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When I first started wearing the abaya it was really hard, it was harder than wearing the niqaab. People always find it as a shock that wearing the abaya was more difficult than wearing the niqaab. People always ask me about how it is like wearing the niqaab and wearing abayas. I always found it difficult to believe I could wear the abaya as I was afraid people will look at me differently and make comments judging me.
I started to have frequent conversations with people about wearing abayas and explaining why I started wearing it. Initially, I wore my hijab with modest dresses and knew deep down that it might be modest but it’s not the abaya or khimar Allah talks about in the Qur’an. After contemplating it many times, I knew that I had to start wearing the correct abaya.
In early 2015, I had the opportunity to go Umrah with my whole family and it was only then that I started wearing the abaya in Saudi Arabia. During my time in Saudi I thought to myself that if I am able to wear my abaya in this heat every day under the burning sun then I sure will be able to wear it back in London.
After I returned I ensured I kept the abaya on every day. My friends and colleagues started commenting on my decision to wear it. People always ask me why I don’t just wear a long dress without the hijab but the thing is the hijab and the abaya is one that comes together in my opinion. The hijab which is also known as the khimar and the abaya should be worn together and should not be separated because as soon as you separate the items of clothing then you start to question how you should wear it, if it is modest and you start to constantly fight with yourself.
How I felt about wearing the abaya?
I think it was more about understanding why I was wearing it and I believe it was a direct result of me starting to pray five times a day and wanting to became more practising. I found this very difficult wearing the abaya and hijab living in London which some consider the heart of the fashion industry and cosmetic industry, it was like going against everything I grew up seeing. I found it very hard during the summer as I saw people wearing different clothes and I started to miss it. Eventually it started becoming easier. Now it’s become a part of my life and I can’t even imagine stepping out of the house without an abaya.
Searching for Modest Abayas
I feel happier wearing an abaya and have a whole collection of abayas, hijab and khimars. I have also recently started to wear the jilbab, which is an overhead all-in-one covering, and many scholars believe that the jilbab is the correct covering for women. There are lots of abaya designs that I have and I always look for fresh styles that still confirm to Islamic modesty when I go abroad on holiday. My favourite is an open abaya which I wear regularly.
Wearing the niqaab and abaya is one of the best things I have done and I would advise everyone reading this to start doing their research about the abaya and find out the real reasons to why we as Muslims wear abayas. It is important to understand why we wear it and then it will be easier.