This is the time (belated) for my favorite topic and newest passion – My hijab. This is not the only thing which I love, possess, or respect but it’s the thing which gives me freedom, sets me carefree, and make me more confident. For people new or unaware with the word, “hijab” basically means a barrier or a veil but in today’s world it is often referred as the headscarf which Muslim girls wear. However it’s just not the scarf but the full set of modest clothing which should be counted under hijab –a long discussion postponed for later, InshaAllah.
But before that it’s time to celebrate. Alhamdulillah, by the Grace of Allah, I have successfully completed my six months of donning the hijab (on 1st July, 2009), :) :) :) in public, everywhere I go :) :) :). It has certainly been the toughest ordeal I have been in. How can a simple scarf or let’s say for that matter, wearing modest clothes be a problem with anyone? Certainly, it’s not a problem for the person wearing it, but surprisingly for the people around such person.
I have been wondering and still wonder why others have to be bothered about what you wear. If it was confined till this thinking also, it was well and good. But people go a step ahead when it is concerning other’s personal/religious matters. You ask if you want to know, you question if you have doubts, you advice if you think something is wrong. I am always more than happy to spread the beautiful logic behind it. But for God sake be away and shut your mouth if you are ignorant, media-fed, unrelated to me and still want to shower me with your “oh, dear why you have to wear it” advices.
I am an independent girl, born in a very liberal family, brought up in a mini-India kind of environment. I always enjoyed the freedom of wearing what I want, voicing my likes and dislikes, I have friends whom I like, I study what I want to, and none of the above choices is affected by parental or social pressure, because I was never into them. So telling me what I should and shouldn’t is the worst try you might be making. And so when you see me in hijab all of a sudden (that’s when you haven’t met me after 31st December, 2008) please refrain from any such advices or looks rather simply ask me the reason of me going hijab-ified :).
It seems like yesterday (lol, sounds like those cheesy flashbacks) when I first took hijab. No one inspired me , I am hardly surrounded by people wearing hijab, even not much in my family, back in village they do it more out of customs than logic and/or religion, in city I have seen only strangers in hijab. No one asked me or compelled me to it, I hardly have Muslim friends, and those selective ones are also very liberal when it comes to compulsion in religion (well they are supposed to…there is no compulsion in religion –Qur’an 2:256). I dint read anything, normally I read a lot, but never it have been on religion.
Given all these facts it seems impossible as how I may be into it, not to mention the way I was before. I wasn’t blind about fashion, I was modest then also (modest as in Indian parents sense ;) ), used to dress good, no revealing clothes, no excessive jewelry. But I was in, in all sense. I was certainly into looking good, I always wanted my hair to be open, flowy and combed. Makeup which will make my color of a lighter tone or will let my features enhanced was always welcome. I avoided meetings after day long of work. So much it was there that I was pointed by my childhood friend that I keep a lot of note of presentation.
But suddenly on the morning of 29th December, Monday I woke up early at 8 (ya that’s early for me, even on a working day :D ) and decided that I will wear hijab. I was not sure why, was not sure from when and certainly not about the degree I was going to cover myself. The only thing I can remember is reading the following verses of Qur’an randomly on net a few days back, not exactly sure when:
Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do. (Qur’an 24:30)The feeling of going for hijab was so strong in me that I started searching stuff on hijab online, the logic behind it, the Islamic reason, practicality of it in today’s world, the problem faced, the solutions therein and everything starting and ending on hijab; then and there itself. I was afraid but confident in a way which I can’t explain. I was going under a mix of emotions and my mind and heart were battling on something which I wasn’t so sure of. I even felt that those 3 days (29th December – 31st December, 2008) me was not me at all, it was some super-natural force which was there, an inspiration within.
And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers..(a list of exceptions)..and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O ye Believers! turn ye all together towards Allah, that ye may attain Bliss. (Qur’an 24:31)
I was certainly not brainwashed, how I can be by these simple two verses of the Qur’an, given I never mentioned and asked anyone about hijab before. Those 3 days was a test for me, I knew not the path I was going to follow but I was somehow sure it was right because it’s in the BOOK. I am a Muslim, always was (I believe everything on earth is Muslim by nature, again a long discussion), believed in one God, Qur’an and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him); knew about hijab from birth, knew these verses long back, knew the meaning also, but it never clicked me, it never made me think the way I was thinking those three days.
All I can remember is that I mentioned it to some of my closest friends, happen to be non-Muslim and hid it from my parents, Muslim. I know an unexplainable thing but that what I did. I was afraid that my parent will think that I am under someone’s influence, I was afraid that I won’t be able to explain the strong desire and force in me guiding towards hijab. It’s not like they dint wanted me to do it but for sure it would have been more of a shock than pleasant surprise for them. To my luck and by the Grace of God my friends were with me. They supported and encouraged me towards it. Lian, Jaimy, Sangy, Dhir, Shanu I will be always grateful to you guys and words may not explain it. We shopped for full sleeves dresses, abayas and hijab together and the experiences were unique in themselves. Of course not knowing what you want and asking for the same has to be unique. One such memorable thing is the Nisha Model we saw in hijab, in nearly every shop we went and how it became a joke between us.
The real drama started from 1st when I wore it. I told my parents the night before, surprisingly, dad was more cool and believed me and once again trusted me with my freedom, but mom, like always, was a bit worried though a lot happy and proud. :) I felt for the first time I did something extra-ordinary, unexpected but desired by both of them.
When I was seen with hijab obviously a lot of eyebrows were raised, some had the guts to ask, and the others went overboard by their not-so-welcome comments. I was always more than happy to explain that hijab is not subjection, it’s a modest way of dressing, it is prescribed by Allah for both men and women, it is not cultural, it’s the same all over the world, because its Islamic, it’s to keep away the unwanted attention, my mind conveys better than my body, it’s by my will I am wearing it and I was ignorant all these days not to wear it. This should have answered the unending queries, but Alas! Man is never satisfied.
I was handed over a bunch of advices and comments that just made me laugh or look at the person from tip to toe in order to ensure myself if I was speaking to a sane human being only. Strange it may seem, but educated people handed me advices like,
· You are not getting married, are you? Then why wearing it, enjoy your days.
· Are you leaving your studies?
· Do you know that it has reduced your beauty by 60%
· You will leave it; it’s just so not practical.
· Do you have a boyfriend; did he ask you to wear it?
· You parent’s forced you into this, all Muslim parents do that.
· There are people who appear religious but are corrupt inside.
No, I am not getting married, not leaving my studies and certainly not forced into this. I am still enjoying my days and enjoying them better than before, it all depends upon your definition of enjoying. I still dress good but for myself, not for others. I don’t care how much it has reduced my beauty, I am still beautiful, like every other human being, I am beautiful to my parents, to my friends and this all is what matters. Beauty is of mind, of character, not of face, skin color or for body shape. My beauty in its full sense is not for strangers to enjoy. My boyfriend? Oh crap, do you think I will stick to the guy who won’t let me wear what I want to. And how I am inside has nothing to do with how I appear outside. If I don’t appear religious will it make me less corrupt (if at all I am so).
And in all sense it’s practical, I am studying, working and doing every normal thing from past 6 months and it has been practical WITH THE HIJAB. So in short I am an educated, free, independent, modern muslimah proudly wearing my hijab by my will. That’s the reason for this celebration.
Many things happened in past six months but nothing led me to leave my hijab , Alhamdulilalh, I am very short tempered but the confidence and joy of wearing it let me handle every unpleasant remark (like above) with patience and understanding. Hijab has not been just the head covering for me, it is now my identity, it is what made me spiritual by all means, it is what let me understand Islam in its true sense and also it is the thing which let me differentiate between people and their reason of inclination towards me, I did gain a lot of encouragement and a thumbs up but at the same time I have lost friends too. But I believe that it has happened for the good and InshaAllah will continue to happen so. :)
Talking about celebrations, here is one more thing to celebrate; Mc Donalds have finally opened in Chennai. Hers the first (busy) day pic of it, to eat on time you certainly have to wait for 2 hours in the queue. :D
P.S. All the pics, except for the last one are taken from google images.
P.P.S. I was supposed to post this on 1st july, itself but was unable to do so because of reasons uncountable.
P.P.P.S. I am feeling blue from one week, here publicly i say sorry to those who are hurt because of me, this guilt is not going to leave me, i cant mend things but certainly i am sorry. :( I hope things turn better. :(