Sister Mariam's Story
Bismillah Alrahman AlRaheem
Assalamu Alykum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatoo,
I have a story that I would like to share with you, hoping Insha Allah that it will benefit others. In fact, this has to do with my own personal experience regarding the hijab and proper hijaab. It also has to do with my corrupted teenage years and how Islam changed my life. I was raised in the United States most of my life.
I attended public schools here. I wasn't always wearing hijab, even after reaching puberty. My parents have always tried to convince me to wear it, but I refused. At one point, they forced me to wear it and that only made me hate it even more. I was about 11 or 12 years old when they forced me to wear it. I didn't like the attention I got from other children. I didn't like people asking me so many questions about it, even though I knew all the answers.
Most of my classmates liked it and already knew I was going to wear it one day, because they always saw my mother wearing it. People would even stop me in the street and ask me where they can buy a scarf like mine. They liked the materials and designs to them. (They were not Muslims.) As much as everyone around me accepted it, I still hated wearing it.
I was young and stupid. I wanted to show my hair the way the other girls did. I wanted to use all the new hair clips that came out. I wanted to practice all the new hairstyles on myself. I was raised in a society where, looks meant EVERYTHING.
Eventually I started to take off the scarf secretly. I was afraid my parents would find out, but I didn't even think twice about Allah (swt). I can still remember the feeling I had when I was leaving to school. I would actually read all the Quran I know and beg Allah not to let my parents find out. When I look back, first I say Estakhfarallah then I begin to wonder how I was able to do something like that. Why did it make so much sense back then? I wasn't too happy with the effect of the Dua (supplication) that I made.
Within days, my parents found out everything. Elhamdoulilah, Allah saved me from a lot of sins that I was going to commit over and over again, (such as lying and hiding the hijab). After my parents found out, they ordered me to keep it off at all times. They gave me more lectures on respecting the hijab and standing up for it. Being the young hardheaded child I was, they still couldn't convince me. I went through my junior high school years without hijab.
I never felt guilt or anything at all. I was too busy running my fingers through my hair and accepting compliments from everyone. Soon after junior high school I discovered cosmetics, which made things a lot worse. I began high school without the hijab. I also began shopping for clothing that stood out a little more. My parents didn't let me go too far with that. I wasn't allowed to dress in tight or short clothing. High school was a horrible experience for me. I changed schools three times within four years. I had problems everywhere I went. I was lost and confused all through those years.
At one point I didn't want to live anymore, so I decided I'd take my own life. (Estakhfarallah!!!) I had problems with my family, school, and everything else that mattered to me at the time. I tried in many ways to take my life, but Subhana Allah, when Allah decides its time for me to die, then that's when I'll die. I didn't realize that before, I just kept trying and something always held me back. I would always recover and end up on my two feet again. I moved to my third school in my junior year of high school. There were many Muslims in that school and I thought that would be better for me.
Unfortunately, I was wrong. Everyone seemed like a hypocrite to me. I saw girls that wanted to be something other than what they really were. Basically, I saw about fifty or more copies of me. I just didn't realize that I was one of them. This was where my life began to change completely. I stopped keeping in touch with all my friends; I began to study hard to raise my grades. I finally decided it was time to wear the hijab. I woke up one day and left the house wearing it.
I was very proud of what I did. I had to put up with a lot of racial comments and dirty remarks, but I didn't care what anyone thought anymore. I wanted to please Allah (swt). Although I wore hijab through the last two years of high school, later I realized it wasn't the right hijab. I used to wear jeans and always had a touch of makeup on, before I left the house. Once again, I didn't realize what I was doing until I've seen other girls doing it. I visited Egypt about a year and a half ago. I went there seeking to learn more about Islam. The outcome wasn't too great. My trip to Egypt only made me realize that many other girls are falling into the same trap that I was in.
I was really surprised when I saw the way the women dressed out there. I didn't know where else to turn. Eventually, (Elhamdoulilah) I turned to the main source of Islam. After high school, I stayed home and studied the Quran. I began to see how beautiful our religion was. I realized that all the answers to life were right here in this holy book. So I took it step by step and followed everything I was supposed to follow. After studying the Quran, I moved on to hadiths. I began to follow the Quran and Sunnah as much as I could.
The past year has been one of the best years of my life. I am now 19 years old, still home from school (I haven't found the right Islamic University yet) and I'm still studying Islam on my own. I also began tutoring young children, which really makes me feel good. I also try to give as much Dawah as I can to young teenage girls. I can relate to many of them and I know what it is like to grow up in this country. My goal is to save as many Muslim teenagers as I can and also invite many others to Islam.
I have a lot of work to do, I will never stop trying to do more for Islam and Allah, Insha Allah. I also wear the proper hijaab now. My parents believe that I have taken it from one extent to the other. But, with Allah's help, (Insha Allah) they will soon understand, the Importance of proper hijaab (according to Sunnah). I have many tips for mothers and young sisters regarding hijab and proper hijaab in the USA (or anywhere else in the world). I will send you those tips in a later email (Insha Allah). Thank you for considering my story to help reach others. I hope Allah guides us all to the straight path (Insha Allah).
WaSalamu Alykum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatoo.