Hijab Perspective

When I first started going to secondary school, my attitude towards the hijab changed enormously. As you can imagine, I was exposed to new people from many different backgrounds who strongly influenced my self image. I remember how self-conscious I felt every morning before I left the house. I would often think to myself, “why do I have to cover?” Although I had been raised with the hijab, it had never really been explained to me and my mind would be running with all kinds of questions. Whenever I was asked why I wore the hijab, my answer would refer back to my parents. I was just taught to wear it because I’m Muslim. That’s it, that’s all I knew and that’s all that mattered.

But eventually, the questions developed into doubts until I no longer believed that the Hijab was necessary. I saw some Muslims who wore the hijab acting worse than those who didn’t. Being a Hijabi myself, I began to think, “If they wear Hijab and they act like that, then what do people think about me?” Whilst I was concerned about the opinion of the people, it never crossed my mind that I should be wearing hijab for Allah. I assumed that the reason behind my choice was the fear upsetting my parents. They never forced me to wear it but I didn’t want to disappoint them by taking it off. They had put a lot of effort into helping me wear the hijab in the previous years. I would be throwing it all back in their faces if I just abandoned it.
Moreover, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself because let’s be honest, you can’t do something as life-changing as this and expect no one to talk about it. The fear and guilt of not being able to take back my decision was what stopped me from taking off my hijab. When I think about it today, it seems to be a blessing in disguise. I’m glad I stuck with it, even though I was reluctant, because only Allah knows what I would have done next. When you stop doing good deeds, it kind of has a domino effect. You stop doing this, then you drift away from doing that. It happens, slowly but surely, until your deeds shift from being good to moderately bad to completely-and-utterly worse.

I didn’t appreciate the value of the Hijab. I tried to tone down who I was in order to fit in, to seem normal and to avoid the big ‘WHY?’ Because if I didn’t know why I was doing something, was there really any point in doing it?
Although I hadn’t physically taken off the hijab, the most important element of it, the intention, was not there. It was as if I had picked up an oyster, thrown away the pearl and kept the shell. There seemed to be little hope left.

However, everything changed when I read about Maryam (may peace be upon her) in the Quran. Her story truly touched my heart. On the icy winter evenings after school, I would curl up next to a warm heater and try to learn about Maryam, the mother of Prophet Isa (may peace be upon him). Through listening to lectures on Youtube, I learned about her good upbringing, her devotion to Allah, her patience and purity.

I was inspired by the courage she showed when she returned to her people after giving birth to Prophet Isa (peace be upon him). The people began to slander her chastity even though she was innocent from all that they said. Nevertheless, she knew that Allah would help her and, indeed, He did. He made her baby speak on her behalf. He made her son a Prophet. He mentioned her in the Quran over 30 times so that she would be remembered and taken as an example by all Muslims.

As the days went by, I could feel something in my heart change. My belief that Allah would help me if I chose to do the right thing became stronger. And I realised that it didn’t matter what people said, as long as I did what was right for Allah. If I chose to cover properly, no amount of criticism could change my mind. And I discovered that the outer Hijab had to be coupled with the inner Hijab. If I wanted to wear it correctly, I would need to make sure that my thoughts, opinions and words were as modest as my covering. It could not be one or the other.
Pearls are found in shells. Without the shell, the pearl is exposed to harm. It could be damaged, destroyed or stolen. Without the pearl, the value of the shell decreases. It’s the pearl, the little thing that rests at the heart of the shell, which makes it worthwhile finding.
It may often be the case that people will see that you’re covered and assume that you’re righteous/religious. But if your inner self is blotted with sins upon sins upon sins, the time has come for you to check your hijab. It’s who you are and you’re representing a beautiful religion when you wear it. So we have the outer cover that everyone can see, but we must look deep into ourselves to determine whether the hijab is impacting our character and behaviour the way it should.

It’s a reminder that we are Muslims who have submitted our will to Allah. What does this mean? It means that your desires are less important than what Allah wants you to do. Let’s say, for example, you want to go out with some friends. You want to wear that cute mini dress so you put it on. But then you remember that Allah commanded you to cover your body when you go out.
Allah says in the Quran,

“O Prophet, tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to bring down over themselves [part] of their outer garments. That is more suitable that they will be known and not be abused. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.”

{Surah Al-Ahzab verse 59}

When you feel reluctant to change into something more modest, you should recall the Hadith in which we are told two signs of the Day of Judgement,

There are two types of the people of Hell whom I have not seen yet. People with whips like the tails of cattle, with which they strike the people, and women who are clothed yet naked, walking with an enticing gait. They will not enter Paradise nor even smell its fragrance, although its fragrance may be detected from such and such a distance.” (Sahih Muslim)

Are we really going to let a piece of cloth stop us from going to paradise? How temporary is this world? If we sacrifice just a few years of wearing tight clothes, we could earn the privilege of entering Paradise where we can wear whatever we want. We could have whatever we want. The price is small in comparison to the great reward.

If you ever have trouble convincing yourself not to wear something inappropiate, ask yourself if you would wear it when you pray or go to the masjid. Or ask yourself how you’d feel if your daughter wore the same thing. Imagine the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) saw you dressed like that; would he approve? Now remember that Allah can see you wearing those clothes and His judgement is the most important. One day we will leave this world, covered from head to toe. We will have no choice but to be covered. For some of us, it will be the first time we ever leave the house with our bodies fully concealed. Whether you choose to cover now or not, it will eventually happen.
I understand that we live in a society where wearing tight, short and see-through clothing is considered to be the norm but you must realise that the standards of society will always change. Something that was unacceptable yesterday will be acceptable today and vice versa. So if we try to live up to these expectations, we’ll always be chasing after something unrealistic and temporary. In the end, people will never be satisfied anyway.

However, Allah has already set down the principles for us. He wants us to be modest outwardly and inwardly. We should be aware that He knows our inner most thoughts and how they correspond (or contrast) to our outer appearance. It’s not a matter of comparing ourselves to each other but rather, the way we measure ourselves is by the Quran and Sunnah; how much of it are we living up to? People can advise you to do good but unless you have the determination to earn Allah’s pleasure, the motivational drive won’t last for long.

For all of my sisters who have taken up the duty to wear the hijab, you’re never alone. Remember that you’re doing this only for Allah. He gave Maryam (peace be upon her) the inner strength to do what is right and look at the honour she was given until the end of time. She is a role model for millions of Muslims and even non-Muslims, not because of her physical beauty but because Allah perfected her inner beauty; the beauty of her faith. Be strong and take great care of your soul because it will last longer than your body.💗

I would definitely recommend that you watch this video whenever you get a chance: 

2 thoughts on “Hijab Perspective

  1. The pearl and shell analogy is brilliant! I love how you describe Maryam (as) and really highlight her status in Islam.
    May Allah reward you greatly for your efforts.


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