What was the trigger that made me finally decide to wear the hijab?
I’ll cut to the chase:
That one fateful day I was being the rebellious girl that I was. Club hopping, dancing like crazy. You know, just having a “good time”. Even though I was leaning towards religion then, but I still went back to my old ways once in a while, especially when I was stressed out, angry or frustrated about something. My parents tried to call me to come back home that night, but I did not. They were worried about me. My father always sets a time for me to come back home but I was really stubborn and did not follow the curfew that he set. I went from one club to another. It was a crazy night. I can’t remember what I was so stressed about that made me feel like I needed to release all my stress in that way. Looking back, whatever it was, it wasn’t worth it.
Anyway, I came back probably about 6 o’clock in the morning and my parents were up waiting for me all night.
They did not say anything, but I saw the TV that was on behind them. It was showing a horrible catastrophe that had just happened in Acheh. So there I was, in my clubbing clothes, a halterneck (covered with a cardigan just to save myself from scolding by my mother) and witnessing a disaster through the breaking news. Acheh is really not too far away from here. All those people dying, the utter destruction, the humanitarian crisis. The helplessness everyone felt knowing there was nothing that anyone could have done to stop it. It was an act of God which man was powerless to prevent.
It then hit me. While other people were dying in other parts of the world, I was out partying? What if it happened here? Would I want to die in that state? How could I be so selfish? How could I not think about other bigger problems in the world than mine, at that time?
So many people died without even a warning? Was I going to get my warning before I die? Was I ready to face God?
What was I running away from and why did I have to find escapisms.
I went up to my room. I cried and I cried and I cried… I couldn’t stop crying at that time. I felt guilty of what I did. I felt that God was showing me a sign. That I should change and open up my eyes to become a better person.
It was on 26th December 2004.
That was when it hit me. Though not physically, the Acheh tsunami hit my heart. It moved me.
It was then that I decided to stop going out to parties. I knew I had so many flaws to fix on the inside, but it was no longer an excuse not to wear the hijab for me. Few months after that, in 2005, I decided to wear the hijab full time and then work on my inner flaws. I prayed that God would be pleased with my decision and help me through this difficult time.
I did not tell anyone initially. I just wore it. Some thought that I was just lazy to take it off from university but I let them be. When more people kept asking why I was still wearing the hijab when I hung out with them outside of campus, it took me a while before I had the courage to answer “yes, I’ve decided to wear it permanently”.
However, at that time I received more of a negative feedback rather than positive. I guess people found it really hard to believe that I was wearing it permanently.
Some said I was being extreme. Some said it was just too drastic of a decision. There was a comment from someone saying that “knowing me”, I was just going to turn the head-scarf into a handkerchief tube top (which was a trend at that time). Some scoffed and thought I wouldn’t last 3 weeks wearing it, and that I’ll be back in clubs in no time.
I received quite a few sarcastic and hurtful comments. Although it is kind of funny when I think about it now, but at that time, it was quite hard to receive those kind of comments, even if it was just a joke or people weren’t intentionally trying to hurt me.
But I was persistent. When people asked me why I wanted to wear it permanently, it was hard for me to explain. It was just something I felt I had to do at that time because when I wear it, it automatically reminds me of my identity as a Muslim and I should be more cautious of my character. It acts as a reminder for me. I felt I had to wear it to save me from external pressure and also internally. I just chose to have faith and believe that it was good for me, and slowly, it was.
Now, when I look back, I am actually so very lucky to have parents who still stood by me after all the rebellious acts that I did. They were really patient with me and just love me unconditionally. I really gave them a hard time when I was younger. I was a really bad daughter at that time I must say. I hope that they will forgive me for all my sins I committed towards them in the past.
I am really blessed to have my parents who accept me for the person that I am through all my changes and who loves me unconditionally. I know I can never repay them for all that they have done for me.
I know some people might trivialize the issue. But believe me, I know how huge a step it is in a woman’s life, the day she decides to wear a tudung (the hijab). It was my personal decision and no one pushed me to do it.
Alhamdulillah, you read about so many people who have chosen to wear the hijab, some who have amazing and inspirational stories. Is it easier for women to don the hijab nowadays? Please share with me your stories too.
Or are you still thinking about taking that step but still hesitant for some reason? Do let me know too.
In the next chapter, I hope to share about the struggles wearing the hijab through the years and the long period of adjustment that I have had to face.
This post is a continuation of:
A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 1 where I shared about my mischievous past;
how going to university helped to start my change in A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 2; and
A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 3, where I wrote how God placed so many inspirational people who helped nudge me towards taking the huge leap of wearing the hijab.
Here are some photos of me when I just started wearing the hijab years ago :)
PEACE & LOVE!