WHY I DONNED THE HIJAB……

No I don't wear Niqaab, it is just the biting cold wind that made me cover my face:)

We are at a wedding, and a lady comes up and compliments me “she looks very attractive in her hijab” she says to my companion.

The response is vehement “No she does not, this hejab is very unattractive, I dislike it and I disapprove of it”……… All the guests standing around us are stunned into silence. One of the ladies tries damage control by saying ‘don’t worry she will soon be taking it off…there comes a time…” this is insult over injury…(she is alluding to the ayah which says and I paraphrase…… old unsexy women do not need to wear hijab)

It would be easy for me to say that when my son died, I donned the hijab to cover my grief. But it would not be true.

I did not don the Hijab after Hajj like most women who have Hajj e Mabroor do. They never take it off after they return from Hajj. I took it off remembering the words of my daughter at the airport: “Dad will freak out”.

It took me a long time and many sessions on Tazkiyah Nafs to don the hijab. Assisted by my many attempts at practicing Tazkiyah the best I could along with studying the Quran as a book of action.

Most intelligent women will read the Ayahs of Hijab and it is a no brainer for them to go ahead and don the hijab, but not me………..I had every intellectual rationalization why I should not: “it attracted more attention in a western country, I looked ugly, my husband would freak out, my patients would be scared, I would be harassed at the airports and on and on and on……….”

It was not until I was studying the downfall of Iblis and the first act of arrogance in the history of mankind that I realized what was holding me back in shackles from hijab covering my hair.

It was not any of the reasons that I had intellectually rationalized but it was the arrogance I had of my looks, my glossy hair, cut stylishly to the point that men stopped and stared even at my ageJ When I gave lectures men and women remarked what beautiful hair I had. Women in the airport restrooms and conference halls would stop and ask me how I did my hair to make it so beautiful.

I was proud of my hair, it was my crowning glory and I knew it, relished in it and found confidence in it. I felt it had sprung me into acceptance into the highest levels in the halls of academia despite being a foreigner.

…………….And then Tariq died and my whole world came crashing down around me, everything I had cherished and enjoyed and worked for became dust in my mouth. I wondered what was the goal in my life, why was I still alive and what was I supposed to do with my life of what was left of it.

Most of all was the pain, what did I need to do to make it go away. I looked at the bottles of Chivas Regal in the airport shops and wondered what it would be like to seek oblivion in the golden liquid, I looked at you tubes of people smoking pot and looking silly and happy, and wondered what it would be like to drown my grief in the smoke.

At a deeper level I knew that I must not anger Allah. I knew that by disobeying Him flagrantly by doing the forbidden I would incur His wrath and thus despite the pain and the desire to get rid of it,  the Fear of His (Subhanawataala’s) anger stayed my hand.

The face of my mother would rise in my mind disapproving silently at my thoughts of seeking oblivion in the haram and forbidden.

Thus the door of chemical oblivion closed while the pain of grief grew every moment instead of settling down with time.

Sitting in a halaqa with a Christian friend of mine………..the imam said “The source of arrogance in men is power and for women it is beauty………..”

Beauty I thought to myself I am not beautiful, thus I do not have to worry about having arrogance.

As my friend and I walked out of the mosque, she took off the thin veil she had covered her hair with to attend the mosque and said “ Now I understand why beauty makes you arrogant” I looked at her in surprise…….” When my hair was covered I felt ugly” she said. I looked at her wavy shiny tresses cascading over her shoulders and then at the slim georgette scarf that had barely covered them and wondered…

Meanwhile an internal struggle was going on, I was asking Allah Subhanawataala to ease the pain and to help me and in the final moments of anguish I was just asking him to help me………

Then people started to appear in my life as if sent to help me. Help educate me lovingly and with empathy and compassion, help me voice my grief; even to go with me to the cemetery as none of my immediate family wanted to go there.

They came to help me on my path to obedience to Allah unflinching in their support which I now know was fi sabillallah otherwise with my attitude of ungratefulness they would have left the effort long ago. Despite my ungrateful stubbornness, they persisted with love and compassion.

A door had opened into a garden ………and now I am reminded of a hadith of our Prophet pbuh and I paraphrase… He asked the sahaba to visit and walk in the gardens of Jannah on earth. “ Where are the gardens of jannah on earth?” they asked astounded. “The Halaqas where the name of Allah is mentioned are the gardens of jannah on earth”

Inside the garden were people who were non judgmental of my extreme gauche demeanor and high level of discomfort of being in a place and with people I was not familiar with.

Slowly I laid down my defenses and my offences and one day I laid down my arrogance. The final straw was the hadith of Rasool Allah which said and I paraphrase: “ no one will enter Jannah if they have even an atom worth of arrogance in them” That was my epiphany, I saw the FIRE and I saw the GARDENS and having known pain I knew what I wanted.

He (Subhanawataala) helped me with the transition…my hairdresser said my hair had become more lustrous since I was covering it…perhaps protecting it from air pollutants…. she remarked. My patients were affectionate and supportive and one little girl wanted to know if I was related to her Auntee up north who was a Moozlum. A parent wanted to know if I had shaved my head to take the veil.  Men in the grocery store would stop and open the door for me; the cashier would pull out coupons and ask me if she can use them for my groceries.

Initially my “friends and my immediate family” snickered and thought this would be a passing phase, a woman crazed with grief would come to her senses soon.

My friends or I should say my ex friends and some relatives looked askance as if seeing a giraffe amongst them, I was dropped from their social list, and de-friended on the facebook especially from relatives who thought I was too “religious’ or “not enough political”.

Basically my social circle decimated and inside the home my husband tolerated me as long as he did not have to go out with me where his colleagues would see me.

His colleagues who had always been competitive became gentle with me and respectful.

That is the upward struggle, now is the challenge how to stay on the tight wire of Deen without falling over. I am pulled in all directions, past friendships, relationships and a vacuum of current relationships, life history wiped with one swipe of the veil.

Unfortunately with the donning of the hijab and tafseer study has come an eyeglass which is like an Xray, which allows me to see my inside as well as others, As I struggle to cleanse mine I try not to be appalled and judgmental by what I see in others.

Life is in limbo as I try to proceed forward………..My Hijab covers my grief, takes me out of the rat race, and gives me the opportunity to walk the gardens of halaqas and meet the lovely people in it. On the other hand I have lost most of the people I was friends with and still have to associate with them with my giraffe outfit while they try not to make eye contact.

This is my personal journey to please Allah.

Hijab is just one small aspect of it. However since it is the most visible it is blamed and credited for more than it’s due.

Please keep me in your prayers!

10 thoughts on “WHY I DONNED THE HIJAB……

  1. It was nice to see a picture of you..albeit semi covered! However you eyes were most endearing. I am the same sister who quizzed you about hijab along time ago.infact you too did inspire me and I am grateful to allah swt for being able to visit your blog for the past two years – which have been a turning point in my life. I too am grieving but not similar to a pain like yours, that is something I cannot bear to even contemplate. I am lamenting over my soul, it lost its way as I gave in to my nafs, somehow Allah swt gave me a helping hand. when I think about it, my knees quiver. I remind myself I have no room to be upset, things could have been much worse. The situation I am in is of my own doing. Now all I want is to get out of it burden free inshallah.

    May allah swt cover you with patience, and may he instill in you the realisation and acceptance that we are all temporary eveything we have is in the end his.

    I love your writing style, and happy you have an outlet to share your thoughts.

    Much love and dua. R

    • Alhamdolillah! Thank you!!! Please keep me in your duas and please write to me about your challenges to share as a post on the blog as a guest writer:)

  2. Dear friend, this is not a note to publish, but just one to say that I am sorry
    you seem to be feeling a great deal of pain now. Everyone that I know greatly respects you for your choice to
    follow what you believe God wants you to do. I am Christian, and I, too, find wisdom and comfort in the wise words you write in the blog. Thank you, and may today find you feeling, in my
    Christian words, “God’s peace which passes all understanding.”

  3. Asalaamualaikum sister.

    Your post made me realise that how lucky we women are in the Muslim countries. No one objects our donning of the hijaab yet we ignore such a blessing.
    There’s no doubt that when Allah loves someone He puts them through tests and the feeling of passing those tests is blissful. This post exactly reflected that and you even put it in such an inspiring way mashaAllah!
    May Allah always Bless you and may He always Guide you and everyone on the Straight Path Aameen!

    • Walaikum as salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu!
      JazaiakAllah hu Khairan Sister A,
      Human beings are strange, we always ignore what we have and want what we do not. I guess as long as we are grateful for what we have and want what is halal we are headed in the right direction.
      I think the key thing is “voluntary choice” this is what Allah wants, he wants us to come to HIm of our own free will not by force, coercion or blackmail, and that goes for enforced hijab too.
      As far as muslim countries, yes we women take a lot of things for granted and do not give shukr.
      Thank you for the reminders that we are being tested, sometimes we become so insecure that we attach ourselves to the here and now and forget the Hereafter. I have to remind myself everyday that any day may be my last day and in remembering the concrete example of my son who left this world at the tender age of 19, I should know that age is no guarantee of the time we have to correct our mistakes, seek forgiveness and lighten our baggage to leave when the call comes.
      Ameen to your dua!

    • Walaikum asalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu,
      I am so glad you stopped by, Allah has his reasons, doesn’t He? I saw your blog and it is a beautiful symphony of Allahs bounties, I thank you!

  4. Loved this post ma’am. It was so frank and candid like all your writings. But for someone like me who struggles minute to minute, swinging between right and wrong, this hit a chord. Being me, I always end up thinking the hijab is the final step in my journey. Before that I have to cleanse my nafs, and be ready heart and mind to accept that the hijab places obligations upon me in terms of my behavior and my demeanor. If I can’t meet those obligations, simply covering my head is just hypocrisy.

    May Allah guide us with love into His path and allow her hearts to know that which is truth beyond truth. Aameen.

    I hope you’re doing well.

    • Asalaam o alaikum, Sister……..Jaded? I do not want to call you that, for you are much more beautiful and sensitive to hide behind that title. It is only the sensitive ones that feel jaded when they see the disobedience of Allah day in and day out. As for hijab, it is a public declaration of obedience of Allah for a woman for a man it is his beard. No matter what happens after that it is in the hands of Allah and we must seek HIs help and guidance at every turn.
      I asked our Imam when should one give dawah…………..”NOW!” he said. but I said “we are not good in our Deen” he said ” do not wait, pass on what you know………if you wait till you are perfect in your Deen it may be too late”
      My duas and good wishes are for you to go into action instead of residing in your armchair and thinking about things:)

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