and could wind to the latest beats. She was a young fashionista who loved the “bling” image she portrayed. She turned heads and giggled at catcalls and whistles she heard whenever she walked by. She lived a life of love songs, romance novels, clothes, jewellery, and dreams of a ‘prince charming.’ She dreamed of being a beauty queen and travelling all over the world but her family wanted her to get into college first before getting into any contest. She observed Salah only when she felt like it, and forgot the little part of the Qur’an she had memorized at her local Madrasah. The only Muslim identity she had was her name.

Before getting into college, she met a girl who changed her orientation of hijaab. She started to wear a little head scarf but still wore the kind of clothes she loved and this drew even more attention towards her because now she was drawing the attention of the ‘hip’ Muslim boys as well. When she started college she started to move around with more Muslims and learned a lot more about her Creator, the hijaab, and Islam in general. She found it hard though to change her way of life because she still considered herself a ‘good girl’ even though her little hijaab was a big source of fitnah; and she definitely didn’t want to stop her regular activities like listening to music. She wanted the easy Islam or the ‘contemporary Islam’ as it is called.

Then one day she decided to wear the Jilbab but her family wouldn’t hear of it. A little persuasion from them was all it took to get her to even take off the little hijaab she was wearing, and replace it with a skull cap and even tighter clothes. Then the fall began! She stayed away from the Masjid and from the members of the young ummah who tried calling her back to the right path. Once again she became a Muslim just by name and it wasn’t long until she found her prince charming. She fell head over heels in love with a boy from school who was also a Muslim by name and she became involved in what could be called a whirlwind romance. Now there was no stopping her. She started earning nicknames like ‘flymuslimah’, getting silly award nominations in her class for her beauty and style and she was siimply loving it!

Her romance with prince charming got more heated up: candles, nights out, flowers, holding hands, and staring at the stars just like in the movies and before she knew it, she had fallen into the forbidden. She wasn’t ready for marriage and neither was he. They both continued and promised each other to love each other until death without even thinking of Allah’s Wrath. They just wanted to be in love and eventually get married.

After graduation, the romance continued and her family was in full support of it without even planning to make the union legal. A sister of hers decided to give her inspirational Islamic books hoping that she may one day find the time to read  them instead of the romance novels she was used to. She actually did read them and the realization of what she had done finally overcame her. She became repentant and called it quits with prince charming. She started to read more Islamic literature, observe more Salah, turned back to the Qur’an and made efforts to find her soul again. She came across the verse in the Qur’an and her hope was restored.

Say: O My slaves who have transgressed  against themselves! Do not despair of the Mercy of Allah,Verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful. [39:53]

Taking up the hijaab again wasn’t very easy for her though. She wanted to please Allah by obeying His dictates yet she felt like she had already been too exposed to evil and there was nothing worth covering anymore. Each time she tried wearing it, she felt empty and felt like she was only covering up trash. She always ended up in tears and fear. However, learning more about the hijaab, it’s rulings, and the punishment for not wearing it made her feel very uncomfortable going out without it. She also saw that the only thing stopping her from wearing it again was Shaytan’s plot to continue to mislead her by making her think she wasn’t worth wearing hijab. She read the story of the man who killed ninety-nine men and also killed the monk who told him that he couldn’t be forgiven and she realized that if she really was sincere in her repentance, she needed to turn completely away from the things that led her to sins.  She cringed each time she passed by and a guy did so much as look at her twice or stare at her face too long. So she started by covering up her body a bit more. Her family began to notice the sudden change and wondered what was going on with her. One day she braced up and took up her hijab once more. This time around however, she faced her family with steadfastness when they told her to take off her hijab again. She took her strength from the stories of the Sahabah (companions) and hoped that insha’Allaah, her repentance would be accepted in the sight of Allah and that she may be included amongst the dwellers in Jannah.

Now she dedicates her time to calling other sisters to the path of Allah. She tries as best as she can never to turn back to anything that will lead her astray. She turns and looks back at the times she was astray as a test, as a way of never feeling secure from the Plan of Allah. She knows now that a believer should always live in a state of love, fear, and hope of Allah. Most of all now, she knows the real essence of hijaab and the proper way it should be worn to avoid being a source of fitnah for herself and those around her.

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