Editor's note: It's our annual #LikeYouMeanItHH beginning-of-the-year reflection time! What does it mean to "wear it like you mean it?" We invite you (and ourselves) to renew our intentions and reflect on what our hijab (and faith and other areas of our lives) mean to us.
Why did you start wearing hijab?
We asked you this question through our social media channels and via email. Our stories of how we came to wear hijab or how we are thinking about wearing it are so vast and thought-provoking. For some of us, we contemplated it for a long time, making the decision to wear hijab after a reckoning of faith and coming towards Allah (S), as this young guest contributor writes about here
. For others, it was a natural progression of what we saw the women in our family and communities do.
Still for others, we started wearing hijab out of following others, only to realize later what it really meant to us and why we were wearing it solely for Allah (S) and for ourselves. We want to share three such stories with you that came our way through email in response to Melanie’s question: Why did you start wearing hijab? (Please note, these stories were lightly edited.)
I was in graduate school training to become a psychotherapist. I never knew how challenging the process of becoming a therapist was, not just professionally, but personally. We had to reflect in every class, in every paper, in every exam. Reflection after reflection after reflection. I was in my second year of graduate school when I found out that my two older sisters had decided to take off their hijabs.
I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I found out. Tears began to stream down my face. I was shattered. For over ten years I wore my hijab with them and now I was left alone. I felt abandoned. For me, it was challenging enough being a visible Muslim woman in hijab in our society, but I always leaned on my two older sisters for support and unity. When we went out – all three of us in hijab – it was a statement we were making together. They were my community. But that was no longer the case.
I am so blessed that Allah (S) chose me to continue wearing it. I wore my hijab when I was 13 years old, and it was the best decision I have ever made. I have never felt more independent, more empowered, more liberated. My hijab is an expression of freedom that I choose to wear proudly.
I was the only Muslim woman in my family and in my program wearing the hijab. I was faced with the fear of what some clients would say to me when they saw me the first time in the waiting room as I walked them into their first session with me. A part of me felt it was the perfect opportunity to remove my hijab, given my career was just beginning and that way I wouldn’t have to “deal” with that extra layer of my clients knowing I am not only a Muslim woman, but a practicing one.
And so there it was…my first official spiritual and identity crisis.
I did not know who I was outside of my sisters. I had failed to realize over the years that my Muslim identity was very much connected to theirs. This was a true test for me. Do I take it off and become like [my sisters], again? I mean that is what I was most familiar with. Or, do I keep my hijab on and cultivate my own identity and stand firm in my beliefs?
Now, imagine going through that while seeing my very first clients and crying right before our sessions. I felt I was already failing as a therapist. Those were some of the most challenging days of my life. I began to question if hijab was really fard
(mandatory). I began to question if I am fit for wearing the hijab. I began to question the reason I wore it in the first place. I questioned and questioned and questioned, and then I realized slowly that my hijab was not coming off.
So, I put my hand on my heart and asked Allah (S) to help me fall in love with my hijab again, to help me own it and be confident in it, to help me embrace it. In every sajdah I asked Allah (S) to bring me closer to Him and to not just wear the hijab, but to love the fard of wearing the hijab.
Image source: Pexels; photo by: PNW Production.
And, as Allah (S) promises in the Quran: “And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So, let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided,” [Quran 2:186]
And so, my du’a was answered.
I kept my hijab on, and that spark came back stronger and brighter than ever before. I am so blessed that Allah (S) chose me to continue wearing it. So, I will end with this. I wore my hijab when I was 13 years old, and it was the best decision I have ever made. I have never felt more independent, more empowered, more liberated. My hijab is an expression of freedom that I choose to wear proudly.
My hijab reminds me of my purpose and of my connection to Allah (S). There are days and seasons that can be harder than others, and that is okay. I have learned to not fear those feelings and I just work through them while leaning on Allah. I pray that Allah (S) continues to strengthen my relationship with my hijab where I wear it with pride and joy for being recognized as a believing woman. I will continue wearing my crown, and I will continue to be an unapologetically visible Muslim woman.
My hijab – you and I are not going anywhere. We are in this for the long run. So, let’s make it a good one. Let’s enjoy it!
I started wearing hijab in December 2022 at the age of 32, because I felt it is another step closer to Allah (S). I was a born Muslim, but I took my time in this journey, and I'm not ashamed of it. I used to make mistakes – I skipped prayers and fasting for almost 28 years. But in recent years I realized that if I want Allah (S) by my side, [so] I [should] obey him, right?! So, I wear hijab now, because Allah (S) asked me to!
I do not currently wear a hijab; I was raised Christian and am considering converting to Islam. I would like to wear the hijab as a sign of obedience and love. Also, I understand it is a sign of modesty. That really resonates with me. I feel that the secular world is out of control; modesty is lacking where I live. I look forward to learning more about Islam and the meaning and purpose of hijab. Thank you [to Haute Hijab and Melanie] for being there!
* Name changed on request of the author.
Why did you start wearing hijab? Share with us in the comments below!