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.

How I was led towards Allah (SWT)

By Khashiefa Martin (

1stly, I would like to take this opportunity to commend any fellow Muslimah who has accepted this challenge. You might be thinking why “challenge’ would be my choice of words…I’m sure that my Muslim sisters will agree that wearing hijaab is one of the hardest, obligatory actions a women has to implement.

It is for this very reason that I choose to tell my story – not specifically to portray the beauty and serenity only, but also the strength and sincerity one gains when practicing it.

My hope is that those sisters, who are still considering it, will realize that they are not alone in this confusing time and it is achievable. If the intention is correct, the end results will be exactly what you were hoping for.

My journey started at the age of 16 – to many teenagers, this would be considered the best and most fun years of your life and honestly, that was my exact thoughts at the time.

I was constantly tempted with friends, good times, socializing etc

Shukr to Allah (SWT) who has chosen me from so many other teenagers and guided me towards HIM. I have to admit I fought it at first and like one would say – played a bit hard to get, but when Hidaayah [guidance] came, it was too overwhelming and powerful for me to resist. I then realized that I could either let it pass with a huge possibility of it not coming my way again or I could grab it, hold on to it with dear life and run!!!!!

At this crucial time in my life, it was clear-cut – either I continue living a life of a Muslim only by name or I can make a sincere effort towards behaving and portraying what a true Muslim should be. To many, especially my family who had for years been blinded by the western lifestyle, my actions were EXTREME and some would even say an innovation [niqaab – face veil], but to me – it was clarity and peace of mind. Suggestions were given that I should introduce it gradually, but I think it was more a case of my actions being an outright da’wah to them and they were not ready to deal with it. If only they knew how selfish I was because at that time, I was only looking out for MYSELF 

My so-called normal life had changed over night – my dress code was the very reason I lost many friends, family ties were broken and many sacrifices were made. Who says the love for Allah (SWT) is cheap? Not a chance!!!!!!! A huge price has to be paid but with it comes so many benefits - a closeness between you and your MOST beloved, a determination to face life’s challenges, a beautiful and unique identity and last but not least, a model to those women who feel the need to display that which Allah (SWT) has granted them. The very adornments one has to treasure especially for him – no…not Allah (SWT) but the one who will be worthy of laying his eyes on you and who will see you for the jewel you really are.

Even though, I’m still ridiculed at times, debated with and constantly trying to fit into society because I feel abnormal at times [note to remember - I am human and do have desires, I constantly have to fight]. I have come to realize that I am actually the normal one in the eyes of Allah (SWT) and I am satisfied with the thoughts that even though I am not a perfect Muslim and I too sin, my small efforts and sacrifices will NOT go in vain Inshaa-allah.

People always ask me - are you happy? Do you not feel uncomfortable? Are you not getting hot? How can you enjoy yourself? Should beauty not be adored & sometimes –they even ask - do you wear like this in your house the whole day? 

My answer stays the same – I am contented and I am at peace. I do not need the so-called pleasures of the dunyaa to be happy because I am fortunate to know that there is deeper meaning to the word “ happiness”. There are so many ways for me to enjoy life as long as it is in the boundaries of shariah. This is my everyday struggle, but I know that Allah (SWT) has my back on that one 

I can but only make dua that Allah (SWT) will keep on looking in my direction, will recognize the sound of my voice, will be merciful on me and accept my little efforts for His pleasure only – Inshaa-allah - AAMEEN

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The time has arrived- Start sending in your stories

Asalaam wa Alaykum

Sisters, every girl or woman, no matter what your status is, when you decide to wear Hijab or progress to a stage of higher Hijab, the decision is not always as simple as should be. Yes, it is part of our Islam to adorn the Hijab, but many of us, especially those of us who live in the Western world, do not wear any form of Hijab. No judgement on any person, Allah is the judge and we should support each other and guide and teach one another to become better people.

To think back, there were always a lot of questions I had, and always thoughts of doing the right thing followed by my whims to not give up my so called “Freedom”. But once I came back from Umrah Allah shukr, everything became really simple, but I kid you not, I still had a fight ahead of me. There were days of frustration, that I felt that my face looked a little fatter, or that my scarf made me look really clumsy and that it did not blend in really well with my different environments.

What really helped was talking to other ladies, those who already adorn the Hijab and those who were thinking of doing it. Together we shared our experiences, triumphs and glory days, there were also the bad days, which get even lesser as the days go by and you get stronger. That’s when the fun kicks in, it’s amazing, and yes Hijab can be fun.

Appreciating the journey of wearing hijab made me want to do something where other sisters could also begin to appreciate their own journeys. After much pondering , Allah (SWT) guided me towards a fellow Muslim sister and together we came up with this fantastic idea about a blog called, “Hijab Diaries”, where you can tell us about your experiences, share or ask for advice, and this is especially wonderful for our youth, and to promote Hijab amongst them.

So here you go sisters please take advantage of this blog, it’s your platform and opportunity to be heard and to help others in need.

Sister’s each one of us has our own “hijab story” to tell, how we came to wear hijab, what motivated us, what it was like, how people reacted to us and so on and so forth. This is the place for you to share that story. Please send your stories to and insha’Allah we will post it here on this blog.
This blog is for all Muslim sisters, it is all of ours so we would love to see many stories posted.

So off you go and start writing your story, and we will do the same!

By Zeenat Sirkhot in association with Zarina Hassem