What do you think of when I say the word ‘hijab?’ Most people will think of the scarf that a lot of Muslim women wear to cover their hair. But that is not all that there is to it.
When I converted, one of the first things I thought about was wether or not to wear a Hijab. My first thought was to research what the Holy Qur’an and Hadiths have to say on this subject:
In the Quran, Allah (SWT) states: “Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty…And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and adornments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers…(a list of exceptions)” [Chapter 24, verses 30-31]
For Hadith, I try to focus only on Sahih Muslim and Sahih Bukhari as they are considered to be the two most reliable sources of Hadith. So far, I haven’t found any specific Hadiths on what parts of the body should be covered. Maybe this is because the Qur’an already covered this issue quite thoroughly.
So, I turned to Muslim scholars and jurists: the vast majority have determined the minimum requirements for Muslim women’s dress are covering the entire body, with the exception of the face and the hands, with attire that is not form fitting, sheer, or eye-catching. Based on these sources, I concluded that it was mandatory for Muslim women to wear hijab.
However, I soon discovered that opinions on this matter differ vastly amongst women around the world. Some Western women say that wearing a hijab keeps them from being fully accepted by society and getting the job they deserve. Others argue that if you would base Islamic principles on acceptance by Western society you might as well wear short skirts and tank tops. Some people argue that wearing a hijab was meant to enable women to function in society many years ago, but that today a hijab only holds women back and therefore this rule does not apply to our time anymore.
For me personally, what makes Islam such a beautiful religion is the bond that develops between each Muslim and his Creator. Allah (SWT) is always on my mind, with every breath and every step I take. Therefore, I base most of my decisions on my love for Allah (SWT) and my will to please him. Wearing a hijab is a sign of that love.
However, I wanted to write this post to talk about just how much a hijab can affect your life. I know many converts that started wearing a hijab with the best of intentions but for whom jumping into it too rapidly ended up as a reason to distance themselves from Islam as a whole. As with most of my blogs, I would like to promote one message: take things slow.
As time went by, I realized this was a decision that would affect many more aspects of my life then I ever imagined! An example of something to think about is your family: will they be able to handle you wearing a hijab? Should you maybe give them some time to accept your conversion before moving onto the hijab or should you just do it all at the same time to “rip off the band aid” so to speak? What about your job? Will you still be able to get a job in the industry you are looking to work in or will your current boss accept this radical change in dress? Your partner: what is his opinion on covering up? Or even your attitude: are you sure that all aspects of your life are ready for you to wear a hijab? Of course, with or without a hijab, you have to adjust your attitude to your new found religion, but, with a hijab you become much more of an example of Islam everywhere you go. Think about all of these things before you make a decision…
At this point in time, I do not wear a hijab. I decided to take a break from wearing a scarf as it was weighting heavily on the relationship between my family and I and I am not yet comfortable enough to wear my scarf to work. I do however miss wearing a scarf very much and hope to return to it some day soon insha’Allah.
My belief is that to become a truly devoted Muslim I cannot force a bunch of changes on myself at the same time. I need to take the time to learn about my religion and assimilate the changes I need to make in my life. In the course of a little more than one year, I have already gone from revealing clothes, sex, alcohol and smoking to giving up all such substances, dressing modestly, praying, ceasing all “friendships” with men and seriously adjusting my relationship with Tariq. I think that is already a great step towards becoming a better human being. As long as I try my best to keep growing within Islam every day…
Finally, I wanted to give you some tips for if you do decide to start wearing a scarf because I remember how lost I was when I first tried to wear a scarf. Here are a few answers to questions I had when I first considered wearing a scarf:
- What kind of cloth do I need? In my opinion, the easiest way to find a suitable piece of cloth for a hijab is simply to buy a plain, cotton, rectangle scarf online. I would advise you not to buy expensive scarves when you first try to wear a hijab because you might tear them with your pins or burn them with your iron, which is what I did… a plain cotton Hijab seems the easiest option to start with.
- Do I need an under scarf? It is not mandatory to have an underscarf or headband under your Hijab but it does help to keep your hijab in place and keep your hair out of the way. My personal favorite is a simple stretchy cotton headband such as the one below because it doesn’t keep me too warm but still helps me keep my hijab in place all day and stop little hairs from creeping out.
- How do I tie my Hijab? For the answer to this question, I would advise you to turn to YouTube and search for ‘Hijab tuorial’. You will find hundreds of videos explaining how to achieve different hijab styles. The best thing you can do is just to try different styles and see which one you feel most comfortable with. It’s amazing how many creative and beautiful styles there are to wearing your hijab.
I could go on for hours about hijabs but I think this post is long enough so I will leave it at this. As always, feel free to comment on this post or contact me via twitter (@MGbubbles) or Facebook (House of Bubbles) if you have any further questions. However, don’t forget we are all entitled to our own opinion and respecting this is a key part of being a good Muslim.