Asalamu Alaikum all ! The article below was written for the blog Pearls of Naseeha which can be seen here: http://pearlsofnaseeha.com/2011/07/21/what-the-hijab-means-to-me-halimat-shode/
The reason I began to cover began with the question why am I a Muslim? Although born into a Muslim family, I never took an interest in studying my own faith until the end of secondary school. I had always seen the Qur’an as a big scary book ready to condemn me – or so I thought. I pushed ignorant assumptions and fears of the unknown to the side, and what I read led to deep reflection on my creation and purpose in life. This noble book of wisdom showed me how to live my life, how out of touch I was with my faith, but ultimately the infinite mercy of Allah and how I could return to him before it was too late. The decision to wear the hijab was a firm belief in my heart of what my Lord wanted of me:submission to him alone and my heart not my body.
The steps to actually wearing it were slow but I kept at it, at the same time as trying to increase myself in knowledge. It went from a tie back scarf to an additional scarf covering the neck, to finally full hijab Alhamdulilah. The first time wearing full hijab I felt like my face was illuminated with an unknown light, and a confidence I had never known before was running though me like adrenaline!
Although I had known of the benefits of hijab before wearing it, it was strongly reinforced to me when I practiced it. It was first and foremost a reminder of my duty to my Lord and with this secure conviction, came an inner peace and contentment I had seen on many Muslimah’s faces before, and now had the pleasure of experiencing. It was also a major sign of modesty that I was unfamiliar with but now attached to, and respect came from unexpected places. I would have non-Muslim men lowering their gaze and offering me their seats on public transport and these acts of kindness would further assure me of the wisdom of the commandment of hijab.
As I entered college a full hijabi, the benefits remained however there would also be tests to face, such as free mixing which I was not familiar with coming from an all – girls’ school. This was also when I realized the concept of hijab in not just your appearance but also your speech, and how you conduct yourself with others. I realized I wouldn’t be doing hijab justice if I were to speak freely and not maintain boundaries with boys, so with prayers to remain steadfast and continuously seeking knowledge, I kept my distance which at times was hard, but Alhamdulilah I got through. Being someone who doesn’t like to draw attention to myself, I realized that by wearing hijab I was also a living breathing example of Islam to many of the non-Muslims. This made me more aware of my actions and words and reminded me of the accountability I would face on the Day of Judgment if I were to act not according to Islamic guidelines.
Although I didn’t like the spotlight on me, I would see the attention girls would get from their revealing clothes and Shaitan would make me feel as if hijab was unnecessary baggage or something that could be compromised. This was one of the hardest trials I had to face, however I realized any pleasure I would get from their lustful gazes would be short-term enjoyment compared to gaining the eternal pleasure of the Lord of the Worlds by refraining from such activity.
In facing these trials of college life, Allah blessed me with the friendship of sisters who practiced deen for his pleasure and reward and would always be there with a helping hand and an attentive ear as well as a reminder of our duties to our creator and the final destination when our temporary lives have ended.
The hijab became my identity and to this day I have never left my house without it. No matter the struggles I may encounter with hijab I remember that it’s a command from my creator, a reminder, a blessing.
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