Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My Hijab Story

Every muslimah has one, whether funny, inspiring, challenging, etc. When I say hijab, I just don't mean my struggle to wear a head scarf, but to wear hijab overall as in making sure my awrah is covered.
I've been wearing hijab since I was three years old. Well actually I think it was when I was two years old, since I have pictures of my 2nd birthday were a pink hijab. My dad said it was easy to convince me to wear it because I loved to wear hats and I will be in the house not wanting to take it off. I remember my very first hijab as it was yesterday. It was actually one my dad made me using a yellow shirt of his-lol. We where in a hurry and I my hair was a mess, and my mother wasn't around to fix it, so easy solution-a hijab (don't you just love it). Yeah, sounds really ghetto, but my dad was really creative and a genius. He made it in a way, so that you didn't need to pin it. The button and button hole of the shirt fastened right in the back of my head. That's what I call pure ingenuity. And every since that moment, I started to wear hijab.
As I got older, I never had the thought or feeling to ever stop wearing it. I always hear a lot of sisters saying how the want to take it off and stop wearing all together. Alhumdulillah, I never had this problem since I was soo used to wearing it from a young age. I also went to an islamic school since kindergarten, which made it easier, because I had to wear hijab all the time. We wore this navy blue khimar, an al-amira style. It was easy simple, easy, just throw it on and go.
Hijab for me was just my way of life. It was who I was. My parents always made sure I was covered properly, especially when I got into my pre-teen years, when certain things started to develop a bit to quickly. I made sure my shirts were always long enough, and long sleeved, everything was not form-fitting. I never really wore pants that much when I was younger, mostly skirts. I didn't even wear jeans until I was in the 8th grade.
When I got to high school things changed. I went from Islamic school to public school. My first year, I was still covering properly. But by my second year, I started to become more involved in the culture and wanted to dress like the other kids. So before you knew it, gradually, the shirts got shorter, the pants got tighter, and everything fell apart, mainly because my mom started to let me get away with a lot of things. She didn't wanna be hard on me because I had just lost my father so she just let everything go which was a BIG mistake. By junior year, I was completely gone. I was that muslim sister who would be wearing tight jeans, tight shirt, and a scarf on my head. I thought it was okay because there were other muslimahs in my school who were doing it, so I was just blindly following the crowd not giving a damn about anything.
So then by college years come rolling in. I still had that same mentality as I did when I was in high school. I was still dressing the same way and never thought twice about changing it. I never stopped because no one ever pointed it out to me, especially my mom. So I thought what I was doing was okay. This continued until I met my husband. I remember when we first went to the masjid together during Ramadan (this was before we were married). When he first told me that he wanted me to go to the masjid that he always goes to for iftaar, I freaked out. I hadn't been to a masjid in years and I didn't have the slightest idea what to wear because all of my clothes weren't "masjid appropriate." So I went with black wide leg pants and a white shirt that stopped hip level and a small jacket, so I was okay. The next time I saw him, I had on tight jeans, a long sweat-shirt style tunic, red converse, and a red hijab. Boy did he freak out. My husband is the type when something bothers him he shows it on his face but doesn't say it. I knew he had a problem with the way I was dressed and it only got worse when we went to this halal restaurant. We were ordering our food to go and the brother behind the counter was staring at me. I didn't notice it but my husband did, but he didn't say anything. He told me after we left and was pretty mad. I couldn't blame him.
Afterwards, I started to feel bad about the way I was dressing, because I knew I wasn't suppose to be dressed that way. After I got married, I completely bought a new wardrobe. I didn't start covering for my husband, but for me. I started to read hadiths and ayats on hijab and it changed my perspective on things. I started to understand why Muslimahs had to not just cover their heads but to cover their bodies, to show their modesty, and have respect for themselves and also respect for my husband. I was always say my body is for my husband alone and no other man should have privilege to see it. So that's when I started to wear abayas. One, for the convenience of it. All you have to do is throw it on and that's it. Another reason: it's sometimes hard and frustrating to find hijab-friendly clothes. Since I'm more on the curvy side and somethings are bigger than others, it's hard to find things that are loose enough without looking like im wearing a garbage bag.

When I started to dress differently, I started to get all the nagativity from my family. They were so used to seeing me one way, that when they saw me wearing an abaya they freaked. My brothers would say that it looks like im wearing my bed sheet, and that wearing an abaya is backwards. When my mom first saw me she didn't know what to say. She said that it was nice, more of a new style. That comment I was okay with but then she said that wearing an abaya is okay if your going to jumu'ah or for praying but on a daily basis it isn't good. My favorite thing she said, is that weaing an abaya will make you fat because it's too loose and you have nothing there to say that you are gaining to much weight. I still laugh when I think of that because it's soo not true, at least in my case and other sisters that I know. It's like when I was doing something I wasn't suppose to be doing, my family never said anything or didn't care. When I try to do the right thing for me and stick to my deen, then they have something to say or that I am acting strange. That's how the world is.
Earlier this year I had started to wear niqab. Even as a young child, I was fascinated by all the women I used to see at the masjid wearing it. I thought it was the most beautiful thing ever but never imagined myself wearing it. But that same fascination returned. It actually started thanks to a few people. When I started to the abaya, more men started to notice me. I always thought that if they couldn't see anything, they wouldn't say anything........wrong! That seemed to only intice them more. And it wasn't just the kaafir men, it was Muslim men. My husband and I were shopping in heavily populated Muslim community, and everywhere I went men were staring at me, even though my husband was standing right next to me. I wasn't wearing flashy clothes, just a black abaya, and black shayla (maybe it was my red converse sneakers but my abaya was too long to see them). I found it very disrespectful to me and my husband. These brothers had no shame whatsoever. So later, we went to the masjid for Asr, and I saw one sister in niqab and I was thinking to myself,'does she have the problem I do"? And after that moment, when I met my husband outside, I told him that I want to wear niqab. He looked at me and said am I sure. I absolutely had my mind made up. So we went across the street to this islamic boutique and bought one. But this was after I went to several stores and hated all of them. One had velcro and wouldn't fit around my big head, the other was toooo small for my face, and one had YSL written all over the niqab, subhanallah!!! I finally settled for a saudi 3-layer flip style. After I got home, my husband and I went back out and I wore my niqab for the first time. It was a little uncomfortable, the eye opening, but it was cold that day and kept my face warm. I felt sooo happy and like I was of top of the world. People looked at me but I didn't care one bit. I was doing for me and to receive more blessing from Allah. I never said anything to my family or when I saw them I took it off because I didn't want to hear the negativity. If I got heavily commented for wearing an abaya, I could only imagine what they would say about the niqab.
So now, I'm still wearing my abaya but I have taken off the niqab. Why? Because of several different circumstances. Mainly because of my job, that I kinda dislike. And also the neighborhood that I'm in. My husband doesn't want me to put myself in any danger because they are a few crazy people that wouldn't understand, so right now the abaya is enough. But Insha'Allah I hope to wear niqab again. I do it on a part-time basis, but want to return to doing it full-time. May Allah bless all the sisters who keep their hijab through these difficult time, and those who struggle with hijab on a daily basis. May Allah give us the strength and courage to keep following His Way. Ameen