Durban, KZN, South Africa
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.