My Hijab Story
Our sister ( identity withheld) shares her journey of wearing the hijab, the trials and tribulations she faces, her hijabi evolution, and her advice to fellow sisters making that transition.
My hijab story is one that has gone through many transitions – from deciding to wear it, to trying to find my identity, to becoming the most well-known hijabi stylist in the USA today. It all came with time.
As a child, I was always taught that at some point in my life (ie, puberty), I would have to start wearing the hijab. My mother instilled in us the values and beauty of wearing the hijab. Being the diamonds that we are – so pure, clean and delicate – it is our duty to keep ourselves preserved as such, by covering ourselves up. So, with this message being drilled into our heads throughout the years, when the time came, it felt only right.
I was in the seventh grade when I started wearing the hijab. As many of you may know, middle school is a time of growing into ourselves. During those pre- to early teenage years – between the ages of 12 to 14 – we begin to mould our own unique identities.
The year I started wearing the hijab, 2001, was a bit of a tough one for me. One reason was that during the previous year, all my friends had seen me without my hijab on, so it was a bit hard for them to grasp my new look. The year before I started wearing my hijab, I was a little rebellious and rather outgoing, so wearing the hijab the following year turned me around 180 degrees. That year, I noticed how the hijab had brought me so much more ‘Haya’ – modesty, shyness, self-respect, bashfulness, shame, honour and humility. I did style it to the back like a bandana, but like in any journey, the transition to a full hijab took time. Since I was, in a way, representing Muslim girls and women everywhere I went, I was also more aware of my actions.
That same year, another struggle came my way – 9/11. Coming from a household that taught me to stand my ground and be friendly with the teachers, staff and students, my experience during this time wasn’t as hard as I know it may have been for others. I was very involved with school activities and organisations, so no one could ever disrespect me and call me a ‘terrorist’ since I had built relationships enough that my classmates knew who I really was.
Girls who choose to style the hijab are simply building the self-confidence to wear it
After my first year of wearing the hijab, I started to find myself again, but I was more cautious of my actions. During the next three years, my hijab started evolving. It began with the bandana style and changed to a square Turkish style – tightly pinned underneath the chin, making my face look like a blow fish. From there it shifted to a semi-Arab style using rectangular scarves to loosely drape over my head. Fast forward to the present day; I create styles that accommodate all of these cultures and backgrounds while still keeping myself covered.
My second year of wearing the hijab (8th grade in middle school) I was around 13 or 14 in this picture. This is the ‘bandana’ look I was talking about.
Observers would have seen my shift from the neck being exposed, to now: being completely covered, and still progressing to better myself.
As with any journey, it takes time, dedication and commitment to fully love and appreciate what you do for the sake of Allah. Girls who choose to style the hijab are simply building the self-confidence to wear it. I know that many girls feel they cannot start to cover because they feel that they will look ugly in a hijab. It’s a common fact that girls feel this way and insha’Allah, I have been able to show them that you can still be beautiful and covered while standing proud to be a representation of a Muslim girl everywhere you go!
As I tell one girl to the next, make sure your intentions are for the right reasons – for yourself and for the sake of Allah. If they are not, a couple of years down the line you will ask yourself: ‘Was this the right choice for me?’
And just remember: beauty starts from within, so whether or not you wear the hijab, as a Muslim, it should always be in our hearts – through our actions and modesty.