Friday, June 18, 2010

The truth about hijab

We've received this e-mail about a young girl who opted to wear hijab without anyone forcing her to do it. The article originally appeared in the Oprah Magazine. I'm sure that many of you have already read this e-mail, but if not here is the link below, it's a very interesting read Masha'Allah and goes against all the negative stereotypes associated with hijab. We make dua that Allah (swt) allows more people's eyes and hearts to become open to the truth and beauty of Islam and hijab.

Jazakallah Khayr to the sisters who e-mailed this article to us, May Allah reward all your efforts.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Someday, Oneday, InshaALLAH

Durban, KZN, South Africa
Assalaamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wabarakaathu.

As a teenager, I remember my father reprimanding me if I did not have a scarf on when I left the house. Being a typical teenager, with no thoughts of accountability, it did not take me long to realise that I can wear it when I leave the house but there was nothing compelling me to keep it on. And so it carried on. I would wear my scarf when I left the house and if I was not with my father, I took it off. Oblivious, or rather consciously blocking the verse, “...and whatsoever good ye do, lo! ALLAH is aware of it...” Noble Quran, Surah 2, Verse 215) from my mind. But I always knew at the back of my mind and in my heart that I would like to wear the hijaab someday, just not then! ‘When I get married’, was that someday.

Well, ’someday’ eventually dawned on me. I got proposed and married within three months. Trousseau shopping was rushed, and then to complicate things, a little voice reminded me “You're getting married-time for that scarf". Subhaan'ALLAH, I now not only had to go out and get clothes, I needed scarves to match. I was also consciously more careful with my choice of clothes. I made sure that they were long sleeved and that my tops were longer as I knew that wearing a scarf with short sleeves or short tops were defeating the purpose of hijaab.

For my wedding I wore an eastern outfit and had my hair covered, though not fully. I now wish I had covered it fully. The most beautiful brides I remember now are those with their hair (and necks) fully covered, with no part of their body showing. There is a noor emanating from these brides that goes beyond physical beauty. For myself, it was the day after my wedding that the true test began. The fact that my husband approved of my hijaab made it much easier for me as did the fact that I had a dear friend and cousin -in-law who was already wearing a scarf. I was not the only one among my peers that was doing it. At times though, I must admit, it was very difficult for me. Although I did not wear revealing clothes before, I was very fashion conscious – latest fashion trends, hair always done up and make-up applied. Now, I often felt ‘old fashioned'. Comments by those close to me to that effect hurt more than you can imagine. I was constantly reminded about my dressing in the past and more often than not was asked “What happened to you?” not in a complimentary way, I might add. Often my husband was blamed or given credit for my adopting the hijaab, depending on which way people looked at it. These comments made me stronger and I did not ever consider taking it off. I persevered and Alhamdulillah a few years later, also with my husband’s consent, I started wearing an Abaya. I've emphasised my husband’s approval because sadly many sisters fight their own jihad with regards to their husband disapproval of their hijaab. Some only wear it when their husbands are not with them; some have to endure their husbands open contempt of it or even verbal abuse. Here I must add, that we must remember not to judge anyone especially those that outwardly seem to be regressing with regards to their hijaab, after having adopted it. We have no idea what their circumstances are, rather we should make dua for them and seek ALLAHS protection from that happening to us.

Today as a mother of three daughters, I realise that my father’s demands all those years ago were a result of love and concern for me and not ‘to make my life difficult’ as I believed his intentions to be. I often wonder if my decision would have come sooner had I been encouraged by my parents to start wearing the hijaab as a pre-teen. Alhamdulillah this realisation has made it possible for me to be conscious of my daughters dressing. My eldest is now thirteen years old, and has been in hijaab before she became baaligh, Subhaan’ALLAH. To this end I must give credit to her Muallimah at that time, which made my job effortless. May ALLAH reward her with the best of rewards and continue to use her to inspire our daughters, Ameen.

Dear Sisters, to those of you that have a sincere desire to wear hijaab and are thinking about it, May ALLAH make it easy for you to please Him. Remember ALLAH says in a Hadith Qudsi, “...And whosoever comes to me walking I will go to him running....” (Muslim, Ibn Majah and Ahmad). That is ALLAH’s promise dear sisters that is all it takes. Take the plunge and put it on! Everything to lose and the pleasure of ALLAH to gain. HE will make it easy for you. Do not be like me and wait for that ‘someday, one day, Insha’ALLAH...’ I had no guarantee that I would live to see ‘someday’ and neither do you. May ALLAH fill the hearts of those standing in your way with understanding. Subhaan’ALLAH, some of my greatest critics are now wearing the hijaab!

May ALLAH guide us and all those that have a sincere desire to adopt hijaab to follow HIS commands and make it easy for us and them. May ALLAH guide all our actions with sincerity and the best of intentions and accept our little steps towards HIM. Just as HE has made our outward dressing in conformity to HIS commands, May HE change the conditions of our hearts and improve our character.

I thank ALLAH for granting me the ability to realise that true pleasure and sweetness of Imaan comes with pleasing HIM alone. I have learnt by experience that fulfilling the Rights of ALLAH and pleasing HIM, has a ripple effect of pleasing those around you that matter, in my case, my husband and parents. May ALLAH bless them. Ameen

Wassalaamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaathu.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

My daughters story

By A Proud Mum

As salaamu alaikum

Jazakallahu Khairun for this inspirational site. Like the
previous post, I was a jeans and tops girl, and like her still
wear them under my cloak. On my return from Haj I continued
wearing the hijab. Alhumdulillah we had a complete
life-style change on our return, even removing the
television from our home.

My daughter was 5 years old at the time. When she was 10
years old she wanted to wear hijab to school. We live in a
formally Afrikaner town in northern KZN, so wearing hijab
to school posed a problem. After consulting with the school
and the Governing body, she was given permission.

Alhumdulillah due to our discussions with the school, other
girls followed and also wore hijab.
She is now in high school and out of a school population of
950 kids, she is the ONLY one that wears the hijab. As a
parent I was very concerned for her but Alhumdulillah she
has handled it with so much maturity and wisdom it makes me

Teachers ask her how come she wears hijab and not the other
Muslim girls in the school and she answers them with
hikmah. She sees her hijab as a form of Dawah.

She is a typical teenager with all its naughtiness and fun,
and I think that's wonderful because it shows that a person
can have fun and wear hijab.

As a Mother I am proud of her, especially when she wears
hijab on weekend and at the mall, while all her friends
don't. In these day where hair irons and hair styles defines
the person, she's held on to her own 'style'.

I am sure this sounds like no big deal to girls from bigger
towns and bigger Muslim communities, but in a small town,
predominantly 'white' it's quite an accomplishment.

May Allah keep her and all those that find wearing the
hijab a struggle steadfast and give them the strength
to continue.

Friday, April 30, 2010

My Struggle to wear Hijaab

By an anonymous sister
As Salaam u Alaikum,

Thank you for a very inspiring website. This is definitely something that I needed to help me with my struggle or “Challenge” to start wearing the Purdah.

I still haven’t started, but I do intend on doing so soon…very soon.

I grew up in a very modernized and carefree environment. We were never ever pressurized to wear Purdah or even a scarf by our parents. I grew up as a tomboy, always in jeans, t-shirts and takkies (sneakers). I’m now married and a mother and still live in my Jeans and takkies.

Deep down in my heart and my mind I have always wanted to wear Purdah and always admired those that do wear it. But I never had anyone close around me who could have pushed me or encouraged me to do so. Also on the other hand, I would not have the support of my husband. He once told me that I shouldn’t wear Purdah.

Alhamdulillah, year before last year my husband and I were sponsored to go for Hajj. I kept on thinking, that this is it. This will definitely change us and our lifestyle and it will make it easier for my husband to accept me wearing Purdah; But when we came back from Hajj, it didn’t last long. Hence, I gave up on the idea of even wearing a scarf. It was our lifestyle that also came in the way.

A short while ago some of my family members started wearing the Purdah. I am so proud of them and also so inspired.

Lately, my husband has also calmed down a lot. We have both started reading our Salaat regularly and just want to do right. We have a child to raise and I would like to be the best parent I can by also leading by example. I have spoken to my husband and he told me that he would support me and make it easy for me to adopt the purdah.

Alhamdulillah !

But still, why are there still so many excuses or reasons that are popping up that’s delaying the process ? First it was the fact that I work in a Corporate industry, whereby we wear a uniform. We have 5 males in our huge office and I don’t think that they will allow the purdah at work. Then it was a close family members wedding and now another wedding soon. And it’s always “after this” and “after that” and I will wait for the weddings to be over or some excuse like what will my friends and family think. Will they think that I’m being hypocritical or too drastic with the change? It will be a drastic change. I mean from being one who wears tights and jeans and t-shirts and 3 quarter pants to suddenly start wearing Abaaya’s and a Purdah also.

Shaytaan is really making this hard for me and I am struggling to go on with pursuing wearing THE HIJAAB.

I just need some motivation. I need Allah to make this easy for me.

We pray that Allah (SWT) makes it easy for this sister on her path towards wearing the hijab, may Allah save her from the whisperings of shaytaan, may He guide her and give her the motivation and strength to continue and act upon her intention and may he, the Almighty, All Merciful allow her to be a positive example to those around her. 

Insha'Allah Ameen!

May Allah guide every single one of us in our journey's towards Him. Through struggle and challenges do we reach enlightenment! And Allah knows best!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How I found beauty in hijab

 By a Contented Muslim sister
Assalamu alaykum

Dearest Sisters

Wearing the hijaab for me was a process that I gradually discovered. Alhamdulilah, Allah put it in my heart to dress the way I do.

I was eighteen years old, two days before I turned eighteen to be exact and I had this sudden urge of covering my head. My mother covered her hair so it wasn’t something that I wasn’t used to. However, the task was a bit more complicated than I had anticipated.

I would always cover my lower body with loose hanging clothes, but I would say that I dressed fairly “modern”. I now wore a headscarf that would simply match with the outfit of the day. The funny thing was though, that I still had to go through this process of getting used to seeing myself in the headscarf, I thought I didn’t look nice, so it wasn’t so easy for me to wear.

This went on for a few years, I would wear “normal western” clothing with my headscarf, and the scarf unfortunately, was not always worn correctly. When I think of it now, I laugh at how a little piece of my hair would be out; I thought that way at least I looked prettier. Even my clothing, was weird, I would wear a skouser, (you know those fashionable trousers with the short skirt that was attached to it) with a top, and I thought that would suffice.

Four years later, I found myself at another turning point, I felt in my heart that I should cover up and wear an abayya. Now if I can recall correctly, I always thought it was weird that when it came to Friday, Muslim sisters would always wear an abayya. I now found myself doing the same thing. It was pretty though, because I had a lot of beautiful abaayas, and I somehow felt like a beautiful princess when wore them.

I was studying during this time and I was always the type of person who could make friends easily, they wouldn’t be close friends but people were comfortable speaking to me. This meant that I had to answer many questions to a vast race of people about my dress, I didn’t mind, I was getting used to the idea of dressing this way, and truthfully, I loved it.

I now began my teaching career, and although I wore an abayya, it was a kind of an on and off thing. A few months into teaching, I made the decision, Alhamdulilah, to wear the abayya, full time. This time around it was something that I knew would be better for me as I now found myself dealing with a lot of strange men and I felt more comfortable being covered properly.

The sad thing about this was that I worked once, again with a very mixed racial group. And again people would ask me questions about the way I dress, if I could only wear black, even though, I had beautiful abyayys of all colours and styles. They would ask if men had to cover themselves and to what extent, and Alhamdulillah, I could answer them positively and insha Allah correctly.

What was sad was that amongst the Muslim women, there had always been a certain amount of negativity. I was still young, older Muslim women felt that I was too young to dress that way, and they would openly ask me if I didn’t think I was too young to dress this way. Unfortunately some Muslim women look at you differently when you decide to cover up. They immediately assume that you think you’re better, that you think you are holier. I always said that one cannot be judged by the way she dresses. And Alhamdulillah I don’t think that I can say I ever thought that I was a better Muslim or person. I always remember the hadith or quraan ayaat that says something to the effect that one Muslim is only better than another Muslim in terms of piety and this is something that only Allah knows. Sadly for me though, many Muslim sisters would make the assumption that I thought I was better.

Alhamdulillah, it didn’t deter me, I continued dressing the way I felt comfortable, I found that people would have respect for me and the way I felt about certain things. Men would think twice before they put out their hand to be shaken, people would suddenly feel that they cannot speak vulgar in front of me, generally there was a lot of respect from people. They would stay on their place if I could put it that way.

The nicest thing about this was that I could explain to non Muslims, the beauty of covering up and the beauty of my religion. People immediately make the assumption that men don’t have dress limitations; they assume that women have less choice. I could now explain my religion to people in the hope that they would understand and learn to accept Islam and the beauty thereof.

I loved that the little Muslim girls were comfortable to wear their headscarf and see that covering up didn’t make one feel less beautiful but more beautiful. It didn’t make one feel small and humiliated but enriched and enlightened.

I make dua that Allah blesses our hearts with beauty and understanding for our religion, and that our inner beauty is as beautiful as our outer beauty.

May Allah also reward the sisters who are trying so hard in spreading the beauty of Islam; it is just an example of how things can be used for good.

Make duaa.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My follow up story- Hijab for ALL

By Shanaaz Hassem-Jaylarnie

I just wanted to say, that the Hijab struggle is not just for women, I have a young son, who struggles with the fact that he has to wear a head covering - toupee or whatever you want to call it, as this hinders him from having a hairstyle, being more modern, and many non Muslims ask him tons of questions about wearing it. it’s an opportunity, an opportunity to dawah, and the younger you are, the better it is. So the young ones should learn to never feel intimidated by the "difference", they should learn how to answer back to the snickers and ignorance of the ones who do not understand, and they should stand with confidence that the power of wearing the Islamic dress code, defines wholly not only who you are, or who you can become, but it also epitomises the impact that you have on others. So wear you Islamic dress with pride, and answer with confidence. Allah has put all of us in this hard times, because Allah knew we were strong enough to take Islam through the storm.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Holding my head up high in the corporate world

By Shanaaz Hassem-Jaylarnie (Johannesburg, South Africa)
At first I was not very keen on this whole thing but, prompted by my sisters, I decided to visit the blog. Hijab that got me thinking. Then suddenly after reading a few lines, I felt that I had an obligation to tell my see, I grew up in a very strict, but liberal home- where my parents gave us freedom yet controlled it. As ironic as that may be, I always think that they somehow managed to get just the right balance. Not letting go too loosely, yet not holding on too tight. I only wish that I can be that perfect to my kids.

There were several times in my young life where my father would get into a session with me about starting to wear a headscarf. As opinionated as I was, I would always respond that I was not ready, and I guess that my parents did not want to force something upon me with the fear that I would not enjoy wearing it and see it as a burden.

One day at the age of 22, I suddenly decided that I had to change my way of dress, and don the hijaab. Since I was young, just entered the corporate world and had many friends from various faith groups, this was a difficult choice in my life. The decision would soon rock my world as I knew it. Without realising it, the decision to wear a hijaab began changing my entire life, opinion and almost everything about me.

I soon found myself restructuring my wardrobe since, in my opinion; I could not cover my hair but bear my arms. I could not cover my hair but wear jeans that revealed the shape of my body, so my entire style of dress was under scrutiny, and I had to buy clothing that was more appropriate to go with my hijaab. Almost like a new self.

At this stage of my life, working in a modern environment, I found that I was suddenly looked at in a different way. In the corporate world I was suddenly respected, and it was almost as if my opinion meant more. Non Muslim women looked at me, and admittedly admired my transformation. They looked at me as if I had climbed Mount Everest. Maybe I was more beautiful with my flowing hair hanging down my shoulders but, somehow, that meant nothing to me any longer. People looked at me and wondered how I could give up fashion and modernity for a headscarf and loosely fitting clothing but I could see that deep down they actually respected Islam and respected me because I had given up all of that to be a true young Muslim woman. I neither felt restricted nor found the need to blame anyone, since this was a decision that I had made for myself. I found it exciting to get a scarf to match a certain outfit, and still managed to be stylish and modern, in an Islamic way.

The men in my workplace suddenly took me more seriously. I could sense that they now placed me on a pedestal, and that my opinion seemed to matter more. If anyone ever engaged in a conversation in an inappropriate manner, they would make sure they did it when I was not around. It was astonishing because even if a person used a vulgar word, they would apologise to me, out of a whole group of people.

My hijaab empowered me and gave me an opportunity to prove my true worth. It also made me a better person. I found myself more down to earth. That many years ago, not many young girls covered their hair, and the message conveyed was that a young girl who covered her hair had to be taken seriously, and had to be respected.

Even though I worked in an environment where there were men and women mixing, my conduct as a Muslim hijabi protected me from the fitna of the workplace. Alhamdulillah later I met my husband, who told me that if it was not for my hijaab, he would not have taken a second look at me. Some people feel that if they wear a scarf, it will make them less beautiful and they won’t find husbands. I can tell you, that this is not the truth. I can tell you that when Allah wills to give you a husband- you will get one. And I can tell you that if a man turns you down because of your hijaab; keep your chin up and never lose hope- you will find someone better. Insha Allah.

Sometimes the people who look at you, almost as if you are an embarrassment to them are our very own fellow Muslims who choose not to cover themselves.

In my first year of marriage I lived in Pretoria, where there was not another Muslim in sight for almost 40km’s. When I walked into a store people looked at me as If I was from another planet. As uncomfortable as I had felt at that time, I realise today, that they were actually the ignorant ones.

I still get those who look at me with pity, then there are those who see me as a Neanderthal. They look at Muslim woman and their small children as if you have no weight in society. There are those who are so confused that they cannot explain their glances. But I know the impact that I have, because I am a walking example of a person in constant struggle.

Wearing your Hijaab protects us from so much that we will not be able to comprehend. I always say that Muslims are so lucky, because the difficulties we endure makes us that much stronger. We are setting the example for the next generation. How will our daughters and nieces wear hijab with confidence if we do not? It’s much much more than just covering your body. It’s a daily struggle, it’s a battle, and at the same time its an opportunity. I would say to any muslimah, make that choice today. It may not be easy, it may be not nice, but you will be sure to see the rewards in time to come. Take advantage of being a Muslim woman. It’s not a burden, it’s a gift.