For the most part of my life I was a non-Hijabi and I started wearing my hijab only a few years ago after I moved to Qatar.
During my childhood and as a teen I always had this identity crisis. I was a Muslim as I was born into a Muslim family but from my appearance I was like any other Indian girl.
And every time, I would meet someone new people would ask me about why I wasn’t religious or modestly dressed like other Muslim girls.
As awkward as it was, I would dismiss it by retorting that my family was moderate and my parents weren’t that strict or religious. Although, there was some truth in it, as I grew older I realized that the decision to wear a hijab was purely mine and had nothing to do with my family or my friends.
I simply wasn’t ready- I knew I would wear it some day but until then I had to prepare myself before I could get there. For me hijab was not just a piece of cloth on my head or a fashion accessory.
I assumed becoming a hijabi would come with a huge responsibility. I was worried about my family and friends’ response. I was worried about the impact on my career, I was worried about so many things that actually didn’t matter.
All I had to do was focus on why I was wearing my hijab and constantly remind myself on whom was I truly wearing it for?
I wasn’t wearing it for my parents or my siblings, my husband or in laws, I was doing to purely please my Lord and that is all that mattered.
So, that blessed day finally arrived after my Umrah visit, when I had to return to work. I decided to pull out and wear my very first Abaya with which I had been experimenting for a while.
Instinctively, I found the courage to shed my old self and walk into the office and flaunt this new modest me. I expected a lot of surprises and shocks and even thought I would get a lot of stares that day. But then nobody actually seemed to care and the day just fine albeit I was constantly struggling to keep the hijab intact.
But since that day, I can confess that after almost 29 years of being a slave to my Nafs, for the first time I felt truly liberated and protected in my hijab. I haven’t looked back since then.
And I absolutely believe that hijab gave me my identity. I thought it would be a huge responsibility but it actually empowered me by liberating me from all worldly expectations.
This post is part of a collaboration about #hijabinislam.
Make sure to read what some other sisters have to say about their experience with hijab.
Check their links below: