This is the first article written by new site contributor Chib. Take the time to read the article and leave your feedback in the comments section..."
The first time that I wore a headscarf to cover my hair, I was at the mosque ready to take my Shahadah. I looked at myself and fumbled around with the scarf making sure none of my baby hairs were poking out. The lighting was dim and unforgiving; it made my skin look blue. I looked up at the mirror and stared at myself long and hard. I remember wondering who this person was. My cheeks looked hollow and my eyes had bags from the lack of sleep I had been dealing with. I didn’t know who this person staring back at me in the mirror was. This person staring back at me wearing a scarf wrapped around her head, I felt naked and exposed to the world even though I was fully covered from head to toe. I felt like everyone had a chance to view into my soul because they weren’t being distracted by my looks and could only focus on my eyes. I felt vulnerable. After taking my Shahadah I went to go celebrate at a restaurant. I felt like everyone was staring at me even though they probably weren’t. I kept my eyes down and I felt so unsure of who I was. Who was I anyway? If I could line myself up with the different versions of me from my past we would all look different. My old confidence had dwindled and I had to rebuild myself again but this time with different foundations. I had a lot of work to do.
The clothing we use to observe hijab, the khimar, abaya or niqab has more meaning than just being pieces of cloth. With hijab comes great responsibility. Sound familiar? That’s because there’s more to just wearing the hijab than this society lets on. Hijab is about working on your entire being, this includes manners, and the way we present ourselves in the public eye, our attitudes and behaviors. When observing hijab, we must remember that most importantly we are a representation of our faith. We represent what a Muslim women looks like how she acts and treats others and if that’s not a blessing within itself I don’t know what is.
I have had a lot of Muslim women talk to me about how they started observing hijab and how it made them feel a little self conscious about themselves. As well as other sisters who are not ready for hijab because they don’t feel like they are spiritually there yet. But the most talked about subject is how hijab makes them feel less appealing to themselves. I can understand why this is, this whole world and society puts a lot of emphasis on the way women portray their bodies to the outside world and to our own selves. Sometimes we forget that Allah has blessed us with hijab and teaches us that our bodies are only meant to be shown to those who are most special to us like our families and husbands but most importantly, observing hijab is about pleasing our Creator.
Sometimes we get so caught up in picking the right scarf or longing to wear the outfits we were able to wear before committing to hijab. We get lost and forget that hijab is given to us to please Allah (SWT) and that it could be the one deed that gives us access to jannah. My confidence dwindles when I am not able to be a part of everyone else and I feel like an outcast because I cannot just curl my hair and go outside or wear shorts on a hot day. As a Muslim woman I must take pride in my hijab and build my confidence around the deen and use Allah as my foundation. It is important for us as Muslim women to not dwell or focus on the things that we can’t wear because we are observing hijab. Hijab paves the way towards our Creator, it pleases Allah (SWT) and we should smile and thank Him because He has made us beautiful and perfect in every way possible with hijab so let our confidence stand strong and rely on our faith not on our outward appearances.
How has hijab impacted your confidence has it made it grow or where there times where it made you question who you are?
"And marry women except those your right hands possess. the decree of Allah upon you. And lawful to you are [all others] beyond these, that you seek them [in marriage] with your property, desiring chastity, not unlawful sexual intercourse. So for whatever you enjoy [of marriage] from them, give them their due compensation as an obligation. And there is no blame upon you for what you mutually agree to beyond the obligation. Indeed, Allah is ever Knowing and Wise." Qur'an- 4:24
A common range of thinking among young unmarried Muslim women who are interested in getting married consist of "how will I meet my husband?"," what shall I tell my parents?", "what about if they don't find anyone?", "what about if they won't accept my classmate as my husband?", or what if they won't accept a Muslim man?(An issue many reverts deal with). Often we experience a rashness when it comes to finding a husband and the longer it takes, the more worse we feel. It is important though to remember that choosing a spouse is a monumental decision that that should not be made hastily due to the immense impact that it has on ones life
Allah(SWT) tells us:
"Seek Allah's help with patient perseverance and prayer. It is indeed hard except for those who are humble." Qur'an-2:45
Yes, Allah(SWT) reminds us to be patient. At times being told to be patient can be very hard to hear but remember that Allah(SWT) knows best, and Allah(SWT) will send you the right one at the right moment.
When I was searching for a spouse, I used to cry a lot when others told me "don't worry he will come in the right moment!" because I was in such a hurry to get married. It was so complicated living in this dunya. Remember though sisters, if you do not take the time and do your due diligence when it comes to choosing your spouse, the end result might not be great. Remember that this person will be the head of your household, he will be your wali and he will be an example for your children. These reasons showcase the importance of carefully choosing. When trying to find a spouse, it is necessary to remember to trust in Allah. Yes it might be difficult, but it is the best way to proceed. When the process gets difficult, do not become overtly upset and do not lose faith, but remember that Allah(SWT) has someone waiting for you, someone that will be a great match, someone who is meant to be your husband. After realizing the importance of patience and deciding how you will proceed, the next concern for some women is what to tell their parents about their interest in someone.
The first thing to do is relax and talk to your mother or father, whichever one you feel the most comfortable with. It might be better though to talk to your mother simply because she might understand more since she is woman of course and will have knowledge on the topic. Tell her you want to talk to her about something important but in private, at that moment she will start to suspect or at least she will know it is something you need her advice on. When the moment comes tell her and don't be nervous. Talk to her about how you feel at this moment and why you would like a husband or if you have already found a brother that you are interested in, talk to her about him, how did you meet and why you like him. As your father is your wali, be sure to talk to him as well about the brother and arrange for them to meet. inshaAllah, all will go well.
For further information on dealing with parents and marriage, take the time to read "Marriage Series Pt.2: The Role of Parents in The Courtship Process" by JMuslimah
The "Muslimah Worries" section of Striving Clarity is dedicated to discussing the things that Muslimahs often worry about from hijab to marriage to how to remain spiritual when you're unable to pray. Join us!