This article was previously published in SISTERS magazine.
This year I will complete my seventh year as a “hijabi”. To say that every single moment of wearing hijab has been fulfilling, meaningful, and easy would simply be a stretch of the truth. And by stretch of the truth, I mean it would be a complete lie. There are moments, where I feel extremely connected to my Creator, completely thrilled with my decision, and in love with my wardrobe. There are other times where I feel like I look like a potato and have to resist the urge to burn every scarf I own.
Unfortunately, a lot of Muslim women are discouraged from discussing the negative aspects of choosing to be a motahajjiba. Their complaints of discomfort, discouragement, sometimes even abuse, are met with simple platitudes such as “Be patient sister” or similar words that hint of a solution, but fall flat in practical application. Simply “being patient” will not make wearing hijab easier. In fact, adopting a passive attitude towards a decision that will affect your daily life is something that could truly do the opposite. Although being proactive will not remove some inevitable hurdles that will come your way, it puts you in the best position to handle anything life can throw at you.
Turn back to the source
“Allaahummalaasahla ‘illaamaalja’altahusahlanwa ‘Anta taj’alul-hazna ‘ithaashi’tasahlan.
O Allah, there is no ease other than what You make easy. If You please You ease sorrow.” (Ibn Hibban and Ibn As- Sunni).
Ask Allah (SWT) for help, guidance, strength, and to make wearing hijab easy. And do it often. And then do it again. And again. Never stop returning to the endless Source of strength.
Stop viewing wearing hijab as an obligation; something you have to do. View it as something you are choosing to do, because your Creator has told you it pleases Him. A more proactive approach can revitalize your motivation and refresh your attitude. Own your decision to participate in this act of worship. Taking ownership of the choice transforms a restriction or obligation into a personal commitment of faith.
Humans are extremely fickle. You cannot live to please others because it is an impossible task. No matter what you wear, say, or do; there will be people displeased with it. Focus on your relationship with Allah and your account of deeds. The only one that will be questioned about them on the Day of Judgement is you.
Wearing hijab can cause discomfort due to self-consciousness or fear. We can fear discrimination and judgement. It is only natural to want to be liked and respected by those that surround you. However, remember that the Prophet Mohammed (SAW) and his companions faced torture, humiliation, and even death because of their way of life. Their conviction was a result of how dear Allah (SWT), the Prophet (SAW) and Islam were to their heart. Their strength was derived from the faith that their reward would be greater than the struggle itself. Even so, they were still fortified with reassurance.
“Have no fear, for Allah is with us”: then Allah sent down His peace upon him, and strengthened him with forces which ye saw not, and humbled to the depths the word of the Unbelievers.” (At-Tawbah :40)
It can be easy to assume the worst and fear is a force that weakens us. However, much time and energy is wasted on fearing things that never come to fruition. Instead of assuming people are staring at you because of your hijab, or forming a negative opinion of you believe in the good in people. Believe in your own strength to handle any negative opinions about your life choices. Most importantly, believe that Allah (SWT) will guide you through it.
Establish a circle of support
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And (remember) the Day when the wrong-doer will bite his hands and say: Woe to me! Would that I had taken a path with the Messenger. Woe to me! If only I had not taken so- and-so as a friend! He has led me astray from this Reminder (the Qur’an) after it had come to me. And Satan is ever a deserter to man in the hour of need.” (Qur’an: Al-Furqan : 27-29)
Our family, friends, and acquaintances can elevate us to new heights or bring out the worst in us, but in the end the harvest is ours. Maintaining positive and productive relationships with people that are supportive and kind is vital to our emotional and spiritual health. Do not discount the value of a supportive friend or the detriment of an unsupportive one.
Embrace the struggle
We all know that this life isn’t perfect or eternal. There will be times of darkness and times of light. In our short time navigating through this temporary home, the human condition is bound together by the thread of struggle. Embrace it.