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What if I Take off My Hijab?

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Reply Date

May 06, 2017

Question

As-Salamu `Alaykum. I converted to Islam two years ago, alhamdulillah, and Allah almighty gave me a wonderful husband and even a job. Because I wear hijab, I don’t have many chances in a conservative and xenophobic country such as Greece. Now, I know you have already answered so many questions about hijab and non-Muslim families, but everyone believes her situation to be a particular one. I don’t need to say that my parents don’t like Islam and are full of prejudices, anyway, alhamdulillah, I made them overcome some of their previous ideas. I must say that they’re now quite tolerant of my choice even if sometimes they insult me and my husband, but they cannot accept the hijab. They have never seen me wearing it outside of my home, but once my mother saw me praying and had a nervous breakdown because she saw me with the headscarf on; she thinks it brings bad luck. She refused to talk to me for six months and cried every day; she also went to the hospital. I had too much pity and I took off the hijab to visit her. Since that moment, I’m living a double life: I wear the hijab in the city where I live and take it off to visit my parents. I feel so hypocritical, but every time I tried to visit them wearing hijab, they refused to let me in their home. Then they fell ill, and my younger brother has to take care of them. I don’t find it right to leave all thing to him. My brother used to support me, but know he’s tired of the whole situation, and I think he’s right. I know the best thing to do is to make a lot of du`aa's (supplications) to Allah to change my parents’ minds, but in the meantime, what should I do? Is it worse to take off the headscarf when I visit them (but I still dress very modestly) or to make them suffer and break contact with them? Once an Imam told me that people who break the relationship with their parents will never enter Paradise; thus, he advised me to give up wearing hijab when I see them even if it’s not good. I feel so bad about all this. I would welcome your advice. May Allah bless you.

Counselor

Answer


What if I Take off My Hijab?

Answer:

As-Salamu ‘Aleikom,

May Allah (swt) Most High bless you and strengthen you on this illuminated path to which He has guided you. As you sacrifice in His way, remember that to keep your intentions pure and you will be blessed both in this life and the next. At each step along your path, especially in the current climate in Europe, people may try to block you from strengthening and developing a beautiful relationship with your Lord. You might feel they discriminate you as a Muslim woman who wears the veil. Please remember to persevere with the aim of pleasing Him and trust that He sees all and knows all.

May Allah (swt) make you be like Summayah, the first to die in the path of Allah (swt). Her passion and love for Allah (swt) kept her patient until the end. And remember the du`aa’ (supplication) of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) when he left Taif; he had spent some days there calling people to Islam, only to be stoned, hit, and jeered at by the children of the city. When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) left, with blood running down his body, he raised his hands and prayed, caring only that Allah (swt) was pleased with him. The reward of those who sacrifice in the way of their Lord is “gardens beneath which rivers flow where all their needs and desires will be satisfied.”

The situation of sisters who convert to Islam is often filled with trials, especially when they decide to wear the veil. While many families may be able to eventually deal with the other aspects of her changing her way of life, hijab serves to be a powerful and very visual reminder of that shift. It may reinforce feelings of anger, frustration, despair, worry, anxiety, and even depression amongst non-Muslim relatives. Unfortunately, and wrongfully so, in some cases, people also view the Muslim veil as the loss of liberty and freedom and the beginning of servitude and oppression. In other cases, as it is with your mother, there are cultural or superstitious beliefs attached to it as well. She believes that wearing the veil will bring bad luck.

Simply, there is no need for you to feel hypocritical about your situation. It is one of the challenges that many others like you have had to deal with and will continue to deal with as more women come to Islam. Perhaps your mother may change with time, but only Allah (swt) knows this. Your duty now is primarily the pleasure of Allah (swt) Most High, doing what He commands and being kind and keeping your ties with your family members, especially your parents.

Since your mother has become so antagonistic towards hijab, and it has impacted not only her relationship with you but also her health, and now your brother’s support for you is affected, I would recommend that you wear your veil all the time except when you get to the door of your parent’s home. At that time, you can replace it with a hat or something else. Once you are inside their home there is no need for you to wear the veil anyway. Should a stranger be present, you can resume wearing the hat or simply remove yourself by making some excuse. 1-2-15_Uncovered_1

In this way, you will maintain a relationship with your parents and perhaps be able to further influence them by being kind to them and through your behavior and manners. Additionally, you will be able to restore and re-develop the relationship with your brother. He has been sympathetic towards you and your right to do what is Islamically appropriate. Perhaps in this way, he too may come to the light and guidance of Islam. Once you leave their home, you can put back on your scarf. This is not being a hypocrite dear sister. Allah (swt) knows your situation. By doing this, you will fulfill your duty to Allah (swt), and you will maintain the ties of kinship with your family members.

In the meantime, continue to pray and make du`aa’ that Allah (swt) moves their hearts towards His light. We pray that Allah (swt) Most High blesses you, makes this situation resolve itself, and guides your family to Islam through the examples of you and your husband. Please keep us informed about your situation.

And Allah (swt) knows best.

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About Jeewan Chanicka

Jeewan Chanicka is from Toronto, Canada, and has been involved in working with youth, education, and social services issues since 1993. He graduated with a bachelor's degree with honors in individualized studies at York University with a focus on conflict resolution and culturally appropriate forms of mediation. He has done much work with both youth and adults, especially around parenting, teenage and youth issues, and bridging the gap between generations.

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