A Jihad With My Hijab

I was trying on tarhas or the head cover that I bought lately. I don’t usually buy things for myself but specifically for these items that I found cheap and really nice, I decided to get a bundle.

I am not the “feminine” type who would enjoy looking at herself in the mirror sporting all those aesthetics, but just a few minutes ago I found myself in front of the mirror on my crumpled metallic gray hijab. And then I imagined going home to Manila in that…. and meeting my friends in that…. and meeting my family with that too…. and imagining what all their reaction would be.

Everyone who knows me must know that I am not the fancy type of the female species. I don’t care much how I look. What is most important to me is that I can carry myself comfortably with what I wear, with how I look. I don’t mind being in heels, or in my favorite open Skechers, or in the native brown flip flops that I miss. I don’t dress to impress. But this time, it would really feel different to be in a hijab in Manila…. in my place where there are no fellow Muslims around that I know of.

And then the smiling reflection that I see in the mirror turned out teary-eyed. I have never been this emotional my whole entire life!  But these were tears of joy should they have rolled on my cheeks.  I am happy to be a Muslimah. I would have settled for nothing less. But the emotions came from the feeling, which I may be preempting, of being alone in my place.

I am the FIRST MUSLIM in my family. And by my ancestors, I trace my roots from Spanish origins. Meaning not one drop of blood from among my genealogy was ever raised Muslim. In fact historically, they are the Muslims’ worst enemies. Inshallaah, that I described myself as the first, there will come a second, third, fourth. Now how I wish I had a brood of a football team so that instantly, I would have a lot on my side.

Fortunately still, I got two. Two beautiful, intelligent and strong young Muslimah’s. Remembering that I got them on my side no less, I must be confident enough that I will not be alone.  Allah SWT bless me too.  And Allah SWT bless my Amatullah and Jannah. So that we three can stand proud, respectable, honorable, and admirable in the midst of the community wherein we will surely spell a difference.

I have to cut short this narration and get back to that mirror to return to my Hijab Rehearsals. I was never good at this I know. I won’t just give it a try, but for Allaah, everything is worth doing.  Bismillah Ar Rahmanir Raheem.

Ya Rabb, make me worthy.

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5 responses to “A Jihad With My Hijab

  1. Hi Najmah,

    I’ve been searching online of any blogs or any information about muslimahs wearing hijabs in manila especially when going to malls and other public places. It would have been easier and comfortable in the UAE where I’m currently based. Reading your story encouraged me more to continue wearing hijab while in Manila. It would be difficult I know, knowing that most Filipinos still has stereotypes for muslims.

    I just reverted to Islam and proud of my faith. However, I was worried and anticipating of what people would say as this would be the first time for me to come home in the Philippines as a Muslim. I still wore my hijab when I came arrived yesterday at NAIA. But now, I want to meet my friends, and some have arranged to meet in the malls. However, it still worries me I’m not worried of my friends not accepting me as they know who I am know and they’ve understood and are expecting that from me, however, its just not comfortable when your surrounded by people, staring at you as you look different from the rest. I’m just praying to Allah SWT that He would give me more confidence. Im proud to be a Muslim and I would like people to know so somehow i can share my story and people would a good understanding of Islam. I just hope that sooner or later, it would be easier to live as a Muslim in Manila and be able to deal confidently when socializing with you non-muslim friends and acquaintances, Inshallah.

    • Asalamu alaikum Maryam!

      Your response to my article is so enlightening and encouraging as well. I think we who have embraced Islam have to keep in touch with each other about our experiences to be further enlightened about how we deal with other people who have yet to understand our way of life.

      These changes are not easy. Believe me, between the duration of the time that I wrote this article and the time when I have started praying, a year has already lapsed. I too had difficulties with wearing the hijab. But inshallah when you strengthen your neeyah everyday in your prayers, you will find that you will be more respected because of that conviction to protect your dignity instead of promoting your chastity.

      And you know what else? People will find inshallaah how your aura shines through your hijab.

      And you know what more? You will feel more proud when you keep on wearing that knowing that you have no one in the world to please except Allah.

      You and I and the rest of the muslimahs who are courageous enough to sport the hijab in Manila will spell the difference inshallah of what being a Muslim truly is.

  2. My dear Najmah,

    As i read through your blog, i found myself smiling. I can feel the joy and mixed emotion you had when you wrote the article. Nevertheless, even if you wear Hijab or not, even if you are a Muslim or Catholic, you will always have my support. I am your friend and proud that you have found inner peace and strength with Allah. I know you would encounter people who might judge you nor not accept you, but who cares if they don’t understand you. What is important is what you believe and what you fight for. Eventually, if they love and care for you, they would understand and respect the decision you had.

    I have Muslim friends and i do respect and listen to what they believe. I admire the way they show their faith in Allah and how disciplined they are especially during prayer hours. And if you come home in Manila, wearing your Hijab, I would love to see and be with you. I will be at your side and will never leave you.

    Continue believing what you have started. Don’t lose faith, Allah is there to guide you. He will not let you down. There might be challenges along the way but He, we, will be here for you.

    Be proud of what you have become for He is proud to have you as his daughter.

    Inshallah, everything will be alright.

    All is well!

    Sincerely yours,

    Jasper

  3. Jasper Dear,

    Thank you so much for reading out my blog. It is very encouraging to have friends around who support you. There is this undefinable beauty and confidence within the hijab. And it’s wonderful that people appreciate us in that. I just read through this article that discussed about looking for the right man. It emphasized that if a man cannot love you all covered up, how do you think he would appreciate you without it.

    You know how non-conforming I have always been. But with my hijab, I still can spell the difference.

    See you soon!

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