November 24, 2018 05:00 PM | by Samar Salim
The View from Behind a Hijab
No matter where you are in your hijab journey, I hope that I can inspire and encourage you through my experiences, inshaAllah. What is the meaning of Hijab? In Islam, it means to “cover” but for me, it means not only to cover your hair, but also your soul and manners.
For me it was, I could not stop thinking about the obligation of fulfilling GOD’s wishes. Maybe you need advice on how to start dressing more modestly, maybe you already wear hijab and are struggling with self-confidence and are in need of motivation to continue on. I was once in a place where I needed advice on how to start dressing modestly, struggling with my self-confidence and in need of motivation. I have been that girl in all of those scenarios, and after many years of wearing hijab, I can say that I have some good advice to share.
While growing up, I said to myself “I will wear it when I get married or something/ maybe when I start having kids/when I’m old and ugly.” When I started to get stronger spiritually, I started to realize that this was something beyond my initial thoughts of postponing it until a certain event in my life; it was a call that I needed to answer.
Why was I waiting? Every new day living is God’s gift; God was talking to me and I wanted to reply. I decided to give myself a time frame, it really helped keep me focused and work towards my goal.
So, despite all the questions and doubts, I started my journey. How was it going to be? Well, I had no idea, but a path is only made when we pass through it, right? And of course the obstacles were there. In my professional life, for example, I encountered lack of equal opportunities frequently; once I wished to work in a specific place that unfortunately didn’t allow veiled girls to join their team. Moreover, I was working in a company and had to attend a meeting, but the client disliked hijabi girls. Although my boss asked me in a polite way to not attend the meeting, deep inside of course I felt uncomfortable in such situation. Why this mentality? My professional skills should be the most important, not a scarf around my head.
In the personal sphere it was no different, once I was out with my friends and we wanted to go to a specific place, but veiled girls were not allowed there. The idea of not being allowed to enter a place because of my hijab, my choice, makes you wonder and feel as if it it's shameful, but it's not! This happened other times as well. One of the most ironic ones, was when I was invited to one of the most luxurious and well-known car brands event (so I was a guest, right?) and was not allowed to enter – although I own a car of this brand myself!
But why am I giving these examples? Well, because obstacles will be everywhere, those specifically let me feel that I was unaccepted in this society and this was my main concern. At that time, I started pole dancing, it's something that I do without wearing the hijab, and it's the same if I did! I succeeded as there was no burdens. But anyway, life is a great teacher, and through these situations I realized I had a message to deliver.
From that period of time, I decided that hijab was going to be my crown! Simultaneously, I majored in Graphic Design and discovered the importance of design the most.
I am trying to make hijab looks so fashionable and effortless, so it helps me feel confident with my decision. However, I chose not to copy other girls style and outfits, and remember the most important thing is to stay true to myself.
This made everything easier in finding my own style...whether it was girly, minimal, boho, sophisticated....I knew I could incorporate hijab into my personal style and still be the same girl I have always been.
Even though I cover myself for modest purposes, I am attentive towards my figure and beauty, which really helped with my self-confidence. To me it's definitely more than just a scarf around your hair (even though that is the scariest part).
I know it's a process, so take your time. When I was a teenager I always dressed pretty modestly, for example, at the beginning I didn’t really take into consideration how tight my clothes were. Still, I made sure that I wore long pants and long sleeved shirts every day, which was a great start, until it began to be normal. Starting slow was hands down the best thing I could have ever done while preparing to wear hijab. It made the transition so much easier! So here is my advice, start by wearing gradually longer sleeves and gradually increase the length of your bottoms, even if you’re starting with a mini skirt! I highly recommend you do this if you want to wear hijab.
I was worried about what people would think of me, but thank God I have had absolutely no problems. If I ever feel any negativity towards my hijab, I always bring myself right back to the reason I started in the first place. For me hijab is fulfilling a sense of purpose, and it makes me feel so strong, and as I wear my hijab, I feel growth and realize how comfortable I am when I am wearing it.
However, I ask you to remind yourself of where you started.Don’t look at girls who are wearing skinny jeans and a headscarf with judgmental eyes, it’s just a phase in the whole process.
We are not worried about how our bodies look to other people as we pass by, because they are not who we are trying to impress. We are not worried if our way of life does not fit into the puzzle pieces of society, because that is not who we are striving to please.
Fashion is often a reflection of the cultural conversation, and today there are more options than ever for dressing modestly. Now that I feel more confident in hijab, I can’t describe to you the feeling I have when I wear it out in public.
If you just think about this little piece, and it’s magic, how it transfers me to another person once I wear it, the you will know that hijab became my lifestyle. When I started wearing it, I didn’t know how it was going to be; I only knew I wanted to continue my life with it as I want to let people accept it. It made me feel special.
Hijab will not stop you from anything you want to do in your life! You may have to work harder to find modest clothing, , but this will transform your hijab, to your crown.