Not an outstanding or emotional story as a whole but yes, it might make one see that once you find the confidence to do what is right, the taunts and comments from the rest of the world don’t really matter. You cannot claim to love someone unless you put in efforts to make them happy. This was my first effort in making ALLAH happy, whom I believed I loved. There has been no looking back since then.
I was in my first year of college and there was this girl, Afifa, in the Mass Communication Department. Both of us were in the optional History class. I’d see her wrap a scarf around her head and wear a black cloak like ones old ladies near my place wore. I was not familiar with the concept of hijab even though I was born and brought up in a Muslim family. No one in my family practised hijab or purdah.
Contrary to what is told by media, I found her to be a popular girl, coming to college in her scooty, pursuing a course of her choice. So one day I approached her and asked her why she wears that scarf. It was then that she told me about the concept of Hijab and it’s importance in Islam.
I realized how beautiful it is to not be available to the stares of each person we encounter on the street, how one’s physical appearance has no relation to her intellectual capacity. I realized that there are many modest ways to make yourself noticeable than to be known for your figure or hair or skin. I realized that this piece of clothing will actually liberate me from the shallow standards of fake beauty we’ve been forced to accept and follow. Who cares if I have a bad hair day, I’d be more worried and depressed if I had a bad Hijab day. Who cares if I have some tummy? My loose clothing ensures that people notice my thoughts and ideas rather than my body. It was an eye-opener, showing me who actually enslaves women and oppresses them. It was not Islam, it was the Western conceptualized standards of looking and feeling attractive. Islam actually asks you to break free from the shallow worries of mascara, lipstick and hairstyles to focus on your intellectual grooming.
It was maybe something I’d been waiting for, like a little nudge forward. I kept thinking about it, wanting to start it but was very scared and unsure of how people around me would react. Another reason was that I had great hair, and it was very difficult for me to conceal that aspect of myself which was the most attractive to people. Letting go of the likes and double taps isn’t easy, trust me. But I kept in touch with my friend and she encouraged me to accept it wholeheartedly before starting to wear it. It took me some time. But I was still unsure.
Then the next step of guidance came from my non-Muslim friend Vinita. She asked me if I really wanted to do it, and on sensing my keenness and apprehension, advised me to start it once winter came and continue it after that. She had a point that many people cover their head during winters so I wouldn’t attract too much attention and by the time winter was gone, I’d get habituated to it. May ALLAH bless both these ladies who have been instrumental in my accepting and donning the Hijab. One encouraged me and the other supported me. I am indebted to these two wonderful souls who have made me practise my faith without judging me for not knowing my religion well enough.
I was initially opposed by everyone in my family, but by the grace of ALLAH, now my sister and mother are hijabis too.
So, this is to burst the bubble that Muslim women are FORCED to wear the Hijab. I embraced it with an open heart and mind, and so have many other sisters around me, many who faced criticism and backlash for this decision and yet are unwavering in their faith. This speaks a lot about the fake thought process that we Muslim women are oppressed and slaves at the hands of our menfolk.
Hope I’ve served the purpose of this article. Thanks for deciding to bring out this issue and giving us a space to vent out our feelings. Good luck !!