|I was born in USA but I was fortunate to be raised around the world and had the opportunity to travel to several countries. I lived as far north as Alaska and as far east as Turkey where I lived my most impressionable years as a teen. There I had the pleasure of waking up to the beauty of the adhaan at dawn and listening to it as I watched the sunset over the bay from a balcony of our "high-rise apartment" in the town of Izmir. |
This was actually my first exposure to Islam, although quite unaware of it's significance at the time. It would not become a reality for me until about 10 years later.
I converted to Islam over 7 years ago alhamdulillah and went through many changes during this time. My daughter who was only 10 at the time has also followed in my footsteps Mashallah.
My biggest struggle was the idea of wearing hijab (headscarf). Initially, I insisted that I would never wear anything over my head....who would have thought that I would eventually wear proper hijaab(face veil)....Allahu Allem!
In the beginning, I started with longer blouses and pants , then graduating to skirts , Ironically, I felt like even that was a lot for me at the time! Eventually, a year later, I started to wear the headscarf...of course making sure that my hair stuck out around the front in a nice manner. (I didn't want anyone to think I was bald...hee!hee!)
Al hamdulillah, with time comes knowledge. Two years after my conversion, I married my wonderful husband Mashallah. It was then that I started to only wear jilbabs and abayas outside of my home. I went through mood swings with ups and downs at first until eventually I felt uncomfortable to dress any other way. (I even tried switching back to clothing one time and it just was not the same.)
After my marriage, we returned to the US ; living in a community where there were not any Muslims. My daughter and I were the only two hijabis in the area for miles. This is actually when I discovered the Internet and met many "cyber sisters" . Al hamdulillah, over the past couple of years I have developed many friendships this way, that inshallah will stay with me for a lifetime.
About this same time, I was starting to feel very uncomfortable when leaving the house that it had come to the point I rarely leave, except under necessity.
It was apparent to me that just wearing hijab alone was not enough to drive away some men and their gestures unfortunately. I have also been told many times that I have a very "kind" face that makes people feel at ease to talk to me. This however was very distressing for my husband.
It made him very angry and irritable when anyone would look or stare. Even in my husband's presence, men ignorant to our religion, would try and strike a conversation with me, smile and sometimes even wink. Of course many men were just trying to be "overly" friendly and their intentions were to make us feel welcome especially due to my husband's lack of the English language however, this still was not acceptable.
I believe that the final straw was our last visit to immigration when a security officer who opened the door for us when we entered came over to where we were sitting and told me I had beautiful eyes! I literally wanted to crawl under my seat; at the same time trying to calm my husband and keep him from attacking the officer! It was this day, that I seriously considered wearing proper hijaab.
Later, I discussed the idea with my husband and al hamdulillah he was very happy and supportive for me to wear proper hijaab and offered to go buy me some right away. In any case, it wasn't necessary because I already had a few that came with some of my khimar sets that I had recently purchased.
My daughter wasn't thrilled about the idea and she just kept asking me if I was sure that was what I wanted to do. (Of course I insisted it was!) She only laughed after that and even rolled her eyes a couple of times....(Aren't kids so encouraging?-smile)
My first trip outside in proper hijaab was to the grocery store. My daughter and I drove to the store we frequent and I parked the car. For the life of me, I couldn't bring myself to get out of the car! I ended up driving 30 minutes up the highway so non I knew would see me...LOL. (Now I realize just how silly I was!)
While shopping, people stared (however they did that when I wore only a headscarf too). I took comfort in the fact that they couldn't see anything though. I felt very protected and my proper hijaab offered me my own privacy. I also noticed that they often looked away quicker than before, as if they were afraid I would catch them looking at me , It didn't take very long before it became easier for me to go places with it on. Actually I felt lost without it so I made the decision to never leave home without it!
Meanwhile, I started doing my own research on the Internet looking for whatever information I could find on proper hijaab. There was very little information at that time. I was so very happy when Sister Amina, founder of the "Proper Hijaab" website created her first website, now referred to as the "Mother Site" Mashallah! It was actually Amina's site (as well as the lack of sites) that inspired me to create my own, Muslimah Inspirations. I was so happy to share with others about the proper hijab, everything just fell into place naturally. When I started creating Muslimah Inspirations, I had no clue to what I was doing. I asked friends, read books, looked for info on the web until I fell in love with it all!
Upon joining The proper hijaabi Club (also founded by Amina), I was blessed to meet many wonderful sisters there! I never imagined that there were so many sisters out there interested in proper hijaab.
This is when I also put together my first pamphlet, "Why Do You Dress Like That?", written by Sister Najiyah. I had so much fun with that, I later put together another pamphlet "Why proper hijaab?" specifically for Muslim women containing much of the information I collected during my research on proper hijaab. Al hamdulillah they have been very successful and have come in handy for myself as well.
Not long after that, I,now Associate Editor, started working with Sister Kareemah of Al-Niqab Newsletter. Together we brought the Al Niqab Support Group (ANSG) online alhamdulillah.
This is a private forum for sisters who veil or are interested in veiling to share with others. Mashallah it is here I have met many more wonderful sisters! (It was also these sisters' posts that helped inspire my own daughter to wear proper hijaab al hamdulillah. We would read them and respond to them together everyday....a mother and daughter bonding moment..).
Inshallah my goals are to continue to share Dawah with others through Muslimah Inspiration and the Proper Hijaab. I intend on keeping Amina's site, the Proper Hijaab, going in her memory, may Allah reward her with Jannah inshallah. I ask that everyone please remember us all in your dua's inshallah and for Allah to reward us all for our good deeds and forgive us for the bad. Ameen.
I want to end my story by telling all my sisters how much I love you all. Sometimes we never get the chance to say how we feel to those who have influenced us and helped us to grow; and I want to take this opportunity now to thank all of you from my heart for your friendship, encouragement and commitment to help others. Inshallah I hope we continue to grow together and increase our knowledge of this beautiful Deen for many, many, more years to come!