My Hijab, My Story

My Self Expression

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My Self Expression

Do you remember where you were fifteen months ago? If you’re anything like me, you might have trouble recalling what you had for breakfast this morning. However, somewhat surprisingly, I am able to recall vividly and clearly the precise events of a week belonging to that specific time, some fifteen months ago.

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No Ordinary Plain Jane

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No Ordinary Plain Jane

It was on one occasion that I remember her sitting across the table from me with a stern gaze. She traced her fingers along the rim of her mug as she spoke, “I’m just a plain Jane, you know? I don’t think I’m Muslim enough to wear hijab”. Muslim enough, I thought. “I don’t get what you mean,” I glanced at her as I tilted my head, puzzled. “I mean, I’m not worthy enough and that I’m not practicing enough…” she replied. I paused to formulate a precise response but all I could say was, “You’re no ordinary plain Jane.” She smiled her signature smile of humility and shook her head.

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It Didn’t Really Matter

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It Didn’t Really Matter

I was born in a community where black jilbab along with face covering was a continued tradition dating back to God knows when. If you walked down the street where I grew up, you were not likely to find any Muslim woman even without the face cover, let alone the abaya. To a person in the West, they might think that the community is extreme. But being a part of the community I hardly thought it is so, because jilbab was a part of the culture and tradition. Every girl would grow up seeing her mother wearing it, and as soon as she reached high school, she took it up willingly. It was the same for me. It’s just like how a person might start wearing a tie when he starts going to working. As normal as that.

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I Smile for My Sister

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I Smile for My Sister

The swirls and patterns of my pale pink prayer mat are blurred through my tired tears. I blink and my clouded eyes water as tears tickle my flushed cheek. I bend down into sujood – I cry my heart out. Alhamdulillah. The wind is howling outside, but I feel the warmth of faith in my heart. I raise my hands for d’ua while I look to the bed on which my elder, nineteen-year-old sister is fast asleep. I look at her and I feel a purge of submission to my Lord. More tears stream out as I pray and plead for her to see the beauty of hijab, and for her to be guided along the right path. My salty tears are damp on my cheeks when I finally fall asleep; my lips moist with dhikr.

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For the Right Reason

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For the Right Reason

They would gasp and gossip when they saw me just because I was not wearing hijab. “You’re the daughter of an imam? How can you walk around like that?” they said. “Don’t you feel ashamed? Your dad is the religious man, the imam!” some commented.

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