Today we received an email of a lady who liked to share her hijab story, we thought we would share it with you as well, and we hope you will enjoy it!

Wearing Hijab - A Story by Mrs F.A

Wearing hijab isn’t a big deal, right? So thought a naïve young and maybe immature twenty years old me.

My biggest concern wasn’t how people would treat me, or how I would have to throw away my ripped jeans and t-shirts. That all came later. As a shy introverted twenty-year-old, my first concern was that now I was drawing attention to myself.  People will look at me and only see my face! All my self-perceived zits and blemishes and wrinkles were going to be broadcasted for the world. My long full hair couldn’t hide me anymore. When eventually I did wear hijab, I tried to wear it in a way that I could create bangs with the scarf. Big fail. Hideous to say the least. Then I brought the scarf down to my eyebrows. I looked like a scary stalker. I gave in and wore it like a normal person.  Someone who hated attention has now commanded everyone’s attention.

My first year at university was a nice experience. I fit in well. I didn’t wear hijab. I was just like everyone else. There was nothing special or different about me. I didn’t have to explain who I was or what religion I followed. I lived behind the scenes so to speak. No one knew I was Muslim. I made new friends, my grades were good, and the overall environment was comfortable and fun. I was invited to a few university parties and felt like the university was going well.  I hung out in the common area and joined in conversations about classes, professors, music, sports, t.v. ……nothing too deep or important. But as the next year came around, everything changed. I was engaged to Mr. W.H.

This guy, who we will call Mr. Wear Hijab, asked me to wear hijab. He explained how a woman should show modesty. Every time he came to visit, he had books and presentations ready for me. He lectured me on and on about how I should be representing Islam, and how hijab is a form of da’wah.  He expected me to take notes! I wasn’t interested in any of that, but still, I thought he was cute, so I listened intently while looking into his big brown eyes. Truth be told, I didn’t want to cover my hair. My hair, I thought, was my best feature. I blended into the crowd. I wasn’t different than anyone else. Why would I want that attention? Towards the end of our engagement, when he saw me unresponsive to all his efforts, he said, “At least wear it in front of my family.” That request surprised me. I thought, “What hypocrisy!” I couldn’t do that. I hated hypocrites. I didn’t want to be one. My dilemma was either not to wear it all, not for anyone, or to go for it %100. Left with this ultimatum, I did it. I wore it all the time, in fact, I refused to ever take it off, even at home with Mr. Wear Hijab ;)

My second year was very different at university. I think I was the only one wearing a headscarf. If anyone talked to me, it was to ask,” Why are you dressed like that?!” Lo and behold, to my own surprise, Mr. W.H.’s lectures kicked in. I did my best to explain the modesty thing, and our point of view in Islam, but at that time, in the 90’s, people just didn’t understand, or rather didn’t want to understand. I was taken much more seriously now. Some of my professors took me to aside and wanted to get to know me more. I represented something greater than myself. Conversations now were mostly about religion or about the Middle East. Some days would pass by where no one said a word to me. All the students I used to talk to a year before, didn’t know me anymore.  One day, a young ignorant university student in a crowd stood in front of me and yelled, “Why are you dressed like that?  You’re not in the F&*@! Middle East,” and ran off. Everyone’s eyes were on me. I could hear a few giggles. Almost in tears, I headed home. I felt like I wanted to just take my hijab off and go back to being like everyone else. While holding back my tears as best as I could, I stopped by a gas station. As I stepped out of my car, I noticed an older man looking straight at me, stared for a while, then made his approach. My heart dropped. I thought, not again, not now. I’m not strong enough for this. He came right up to my face and said, “I don’t know who you are, or why you’re dressed like this, but you are beautiful. “ Tears streamed down my face. I couldn’t hold them back anymore.

Hijab now represents my religion and my love for God. It has pushed a shy reluctant introvert into the limelight. It has made me stronger. There will always be setbacks and unfair judgments but being kind and fair, treating people and animals with dignity and compassion, and wearing this headscarf, is how I represent my Islam to others.  Hijab is my da’wah.

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