My hijab story and how it all began:
As most hijabis would tell you, there’s the day you start wearing the hijab physically but there is also so much that happens in the run up to that life changing day. I think the main constant thing was my best friend. She’s a Somali sister, probably the realist, most beautiful soul I’ve ever met, and yes we’re still best friends 12 years after finding one another. She’s been a hijabi for as long as I can remember and may Allah bless her abundantly, I don’t think I’d have worn it if it weren’t for her. Her inspiring me to be better, wearing the hijab and doing it so beautifully, it all made me want to become a hijabi myself and to see what it was about it that was so beautiful.
As a person, when I recognise good in someone I try add that good into my own life, so if I see people doing good, I’ll try do the same. I learn by example not by having people tell me things. So my best friend inspired me, it’s a bit of a dead hijab story I’m not going to say it’s something exciting but without this happening I’d have probably have gone down some dark path by now.
Lets go back to Ramadan 27th 1427, just over ten Islamic years ago (Ramadan back then was in October, so it was October 20th 2006). I don’t remember the exact details, but I remember my fathers’ friend had invited us to an iftar party, all his daughters were hijabis and there were about 5 of them. Me being me was already in love with the hijab but I had needed a final little push and seeing those sisters gave me that. Allah ﷻ knows what was being discussed in the car on the way back to my house but I’m 80% sure it was something to do with the hijab and I somehow ended up promising Allah ﷻ and myself that ‘I would wear the hijab till I was 28 then I would renew the promise for another 28 years then until I die.’ It was childish I know, but hey I was seven years old and had no idea why I was going to wear it. All I knew was that it was beautiful and it was what Allah ﷻ wanted me to do. So that’s what I did. I had a baby hijab at home that I used to pray with and wore that until Eid when I made my Nanima (my mums mum) get me more baby hijabs as my Eid present.
Starting wearing it wasn’t hard for me but I know it often is for other sisters. I’m a confident person who kind of does whatever she wants and doesn’t care for people’s opinions. So I can’t really relate when sisters speak about their struggles starting wearing it because of my personality. I tend not to fear peoples opinions when I know I’m doing something right, it’s just the way I am. I came into this world for Allah, not the people; it’s His opinion that matters, not the dunyas.
The next ten years:
For a few years I was the only hijabi within my household, and I went through a phase when I refused to take it off for the whole day. I remember people thinking I would take it off and get fed up with it after a few weeks, but 10 years later here I am.
In all honesty, over the years I’ve grown to love it more and more, it reminds me that I’m not alone, and it quite simply has kept me connected to the deen when my imaan was rock bottom and I’m so thankful for it. For a very long time l wasn’t practicing so I didn’t pray or read the Quran, but I had the hijab on my head reminding me that Allah ﷻ is near and it still reminds me every day that as a muslimah I have duties towards my deen and that I need to keep going and stay happy because Allah ﷻ has blessed and guided me. Back when I was seven it was Allah ﷻ who put the love of hijab into my heart; when I was 14, it was Allah ﷻ who made me start practicing and now at 17 I’m here, going through ups and downs in my life but know I have Allah ﷻ, knowing He loves me and that His plan is perfect. Had the hijab not kept me connected in my past I’d be completely lost.
One of the things I love a lot about Islam is the element of sisterhood and brotherhood it gives us and it was wearing the hijab that first introduced that concept to me.
What is hijab though?
10 years, that’s the majority of my life, and for the most of it I had no idea why I was wearing the hijab or even what the hijab actually is. All I knew was that it was covering my hair, neck and chest and that it’s beautiful and the right thing to do. Over the years I found out why we observe it but it was at 14 that I realised it’s also about being covered not wrapped and that the hijab is more than just a piece of cloth on your head that covers your hair, neck and chest. It’s a lot more than just that, it’s a part of your personality. There’s something I call the ‘inner hijab’ and it includes the way in which a person talks, thinks and behaves. It involves being a modest person and applies to both men and women. You have the hijab of the eyes, where you lower your gaze. Hijab of the mind, where you don’t let your thoughts deviate into immodest thoughts. Hijab of the mouth where you don’t speak immodest words to others and guard what you say. Hijab is about modesty and the most modest person was Allah ﷻs beloved, Muhammad ﷺ, and it is his sunnah that we follow which makes modesty even more beautiful.
Back to the actual topic, a decade of being a hijabi, of being someone non-Muslims look at and judge Islam by. Sounds scary right? You’d be happy to know it helps. It helps keep you behaving correctly and makes sure you’re not acting inappropriately. I don’t really know what else to say, I’m still jet lagged from last night so I’ll end it here.
Stay smiling and remember to say alhamdulillah soldiers