A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 57:42:00 PM
So what happened when I started to wear the hijab?
There were a lot of setbacks but one day I felt that I needed to take that step and change my appearance. No one told me to. But I continued my journey as a hijab wearer. The first few years of me wearing it was not easy. It took me a few years to adjust and I know it may be hard to believe but it was a really slow progress for me and it still is a progress.
I did receive comments that I was being an extremist because people still saw me as someone who wore sleeveless tops and short skirts to suddenly wearing a tudung with really loose clothing when I just started. I couldn’t understand why some people said it was extreme. But looking back at it now I would probably understand their point of view better.
For the first few years it was hard for me to adjust and remain consistent and there were days when I wanted to give in and just take it off. In that sense I was lucky because I chose to go to a university where every Muslim girl had to cover their head with the scarf.
However the period after I decided to wear it permanently I must say was difficult. It was a great test. Sometimes it was all good but I did have challenges of opening the hijab. Two most difficult things? Going to a beach trip. And going to the gym.
When I did these two things, initially I felt that I could not wear the tudung. Because it wasn’t natural to be wearing it. It wasn't compatible. The hijab felt like a burden, a chore in those circumstances. I know it's not right to say these things but that's what I felt. I'm sure I'm not the only one who did. The human heart is always tested. Always.
So I went to the beach about 3 times after I started wearing the hijab. I'm ashamed to admit that I actually wore whatever non-hijab wearers wore too when they go to the beach. Same goes when I went to the gym. I felt I couldn’t wear the hijab when I go to the gym. I remember I enjoyed it at that time. I felt free. I didn't know why. Maybe I did not submit fully at that time. Maybe I still haven't.
So ladies, even once you've made your decision to wear the hijab, don't think that it will be smooth-sailing. You will be tested. Externally: all the comments from around you, the judgmental views of those who deem you unworthy of following His path, and those who judge you as hypocritical for even trying, from those who wait just to see you fail and all the discreet persuasion from this dunya to give it up. Internally: all the insecurities and countless self-doubts, the struggles, the battles your heart fights and loses yesterday, even though its the same battles you won just the day before.
That is why our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) taught us this prayer:
"Ya Muqallib al-Qulub, Thabbit Qabi' ala Deenika"
"O Turner of Hearts, make my heart firm upon Your religion"
"Ya Muqallib al-Qulub, Thabbit Qabi' ala Ta' atik"
"O Turner of Hearts, make my heart firm upon Your obedience"
We can only hope that when we reach the end of our journey, our hearts are set in His path, not on that one day when we temporarily give up and stop fighting. Na'uzubillah.
Where I am where I am today is a result of over 8 years of struggles. Bit by bit, crawl by crawl. It wasn't easy. It never is. I'll share more of it with you in the next post in this series. In the meantime, this is pictures of my style three years ago.
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.
A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 4 where I shared about the trigger.
PEACE & LOVE!