I Got It Covered.

5

Guest writer, Emotional Cactus, shares how simply the remembrance of Allah can change a life around.

As the sister sat there in my living room giving her weekly talk as usual, it wasn’t long until my mind drifted deep into thought.  I only needed to absorb a few of the things that she had said that made me start reflecting about the way I was and the way I was living my life –so very far from the way that I’m supposed to.  All I kept thinking to myself was,  I have displeased my Creator, I have wronged myself.  And soon enough the tears started rolling down my face.  It was actually rare for me to cry like that; my friends use to call me a “cactus” because they never saw me being emotional.

So as I sat there deep in thought, my mind went in and out  as the sister carried on with her discussion. I just kept thinking how everything I was doing was going against me not for me.  That day was the beginning to the end. Even though I was feeling an overwhelming sense of remorse,  hidden behind that was a feeling of hope.

I was surprisingly enjoying the weekly circles; the sister who would come around would talk to us about religion and I would think, well that’s my bit of remembrance done for the week!  I was pretty much forced to attend them though.  My aunt made the sister have them at my house so that I had no way of getting out of it.  The first one caught me off guard: the sister explained how the weekly reminders  were going to change our lives and that life was never going to be the same again.  I even yelled at my aunty because she never warned me about this –I just pretty much assumed that it was going to be some women lecturing about religion to us.

I remember thinking to myself, I am not ready for this! I am too young, I should use my youth to enjoy myself and have fun. The sister was sitting there in her hijab and jilbab and I guess it was a reminder about how I should be, but I all I kept thinking was that as I was  a real party girl I couldn’t party in that attire!  I didn’t know how I could get myself out of attending them so I had to go. The worse of it was they made it on a Friday night –party night! I would normally go to the pub with my work colleague on Fridays, even though I would only drink ginger ale (I later found out that it was actually slightly alcoholic), but I enjoyed the social factor of going out.
I told myself I will just attend them but if anything fun is happening I would just make some lame excuse and get out of it.

The second circle wasn’t that bad; I actually quite enjoyed it. It wasn’t too intense or anything.  However as the weeks passed,  I would start to look forward to my time of the week with the remembrance of Allah. I slowly started working things around the circles; I even turned down nights out for them.  Then one day I was getting on the bus and  I randomly bumped into one of the sisters that attended the circles.  I could tell she was really taken aback and shocked by my appearance.  I dressed as any normal British girl would: a tube dress and leggings with a cardigan on top; that was my staple style.  Only now do I understand what she was feeling at that time –I feel the same way when I see a Muslimah depriving herself from obeying her Creator.

I had a really good fashion sense and I was one of the trendy, pretty girls in the office.   I was no. 1 for many of the guys. As I was talking to the sister  on the bus, she was saying the next circle was going to be about hijab. I instantly starting thinking, I really don’t want to go to that one!  As the week progressed I was contemplating  whether I should go. It’s just going to be a circle, I thought, as if anything is going to happen. How wrong I was.

“Hijab is fard;” there was just something about her saying it that just hit me. I mean I knew it was, but I didn’t know why I didn’t wear it.  I guess growing up in London it was okay not to wear hijab as loads of other people didn’t.   I remember the sister saying that every time a man looks at you and admires your beauty that you should be guarding, you are committing a sin which you will be punished for.  But by then all that was going through my head was that I have really disrespected myself.

I started to reminisce about all the previous encounters with men that I had had.  None of them really cared about me, or how kind I was, or the intellectual conversations that I could hold, or even my humour. They were only after one thing, and it didn’t even matter whether it was me or another. Really I had just completely degraded myself.  I compromised myself for them yet it didn’t make sense to me why I got involved with them in the first place — they only wanted one thing which I was never going to give them anyway.

I asked myself sincerely, what is reason I don’t wear hijab?  Because people tell me it is okay not to? What do these people know, who walk around barely clothed themselves! Are they going to help me at the Final Hour?  I had started reading the Qur’an more often, and had come across a passage where the people of Pharaoh asked him to take their fire for them, as it was his fault that they were being punished. He said, rather it’s your own fault you are here, so taste your fire.  Did I really want to fit in with these people?  None of them  will take the fire for me.

I started thinking about it more and more and I really became fearful. The notion of death hit.  I had flight plans and I was so worried — what happens if the plane didn’t make it? I mean really, how did I even know if I was going to live long enough to catch my plane?  During the flight I tried to cover myself up with hijab pathetically.  But as soon as the flight was over, I took it off.   I slowly started to wear it more and more, when I would go out for shopping or to see my family.

I use to have the weirdest thoughts though.  I remember one time thinking I wanted to go for a walk, but I couldn’t leave the house without my hijab;  but for some reason, something kept telling me I didn’t want to wear it.  I sat there for about twenty minutes arguing with myself whether I should wear it or not.  So didn’t end up leaving the house because I didn’t have the strength to wear my khimar.  How foolish was that, I considered afterwards. It is just some material over my head.  It is not even hard or unusual if I do wear it. Wearing hijab is so common in London now, and all the sisters who first wore the hijabs in this country did all the hard work.

I gave myself a deadline: by Ramadan, I have to start. I really wish I had done it sooner though; I don’t know why it had taken me so long.  But then again, I wasn’t just wearing a scarf –I was changing everything. No more parties, no more late nights or crazy antics.

I went through a real stage of thinking, I can’t do, I just can’t do it.  I am really weak.  Ramadan was getting closer but I carried on going out for drinks. It seemed very hard to give up my party lifestyle.  But my mind would drift away as the conversations we would have I just no longer cared about –everyone just hated their job and would backbite about each other.  I realized, you know what? I am really not going to miss this, it’s fake.  We just tried to distract and constantly entertain ourselves rather than having to deal with reality.

My way of thinking, my mentality, was all changing.  When I would look at other women I didn’t like it; I didn’t like seeing their body or that they were uncovered.   The week before Ramadan I started telling my colleagues that I am going to start covering up next week for Ramadan.  Everyone thought it was just for Ramadan as they all knew I was really good during that time; I would make sure to get in my prayers and everything.

SubhanAllah for some reason, I felt that going to work would be my biggest challenge.  As I was getting ready for work I just stared at myself in the mirror, wearing my blue scarf.  I thought: my Creator is so happy with me right now, and when I step outside I got it covered.  I am one of the most beautiful things to my Creator dressed like this, so who else matters?  I walked into the office and sat at my desk sheepishly.  I noticed a few surprised looks from those that I didn’t manage to tell.  But the day went on and it was really nothing.  It really didn’t matter.

I haven’t looked back since, alhamdulillah.

InshaAllah I pray for all those sisters that are struggling; may Allah give you strength and guidance.  May Allah strengthen our Ummah, and sisterhood and keep us all on the straight path, Ameen.

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