How A Muslim Girl Who Never Wore Hijab Finally Became A Hijabi
Today, you may see me wearing my hijab and probably wish you could do same. That’s for those aspiring to become hijabis. And for those who do not like the idea of wearing hijab, you probably would be wondering why I wear it or how come I feel so confident wearing it.
I know in our communities, unfortunately, there are many people who even perceive wearing the hijab as a display of ignorance and are often startled at the sight of a highly educated woman in a hijab.
Flashback; before 2012, I used to be your average Muslim girl who didn’t only understand the essence of hijab but found the idea somewhat outmoded. I remember how I used to carry my scarf around my neck, sometimes covering a part of my head as if a gun was pointed at me to keep my scarf on. I couldn’t go a week without wearing my favorite tops, princess vest. Yes, my arms were almost often showing and truth is, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. Even when my Muslim peers had their bodies fully covered, at the time, I saw nothing wrong with exposing those parts of my body. To me, it was their choice to “hide” their beauty. I remember how I hated it so much whenever mom compared me to those peers who were always in hijab. Her complaints, though made me feel bad; I managed to counter such thoughts with the belief that, so long as I was a good girl and was abiding by the basic obligations in Islam, I was okay. “What’s the big deal about hijab anyway?” I would tell myself. It would take me a while to discover how lucky I was to have such a mother. One little good thing I remember was that, I always tried to wear clothes that would cover my legs. Not bad right?
Sometime later however, I’m not sure whether it was because I began to feel guilty about my conduct or because of the incessant pressure I received from mom, I began to seriously consider the idea of hijab (first step to becoming a better Muslim, realization of ones current state of Ibadah). At first, I wanted to start wearing a hijab so my mum would be happy and of course, so I could be freed from her anger as well. Despite this, I still couldn’t bring myself to even try wearing a hijab. Somehow, I felt that would not be a genuine reason to wear a hijab. And not having a genuine reason meant that, in the future I could be easily discouraged from wearing a hijab. Also, being a staunch believer in the saying “innamal a’amal bin niyat” (every action is judged by its intention), my conscience wasn’t going to allow me to cover up without a genuine intention.
So after I had taken my first step (realization), taking the next step (purity of intention: that is intending to put on the hijab for the sake of Allah) was becoming difficult.
I had so many thoughts crossing my mind; how would people perceive me? What if I had to go to those places where wearing hijab isn’t common? What would my former classmates say when I meet them? What about the teachers? And my non-Muslim colleagues who had never seen me fully covered? How do I deal with the stereotype that Muslims are violent people? At the time, I felt so embarrassed at the idea of wearing a hijab. Now when I think about all those concerns, I laugh at my old self.
Find an inspiration
In the midst of this dilemma came two heaven-sent sisters who will change for me, my narrative. One was a Muslim lady in our house who like me, was not a fan of hijabs and was repulsed by the idea of wearing hijab until she attended tertiary. Her unexpected transformation inspired me so much. My desire to become a hijabi was ignited upon witnessing this sister’s transformation. I began to pray for the courage to be able to make such a genuine change.
The other sister was a Muslim lady I met at an institution I had gone to work with as an intern. She appeared very courageous and even as the only Muslim lady in the company, she was so proud putting on her hijab every single day.
Actualize your intentions
These two people catalyzed my ability to strengthen my intention so much that, even though I first went to the workplace only with a scarf covering my hair, I reported to work the next day fully covered in hijab. I will never forget this day. I was so conscious of what I was wearing that I felt as though the whole world was staring at me the moment I stepped out of the house. That didn’t stop me from putting on my hijab the following day and the days that followed.
Though I had started to take the third step (actualizing my intention), I hadn’t fully actualized it.
When I returned home from work, I would quickly take off the hijab and change into my old clothes. Funny to admit though; all my attires were what you will consider inappropriate for a Muslim girl. Oh my goodness! I now understand why my mum couldn’t stop complaining. Another funny reason; I was shy of wearing a hijab while at home and in the neighborhood. LOL.
I remember later when my neighbours started seeing me in hijab, some of them passed derogatory comments and at first, I felt offended. Later on, I cared less about such comments.
All these changes happened during my long vacation from school (university). I would have given up when school resumed had I not had a strong enough intention. Having a genuine intention to please Allah had been very helpful towards my transformation.
My lessons learnt
From my experience, these are the few lessons I often share with young Muslims making the effort to improve their ibadah.
Do everything for the sake of Allah and He will help you carry on without giving up
Aspire to live an exemplary life that others will desire to emulate even without you having to talk to them.
Today I wear my hijab and it feels like a part of my skin, I can’t do without. I have fallen in love with it so much I don’t even feel anything foreign on me.
If I have been able to do this, so can you. I know it’s not that easy but it’s achievable. Don’t lose hope thinking all those you see in hijabs started out so perfect. Nothing makes me feel prettier than my hijab. I get so much respect and many impressive comments from people who are not even Muslims. Yes, I do occasionally get some negative comments too. But who cares? I’m I seeking to please my Lord or I’m seeking to please some closed-minded individuals?
(A graduate from the University of Ghana)