I know, I know. I was supposed to have this ready like what, a month ago?! LOL, sorry I can’t help but laugh: I am the worsstttt. But honestly, a lot has happened in this month! That’s no excuse because there definitely were times when I could’ve posted an entry, but I was just lazy (story of my life). But, to catch y’all up quickly, I’ve been experiencing some unfortunate symptoms in the past few months so I’ve been in and out of the hospital and doctors’ offices quite a few times. Basically, I’m undergoing radiation treatment in a few weeks time, but I’ll save those juicy details for another post.
Ok, so the last entry was basically me ranting on and on about not letting other people’s negativity bring you down. I think that’s some sound advice, no ;)? But it kind of teeter tottered away from the actual reason as to why I started wearing hijab. To continue where I left off last, about two years ago, my family and I went to the Middle East to perform Umrah, and then traveled to Pakistan for my sisters’ wedding.
Umrah was great (Alhumdolilah). I’ve never had a bad experience going to Mecca and Medina SubhanAllah SubhanAllah, so that reflection and prayer time was definitely well worth it. However, I still had no intention of wearing the hijab at that period in time. The intention I did have was to wear the hijab (as well as old ugly clothes) when I got to Pakistan (and only in Pakistan). This was because after hearing many many many stories of robberies, bomb explosions, lice, dirt, pollution, and crazy people, I thought it would be best if I just looked my absolute worst so that I wouldn’t be singled out in the country. STUPID THINKING I KNOW. But that’s just what I thought, and I actually did stick to it. Every day in Pakistan I would leave the house with a scarf over my head, no makeup or anything on, and the plainest of plain clothes ever (not that there’s anything wrong with this, but I’m the type of person who loves to put in effort on myself when going out).
Pakiland was a wonderful time, my sister’s wedding was great (I did dress up to the nines during her wedding ofc!), and I didn’t really want to come back to Canada because it was amazing catching up with the many cousins I have back home. During my trip, I had gotten close to a particular cousin of mine. She is quite a bit older than I am and has three children of her own Alhumdolilah. A few years ago, her husband had passed away very suddenly, and it was an extremely difficult time for her. Not only because of his death, but she lived in the Middle East (with no immediate family around her), and all of her children were super young. She is honestly one of the strongest people I know MashAllah. This cousin of mine used to talk to me a lot while I was there, and although my Urdu is not the greatest (and she doesn’t speak English lol), we were still able to communicate fine.
One evening, while I was at her house, she started talking to me about Islam, how I felt about the religion, and why I didn’t wear the hijab. Now, unlike the people of My Hijab Story Part 2, she wasn’t judging me or trying to belittle me, she just wanted to honestly know my thoughts and opinions on the matter. I don’t want to say she was the exact reason why I started to wear the hijab, but she definitely could be counted as the final push that got me there.
As I talked to her about why I didn’t wear it, she would counter my reasoning (very nicely!). For example, I used to wear capris, t-shirts, tight-ish clothes, etc., so whenever I thought of wearing the hijab, my mind would automatically go to my closet. How can I wear the hijab with the kinds of clothes that I have? I would have to change my entire wardrobe! I mean that would be fun (new clothes yay), but it would take so much time and a lot of money. Also, I barely read my 5 daily namaaz (prayers), or even the Quran. I talk to boys, play with them, hug them (nothing worse than this haha), and I’m a pretty obnoxious person – I’m not shy (I don’t have that haya requirement). I’m modest, but not that modest. In short, I felt that I had to change these areas of my life first, before I could start wearing the hijab. I saw the hijab as a symbol of our religion, so I wanted to have a great character before wearing it (so that I wouldn’t misrepresent Islam).
My cousin (and one of my sisters’ touched on this with me as well) told me that, yes, it’s good to fix the other areas in your life, but honestly, hijab can help you fix those areas of your life. When you’re wearing it, you automatically won’t want to wear t-shirts, or short pants, because it just doesn’t go with the hijab (you would be a walking contradiction lol). You automatically won’t want to go to late night parties where drinking and smoking are the norm and girls and guys are grinding up on each other (hijabi at the club anyone?). It basically makes you think twice before entering any type of situation (should I be doing this? Is this right? Is this wrong?).
Now obviously, once you start wearing the hijab, you don’t all of a sudden become a perfect Muslim. Living life itself is a learning process. Learning about and getting close to your religion is a process as well. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day! And starting by wearing the hijab is like putting that first stone down. I could have started by working on the other areas first: fix my wardrobe first, stop talking to boys first, etc. But honestly, in this environment (the Western young adult environment), it’s hard to change those areas (especially if you like engaging in them to an extent).
For me personally, wearing the hijab was probably the perfect first step to take (in trying to get closer to my Lord). It’s been almost 2 years now (Alhumdolilah) since I started wearing it, and I can see a definite change in not only the activities I engage in, but my overall thinking on life as well. And it worked out pretty well too because I had been gone from Canada for about 2 months, and I had already finished University (so I wasn’t going back to school and seeing all the same people). It was like starting afresh.
When I came back home wearing the hijab for the first time (for its intended purpose), I had such an outpour of positivity. SubhanAllah, when you try to get closer to Allah (SWT), He definitely paves the way for you.
“Take one step towards me, I will take ten steps towards you. Walk towards me, I will run towards you.” [Hadith Qudsi]
Sometimes you just have to take that first step. That leap of faith. And leave the rest to Allah (SWT). I wasted time trying to be “the perfect person,” and if I’m being completely honest with myself (and you guys), was I even really trying? I think I was just trying to enjoy my life to the absolute fullest (within the boundaries of Islam). And finally, with His grace, I decided it was time I put my religion first (it was time to put the Deen before the Dunya). Because at the end of the day, when we’re all withered away, what do we have left to hold onto (this sounds like a song lyric)? Our belongings? Our relationships? Our memories of staying out late and partying all night? All we’ll have is our Deen, so what’s the harm in trying to work on it?
There’s always going to be something to work on, no one is 100% perfect. But the effort you put in and the struggle you go through (both internally and externally) is kind of the main idea. It’s all about trying. Sometimes you’ll succeed, sometimes you’ll fail, but you’re never alone on this journey (never forget that!). And honestly, when you’re trying to get close to your Lord, I don’t think anyone ever fails. You might make a mistake here and there, but you’re never a failure. You just gotta get back on that grind and continue on the righteous path 😉
Okay, I’ve stretched out this Hijab Story for as long as I could. I hope y’all enjoyed reading it! I don’t mean to belittle anyone or judge anyone (any Muslim for that matter) on how they choose to live their life. This is just a personal anecdote on how my life changed and how my viewpoint on Islam came to be. Obviously I’m no scholar or Alimah. Hopefully my story resonated with some of you guys, and if anyone has any questions, or wants advice on any topic whatsoever, please leave a comment!
If you want to stay anonymous, then feel free to shoot me an e-mail, I would be more than happy to help in any way that I can (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)!
Until next time my fellow readers, bloggers, and internet trolls alike, I bid you farewell, and wish you the best for today, tomorrow, and for all your days ahead.