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The Divine Is Within You

The Divine Is Within You

Taking my hijab off was a slow transition. I wore it for 16 years, fought over it in my head for six months, then took it off after what felt like an overnight decision.

I didn’t understand God until I started listening to my inner guidance.

I now know that was the Divine guidance I was ignoring all along.

I kept pushing back on my ego by saying things like this is what God wants or this is what I’m supposed to do and every time I did that I was driving the divine further and further away from me.

The divine speaks to each of us individually. It is within each of us and only we can connect with it best. This is what I was taught growing up, and yet when it came to making a decision on what I wanted to wear or not wear, suddenly it became a question of what do other people think.

I was on the phone with my mom listing to her my qualms with the hijab. She listened patiently and empathetically. She wore a scarf too and could understand, I thought.

At the end of the conversation I said I’m just scared of what Baba will say.

I didn’t understand God until I started listening to my inner guidance.

I realized the only reason I still had it on was for my dad’s sake. Not God’s sake. Little did she know it was at that moment that I knew I had to take it off.

If the only reason you’re doing something personal is for the emotional stability of someone else, that’s a plain red flag– you’re off your path. This is also known as co-dependency.

I don’t think I started off wearing the hijab because of my dad. I really think it was what everyone was doing around me and what the mature girls did at the private Islamic school I went to, and I wanted to be like them.

I always wanted to be like the older girls with everything. I started wearing the scarf when I was five and you couldn’t convince me to take it off for anything. Those first few years I was so stubborn that I even wore it in front of blood related family like my uncles. Just comes to show you how little I understood the point of the hijab. Even at such a young age I think I just wanted to dictate what I wanted to wear; it was more to make a statement than for any religious reasoning.

Of course as I grew older, I started learning the religious doctrine. My well-practiced defense against the anti-Muslim world: I wore my hijab as an act of empowerment and liberation. It sounded confident and sexy and people loved it.

Well, it just stopped sounding sexy to me around senior year of college. I don’t even want to get into why I took it off, because none of that matters. At the time it was a really, really, really big deal but now that I have some perspective I see how insanely self-centered I was to think the world would stop revolving if I quit wearing the scarf.

My well-practiced defense against the anti-Muslim world: I wore my hijab as an act of empowerment and liberation.

The world didn’t stop, but it did go downhill with my parents. They thought I was trying to disassociate from my culture, family and religion. They took it very personally. They thought I was ashamed of who I was. Not bearing the thought of me hurting his ego, my dad decided to take it upon himself and let me know that he disowned me, and I wasn’t his daughter anymore unless I put the scarf back on. I did not see that coming and thought it was a bit dramatic. I didn’t really know I was owned to start with. How much was I worth? Where was I getting sold? Costco? Or Trader Joe’s?

Two seconds after he shut the phone in my face I picked it back up and dialed our family therapist. Side note: this therapist was an old Jewish man whose family survived the Holocaust, an angel sent from god that saved our family’s life so many times. He’s passed away since. I send him all my love.

My mom took a sharp turn on her support. She didn’t want the parent front to seem divided and came back to tell me she didn’t think what I was doing was right at all. I heard the same story over and over again, and I told my same story over and over again.

The world didn’t stop, but it did go downhill with my parents.

She said your dad can’t believe you didn’t think of him in making your decision.

Ironic, considering I did think a lot about him but I thought that wasn’t the point. Wearing the hijab was a personal decision between God and myself, wasn’t that what we were taught?

He is worried because now he doesn’t know how he’ll show his face at the mosque. How is he going to give his Friday sermons now with his daughter running around with no scarf on? What will come next?

I had to take a big step back. Most of my friends understood but some of them, like my parents, needed really long explanations- almost like defending a dissertation. I had an hour to two hours worth of information, life experience, analogies and data to back up my decision.

This is exactly why the therapist was a nice perspective. A third person that had nothing to do with the situation reminded me to step back for perspective, then for self-acceptance. He reminded me of the tribal community I come from. He taught me to have some compassion for my parents — this was all they knew. He also showed me how to look at the whole picture. I wasn’t just dealing with my present-day choices. I came from generations and generations of women that did not disobey the patriarchy- regardless of whether or not it was about religion. This was shaking our family’s foundations to the core and it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park.

A third person that had nothing to do with the situation reminded me to step back for perspective, then for self-acceptance

I spent countless months and days explaining to my parents my perspective. I was basically begging them for their love, affection and acceptance.

I spent so much energy defending myself against nothing that needed defending.

Now when my friends come to me with worries or need advice I just ask them: how do you feel doing what you want to do? Good? Ok good. How do you feel holding back from it? Miserable? Like your soul is getting sucked out of you everyday if you continue this way? Great, now you know what you have to do, go do it. I don’t care to have an opinion/agenda on other people’s life choices.

If I’m sensing you’re miserable and you’re pretending to be happy, sure I’ll let you know my perspective, but in the end only you know why you’re acting or feeling a certain way. And don’t worry, because nothing feels worse than your soul getting sucked out of you everyday. So the answer is really clear. Do what makes you happy on every level and God and the entire Universe will be by your side.

There was another reminder I want to mention that actually did come from religion and it gave me some peace of mind at the time. I remembered learning: life isn’t meant to be a burden. At the time the scarf felt like the burden of the entire world on my shoulders, so that made my answer even more clear for me.

Now when my friends come to me with worries or need advice I just ask them: how do you feel doing what you want to do?

I know it sounds like I’m over-simplifying life and decision-making. But it really wasn’t an easy decision for me. I tormented over it for months. And I did the same for every other life decision, big or small.

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Shortly after taking my scarf off I found my own therapist. One of the first things she said to me was people like your parents usually don’t change without a big illness or death in the family. I’ll never forget that. It was a reality check and a reminder that I couldn’t wait for something like that to happen to live my life. If it was going to take my parents a tragedy to understand unconditional love, at least I’d could get a head start on learning unconditional self-love and acceptance.

Unfortunately it didn’t take one tragedy, it’s taken many for my parents to begin to understand that fear and control do not equal love. My family has gone through so much mental illness and tumultuous pain, that I wish it upon nobody. Now I realize this was all part of the journey I had to take to learn how to connect with my own power.

It was a reality check and a reminder that I couldn’t wait for something like that to happen to live my life.

Over the past six years I’ve spent over $15k in life coaches, therapists, books and courses in order to understand why I was the way I was. If I can spare you a nickel I’ll tell you this: you don’t have to defend yourself. There’s nothing to prove. You don’t need to think up a thesis for everything you do in your life. There is a clear distinction between having a loving conversation with someone about a decision and feeling like you have to defend yourself for dear life.

I won’t lie, this was a new idea to me and it took a few years to put into practice.

What do you mean I don’t have to say anything? I asked my life coach.

You don’t. If you want to, you can just say what you chose to do and that’s it. I was baffled.

What if they keep asking why?

You don’t have to answer.

Huh.

My understanding of God changed from some man out there that was waiting for me to fu** up, to this incredible Source of unlimited inspiration and love we all have within us that helps us live joyful, prosperous lives. It was the difference between looking at other people to tell me what to believe to checking in with myself and asking does that sound like it serves me well? Is that coming from a place of love or a place of fear? What belief would serve me better?

If I can spare you a nickel I’ll tell you this: you don’t have to defend yourself. There’s nothing to prove.

That meant looking at every belief, not just the ones we talked about openly growing up like God and religion. That meant beliefs about my body and how I liked to workout. Beliefs about what patio furniture colors I liked. It meant rethinking my beliefs about money, how to spend it and how to make it. Beliefs about people that believed differently than I did. Beliefs about what plant-based milk I liked and didn’t like. Beliefs on how to talk to my partner.

The beliefs that dictate our daily lives are endless. Beliefs are basically thoughts that we think over and over again until they’re ingrained into our minds as that’s just how it is or, my favorite, it’s the truth. Sadly, most of us have learned so many true-lies as I like to call them. They are beliefs that we thought were 100 percent true growing up but are nothing more than one person’s beliefs. We might as well choose the beliefs that serve our joy and freedom.

You are divine my love,

dzs.

View Comments (10)
  • Great article. Really understood it, and the lessons about who we are as we seek to determine our lives are there for us all.

  • jazzahkum Allahkhyr for posting this article & explaining to us your internal struggle that you went through with wearing the hijab.
    I have a few questions which I hope to get some answers to:
    1) By not wearing the hijab, do you think you are disobeying Allah? Please Explain
    2) Do you believe that Allah has prescribed women to wear the hijab or He has given women the choice to wear it? Please Explain
    3) Do you believe The Quran to be the word of God or the word of man? Please provide reasoning.
    Thank you once again, these questions are not designed to weaken your argument but rather to understand you on a deeper level. Everything you mentioned was subjective & a lot of girls can be impacted on a positive or negative way this matter deserve clarification.
    Thank you once again.

    • this is so annoying. Ffs let the lady live, not everything has to do with religion, once again it’s up to her. This is between her and god and it’s non of your business what she believes in. Why are you trying so hard, you literally sound like you’re trying to show that you’re right and she’s wrong like stop. It’s HER life. And as a Muslim woman, hijab is just a piece of scarf, don’t tell me you feel closer to god or other dumb bs. If you wanna feel closer to god, go pray, be nice to others, do other good things, you don’t need a piece of scarf to feel closer to god. And if you’re a guy you literally have no opinion on this. we are the ones who struggled so don’t put your nose where it doesn’t belong and tell us how to feel or what to do. Typical muslim men, you all want women to be slaves and listen to you well guess what, not gonna happen. I’ve had enough of your women controlling bs. just worry about yourself. Thank you.

  • Your decision is your decision to make, but once you make the decision that God is One and that Muhammed is His Messenger, you follow what God commanded, not what you or your father desires.

  • The hijab is command from Allah swt.you are actively going against what he commanded from you. Read Surah Al-Noor 24:31.

    Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 4481. The following version was narrated by Abu Dawood (4102):

    May Allaah have mercy on the Muhaajir women. When Allaah revealed the words “and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)”, they tore the thickest of their aprons (a kind of garment) and covered their faces with them.

    There are many other verses and Hadith supporting this. The hijab is not a garment showing your liberation or to help you feel empowered, it is first a command from the Creator. It was something that the wives of the Prophet SAW wore. Let this be a warning to you because you will be asked on the Day why you have ignored Allah’s command.

    • this is so annoying. Ffs let the lady live, not everything has to do with religion, once again it’s up to her. This is between her and god and it’s non of your business what she believes in. Why are you trying so hard, you literally sound like you’re trying to show that you’re right and she’s wrong like stop. It’s HER life. And as a Muslim woman, hijab is just a piece of scarf, don’t tell me you feel closer to god or other dumb bs. If you wanna feel closer to god, go pray, be nice to others, do other good things, you don’t need a piece of scarf to feel closer to god. And if you’re a guy you literally have no opinion on this. we are the ones who struggled so don’t put your nose where it doesn’t belong and tell us how to feel or what to do. Typical muslim men, you all want women to be slaves and listen to you well guess what, not gonna happen. I’ve had enough of your women controlling bs. just worry about yourself. Thank you. So don’t continue with your hadits and Quran verses instead let her live her life it’s her life. She’s old enough to know what she wants.

      • I am not a man, I am a woman. And I am right and she is wrong. I am informing her because she is obviously ignorant about Islam and I fear that on the Day she will have no answer to Allah swt as to why she has ignored his command. She is free to do as she likes, but as a Muslim it is my duty to enjoin good and forbid evil. It is also important component of Islam to give sincere advice when I see a brother or sister sin, which I am doing. If I sinned or was ignorant on a matter, I would appreciate someone informing me on my ignorance and advising me. You clearly don’t care about this sister if your advice is basically to let her sin since it is between her and God. I care about her and I don’t want her to be ignorant or flaunt her sins as if it something to be proud of. May Allah guide the both of us and her and make us better Muslims. It is ill of you to hate my sincere advice, sister.

  • Salaam alaykum sister,

    Whether it’s from your own nafs or Shaytan, when doubts creep in your mind about how authentic your practice of faith is in any matter, whether it’s hijab or praying five times daily, you don’t stop doing it. You renew your intention to do it seeking Allah’s Pleasure and continue forward with the action.

    If you were truly steady and at peace with your decision, you wouldn’t have spent $15k on therapists and life coaches to affirm you and these life decisions. You wouldn’t deal with so much rebellion and pain. Life brings challenges and tests, that’s what it’s all about, but maybe you need to re-frame and take a look at what you’ve lost and what it’s cost by making that decision, the spiritual, emotional, and social.

    All I see in your post is a broken person who depends on others to put her back together. I would recommend if you truly wish to understand what Allah wants from you, pray istikhara salaah and ask for guidance.

  • Asslamu Alaykum
    Allah is the most merciful and my trust is in him to protect me from my sins.
    A few thoughts on your article:
    You state in your article “Of course as I grew older, I started learning the religious doctrine. My well-practiced defense against the anti-Muslim world: I wore my hijab as an act of empowerment and liberation. It sounded confident and sexy and people loved it.”…So you are implying that you wore the hijab for the wrong reasons. First and foremost hijab is a commandment from Allah, and that is the reason it is adorned by muslim woman. It is not some sort of political protest against the dominant culture.

    As muslims we do not get to pick and choose what to follow. Allah says in the quran:
    “It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allâh and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allâh and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in to a plain error.”

    The answer to falling into sin isnt to double down and persist. Allah reminds us time and again that it is Allah that is the most merciful and true happiness is in repenting, we may still struggle on this earth, but this life was never meant to be a paradise.

    “…And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. Allah knows but you do not know.” -Quran 2:216

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