Feeling Down about Hijab?

>> Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Asalamu alaikum Auntie!

I just want to say thank you so much again for your blog :) Auntie I am scared right now about what is going through my head because I am actually thinking about actually taking a little time off from wearing hijab. I feel so ashamed that this thought is going through my head because since I started wearing hijab 9 months ago, I have never felt so beautiful in my life and content with who I am as a person. The reason for these thoughts is because I am planning to study abroad in France the upcoming year. And I guess the truth is I am afraid to wear hijab there because of the huge islamophobia issue going on there today. I guess I kind of want to fit in when I go there and not feel isolated by them since I do not have family in France nor anyone that I know well. I am so sad that I am contemplating this after Allah swt  helped and guided me to actually have the courage to wear hijab. This winter break was the fast time that I travelled internationally wearing hijab and I was really excited. But when I was entering back into the U.S and going through security they actually has someone come and pat my hijab in front of everyone. I don't know why, but when this happened I actually started to cry. I have never had something like that happen to me before I am not sure if I can do it again I guess.I felt so hurt and honestly a little disrespected that the hijab to them is somethin that cannot be trusted. I feel like a coward for wanting to take it off while studying abroad in France. Right now my heart feels so restless and I am ashamed because I truly want to live my life only to please Allah swt. I would truly be thankful for any advice that you provide.

Wa'alaikum salam wa rahmatullah!
Alhamdulillah, I'm really happy to hear that you started wearing hijab recently. May Allah (swt) grant you strength and steadfastness. 
Aww, I'm sorry for what you had to go through at airport security, sweetie. Let me give you a *virtual* hug. :)
Let's take a look at this hadith:

Rasul Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “Islam initiated as something strange, and it will revert to its (old position) of being strange. So, glad tidings to the stranger!” [Muslim]

Keeping this hadith in mind, in reality, we have something to celebrate! Here we are, following the teachings of the only perfect man to walk this Earth. Rasulullah (sallalahu 'alaihi wa sallam) also said:

The Prophet said: 'Whoever loves my way of life (Sunnah) loves me, and whoever loves me will be with me in Paradise.' (Sunan At-TirmidhĂ®)

What reward can be greater than that of promised, eternal paradise? :)

You see, sister, it's completely natural to get bogged down by this. You feel different physically. Everyone around us is dressed in the least amount of clothes possible. 
Islamophobia is going on everywhere these days. France is just one of the countries. Let me tell you something. I just recently moved from Michigan (a state populated by Muslims) to central Pennsylvania (where many students are from areas where they've never even seen a Person of Color or another race), so it was a big change moving here. It was awkward and uncomfortable at times. I even contemplated taking off my niqab for a bit. But then I spoke with somebosy who told me that this is the actual test. When I was back home at Michigan, it was just a trial run. Allah (swt) gave me that opportunity and now I was being put to test. Of course things are easy when there's no obstacle in the way, but when there is, that is when you know that you're being tested by Allah (swt). and we already know that we're strangers in this world, so let's just take it with the flow. Yes, people will look at you weird: smile at them. You take the iinitiative to break the stereotype! But take this as an opportunity for growth as an individual, as a person. I can tell you this--I would not be the person I am had I not started wearing niqab. It pushed me to my limits. It forced me to be more open and confident and social. You'll learn so much  about yourself. 

And bear in mind to keep your intentions straight. We're wearing hijab in order to fulfill a commandment of Allah (swt). If we do something solely for Him, we'll see that it will become easier inshaAllah. Remmeber to talk to Allah (swt) in duaa. tell him of your struggles in the last third of the night during tahujjud time. Ask Him to make this easy for you.

Lastly, don't be too worried about others' reactions. You might be surprised at the reactions you get. Too often, we focus only on the negative remarks we get from a few ignorant people. The truth is, the majority of people will be accepting and might even admire you for your devotion to your faith. Your hijab will serve as a shield for you, as a protection of sorts. You'll be respected by others. There's a reason why Islam is the fastest growing religion today. Just recently, a professor showed something somewhat inappropriate in class (vulgar language and such) and later, he sent me a private email apologizing for the content knowing it didn't conform to my Islamic values. He didn't necessarily know much about my religion. He "read" it based off my way of dress and mannerism.

One last thing, when you go to France, try making friends with like-minded individuals (Muslims perhaps), with people you feel comfortable with, who share the same beliefs and values as you do, who won't pressure you into doing something you shouldn't do.
So don't be too worried. You'll be okay, inshaAllah! We're all making duaa for you!

--Apple Blossoms 

P.S: Be sure to check out www.igotitcovered.org! I think you'll love it! 

2 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Anonymous,  May 2, 2013 at 9:12 AM  

To the sister who sent the question,
You might think that just because you take off hijab, you'll have the experience of being 'just like everyone else'. You think people will accept you, and everything will be less awkward. Sweet sister, that isn't true. If you hide who you are, that will only bring you more discomfort, more awkwardness and more pain. Sure, at first they might treat you like the 'rest of the gang' but imagine if you're put in a situation where you have to do or go somewhere that's against your beliefs. For example, at my university when my professor took us out to eat somewhere as a treat, we had several students who were asking to go to a restaurant/bar, which would have proved to be very awkward for me because I wouldn't be able to go! but because they knew I was 'moslem' and that I couldn't drink, although they weren't that familiar with Islam, they knew it prohibited me from certain things and they behaved more respectively about it. Imagine if they didn't know. I'm not saying that you'll go somewhere like that. But there might be a moment when you can't do the things they do, because you're Muslim. Wouldn't it be even worse for you if you declined something, for instance why you won't eat pork, or something like that. And I've had the experience that although there could be people who treat you coldly when they know your beliefs, they still respect you. Because even if they treat you nicely, they won't respect someone who can't commit to her own beliefs, they will see you as a joke, even if they don't say it. In all cases, it is so much better to just be upfront about it. When you wear the hijab it tells people that you have certain values and beliefs. From there you can just concentrate on doing the best you can as the person you are. At some point in your classmate’s lives they have to face other cultures and religions sitting at their table, and you're preparing them for that moment. I know it's hard. Trust me. I avoided hijab for years, just because I didn't want people to treat me differently. But you ARE different, and it's special to be different, don't let that get you down. I would also like to share a personal experience I had with you.

Anonymous,  May 2, 2013 at 9:12 AM  

There was this girl who was in a lot of my classes, and we were sort of best friends for a really long time, and throughout this time she never knew I was Muslim. I didn't really try to hide it but I didn't mention it either. When she found out, it all but killed our friendship, not because she hated Muslims, but because she felt like I was hiding it from her, she couldn't be comfortable with someone like that. Trust me, the friends you make will feel betrayed at that fact and the shock won't ware off. I tried to think of it from my friend’s perspective, and I understood. I had a professor who turned out to be Muslim and I was in shock that he hadn't told me the whole semester I was in his class. He didn't have to tell me, it wasn't relevant, but I was just surprised that I had known him as a person and I didn't even know the biggest thing about him. I know I was being silly, but I felt angry and betrayed that I hadn't known. Also, what if one day your friends in France come to visit your university or something? And they see you wearing the hijab? Do you think it’ll be okay if you just say ‘oh, well I was afraid to wear it in France, but here I’m comfortable.’ Besides the fact that they won’t feel like they can trust you, and that you’ll seem like someone that’s insecure and a liar. The worst is how YOU will feel. It doesn’t really matter how people will see you. But you will feel AWFUL trust me. And just like the aunties said, you’ll grow as a person. That is sooo true!!!!! You will become someone really strong! That you can wear hijab anywhere! Before I wore hijab I couldn’t imagine wearing it in public, at conferences, at other people’s houses etc. But now, I can’t imagine not doing that! Just remember, darling, you can’t see all the Muslim sisters behind you, but we are behind you, and we’re giving you all our courage and strength. Please use it!!! And Allah is on your side, there is NOTHING ELSE you can ask for!:)

Muslimah who tries,

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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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