How I Became A Proper Hijaabi
Assalamu alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatuh
My name is Sameera, I am Lebanese and I was born into a traditional Muslim family 28 years ago. It was a wonderful environment to grow up in, although my whole childhood and adolescence was accompanied with the civil war as our young men fought the falangist militias and battled against Israel as well. I was a child when the Israelis invaded and I can recall their armoured cars in my home city .
Although it seemed the war would never end and it halted many things that are taken as normal in most countries, I grew up as do most young Muslimah. I went to nursery school, and I attended Quranic school at our local masjid where I learnt to recite the Holy Quran and where I was taught about our wonderful deen. However the fighting made it safer for me to be home-schooled until I went to our equivalent of High School. Like many schools here, it was 'single sex' but this did not seem to matter. I remember enjoying those classes but I was not specially devout young girl, although my parents were religious and they made sure I prayed when I should and fasted correctly when I grew old enough to do so. Also, from about the age of 11, they decided that I should dress 'properly' which meant that I covered my head and wore jilbabs or long gowns that covered me decently. As many of my friends were doing the same at that time, it seemed perfectly natural, although I still wore jeans or ordinary dresses when safe at home. When it came to playing sports, I wore a track suit which covered me decently enough as far as I was concerned.
I was 13 when one of my friends came round to see me at home wearing a proper hijaab. I was surprised even though I knew her family were religious and her mother covered her face when she left her home. Thinking back I see I was not all that surprised when I saw Nur wearing a proper hijaab; I could still recognise her from her eyes and the way she moved, and after a day or two it seemed normal to see her like that when we were away from our homes.
I progressed through High School and trained to
become an industrial designer as I had always had a liking for drawing
and design. But, when I was eighteen, my parents were put in touch with
another family. They had a son who, reluctantly, was seeking to marry
again. The reason for his reluctance was that his first wife had tragically
died of complications after childbirth. Alhamdulillah their daughter survived
and has grown up into being a intelligent and charming girl.
I have already said that my own parents were good
Muslims and made sure that I grew up as a properly behaved Muslimah. But,
although by the time I was engaged several friends of mine were wearing
proper hijaab, I had never seen any need to do so. My own parents attitude was
that I was an adult and, as such, I should make up my own mind of such
things. I know that my mother viewed the wearing of proper hijaab as being perhaps
mustahab, although she never veiled her face, and never tried to persuade
me to either. I was undecided and, to be honest, I did not bother to consider
the problem much. It was, I felt, hot enough in my country without covering
my face as well as wearing long gowns and hijaab scarves. Also I am ashamed
to admit that I liked it when people told me I was very pretty.
It was my future mother-in-law who first talked
to me about proper hijaab. Whenever she left her house she covered up completely
and she took time with me to explain why she did this. I am sure that
all the daleels will be known to the readers of this article and, anyway,
they are available elsewhere so I will not cite them here. But it was
these proofs that my future mother-in-law explained patiently too me.
Wearing proper hijaab was never made a condition of my marriage but it was clear
that it would please my new family if I did dress more discreetly than
in the past.
I used to write almost daily to my then fiancÚ and I told him about my studies. He wrote back saying he was pleased that I was seeing things as he did. For it turned out he felt that it was right for a young woman to cover herself properly in public. He had never pressured me into veiling myself, but it was plain that if I did so he would feel that his wife-to-be was acting in keeping with his wishes.
It was arranged that we should meet one last time
before our wedding to discuss one or two things with both our parents
present. It was that day when I first dressed in what I now see as being
PROPER hijaab. I not only wore proper hijaab but I wore a long khimar and had
veils lowered to conceal my eyes as well as wearing gloves and black socks
to watch the rest of my dress. My parents previously knew what I intended
and my mother had helped me obtain the correct coverings. But my in-laws
did not, and Alhamdulillah they were all so pleased that I had decided
to dress in a manner that they felt was fard. My studies had led me to
believe just as they did and I take pride in saying that I have always
worn such coverings in public since that day. From this followed on other
improvements that insh'Allah will continue to make me a better Muslimah
in the eyes of Allah (swt). I no longer talk to men in the open manner
that I once did, I keep to my home unless it is necessary to go out, and
I observe hijab of the eyes when I am with strangers or out of doors.
I am far from being a perfect Muslimah but adopting full veiling was the
first step in a journey that will take all my days. My humble efforts
at improving my behaviour has not always been easy but it is one of the
most worthwhile things I have ever done. I will continue to struggle with
my own weaknesses but I have never regretted the decision I made when
I was led into realising that full veiling is fard.