Start Young

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Guest writer Umm Armeen shares her opinion and valuable advice regarding her daughter’s decision to wear hijab.

I have come across many people who cannot comprehend why anybody would want to embrace hijab whilst they are young. By young, I mean late teens and early twenties. While, I would confidently say that it is those very years that hijab would probably most benefit us; I would go as far as to say that it is vital as well.

I have had numerous questions and perplexed looks thrown at me when my then six year old daughter started to wear hijab, alhamdulillah. Of course these questions were not out of genuine curiosity or general astonishment as from the expression portrayed with the question, one could clearly see the true intention behind it.

These included questions like, “How did you get her to wear hijab?” insinuating that there may have been force and the poor child experienced oppression. This was closely followed by the raised eyebrows and question of, “Really! Already?”

The reactions really did baffle me. I continued to receive these reactions even when I explained that this choice was actually made by my daughter herself, from observing me and other influential role models around her masha’Allah, and no pressure. As for myself, why wouldn’t I comply with her since this is exactly the choice I want my daughter to make for herself!

If my child asks me for a book that she really wants, for example, am I not going to fulfil that desire? This applies to all those desires that are reasonable and not damaging to her, of course. Then why would I not happily ensure this wish of wearing hijab that my child has voiced, is fulfilled? It is a desire that is in fact better for her than maybe anything else she could yearn for!

As a mother, the worry started from the day she arrived home after coming into this world. Looking at her lovingly and imagining how this little being would grow up, what path she would follow, how her personality would grow and what battles we would have on the way, were only a handful of things that crossed my mind. How to mould her, or encourage her to prosper into a steadfast Muslimah, was and always is on the forefront of any mother’s mind.

Alhamdulillah, my daughter took my hand (instead of the other way round), and as a means sent by Allah, guided me, whilst I was pondering how I would approach the subject of hijab, how I could encourage it, where I could start, and when I would start.

When a child shows interest in any matter in Islam, especially one that will one day become obligatory or even desirable upon him/her to practise, and we do not nurture and encourage it, then we certainly are missing out on a valuable opportunity. Seeking, acquiring, and practising knowledge should not be age restricted. I personally do not understand what it is people wait for. Among my own friends, there are many girls who have not embraced the hijab, and when I ask their mothers why not yet, the definitive reply always seems to be, “She’s still too young.”

If we leave this subject until too late, then from observation and experience, I have noticed that it is extremely difficult for a girl to adhere, love and even enjoy the hijab. It becomes vexing to say the least, when it really should not and is not so. It really is not a burden. It actually is liberating! I really hope more youngsters out there will learn to respect and love the hijab, especially since you will be respected and loved in return as a Muslimah.

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