Why? Oh, why, do you wear that?

>> Friday, December 9, 2011

Asalamu 'Alaikum Sisters :)
I love this blog, I can relate to majority of the things posted on here, but this time the problem I'm having isn't really on here, I think.
Alhamdulillah. I've been wearing hijab my entire life, I've been wearing an abaya & jilbab for a while now, and I think I'm ready for niqab, the problem is with my family... they seem to think that the only reason why I cover up so much is because I'm over weight, and it's really starting to get to me, especially since that's not the case, I am a bit chubby, but tall, so it isn't really obvious, and I'm trying so hard to look after myself, and the fact that my family assumes my modest clothing is because of the fact that I'm ashamed of my weight really hurts me and discourages me, to continue in anything... I'd really appreciate if you could help me with any advice you have, so I can continue on without having my motives questioned. Jazakulah Khairun in advance

wa'alykum as salam wa rahmatullah wa barkatoo!

Dearest Discouraged,

awww, sis. Let me offer you a real big hug! I'm really proud of you for choosing to wear jilbab, and even thinking of niqab :)

As for your question, you know, for a real long time, I was in that same boat. (You might even find my signature on it, if you look really hard..I was on it for that long, LOL.)

You see, certain members of my family were convinced that I wore the niqab because I was living in the Gulf. So, a lot of them would talk to me like it was some kind of phase that I was going through, (LOL).

Yeah, that sure was annoying and frustrating....

But you know what? You have to understand what the real issue is.

The real issue here is not your new wardrobe (jilbab). What your family is really struggling to accept is this 'new side of you'. They are having trouble coming to terms with this 'side' of you that sees' 'religion' a little differently from them.

Think about it.

Your parents/family/siblings have known you since you were itty bitty. It's hard for them to realize that maybe they don't 100% know you.

There's another aspect to it, too.

Unfortunately, a lot of our families have pre-conceived notions/ stereotypes about jilbabis/niqabois. They think that 'they're backwards/ won't find husbands/whatever'....

When you willingly go and dress like that...well, they just can't understand that. To them, it's like you decided to go outside with unmatching and rumpled clothes. It just doesn't make sense to them.

So..what to do?

1. Ask yourself why are you doing it?

Sit down for a few moments and think about it.

If it's for Allah's pleasure, then, it doesn't matter what other people think you are doing it for, does it?

I mean, let's imagine someone entered the bathroom when you doing wudu and saw you washing your feet.

  Non-Muslims would probably be like "Okay. She must have like some seriously dirty feet/ no water/something."

But would their confusion/ not understanding why you do something, stop you from praying?

(It sure as heck shouldn't!).

It's the same thing here.

You're wearing the jilbab is an act of worship meant for Allah, and not anyone else.

Once you've made certain that this is sincerely for Allah, think of this as a test of your sincerity. It's hard when you feel like no one is 'on your side' and like nobody's encouraging you to go on, but just remind yourself that means even more that your action is only for Allah. Nobody has forced you or even encouraged you- this is an action solely done for the sake of Allah alone. That's rare! So hold on to it. It could even be your ticket to paradise.

They [are those who] fulfill [their] vows and fear a Day whose evil will be widespread. (7) And they give food in spite of love for it to the needy, the orphan, and the captive, (8) [Saying], "We feed you only for the countenance of Allah. We wish not from you reward or gratitude. (9) Indeed, We fear from our Lord a Day austere and distressful." (10) So Allah will protect them from the evil of that Day and give them radiance and happiness (11) And will reward them for what they patiently endured [with] a garden [in Paradise] and silk [garments]. (12) (Sura 76)

Remind yourself of Bilal, under the rock, saying, "Ahud, Ahud". That is what your jilbab is proclaiming. There is One Lord, alone, and He alone is worhty of your worship.

2. Invite their Questioning.

I know, you're fed up of their questions, but you have to accept the fact they are going to ask you questions or else they are going to keep assuming they know the reason why you're wearing it. You can make things easier, by 'inviting' questions.

One way I found helpful is that I would seize Fridays as my 'dress up days'. I would make sure to look extra nice- wear some jewlrey- a nice outfit- maybe a touch of lip gloss...

If your family is anything like my family, they'll be like "Who are you?!!" Just kidding.

 They'd be like "Wow, you look great. Why don't you go out like that? It's such a shame no one sees your pretty clothes."

That's when you pounce! :P You seize the chance to talk about how you are wearing the jilbab for the sake of Allah and that you find it to be the most modest hijab out fit/ and how you hope that Allah will appreciate your covering yourself up for His sake and reward you with something so much better. You tell them clearly that you're wearing it because you do not want to be prioritizing this temporary world over the Hereafter. Tell them something like "For me, the jilbab is a constant reminder of my Creator and my purpose in life. The jilbab draws the line for me and helps keep me in check."

In fact, don't just stop at the 'jilbab'. You should think of their questioning as a dawah opportunity. Why not talk more to them about Allah? Paradise? The companions and their struggles? Your jilbab can become a means to bring people closer to Islam, inshaAllah. Share with them what inspires you to worship Allah and what you love about Islam! Putting up simple reminders and lectures for your siblings on facebook, sharing with your family a nice hadith, etc. are also ways that might help.

3. Celebrate
Another way to invite their questioning-- if you're seriously thinking of wearing niqab, is to throw a little 'niqab party'. Really. When I began to wear niqab, I had a little get-together with my friends. IF you show your family that you are celebrating your ability to take this step (jilbab/ niqab/ whatever), they'll understand that you are not doing it out of shame.
And besides, it will probably boost your mood :) Have some friends over, talk about what you're going to do, why you decided to do it, try it on, get used to it....have friends that have already worn it, talk about their best and most inspiring moments...

4. It's an Attitude
Remember, that your 'modesty' should also be reflected in your behavior and not just your clothes. (Something I need to be reminded of!). When your family sees you remembering Allah in everything, what you talk about, what you watch, what you do, they'll realize that your clothing is also another part of your striving to be more God conscious, inshaAllah.

Another way you can do this is by asking your family to help you become a better Muslimah. Explain that you want your whole family- all of you- to be in jannah together, 'so why don't we work together?"

5.  Stock up on motivational lectures that encourage you to keep going! Also, be sure to read the hadiths the sister posted in the last post (the game). :)

6. You can also put up a target picture/goal that you want to reach (weightwise)....and have that girl wearing jilbab! Then they'll realize that you're deadly serious. (LOL) But seriously, you can even talk about healthier meals that you want to make, go walking with them, etc. and again tie in the fact that our bodies are a trust from Allah and that is actually a motivating factor for you to become healthier.

And finally, keep this somewhere you can see it, often, inshaAllah :)

"Say: Truly, my prayer, my service of sacrifice, my life and my death, (all) for Allah, The Lord of the Worlds". ( Quran: Chapter 6:Verse:162)

Well, sis, I hope that inshaAllah your family will come to accept it and that each day is easier for you than the last.

May Allah reward you enormously!

5 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Aisha December 9, 2011 at 11:23 PM  

Assalaamu Alaikum Dear Sister,

Firstly, *hug*

You know sister I know what you are going through now. When I first started wearing niqab I was encouraged by some people and discouraged by others, including family. I was really young too when I started. I was 14 years old. Alhumdulillah everything worked out--and I can only attribute that to the rahmat of Allah.

I remember one time my family friend made a comment about my decision in front of a family and friends gathering. She said it as a joke, but it was still hurtful. She said "Aisha is wearing niqab to cover up her acne." It was embarrassing because I was sensitive about my acne. Allah gave me strength and I was able to tolerate her comment, even though I didn't forget it. Niqab was too precious to me to give up over such petty discouragement. Besides... You know how they say that a headscarf can cover up a bad hair day, well niqab, jilbab, and hijab can cover up anything! hehehe

As a niqabi, one of the questions I get asked the most is "Why do you wear niqab?" Sometimes I overanalyze the situation and I think "What is the best way to answer this question?" (depending on the person asking it). However, when I reflect on it later, I realize that the best answer is the one Little Auntie gave "It is to please Allah." Whether the questioner is Muslim or not, this answer opens the doors to dawah. However, by opening those doors, there are more questions to answer. If you're like me, being put on the spot to answer questions would make you nervous. I cope with this nervousness by preparing the answers in my head so I feel somewhat confident if I am ever in that situation. I don't know if that makes sense, so let me illustrate an example.

If someone asks you why you wear niqab, that question will most likely be accompanied by "Well, where in the Quran does it state that you have to wear niqab?" And to answer this question, you need to educate yourself. I believe on this website there is some information about the background of niqab. There are many sources on niqab elsewhere too (just be careful when finding your information, inshaAllah-- especially if your sources come from the internet). Briefly, you can discuss Surah Al-Ahzab Ayah 59 and Surah An-Nur Ayah 31. It will help to look at the tafsir of these ayaat. Also, it would be great if you memorize them. My teacher told me that if you include Arabic in your discussion, people will assume you are really educated about the topic hehehe. Also, you can discuss how niqab is worn since the time of the Prophet (saw). InshaAllah you will be able to answer that question to your fullest potential!

Anyway, the hardship might make the experience seem negative and bitter. I want you to do something sister. Smile! Smile because you are seeking Allah Taala's pleasure. Smile in the face of hardship because when you have sabr, Allah Taala is so pleased with his 'abd. You will see that when you are trying your best to gain Allah Taala's pleasure, He will give you so much strength and you will be so blessed! InshaAllah I do dua that this step of yours to wear niqab is the step that leads you to Jannatul Firdous!

And remember that your sisters are always here for you. Don't ever hesitate to ask for our help. We've got your back <3

Wa Salaam
InshaAllah if I said anything of good it is from the faDeelat of Allah and if I said anything wrong it is my mistake and I ask that you correct me and forgive me.

BookwormHijabi,  December 10, 2011 at 9:20 AM  

Assalam-o-alaykum sister! :)
Remember, the rainers-on-your-parade shall always rain.The thing to do is sit back and enjoy the weather ;)
I remember when I started a jilbab, I got horrified looks and questions like 'What kind of company are you keeping?' and 'Why would you do this now? There is plenty of time later!' and 'Who will marry you?!'
My usual answer was a smile and 'I am doing it because I want to and because Allah wants me to' and sometimes I threw in a 'Yes Alhamdulillah I got great friends this year, who helped me into this step' etc.
I remember recently I was going to visit this elderly couple in our family for the first time after taking up the jilbab and well they have pretty liberal-istic views and I was sure I was going to be grilled and mocked and made fun of. But instead of cringing, I was looking forward to it. Do you know why? To my mind, I hadn't suffered enough in the Way of Allah. Even though I had to deal with a few criticisms, they all paled in comparison to things the Companions went through in the initial days, to things many Muslims today still are going through. Unfortunately, apart from a couple of subtle allusions, I wasn't really mocked. I was a bit disappointed, especially after all the arguments I had prepared in my mind :-/
Anywayy just remember to never let them get to you. They say that people who make fun of you or criticize you are usually doing it because they themselves don't have the courage to do it, or because they simply cannot comprehend why you would choose to do something they can't understand. It is more about them and their shortcomings rather than you and your shortcomings!
Plus, seriously? The whole chubby/fat thing got old wayyy ago. The next time someone as much as mentions weight, ask them what standards are they holding you upto? The Hollywood standards? The standards of the very people who seek to objectify women while shouting 'Feminism' and 'Women's Lib'? I'd rather be smart than thin, wouldn't you? =D
*hugs* and best of luck!
Wassalam! :)

LittleNiqabi,  December 10, 2011 at 9:33 AM  

Asalmualaikaum Warahmatulahi Wabarakatuhu

I feel like i sent in this qestion a few years ago. I can so relate with you sister! :)

When i first started wearing Jilbab, my parents were…confused. They thought it was because I was shy, chubby, I didn’t want to look pretty, ect. I really stood out from my family and friends.

The thing that changed their minds was when I was always smiling, laughing, and sharing my religious insight. I had to show them that my religiousness improved my personality and everything about me. I had to show them how beautiful Islam is. (:

What im trying to say is when your religious and different from your family and friends, YOU WILL STAND OUT. The difference though, is you can STAND OUT WITH A SMILE (: and people like your manners, you character, you inner beauty. What you do differently, because of how beautifully you do it, begins to look pretty Awesome. People begin to see you as “the girl with the Niqab who is always smiling, is so caring, always helping, ect”


SisterinIslam,  December 14, 2011 at 4:33 AM  

Jazakullah Khairun Little Auntie!
I really appreciate you taking the time out to answer my question, I think I've read it multiple times, and it was the best advice I've ever gotten! insha'Allah I'll try my best to use it all!

and Jazakullah Khairun also to Aisha A, BookworkHijabi and LittleNiqabi, thoe coments really meant alot, and I really appreciate you guys trying to help me! May Allah grant all you guys good in this dunya and the akhirah i'A.

Narrated Abu-Huraira (May Allah be satisfied with him): ‘The Messenger of Allah (May Allah exalt his mention and protect him from imperfection) said: “He that relieved his brother from a worldly distress Allah will relieve him from distress in the Hereafter, he that veiled a defect of a Muslim Allah will veil him in life and in the Hereafter, and he that eased (the state of) an insolvent (brother) Allah would ease (his state) in life and in the Hereafter. Allah will support him that supports his brother. He that took a way searching for knowledge Allah will facilitate a way to Paradise for him. There is no group of people who sit in a mosque reciting Allah’s Book and studying it among themselves except that tranquility will descend on them, mercy will overshadow them, and the Angels will encircle them. And he whose deed caused him to lag behind his affinity will not bring him forward.”

Wish I could highlight the first sentence on that hadith, but Alhamdulillah, thank you guys very much, once again!

Anonymous,  June 8, 2012 at 6:37 PM  

When you are hurt by the people who share blood relations with you, recall Yusuf [alayhi salaam] who was also betrayed by his brothers.

When you find your parents opposing you (in deen) recall Ibraheem [alayhi salaam] who was made to jump into a blazing fire by his father.

When you are mocked and abused by your own relatives just because you adopted deen over duniya, recall Rasul Allah [sallalhu... alaihi wa sallam] who faced the same.

When you are stuck into some problem and find no way out recall Yunus [alayhi salaam] who was stuck inside the belly of a whale.

When you fall ill and your whole body cries with pain, recall Ayoob [alayhi salaam] who was more ill than you.

When someone slanders you, recall Ay'esha [radiallahu anha] who was also slandered throughout the city.

When you feel lonely recall how Adam [alayhi salaam] felt when he was created alone at first.

When you can't see any logic in what's going on and your heart asks why this is happening, recall Nooh [alayhi salaam] who built the biggest ship without questioning.

Subhan Allah! Allah put all those great personalities in trial so that the generations to follow may learn a lesson in patience and perseverance. May Allah swt include us among His patient and grateful servants. Ameen!

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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