You might be someone who wants to fulfill their Creator’s wishes in dressing more modestly but doesn’t know where to begin. You might be planning on wearing hijab one day & are just surfing the web for tips. Maybe you’re already wearing hijab, but are struggling with self-confidence. Or you’re just trying to understand my experience. No matter where you are at, I hope that I can inspire you through my journey.
Make the right intentions:
Growing up, hijab (headscarf, headwrap) never really crossed my mind. Some of my relatives wore it, but I personally never thought I’d connect with my iman (faith) in that specific way. My cousin who I am very close to was one of my relatives that had been wearing hijab for awhile. Whenever we’d talk about it, I’d always tell myself that maybe I’ll begin observing it when I get married or after I get into graduate school. When people think of “hijab,” they think of just the scarf & loose clothing. It’s so much more than that. It’s about being a good person & expressing your modesty through your actions.
I talked & became close to people who had experienced their own hijab journey before starting my own. Mentally, think of how the Prophet (S) would treat and act in certain situations, and apply that to your everyday life. When I transferred to another school & moved away from home, I started becoming closer to Allah SWT (God) & truly believed that this is what I needed it to do. I realized how easy it was to forget your religion when you’re away from home. Being a firm believer in Islam, I didn’t want to lose my faith. I brought books back with me from home and read little by little read every night. Knowing my parents weren’t there to wake me, I had to put my own alarms on for Fajr. Gradually, these things became second nature to me.
The beautiful thing about coming closer to your Creator is that you realize everything you do in your life is for the sake of Him. So why was I delaying to please Him? My cousin (who I mentioned earlier) and my aunt were huge encouragers of my decision. The spring break before I started wearing hijab permanently, I visited them in New Jersey and used the break as a test trial. I packed a couple scarves and they even let me borrow a couple of theirs for this trip. For that week, I felt liberated, like it was a sign from Allah (SWT) Himself that this was the right decision for me. Aside from the encouragement of my family, I felt comfortable in my own skin.
Something that really helped me, was what I mentioned above: if you are someone contemplating on hijab, begin wearing it places that are unfamiliar to you, places where you won’t bump into someone you know. It’s helpful to ease into something that’s out of your comfort zone when there aren’t people around to ask you a million & one questions. Physically, start to change your wardrobe up slowly. I began by donating all of the clothes I thought would not fit with my hijab look. Instagram was my lifesaver with this especially. I followed all the famous hijabi bloggers and tweaked their looks to fit my style.
I won’t lie, sometimes it would get really frustrating figuring out outfits & I would start to feel insecure. The key here is to remember to define your personal style. That insecure feeling will go away as long as you know what you look good & feel confident in, trust me. And if any of you ladies need help finding stores to shop at for clothes, I am more than happy to lend a helping hand.
Physically, but more importantly, mentally. What I learned from my experience is that although this was a dramatic change in my life, it seemed to affect others around me as well. Unfortunately, there are some people that aren’t apart of my life anymore that were apart of it before I began my hijab journey. I had to deal with losing friends, smiles to my face & bad wishes behind it, and of course — judgment on how I carried myself. I felt insecure. I was already going through such a big change, I felt that I needed to change & enhance my features even more with my hijab.
In the moment, it was extremely hard for me to deal with this. But there are people who generally cared and respected my decision. The most beautiful thing that came from this difficult time was the lesson that Allah (SWT) taught me. I learned who I wanted to be around, and in turn, who wanted to be around me. Those are your real friends. And to this day, I couldn’t be more thankful for them. Going through this unknown journey is tough, but having a safe haven, whether it be a family member or a friend, makes it so much easier to withstand.
Hijab will not stop you from anything you want to do in life:
Before starting hijab, I would become anxious with the lists of things I would have to give up once I started it. I questioned how I would work out with a scarf wrapped around me. I wondered how I would incorporate trendy outfits to my hijab. I thought about my passion in pursuing a career in dentistry and whether or not I’d get an interview. I’ll be honest, with hijab comes changes, but that doesn’t mean you stop doing what you love. In the two and a half years of wearing it, I’ve explored my passion for working out and found something that not only fits my workout regimen but something that I love doing — swimming!
As someone who loves fashion, I can’t stay away from the trends. It’s a must for me to stay up to date, and the off-the-shoulder tops, distressed jeans, and low necklines don’t stop me. Come across a pair of distressed jeans? Patch them up — they actually look cuter! Low neckline? Loosen your hijab from the neck to use the extra fabric to cover that area a bit more.
I understand the stress and fear of wearing your hijab to a job or school interview. You want to have a fair chance, just like everybody else. Hijab can be seen as an obstacle to the opportunities we seek. I’ve been there, and there are a couple things I realized after beating out other applicants in getting the job. You stand out. This can be seen as bad, but take it as a good thing and use that to hype up your confidence. You’ve already set yourself apart from the rest of the applicants before even uttering a word. You vocalize strength. Being a Muslim & a minority is one thing, but the fact that you are wearing the flag of your iman shows that you are brave, confident, and patient — skills needed in the workplace. Again, you show that without saying a word. You might even surprise them.
I won’t lie, I feared being interviewed by someone who had preconceived notions about Muslims. Speaking to someone who doesn’t expect much of you can be used to your advantage as well. Walk in confidently, give a firm handshake, and smile wide. Just by doing this much, you may have turned their image of a submissive Muslim woman into someone they can actually work with. Although I’d still have the jitters walking out of the interview, I had to remember that Allah (SWT) was with me. He will help you find alternatives in every tough situation and give you the confidence that you need to surpass them. And remember, if you don’t get hired or accepted, that place wasn’t written for you, and for good reason too. You wouldn’t want to work or study in an environment that belittles people in that manner.
Hijab is a constant struggle and there will always be times of doubt, insecurity & that detachment from Allah. But it’s normal to feel that way. It’s human nature. Deep down you know the reason you put hijab on, and that reason is Allah (SWT). And a strong grip on your faith will always bring you back to what’s really important. May Allah (SWT) make hijab easy on those who observe it & reward our Ummah for our everyday efforts.
Ameen. – Deena
Deena Farrukh is a Chicago-born American Pakistani Muslim who was brought up in the tri-city area of Michigan. She is a 2017 Wayne State graduate and plans to pursue her dream of becoming a public health dentist in the future. In her free time, Deena travels, eats, and takes photos & blogs about it all! Follow her Instagram @deenafarr to keep up with her blog flightfoodfashion.wordpress.com.
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