Coming out of Saudi Arabia at the mere age of ten, I already held a great respect and appreciation for the hijaab. I suppose somewhere deep inside me I have always carried the love for the hijaab and the remarkable wisdom behind it.
But once I came to America, it seems that I subconsciously decided that if I wanted to be accepted as a ‘normal’ person, I would have to act normal. Unfortunately, this was long before I had learned that normal is not an easily defined term. This new normal that I tried to adapt to included talking, dressing and acting like my new classmates. Sadly, this is the same conclusion that much of our youth has come to today.
All through elementary and middle school, I would wear the hijaab periodically, embellishing in the way it gave me a sense of pride and an odd power that allowed me to break away from the pressures of society. However, I was never able to make a commitment to it. I always felt that my new friends and lifestyle deemed me unworthy of it. I tried to completely push it out of my mind and not to bother over it. It wasn’t until my sophomore year of high school that I fully broke away from all old friends and was again out on a search looking for the thing that made me feel complete.
And then I found it. My mom had me join these Islamic classes and I was suddenly plunged into a whole new world that left me nourished and wanting for more each time. I started praying once again, I was happier and I started setting proper goals for myself. With everything going so well, the idea of hijaab started ebbing its way back into my mind – even though our teacher had said nothing to us about the importance of hijaab in Islam. I fought it because I felt that the hijaab was a responsibility that I could never shoulder. It was too much of a commitment. Regardless of how much I argued my conscience, I was always left feeling a sense of sadness for not having the strength to make the decision.
Then on that one fated day, the inevitable topic of hijaab came up in class. I was bombarded with the much needed knowledge. Looking around us in society, it is apparent that the Woman was created to be beautiful and attractive. Her curvy and elegant body is proof enough of this beauty. Yet, in this same body lies her weakness in the lack of matching the physical strength of the Man. It is more than obvious that such an appealing treasure would require some sort of protection. If not, it would be like putting a cookie in front of a child and hoping he won’t eat it.
Through the beloved Prophet Muhamad, peace be upon him, Allah has revealed to us the following verse as a protection for us women: “Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and to guard their modesty. That is purer for them. Verily, Allah is acquainted with all that they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and to guard their modesty, and not to display their adornments, except that which ordinarily appears thereof, and to draw their head-veils over their necks and bosoms, and not to reveal their adornments except to their own husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers, or their brother’s sons, or their sister’s sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants free of physical desires, or small children who have no sense of women’s nakedness. Let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they conceal of their hidden ornaments. And turn unto Allah altogether, O you Believers; in order that you may attain success.” An Nur (24:30-31) The beauty of this verse lies in the fact that within a few sentences, Allah is able to give us the cure to the rising numbers of rape incidents in our society. This verse also goes to show that viewing the beauty of a Woman is a privilege for any man. It also rightly compares to the saying that Diamonds wouldn’t be as beautiful if they were found just lying around on the ground. They are so beautiful and valuable to us because they are found deep in the ground, hidden from the rest of the world. Their exquisiteness lies in that they are rarely ever seen. Islam treats women as jewels, precious and delicate. Islam is not too harsh with them as long as she is an Allah-fearing woman.
As the class came to its end, I saw my irrationality behind not wearing the hijaab. Before I even got up from my seat, I decided that I would wear the hijaab and I would start as soon as possible. That night, I took my mom to go shopping so I could buy some full sleeved shirts to wear underneath my shorter sleeved shirts. I was happy as I browsed through the stores because I had put an ultimatum for myself. I had decided that I would start the hijaab on the first day of Ramadan which was still three weeks away. I went to sleep that night thinking about my decision and feeling satisfied and fully content after a long time. The next morning, it was a Monday, I woke up for school and as I stood in front my closet trying to decided what to wear, the clothes I had bought the night before caught my attention. I pulled them out just to look at them and think about that day that was to come when I would step outside properly and Islamically covered. Before I knew it, I found myself pulling the clothes on and placing the hijaab on my head. My mom came in to peep in through the door to see whether I was dressed and she asked me with surprise if I was going to wear it to school today. I excitedly nodded my head and picked up my backpack.
So it was that day, four weeks before my fifteenth birthday, that I made this life changing decision. It was as though almost instantly that I felt free from the pressures of this society. I felt that it wasn’t important to impress anyone because as long as I was pleasing Allah, I was doing the right thing and is there really anything to fear when you know you’re doing the right thing? Everyone was more than surprised as to why the sudden change and I would laugh and tell them that I was only answering a calling that was embedded in us all since birth. Even though I was born into a Muslim family, it was then that I truly embraced Islam.