During the time I was having these thoughts, the topic of my Islamic Studies had also turned to the importance and meaning of hijab. We learned that hijab was not just a headscarf (khimar). Its purpose was modesty and a reflection of the faith in true believers’ hearts. I brought up the subject to my mom and she advised me to consider all aspects of what it meant to commit yourself to wearing the scarf the rest of your life. We discussed hot summers, wearing it at home when there are guest or cousins visiting, and that the scarf was NOT simply a piece of cloth which can be removed at any time. I did some research, and next presented it to my dad. He right away expressed his happiness and encouraged me to do so! I was greatly excited thinking that the “yes, you can” was coming until he said “BUT… I think you should wait, you are still young.” He suggested I research further, and like my mom advised me to consider the true meaning of wearing hijab. The research that they wanted me to do was so important to them because they wanted me to be able to understand and explain why I was wearing it. I was also reminded by him that I may face insults or discrimination because of hijab, and therefore he wanted me to be absolutely prepared and know that not everyone will respect my choice.
Every night as I lay in bed, I felt so sad and guilty. It was my responsibility to
cover myself properly. As soon as these thoughts crept to my mind, tears would come to my eyes. Would Allah (swt) punish me for not wearing hijab even though I so badly wanted to? I prayed to Allah to help me and guide me throughout my life. I understood that I needed to be obedient to my parents, but weren’t they the ones who told me all the time that I must have unshakable faith, and practice my religion always? Was I the wrong one? Was something missing, that I didn’t know about? Maybe I really was too young! But, no! A friend of mine who was younger was wearing hijab! I guessed my parents would allow me to do so by the time, as my dad had promised. Should I just wait for that time to come so that I would be obeying my parents and reaching my goal, to wear hijab? Maybe I just needed to prove to them that I was strong and capable of wearing hijab even in the hottest weather and toughest times. I would think about what to do until I fell asleep and awoke to another day of asking.
Surat (Chapter) Maryam had recently become my favorite surah in the Quran and I decided to try to memorize it. I told my family about it and worked on it each day. It happened to be that at the same time I was memorizing the surah I was asking my parents to wear hijab. My dad finally agreed to allow me to wear it if I finished memorizing it. He recommended I read Surat Al-Noor as well, since it contains a lot of information regarding a woman’s modesty. I began to memorize as much as possible in a day for now it was up to my speed and determination before I attained my goal.
To my dad’s surprise I finished Surat Maryam in record time and recited it to him with amazing accuracy!
“MashaAllah,” he congratulated me proudly.
“So, Dad?” I waited for him to say more but that was it.
Two weeks later, March 6, my family gathered as we had a special dinner in celebration of my dream come true! From now on, Alhamdulillah, I would walk outside and be an example to my younger sisters in faith. That evening my family videoed me as I recited Surat Maryam again. I spoke about my decision and why I chose to wear it. My dad made it clear that it was my choice and I was not forced to as some people may think. He also stressed how important it was to him that I speak out when necessary and not shy away from standing up for what is right.
Even though it was very difficult for me to wait during those 4 months, it taught me a valuable lesson, to never give up in something you believe in; it made me appreciate hijab so much more! I also benefited from my extensive research for I learned more about Islam.
Overall wearing hijab has been a very positive experience. Alhamdulillah (praise be to God), Allah (swt) has protected me from negative people. Not only did my family members and friends compliment me, but also non-Muslims that I know. I don’t feel embarrassed when I wear it in front of non-Muslims, even if I am the only one in the crowd. I simply feel more grateful to Allah for being a practicing Muslim covering myself modestly, Alhamdulillah. I know that I am not just dressed differently but I have a belief and a purpose in this life.
When I see Muslim girls my age not wearing hijab, I wonder what their story is. Do they want to and they don’t have a chance yet? Or have they not come to realize what a great blessing hijab is?