This post was suggested by sister Nida Ahmed on facebook and I think is a very important topic us sisters can all relate to. The decision to wear hijab is different for everyone, some people wore it from when they were a child so it wasn't really a struggle but a part of them from a young age and others wore it later for whatever reason, but made a conscious decision to wear it. Either way shaytaan is always there trying to get us to disobey, Allah puts trials ahead of us to see what we do and how strong our imaan is, while shaytaan lurks in the background trying to lead us astray.
So what are these hardships and how do we overcome them?
I started wearing hijab properly and full time when I got to college, so I was around 16 years old when I decided to wear it, this was straight after my maternal grandfather died and seeing his corpse at his funeral just made things hit home and made me realise that life is so short, his sudden death reminded me that life & death are not in my hands.
My mother tried for years to get me to wear a scarf on my head when we went to visit relatives, but it was on & off, just trying to get her off my back. The reason I feel I didn't wear hijab during secondary school was firstly I didn't understand it and secondly my group of friends.
I went to an all girls school and my friends were lovely people, they still are, I also went to a Roman Catholic girls secondary school and we weren't allowed to wear hijab but thats beside the point. My friends were all into indie & punk music, they loved the whole Glastonbury scene, music festivals, converses etc (yeah I was really into rock music and all the rest of it lol) and even though I never believed in peer pressure I think my environment and my friends had a part to play. I was always dressed modestly but never wore hijab because I never felt comfortable in it around them. As we got older they started to smoke cigarettes and other 'stuff', even when I was offered cigarettes I refused because although I didn't wear hijab I knew right from wrong and my imaan was still there. This group of friends no matter how much they supported me in my beliefs held me back from wanting to learn & abide by Islamic rules.
I felt I could only wear hijab when I started a fresh and College was the best time to start as a new person, new environment, new friends and more diverse than a Roman Catholic school.
So if you're new to wearing hijab you really need to take a look at your friends, are the people you're hanging out with benefiting you in any way? Do you feel comfortable around them or are you constantly trying to fit in? Here is a story that you must have all heard:
In a Hadith, Rasoolillah(SAW) said: “The example of a good companion and a bad companion is like that of the seller of musk, and the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows.. So as for the seller of musk then either he will grant you some, or you buy some from him, or at least you enjoy a pleasant smell from him. As for the one who blows the blacksmith’s bellows then either he will burn your clothes or you will get an offensive smell from him.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
In his commentary of this Hadith, Imam an-Nawawi said that the Prophet (SAW) compared a good companion to a seller of musk and spoke of the virtue of having companions who are good, who have noble manners, piety, knowledge and good culture. Such are those who grant us from their virtue. And he (SAW) forbade us to sit with those who do evil, commit a lot of sins and other bad deeds, as well as with innovators, backbiters, and so forth. Another scholar said: “keeping good company with the pious results in attainment of beneficial knowledge, noble manners and righteous actions, whereas keeping company with the wicked prevents all of that.” Many times a Muslim is encouraged by his friends to do evil and to forget his duties. The result is that Muslims themselves are often ashamed to leave them to perform prayer, their friends thus causing them to clearly deviate from the Right Path.
[The importance of good company]
And I have got to say my friends at college and the C&I ISoc had a huuuuge part to play in my decision to wear hijab & keep it on as well as really become interested and fascinated about Islam with a hunger to keep learning. I pray that every single person part of that ISoc is blessed with Jannah, you all truly made a difference in my life!
So that's the first hardship for making the decision to wear hijab and the solution (your friends).
The second hardship a lot of us face when we have either just started wearing hijab or thinking about it is the nafs (inner self) and shaytaan, this hardship stays with you forever, but the longer you wear hijab and the more you learn about it for yourself, the more you can control it inshaAllah. Watch this video....
I must say we all struggle with this, even now after wearing hijab properly for about 4 years I struggle. Personally I don't think there is anything wrong with wearing subtle make-up to look well groomed and healthy (I wear concealer & sometimes foundation when I go out) but the problem is when we go against the sharia rules of what is hijab. To different people hijab will mean different things. For example, I don't believe your jilbab and hijab should always be black (although I do tend to usually wear a lot of black) but to others they may feel that it should be, and again to some, your hands and face should also be covered. I personally think that covering more to please Allah is good and I admire those people.
Your relationship with Allah is personal. A sister that doesn't wear hijab may be a better person than one who does, hijab is her weak point just as a sister in hijab who doesn't pray regularly has her weak points. We should always encourage sisters to cover & go one step up in terms of hijab. So instead of always picking out weaknesses sisters have in terms of imaan lets encourage each other to be better and recognise the things they are doing right.
I hate the argument that hijabi girls do worse things while wearing the hijab why doesn't she just take it off? NO! don't take it off, you might be doing things that are not right whilst wearing hijab but at least you're trying right? You may wear fitted clothes with a headscarf and although that's not proper hijab, you're at least trying to do what's right. It's easier for a sister who is already wearing hijab to change different parts of her lifestyle whether that be smoking, free mixing, listening to music or wearing fitted clothes, than to go back to wearing hijab after taking it off due to the negative comments made by more 'practicing' sisters or non-hijabi sisters. So next time before you say 'hijabi's are worse than non-hijabi's' remind yourself that you will be the one answering to Allah for discouraging a sister from wearing hijab, if she decides to take it off.
Sisters, if you are getting these negative comments don't take them in the wrong way, the people that say these things may have a point, so really think about why they are saying it and learn what Islam says about those issues for yourself. Always ask Allah for guidance and remember negative comments are shaytaans way of trying to get you to disobey.
If a sister is thinking of taking her hijab off, it is usually due to negative comments from other people and because of insecurities from within. Sisters that are at secondary school [age ~ 13-16] I feel are going through a phase of trying to find out who they really are. Secondary school for me was a time of chopping & changing, challenging ideas, beliefs and seeking an identity for myself. When I got to college I felt like that journey of self discovery was past the trying to fit in stage and had moved on to a deeper understanding of who I am and what I believe in. I felt more confident in myself because no one knew me before I wore hijab (except a few friends that went to the same college).
Think about what you feel insecure about, make a list of the things your not confident about within yourself. Now read the things one by one and try to think of reasons why you feel insecure about those things. Are they mostly things to do with what other people think of you? If so remember that you should not care about what others think so long as you are pleasing Allah. Trying to impress others will get you no where in life. Do you know how successful people become successful? It's by having the belief that you are no less than the person in front of you whilst remembering that Allah created you and you will return to Him so no one is worth impressing if it requires you going against Islam.
Are the things you feel insecure about more to do with worldly/materialistic issues? If so remember that life is too short to be hung up on the dunya. Everything such as prosperity and wealth lies in the hands of Allah, can you really become successful if you are not abiding by His rules? Success isn't just success of the dunya but also success in the Akhira. Are you too stressed about how other's perceive you? What makes them and their views so special? Are they more important to you than Allah?
Are the insecurities about the way you look? Remember that Allah swt designed and created you personally, you are perfect to Him so don't try to change that. Just in the way your mother will love you and tell you that you are the most beautiful girl in the world, remember Allah loves you more than your mother and He loves you regardless.
So what other hardships do us hijabi's face?
How about islamaphobia and negativity from non-Muslims?
We are getting negative attention from the media and sisters are being attacked from all directions. The hijab automatically identifies you as a Muslim woman, where as brothers don't have that same symbol to represent Islam. When you get to the stage of being proud of being a Muslim you will feel that the fact that your hijab shows you are a Muslim is an amazing feeling, no matter how many people sneer at you or make negative comments you will feel as though for every negative look or comment Allah is more pleased with you (well that's how I feel anyway) So how can you handle these negative comments from non-Muslims? Firstly you have to be prepared; read up about hijab, the different views and refer back to Quran & Sunnah, research into hijab and it's virtues, this will for starters make you feel more confident in wearing the hijab and secondly give you all the information you need to know to counter act negative comments and questions.
Our hijab is a great tool for dawah (dawah is obligatory to every Muslim in the same way as salaah and fasting) it's a talking point for women from all walks of life, you will find people that are intrigued and some that actually admire you for your courage. You will also get haters and for this group of people there is not really much you can other than ignore them. There are people you can talk to about hijab & Islam and others that just want to mock you and shout abuse. For the people that are willing to listen tell them about what hijab means to you, and always remember to say that it's individual choice so different people have different takes on hijab.
For the people that mock you, make fun of you and shout abuse, stay away from them, for your saftey, and also because with these people you wont get anywhere no matter how much you talk and try to explain. I find the people that mock us for our hijab or are negative towards us have insecurities within themselves, I think that these people are actually jealous that we are confident and courageous enough to stand up for what we believe in rather than conform to societies views of what women should be like. Most of the time they are quite taken aback when you start defending your decision to wear hijab, as it goes against the stereotypical view of what Muslim women are supposed to be like (timid, voiceless and not educated) If in the conversation the person just insults you say to them 'to you your beliefs and to me mine, lets agree to disagree' and leave it at that, DO NOT be unpleasant back to them because that's not the characteristic of a Muslim. Also because I feel that's the reaction they're looking for trying to get you to be angry and show yourself as aggressive, so don't give them that satisfaction. It really bugs them when you be polite and speak with wisdom and knowledge.
The only way to keep strong and keep the hijab on is to learn more about the decision you made. Knowledge really is power, the more you learn about Islam the prouder you will feel to be representing Islam from the moment you step out of your house. The main thing is confidence and that also comes from knowledge, your beauty in its entirety is for your husband, the luckiest man in the world.