Me and My Hijaab

19 Jun

In the Name of the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

As-salaamu-alikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu

Peace,

I hope this post finds you in good health insha’Allah. Let me tell you a bit about myself.

I was born a Muslim and grew up in a Muslim household. I knew the basics, pray five times a day and basic prayers, they were always relayed to me as important and I knew they were. As a child I always had an interest in Islam, I still remember when I was learning how to pray Salah (compulsory prayer) with my mum, it’s a memory I hold closely. As I grew up my dad took us to Arabic school, I learnt the alphabet and before I left I could basically read in Arabic. I was proud of myself and I took a big interest in Arabic. I thought and still think that it is such a beautiful language from the letters to the pronunciations, but after I left, it all left me as well. I grew up in a very western area there were no other Asians let alone Muslims, so I grew up very westernised- but had a Muslim streak in me.

My Hijab journey started when I was 11 years old. September 2003, my sister died of cancer just before I started an all girl’s secondary school. It was a hard road for me, I turned to my religion again I prayed and started wearing Hijab. As time went on through my first year at school I stopped wearing the Hijab I thought it wasn’t worth it after what had happened. I just felt like I had lost a lot of faith (Astaghfirullah). I carried on through my school years and I always had my dad constantly lecturing me on how I should wear the Hijab. Our constant arguments led to fall outs and then I would go to school and see all these Muslim girls wearing Hijab. I used to envy them, they looked so strong and they weren’t afraid, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to fulfil my duty as a Muslimah if I started wearing it.

There was a time I started wearing it again during my school years, I had made friends with a fellow Muslim girl at my school. I was able to talk about Islam and Hijab with her and it was great, it ignited something in me. So I began wearing it again, I promised myself it would be different this time but then 7/7 struck and my mum begged me to stop wearing it. I got abuse in the streets and out of sheer fear I stopped wearing it.

I kept in touch with my Muslim friend after we left school and to this day I believe that Allah sent her to me as some sort of guide. We used to go out virtually every day and talk about everything but when it got to religion my eyes would sparkle and my passion for Islam was reignited. The constant pestering from my dad about wearing the Hijab put me off.  I always fought back with everything I had learnt from my friend. I believed in my heart that I would start wearing it again properly but I knew I needed a push.

I remember seeing writing upon a wall that sparked my passion for my religion again, it read:

“Hope, Trust and Believe. With God’s Help All Things Are Possible. Have Faith.”

I believed that this was a sign. I knew I could do it, it gave me a push. I remember seeing it and reading it and in my head I recited Shahada (the Decleration of Faith).

“La Illaha IllAllah Muhammdur Rasulullah”

It pushed me and I believed.

I met a brother who gave me even more of a push, he taught me things about Islam I never even knew and it sparked off my own studying into Islam. At this point I was more into Islam than I ever was. I was constantly reading about women in Islam and it inspired me so much. It made me realise that women in Islam are not put down in any way, their religion liberated them and then I remembered those Muslim girls at school- how they used to walk tall and proud. I was in awe. I read about all the amazing things these Muslimah’s have done over thousands of years and the wives of the Prophet Peace Be Upon Him. I read about Hijab and what it actually meant and how to implement it, I was eagerly wanting to know more and getting more and more excited every time I read about it. I was overwhelmed with information and just when I thought I knew what I wanted to do my mum told me a story of when I was born.

“We were going to name you Sumaiya.”

I knew of many people with the name Sumaiya and I came across it while reading. For those of you who don’t know, Sumaiya (radiallahu anha- may Allah be pleased with her) was the first martyr of Islam. She was among the first people to accept Islam and she was killed for that reason. She was tortured and in the end a spear pierced her groin and she died. I felt so honoured that I was going to be named Sumaiya. It dwelled with me for days and one night, a couple of months before my 17th birthday, it came to me like a light in the dark.

“I’m going to wear the Hijab.”

I said it in my mind, and then I said it out aloud,

“I’m going to wear the Hijab, I’m going to become a Hijabi.”

Nothing felt more liberating than saying those words. It came up to Isha Salah (the fifth prayer of the day) and I eagerly went and did Wudu (ablution- ritual washing before prayer). I remember crying through the whole Salah. I had never felt happier. The next morning I got up and did my usual morning routine and then I put my Hijaab on my head and I felt fresh, like a new person. I knew this was my second chance. I came downstairs and my dad smiled at me with pride, I smiled right back at him. When I went to see friends they were all amazed but everyone supported my decision and believed I could do it. A lot of people thought I wouldn’t be able to keep at it and put me down whenever they could but I was confident that I could do it and I always remembered:

“Hope, Trust and Believe. With God’s Help All Things Are Possible. Have Faith.”

I knew I could do it if I have faith and believe in Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala and I knew I would be among the guided insha’Allah (God Willing). Hijab for me is part of my faith but much more importantly it’s a part of me. I feel protected now- like I’m in the hands of Allah Subhana Wa Ta’ala. I feel safe when I wear it and the biggest thing that puts an even bigger smile on my face is when I’m greeted by fellow Muslims. I feel so much more respected now, it’s like putting a crown on a Queen’s head. I believe Muslimah’s are Queen’s of Islam and we are the flags of Islam.

I’ve been a Happy Hijaabi for almost been three years now. My only regret is not having a better understanding of Hijaab and my religion earlier, but Alhamdulillah I am where I am and I wouldn’t go back.

~ Raisah

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