Taking the Hijab is a big responsibility. Especially with all that the news and media projects about the Hijab and what might happen to women who wear it. This causes fear in the hearts of many Muslimahs. I know many girls who wore Hijab, but took it off in fear. Besides fear, there comes pressure from the community. Friends might ask you questions, people in your family could become hostile to you and maybe even start to neglect you. Every time you go out, you always see people staring and maybe even talking about you. All this pressure can cause girls to not want to wear Hijab or take it off. Deciding to wear the Hijab is a big decision that takes time. I would like to share my Hijab story with you and my overall experience, Insha’Allah.
Not all pressure is bad pressure. I have many friends my age that started wearing Hijab at an early age by their own choice. They used to always ask me when I was going to wear Hijab and always encouraged me to start wearing it. I replied with a reply that most girls use which is: “When I am ready”. I didn’t want to wear the Hijab and take it off in the future. I wanted to wear it and understand why I wore it. If your parents tell you to pray from a young age and not tell you the purpose of prayer, there are chances you won’t pray in the future or at least feel a disconnect. I needed to make an attachment instead of just making Hijab a ritual.
Besides that, I knew that the Hijab would represent me as a Muslimah and would represent Islam. I couldn’t just wear the Hijab and act opposite of the religion. If you’re going to wear a doctor’s coat, you have to be a doctor. I couldn’t just show one thing and do something else. I needed to learn, think, and act upon that.
I made the decision to wear Hijab when I was twelve years old. I made the choice myself one night after much personal reflection and research. Honestly, my parents were surprised and asked me if I was sure. I was. I had the support from my Mom who already wore the Hijab. I remember going out with my dad the next day and putting on my slip-on Hijab. You know, the type of Hijab where your hair is sticking out from everywhere and you have to push it back every two seconds. It took some getting used to.
That’s how I began and continued for a while. I noticed I started to get the strange looks right away. I would always tell my mom anytime someone would look at me and she would just smile and tell me I would get used to it. She always reminded me that we were submitting to Allah and His Commands, that we should be proud of that, and wear our Hijab with confidence and pride. After all, how can those who submit and those who do not be equal? How can we think less of ourselves just because of the looks we get when we are following what Allah has asked of us? After a while I got used to it and would even smile at some of those staring people. It’s an unexpected surprise for them and sometimes even won me a smile back!
Then I ‘graduated’. Gone were the days of slip on Hijabs and stray hair. I wanted to take on wrapping a Hijab.
My mom took me Hijab shopping. I bought Hijab caps and pins and some new Hijabs. It was fun to be able to pick out my own Hijabs. It made me love wearing it even more. In 2017, I was assigned a project at my Sunday School to do a project on modesty in Islam and present it in front of the entire congregation! I talked about Hijab, modesty, and the challenges many girls face. I spoke about how it was Allah’s Command and that wearing Hijab was a form of worship.
To help make my connection stronger, I connected myself to the Sahabiyah (RA) and made them my role models. I wanted other girls to make this connection as well. When we hear about Somayya (RA)’s firmness when she was about to be martyred, when we see the loyalty and perseverance of Khadijah (RA), when we focus on these great women, we look up to them and gain strength from their experiences and personalities, which were only enhanced and elevated by Islam and their modesty. Rather than looking up to the immodest and mislead women on television, magazines or on social media, we should be looking up to real women. We should look up to the Sahabiyah (RA). This is why I have named the different styles of Hijabs on our site after the Sahabiyah (RA). I want to share my love for them with the world, Insha’Allah.
This year with my Mom’s help, I decided to launch Liberty Hijab, a Hijab and accessories website. I really would love to reach out and encourage and support all the girls who would like to and are wearing the Hijab. We have introduced the ‘Hijab Starter Pack’ for girls who are beginning to wear the Hijab. We have introduced many different products and styles of Hijabs in every color you will need, so that you can build your own unique style and preference, Insha’Allah.
At the end of the day, Allah has commanded us to wear the Hijab. How could someone who loves us 70 times more than our mother wish badly for us or try to oppress us? Would He Command us to do something that would be harmful to us? He wouldn’t. He loves us and wants the best for us. Allah will protect us. We know of great Sahabah (RA) who struggled for Allah and Islam to make Allah happy. In the time we are in, this is our struggle and this is our sacrifice. I wear my Hijab with pride and love how I feel when I go out into the world with it on. I may be looked at, I may be strange in the eyes of those who don’t understand, I may even stand out in the crowd, but I have come to realize that at the end of the day there is only one opinion that matters to me and that is of Allah. Who needs to be just like everyone else anyways? I like being an individual with direction and focus. I’ve realized through studying and reflection that only Islam can truly give me this. Through this submission, I feel protected, I feel strong like I have control over my body and choices, and above all I feel lifted and elevated, Alhamdulillah.
At Liberty Hijab, we want to express that Hijab doesn’t mean oppression, but rather it means liberation.
A beautiful liberation.
I am Ivanna Imran Shaikh and this is my Hijab Story, what’s yours?
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