Eid al-Fitr 1428 AH/2007: the usual ambiance of eid that always brings joy and happiness accompanied by smiles and laughs on each and every face you encounter and takbeerat that make you even more ecstatic. Everything was the same except for one thing; I did not take off my scarf after the prayer ended. I kept it on. I did it. And without a doubt, it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.
I don’t remember what sparked the decision to start wearing it, but it happened and for that, I am beyond grateful. I remember my brother telling me to reconsider my decision as he thought I was young and not responsible enough at the time. He told me I could wait and wear it later because it takes responsibility and once I put it on, I should not take it off. But I told him no, I did not need to reconsider it.
Alhamdulilah, till this day, the thought of taking it off has not crossed my mind once (هذا من فضل ربي). But don’t get me wrong, there are times when I wish I could flaunt my hair again, times when I look in the mirror and think of how much better my outfit looks without my hijab. But those are exactly the times I remember the impermanence of this life and that Allah’s happiness overrides anything else.
We can all agree that it’s not a great time for American Muslims. I know my hijab is a target during these times. However, I find it ironic how some people believe our faith is oppressing us. Hijab was not forced upon me by anyone, it was a decision I proudly made on my own; oppression would be hindering my freedom to make that choice. I’ve come across many women who wear the hijab but hold this perspective that their hijab surrenders their ability to blend in. But who said I want to blend in? Who said I want to be anonymous? Yes, there are so many times when I feel uncomfortable and that all eyes are on me, but I have nothing to be ashamed of. I wear my hijab with pride. Believers don’t hide when it gets dark, they shine.
When I look in the mirror every day, I remind myself of the meaning of hijab and how over the past 9 years it has been my shield. It has brought me instant respect, protected me, empowered me, and made me feel focused and resolute. I remind myself of why I am wearing it and for Who.
I look in the mirror every single day and I make a choice. A choice that I love, a choice that I am proud of, a choice that I hope to continue to make every single day for as long as I live.
I will end this with a quote by Yasmin Mogahed (aka my best friend in Jannah):
“to all my fellow sisters, who have to feel a little more scared today to put on their hijab, I say this: Remember why you wore it. And for who. Then ask yourself: Do you think the One for whom you wore it, the One who also happens to have sole ownership and power over the heavens and the earth and every Islamaphobe on it, won’t take care of you?
Tell the world you won’t hide because your hijab isn’t just a cloth. It’s a symbol: it represents love, the love of God. And the love of God brings about everything good.” – Reeham Agiz