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As'salaamu Alaikum,

Being American and raised Christian , the Islamic hijab was a new concept to me, when I embraced Islam at age 16 in 95. Alhumdulillah I had adapted to what I thought was Islamic hijab a week before taking my shahadah. So the first time I really paid attention to the proper hijaab, it was the farthest thing from my mind, since just wearing a long skirt, long sleeved shirt and khimar was enough for me.

It wasn't until about six months later was the true Islamic hijab explained to me. A khimar with western styled clothing does not pass as Islamic hijab for the Muslim woman, our dress has be dictated in the Qur'an and as well as the authentic ahadiths of Muhammad[saw]. The head scarf is a khimar, when worn along with a jilbab then it becomes Islamic hijab at the minimum, and the covering of the whole body including the face and hands is the fullest, Insha'Allah.

Upon this revelation to me, I bought my first jilbab which I have given to my mother when she also embraced Islam after my marriage in 97, Alhumdulillah. I would wear this style of hijab around my fellow sisters, and every Friday to school, since I was still attending public school, which I soon left to home school after that. When I was in school I would still wear the khimar with the skirt and shirt, but I knew I could not keep doing this since I knew the correct way for the Muslimah to dress, and I enjoyed others Muslims know I was Muslim in jilbab.

After salah I used to experiment with the proper hijaab with my white khimar by wrapping the end around my face, and seeing how I looked peering out from behind the veil. I LOVED the way I looked and I couldn't wait till I could start wearing full hijab. But at the time I was under the impression [from my own understanding] the only married women should or could wear proper hijaab, and I put it off until then. In 1996 more of my friends started to embraced the full hijab, and this when the interest was reopened in me.

So , I would ask one sister who had been wearing proper hijaab when I first meet her before taking my shahadah, about it's importance and why we should wear it, and at what age should a girl start wearing it, and do we have to be married to wear proper hijaab. To my surprise you didn't have to be married to wear proper hijaab, and that it was the best dress a woman could wear because she was practicing the sunnah of Muhammad[saw] and dressing as he's [saw] wives dressed, and the female companions, etc.

Since there was a lecture coming up that summer where I lived I decided this would be the first time to try out my proper hijaab, since I'd be around fellow sisters who wore it also. There was no thought in my mind not to wear gloves along with my proper hijaab, I mean how silly it would look, me all covered up with my hands exposed. I always wore tights, stalking, socks which were solid black to keep my feet covered, and my jilbabs had always been long to cover top of my feet and drag on the ground.

So the concept of covering my hands never came up. When I'm out and about to try my best to keep my hands covered around non-mahram men, and I only remove my gloves out of necessity, like changing my children's diapers in the bath room or opening food for them. But besides that I keep my hands covered and don't remove my gloves unless at home, over a fellow sisters house, or if the women are secluded from the men at the masjid.

As for the eye veil, I started wearing when I first adapted proper hijaab, but I would switch, because at the time I didn't understand the importance of the eye veil. One day me and my mother where in a department store, and I was pregnant with my first daughter this was the fall on 97, which I had been wearing proper hijaab for almost a year now. And I noticed a male cashier looking at me, no staring at me, making me feel very uneasy. So I took my eye veil and covered my eyes with it, and he then looked away from me. At this time it accrued to me that one of the tempting parts of me where still exposed to the world, my eyes. As they say 'the eyes are the window to the soul,' and people, men mainly where seeing right into mine.

Even in proper hijaab some men still felt that they could come up and talk to me, be friendly to me, but with all of me covered there was nothing to even give them a starting point to come over, and I am in total control, Alhumdulillah. I also wear all black which for me is the best color , cause less attraction to what I have on. And I get this question from fellow sister who don't wear full hijab, about how it draws attention, etc. Yes, of course any woman covering her self in hijab is going to draw attention, and truthfully a woman in proper hijaab draws less than a woman with her face exposed, because now she's showing something for men ! to look at. Yes, they see me walking down the street, but what can they see nothing, I have now taken the power from them and given it back to me. I control what people see, Alhumdulillah.

And this is how I came to wearing the eye veil and gloves. Even if you have the veiw that proper hijaab is only mustihab still wear it. Don't put it off, this is the best dress for us, and there are many reasons for it, Alhumdulillah.

As'salaamu Alaikum,
Umm Fathimah