My Complete Journey to Hijab

14 Jun

Bismillahir’ Rahman ir’ Rahim

(Before I start I just want to say I’m not very good with talking about myself, but I will try my best.)

Growing up, hijab was something I thought I would have to wear when I got older. I started secondary school, and my Mum said I should start covering my hair as it was compulsary in Islam. To me that wasn’t an good enough reason, I always remember asking myself, “surely there’s got to be a much more profound significance as to why women wear hijab.” I just never knew how essential it was.

Mum carried on pestering me to wear a scarf on my head, but I just couldn’t bring myself to it. But one day, I started wearing it to school. I say wearing, it was half on my head, and once I got to school I took it off. I went to an all-girls school, it’s what all the girls did. When it was “home time” I put it back on. I did this for a couple of months till I got to year 10. I just couldn’t hack it anymore.

Because I went to a single sex school, all we ever gossiped about was hair and make-up. Once I approached the last year of secondary school, all I was thinking about was my GCSE’s. Two of my friends started wearing hijab permanently, but I never saw them as different to me. I personally thought Islam put more significance on modesty, and because I always covered myself through clothing, I felt that this was adequate.

That year we had a new science teacher, she was the first hijab wearing teacher in the entire school, as far as I can recollect. I was inspired by her courage, there was just something about her. She was a strong, independent and outgoing Muslim woman. She wore hijab yet she seemed so cool in my eyes, even the way she dressed made me love her as a teacher. I looked up to her, and wondered if I could be the same one day. Nevertheless, Summer came, we got our results and that was the end of that. I started college. The new environment felt abit strange, not to mention the mixing of boys and girls. I’d put the notion of hijab to the back of my mind and wasn’t prepared to face it. There weren’t any hijab wearing sisters at college either, so I never thought about wearing it.

Mum persisted in asking me about wearing the hijab, occasionally it got on my nerves. I felt like she was trying to pressure me into wearing it, though she never forced me. I spoke what was on my mind and always debated that which I found challenging. The one thing I lived by was “no one can judge me except Almighty Allah”. About two years went by, and Mum would somehow bring the hijab question up again and again. She’d see other girls with the hijab on and say to me “So and so wears a hijab, why don’t you? People judge your character by how you uphold yourself in public, if you wear the hijab then you’ll get the same respect as the other girls”. This just made me rebel even more. It was an attack on my feelings, and made me think, “So non- hijabis don’t receive the same respect as a hijabi?” This really frustrated me, to the point where I’d see certain ‘hijabis’ and think, “what makes you better than me, because you cover your hair?”.

At this point I knew exactly what was going through my mind. It angered me that certain Muslimah’s were wearing this symbol of Islam yet doing the opposite of what Islam permits you to do. It annoyed me that my good intentions were there, yet people would not look twice at me as a Muslim because my hair was showing. It irritated me that my own mother was comparing me to others for not wearing a hijab. (Asian mothers have a habit of likening you to other Asian children anyway. It’s so annoying!!) I was starting to lose respect for the hijab, in some way. The girls I saw in hijab were abusing their right to wear it. I felt like they were deceiving people with their outer appearance, no one cared about the inner appearance. Sometimes I had the urge to go up to these girls and ask them what their hijab meant to them. I wanted an answer for their behaviour. Sure I wasn’t wearing one, but seeing someone exploiting the hijab upset me. Maybe this was my subconscious telling me how much hijab meant to me? I’m not sure.

Anyway, you know some people need a major event to take place in their life before they change for the best? Well it happened to me.…my beloved Dadi (Gran) passed away in November last year. Seeing her so ill and suffering so much made me realise how Great Allah subhanahu wa t’ala is and how much Power He has over us mere servants. She’d lost both her legs through amputation, both in the space of 2 years and both during Ramadan. She never complained to Allah swt one bit, she’d say “He has taken both my legs by his own Will- I do not have the right to question Him”. Those words hit me hard every time. On the day of Dadi’s funeral, the weather was really stormy. It was raining and the winds just wouldn’t ease.  My mum and I made Dua (prayer) for calmness. Within a matter of minutes, the sky was blue and the sun was shining, Subhan’Allah! I will never forget that day.

From the day before her passing, to the day of her Janazah (funeral prayer) my faith and belief grew bit by bit every second. There were signs, and I knew they were directly from Him. I am thankful to Him for His mercy and for giving my family so much courage. I’d never witnessed a death before. Allah swt filled my heart with so much fearlessness that I sat by my Dadi’s coffin and read Surah Yaseen countless times.

I wore the hijab for a couple of days, and tried wearing it to Uni, but I just couldn’t pluck up the courage. Deep down, I knew I’d changed though, and I’d have to start acting on these changes. I still wonder why it took the passing of someone so close to me to make me see things clearly. Alhamdulillah, I’m still grateful.

As I was settling into Uni, I had seriously started thinking about me and my faith. I took things further and decided that I’d start attending talks held by the Islamic Society. I found out about Islamic Awareness week and prepared myself to start appearing at these talks. One issue that stayed on my mind was my fear of turning up and not having a hijab on. Once I attended, I realised there were non- hijab wearing sisters present too, it made me feel a bit more relaxed.

As I started attending more talks, the more I felt like I belonged, there was no one to judge me. Near the end of the year I put my name forward for a position. It never occurred to me that not wearing a hijab would pose a problem. On the day of the elections I gave my speech. This was the day when my view of certain people changed, this was the day I realised that maybe people were holding back from telling me what was on their mind. This was the day I felt I’d been attacked for not wearing hijab- to the point I came home and burst into tears.  It didn’t matter that I’d just won Social Rep.

I started doubting myself, and whether I truly deserved the position. I knew what my intentions were and I knew Allah swt had given me this new start to life. So I decided to put things behind me and move on. I’d already decided in the last few months that I was going to change. It was already on my mind before I’d even joined ISOC, taking this step was just a step closer to helping me find myself again. I talked to a friend who was going to Umrah in the summer and said that she’d start wearing hijab after she came back. I was happy for her, and told her we should both start wearing hijab in second year of Uni. It would be like a fresh start and we’d have each other for support. By the way, Mum was still going on about the hijab and its importance.

About 2 months ago, I decided I would wear the hijab for Ramadan, I couldn’t wait till the 2nd year of Uni. It would be a permanent thing from then on. But I started thinking more and more about the hijab every day, till I thought “Ramadan is still far off, why wait?” So I decided I’d cover after my 1st year of Uni was complete. I felt my need and attraction to hijab was growing day by day. I then decided, after exams would be perfect. I guess I was being a bit of a coward, not wanting to face up to certain friends, and not wanting to be asked questions.

On the 13th May, (I had a deadline of 3 essays) I prayed Jummah, looked in the mirror, did my hijab, stepped out of my house and walked to Uni. It was as simple as that. Alhamdulillah, I am thankful to Allah swt for guiding me on the straight path, it is exactly a whole month today that I have kept the hijab on. I don’t intend on going back, I just wish I’d worn it before. When I now walk out of the house, I feel like a Muslim, I look like one. I feel a sense of protection, and it’s helped my self- esteem. I am greeted by other Muslim sisters which brings a smile to my face.

I haven’t had any major issues with friends, although someone close to me did make a comment that I’d changed since I had started wearing the hijab. I don’t blame her though, she isn’t familiar with the concept of hijab. She wasn’t aware of the fact that with the hijab, comes responsibility and modesty not just in dress but in behaviour too. She realised the hijab wearing girls she knew were different to me.

Alhamdulillah, Allah has made it easy for me so far, it looks like He answered everyone’s Duas. One month isn’t a long time though; I still need your Duas. This is just the beginning.

~ Hasina Begum

Read more about Hasina here


One Response to “My Complete Journey to Hijab”

  1. Holy Quran Online June 15, 2011 at 6:51 am #

    Nice post, Every Muslim sister should wear Hijab…. The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said: “The best of your women is the affectionate, the fertile, the comforting, the agreeable — if they fear Allah. The most evil of your women are those who expose and display themselves, and those who strut (to show off) and they are the hypocrites. Those who enter al-Jannah (the Paradise) are like the red beaked crow.

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