Once Upon A Time…

20 Jun

Bismillah Ar-Rahman Ar-Raheem,

As-salaamu ‘Alaykum! After much difficulty, I can finally write my tale of coming to wear the hijab! I’ve thought long and hard about whether to give the shortened version or the detailed one. So, detailed it is!

When I chose to practice Islam, I was not a big fan of the dress code. Most people have this religious zeal about themselves when they first come to know a religion, when they begin to practice it. For me, I was just happy to have the label, Muslim, you know?

That next month, I went to back to college for my second semester and everything I saw on campus was going against who I was at that moment. Seeing the girls half-naked and the guys drooling over them, hearing the lewd comments, and seeing the public displays of tongue wrestling all went against who I was. Internally, I was feeling the pressure to somehow distinguishing myself from these people but I still had not put on a hijab. My friends knew that I had become a practicing Muslim  and they started putting my beliefs to the test, “Well, Muslims don’t wear those kinds of clothes,” “Is this another phase?” “Are you just trying to spite your parents?” Despite their harshness, I felt they were justified in their comments because I was not the proper Muslim, newly reverted or not.

One morning, I woke up and decided to put on the hijab and see how I liked it. I went to class in it, stares. I went to lunch in it, stares. I even went to the gym, even more stares! Wallahi (I swear), at this point I was confused as to why we were made to wear something that drew so much attention! I was beginning to understand why none of my cousins wore it except to masjid and why no one made them. I began to feel like loose clothing and keeping away from boys was enough!

On campus however, there were other Muslims! Muslimahs from Libya and Tanzania, and a few Somalis, who all wore hijab! I knew they would not take me as a serious Muslim because they all wore hijab. Tired of my non-Muslim friends harassing me and wanting to connect with the Muslimahs on campus, I decided to call my uncle Israfil. He told me that hijab is an outward declaration of your inward beliefs, that God wanted us to be different from the disbelievers, and that he wanted men to know that we were not to be treated as the other women. We are dignified and smart. So, I put the hijab back on, alhamdulillah (Praise be to God). It would seem that my battle was won but the trouble with wearing the hijab is that you have to make sure that you’re wearing it for the right reasons. I was only wearing it at that time to be known as a Muslim. I was not convinced that it was mandatory, or that I was going to hell without it.

I spent a year taking it off and putting it back on, so much so, my friends were starting to correct me on it and saying, “If you are a real Muslim, you need to act like one.” But Alhamdulillah (Praise be to God) this phase would not last long. I started to research Islam and hijab and I came to have a profound love of its significance. I truly believed with all my soul that hijab was fard and that the women who wore it were on a path ordained for them by their Rabb (Lord). I made it through a South Georgia summer in hijab, I became the FIRST of my family to wear the hijab, and I am now so attached to it, I wear it in my backyard, which is fenced in by 8 foot tall wooden planks!

The point I would like to stress is that beginning to wear hijab is like starting a workout plan. Some people can jump right in with no problems but others, like myself, have to come to terms with tiny battles and take baby steps. Wear the hijab only after you have settled that account with yourself so that when you do begin to wear it, your iman (faith) will be strong enough to keep you in it when it’s hot, when people are mean, or when you feel insecure about it!

May God’s peace, blessings, and Mercy be upon you all and may He make everyone’s hijab journey easy!

~ Essence Jones

Read more about Essence here

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3 Responses to “Once Upon A Time…”

  1. Wendy June 21, 2011 at 1:29 pm #

    Mash”Allah sister, may Allah reward you for your strength, and guide you perfectily in all ways, Inshallah. As a revert I am struggling with covering as well, when I read something like this I want to jump up and down because I am so happy for you! I feel Allah’s blessing upon you and gives me hope that I too one day, sooner then later, will have the strength to cover, Inshallah. JzK. You have inspired me! ❤

    • Me and My Hijab Admin June 21, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

      Assalaamu alaikum sister,

      Jazakillahu khayran for your kind words, I am sure Sister Essence (Sahar) will appreciate it greatly. May Allah make your journey easy my dear sister, all strength comes from Him. Please feel free to email us (sidebar) for support.

      Wa alaikum assalaam,

      Zara & Sheila (admin)

  2. Sahar Yunus June 21, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    Ukhti…Wendy, Jazakallah Khair! Really, I pray that Allah swt makes it’s easy for you to cover and that He makes your understanding of its purpose firm in your heart.

    Tell me about it!! When I decided to cover, there were NO blogs about it! I had to rely on the biased opinions of family and friends who were not actual hijabi except on ‘Eid and Jummu’ah. When I was writing this, I thought, “Oh man, this sucks! No one is going to get it.” But your comment just made it all worth it. I am now very proud to be a part of something thgat helps other reverts understand that hijab is doable and that with the blessings of Allah swt, no one, not even an Islamophobic dad, could stop you from wearing it!!

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