I made my decision to become a Hijabi in the 11th grade. I realized that life was unguaranteed, and I did not want to die before fulfilling the commandment from God.
Ever since the day I made the realization, I have worn the Hijab, and have been happy to do so. Protecting my modesty and representing Islam, especially now that I live in the United States, brings me great pride and joy.
In addition to obeying Allah, a great cause of my pride in being a Hijabi is that I was not alone when I decided to cover. Five years ago when I was in the 11th grade, girls all over the world, from the United States to Egypt, were deciding to wear hijab. Not only could I be proud to wear my hijab, I also felt a great sense of support and belonging. But now the trend is reversing, and girls are deciding they no longer wish to be Hijabis. Their reasons to do so are varied, but no matter what they are, they usually relate to fitting better in society.
Wanting to fit in society is a natural human urge. No one wants to stand out; especially in a hijab that to so many people symbolizes terrorism and oppression of women. Because of the human desire to fit in, living in a country where hijab is unpopular is very difficult. In such places – which include Muslim countries as well – Muslim women are sometimes psychologically abused due to their hijabs.
The way people stare at us and give us dirty looks creates within us a feeling that everyone hates us and that we are inferior. No woman wants to feel this way, so we decide to stop the hatred by taking off our hijabs. We still love Allah and are pious, but we believe that to save ourselves, taking it off is the only way to go.
I say ‘we’ because I too struggle with my hijab. Despite my great pride in it, I face struggles each and every day that make me reconsider my decision to wear it. After all, I think, I can still be modest without covering my hair, thus finding a perfect balance between what Allah wants and what society wants.
But these thoughts are where the problem starts. While our human desire to fit in is powerful, it is not always correct. Society looks down upon us, Hijabis, for making our own decisions about our own bodies. Instead of supporting us and appreciating us, they judge us without reason.
Why is it that we wish to satisfy these people who know nothing about us?
When I reach such low points in my thoughts about hijab, I stop and think. If I take off my hijab, I am pleasing random people on the street. People who DON’T MATTER. They really don’t. At the same time, if I take off my hijab, I will be displeasing Allah. Allah matters. He takes care of me, He hears my prayers and keeps my family safe. If I take off my hijab, I am hurting my loving Creator to please random people I don’t even know.
Does that make sense? No! It never makes sense to do what people want you to do, especially if what they want for you is wrong. Resisting the urge to do what society wants you to do is a noble thing, and history is complete with such stories. The African American population in the United States resisted the urge to obey Jim Crow laws, Mahatma Ghandi resisted the urge to obey the British, and even students across the United States resist the urge to resort to drugs and alcohol. Resisting against what society wants for a noble cause is not only the right thing to do, it’s the noble thing to do.
So my sister, may you have courage and strength to resist society for the sake of what you believe is right. May Allah give you the strength to always see beautiful things because of your hijabs; things like random strangers saying “Salaam” and opportunities for Da’wah that are not given to non-Hijabis. May all the negative thoughts swirling in your mind disappear.
And remember – you wore the Hijab for Allah, He will never desert you!