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The Hijab: My Source of Joy

From judging those who wear the hijab to wearing it herself and inspiring others to do the same – this is an exceptional story of a Muslim women’s journey to adorning the headscarf.

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From judging those who wear the hijab to wearing it herself and inspiring others to do the same – this is an exceptional story of a Muslim women’s journey to adorning the headscarf.

It was only a year and a half back that I started wearing a hijab. I am in my thirties, and I know it is quite late, but it is Allah (SWT) who guides whoever He wills, and He knows who is ‘fit’ guided.

Deciding to wear a hijab was a bit frightening for me, but it has been one of the greatest sources of joy and peace for me recently.
It is unfortunately not a common practice to wear a hijab back in India where I am from, at least not in my community. Maybe, that was the reason why I didn’t see hijab as being mandatory, and it took a lot of research, a lot of second thoughts, reflections and many conversations with myself to convince me to wear a hijab.

I was afraid; afraid of being judged by others, being perceived as too rigid, being considered boring, not being able to mingle with non-hijabis (if that is a real term), or standing out in the crowd. I was afraid that I would no longer look beautiful. I love my hair and in the past, I would take great efforts to style it elegantly. I had all the latest hair products and the thought of not being able to use any of those again, was daunting. Some of these thoughts were not totally baseless, because regrettably, at some point in my life, I too was judgemental of hijabis. I always thought of them as too rigid. I was intimidated by them, afraid to talk about Islam and iman (faith) in front of them. I assumed they were better Muslims than me and that they knew it. The thought is frivolous, I know, because after I started wearing a hijab, I never once judged non-hijabis. Who am I to judge? It is Allah who is all- knowing, Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Say. ‘O prophet’ (PBUH), “Whether you conceal what is in your hearts or reveal it, it is known to Allah. For He knows whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. And Allah is Most Capable of everything.”

[3:29]

You never know. The girl not wearing a hijab may be stronger in other aspects of Islam. Maybe she wakes up to pray Tahajjud, she cries and repents while you are asleep; maybe she reads Quran daily, as compared to a girl wearing a hijab who could be reading it only on Fridays. Iman is a journey, to better yourself with each passing day, to be a better Muslim, to be a better human and to come nearer to Allah.

All the speculations I had about Hijab were just in my mind. A self-spun web of how difficult it would be to wear a hijab. Especially in today’s times where half of the world is fighting for the freedom of women to wear hijab and to practice modesty while the other half is protesting against the law where women are forced to wear it, and they see hijab as a sign of oppression. Everyone has their opinion about hijab these days.

A simple head cover, a piece of cloth, has become the most popular topic of discussion, even more than the other aspects of Islam. An integral part of Islam is reduced to only its outer appearance, not comprehending that it encompasses much more than that. Hijab does not just mean covering one’s hair. It is about overall modesty. It includes how you speak, how you behave, and how you carry and conduct yourself. Many do not know that except for the mandatory covering of women’s hair, the way of conduct and modesty applies to men too.

When I started researching the hijab, I was both overwhelmed and mesmerized by the simplicity with which it is described in Quran.

O, Prophet (PBUH), tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves (part) of their outer garments that is more suitable, that they will be recognized and not be abused. And Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

[33:59]

Reading the verses of the Quran with their meaning is the most peaceful thing you could do. It lifts up the heaviest of stones from your heart.

The more I read, the more I came nearer to wearing it.

But, I was still hesitant, delaying it to ‘tomorrow’, a tomorrow that no one except Allah has seen. There was a time when I thought I would start wearing it after I perform Hajj because InshaAllah all my sins would have been forgiven then, and I could start a fresh chapter of my life as a hijabi. Or maybe I would start wearing it after my brother’s wedding, whenever it would be because as his only sister I should look beautiful on his big day. These were just my thoughts, and conversations with myself. Juvenile, I know; ridiculous, indeed; embarrassing, absolutely; especially now when I am hearing it out loud while writing it.

Then came the second stream of thoughts. The what if’s. What if I die in an accident today and am presented in front of Allah (SWT) without a hijab? What will my excuse be? After all, I am always covered from head to toe when I stand in front of Him daily five times a day. How would I face Him on the most important day, not being covered properly? Would my good deeds be enough to afford to leave a very important one, especially after I know its importance? Will He not ask why I didn’t follow the right path when it was clearly revealed to me?

What if it is already too late? Will Allah (SWT) be happy with me if I start wearing hijab when I would be no longer attractive when my hair is thin and grey? When the main reason to wear a hijab is to cover and conceal one’s beauty from non-mahrams. Allah loves the worship done in your youth. Won’t it apply to other aspects too?

I was clear and certain about starting my hijab journey, Alhamdullilah. I was at peace. I was happy. It was as if I was walking through a dark tunnel, my eyes acclimatized to the darkness. I could see everything but not comprehend. Then, Allah (SWT) illuminated the path to make me see clearly, and I could see the light at the other end of the tunnel.

I told my husband about it, who was as excited and happy as I was. I ordered everything, hijabs of different colors, head caps, pins and hijab magnets. I was as excited as a child getting new books and bags before the first day of school. Ready to learn new things.

Then came the actual part of wearing a hijab. Most of my dresses were with 3/4th sleeves, some had see-through sleeves, and some were too tight, which I didn’t realize earlier, however, they seemed improper in the light of being a hijabi. I discarded many of them but changing my whole wardrobe was not possible, so I started wearing long-sleeved t-shirts under my dresses and started layering my clothes.

My husband always worried that I would be sweating miserably in such clothes whenever we stepped out in the open because the average temperature where I live is 40`C. However, to my amazement, I never felt hot, even at the most humid time. Much like, you don’t feel thirst or hunger when you are fasting because Allah (SWT) makes it easy for you. I was so happy with the thought that Allah (SWT) was happy with me, that He was making it easier for me at every step. The feeling cannot be described in words.

Next came the outcome. The main reason for me to wear a hijab was to please Allah (SWT), to obey Him and to make Him happy. It was solely between him and me. Nothing to prove to anyone, no fear of what the world would think of it, just me and Allah (SWT). Nevertheless, many women around me started asking me why I began wearing a hijab suddenly. Again, it was a source of joy for me, explaining every detail I had researched and understood. Imagining how happy Allah (SWT) would be with me if even one woman would start wearing it for the right reasons because of my explanation. Many of them said that they, too, were thinking of wearing a hijab but seeing me wear it gave them a push, Subhan Allah

.
I started being greeted with Assalamoalaikum by strangers. It was only I, who always greeted others first, but now I was at the receiving end. To get dua from people you don’t know is elating. I was being recognized as a Muslim woman.

“Wear it so you could be recognized’.

I was now representing Islam, a flag bearer of the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It’s not that I didn’t represent them earlier, I did, with my conduct, but now I was representing it outwardly too. Being seen as a Muslim woman, as Ummah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is exhilarating.

Then came the most blissful, the most incredible part of wearing a hijab. I was and still am in the process to forge ahead and metamorphose gradually into a better Muslim. The journey is mine, and so I never gave a thought about if my daughter would wear a hijab or not. I would have loved it, but it was always between her and Allah (SWT).

One day my 11-year-old daughter was narrating what had happened at her school. Her braid had gotten loose, so her friend opened her hair to tie it tightly and said that she had such beautiful hair MashaAllah, and when she would grow up, she could straighten it and style it differently and that she would look so beautiful with her hair open. My daughter replied, “No, I will be wearing a hijab when I grow older”. I asked what made her say that, and the answer swelled up my heart with joy and pride.” I want to be just like you, mummy and make Allah (SWT) happy, and I want everyone to know that I am proud to be a Muslim.” To everyone asking why we wear a Hijab, there cannot be a simpler answer.

Can there be any greater pride and joy for a mother, than to know, that she has set a good example for her child, that even when she is late in understanding the importance of the Hijab, her daughter knows it, that her daughter InshaAllah would be closer to Allah (SWT) more than she was at her age? Believe me, you start getting rewards in this life itself, Alhamdulillah.

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