This blog post is about my hijab journey and abaya story, I have received a lot of emails asking me to write this blog and explain how I arrived to where I am in terms of wearing my hijab. My name is Suriya, 26 years old and happily married since early this year! KhaleejiAbaya have given me the opportunity on their blog section to talk about my personal struggles in wearing the hijab/abaya and how I overcome it.
So in terms of my hijab story, it is not something amazing or miraculous, it’s pretty much the same as everyone else. In the past, I have tried wearing the hijab a few times and I think the first instance was in school in sixth form so I was around 16 or 17 years old and I wore it during Ramadan. My intention was to only wear it for Ramadan and to take it off after whilst carrying on with my life. Certain people did state that I am “part time hijabi” and I should either wear it constantly or not to completely. I was not really ready and did not think it was that important for me to wear the hijab at that age.
I went to an all girls secondary school and fair enough we did have a hand full of male teachers but the majority of teachers were females. The school that I attended was extremely segregated and everybody had their own “clicks”, the hijabis tending to stick together in their own groups. I was obnoxiously loud as a teenager, being involved in everything and I always felt people would treat me differently if I wore my scarf.
Wearing The Abaya For Fashion
There was a certain stereotype in my school and I guess looking back I was also stereotyping hijabi girls the same way which is really bad, and now seeing things from the other side, I wish I had worn it full time. When I did wear it full time, a lot of the non Muslim girls were surprised and telling me your not religious, you talk to boys, you get involved in this situation, how comes your wearing this hijab now? So I guess in terms of educating people, it was a good thing wearing the hijab and my scarf has always been like this for me. I know it is a commandment for me to cover and wear my hijab to be more modest but for me it always been a form of giving dawah to people. When people see you and meet you for the first time, and before you say anything, they make a judgement by the way you look. We all do it to other people and it gets done to us on a daily basis.
I constantly have a battle in my hands to break that stereotype and explain to the person that it is my choice, explain the reason I wear it and that it is still the same me inside and outside regardless of this piece of cloth on my head. I guess over the years since I have been wearing the scarf, it’s got a lot easier and I guess when people ask me why do I still wear jeans or makeup and whether it defeat the purpose of the hijab, for me the hijab is not just about being modest but also showing people that I am a Muslim who is committed to my faith and I won’t make religious compromises to achieve other goals in life.
Struggling To Wear The Hijab
Back to my story, I wore the hijab a couple times and I confess I did struggle. I wanted to wear it full time but one aspect that stopped me was the fact that I was doing things that are not considered 100% right, 100% Islamic or 100% halal. In the area where I live, it is a small town and there would be a group of girls who would wear the hijab but also be the complete opposite of what a good Muslim should be when nobody was looking and I did not want to be seen like that and have people say that I am only wearing the hijab because of pretending to be good or because my mum made me wear it. When the time was right, I wanted to wear the hijab for myself and eliminate anything I was doing that was incorrect.
It was during university, that I finally did surround myself with sisters who did wear the hijab for the right reasons which made me realise that nobody really cares about the reason why somebody wears a hijab except for yourself. It was then I realised in my head that I will never be ready or perfect enough to wear the hijab. I had to stop this mentality that once I stop doing this wrong or that wrong, only then I should start wearing the hijab but in reality that never happens since we will always be doing something wrong being humans at the end of the day.
Looking back, when I did wear it whilst I was not 100% perfect actually improved my character and self belief in Islam as it gave me a mindset of having to hold high the image of Islam by wearing the hijab and it stopped me from doing more wrongs in my life whilst also helping me to improve my Salah, behaviour and knowledge of Islam.
It was during my final year of university, I started wearing the abaya 3 years ago. One of my close friends decided to start wearing the abaya the year before and seeing her wear the abaya really helped me as she was a really bubbly, loud and energetic person which did not change after she started wearing the abaya which changed my perspective in knowing that if I dressed differently, it doesn't mean others will treat me any differently. I find myself lucky to also be in a university that was multi-cultural with lots of university clubs and groups that I could still attend and even the non-muslims did not treat me any differently because of what I decided to wear. I still find it shocking that everybody treated me with respect and did not isolate me because I started wearing the hijab and abaya and it comforts me knowing that others will also go experience what I went through and be happy at the end of it all, just like me.
This is my hijab and abaya story, I hope you enjoyed reading my ramblings. Thanks to KhaleejiAbaya.com for allowing me to post on their blog. Please have a look at their abayas for sale, show some love and I will be doing a Q&A in the next blog post so please stay tuned for the second part of my hijab story which will be posted only on KhaleejiAbaya.com.