One of the greatest decisions a Muslim woman can make is to wear the hijab, or Islamic headscarf. It is a mercy sent from Allah to all believing women and it is meant to be worn in faith, peace and love.
Often the center of much debate, by people who never dare to consider its ‘weight’, the hijab uplifts a woman and conceals her beauty just like an oyster protecting a luminous pearl nestled within.
O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks (veils) all over their bodies (i.e. screen themselves completely except the eyes or one eye to see the way). That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful. (Quran 33:59)
Living in western countries, it can be difficult for Muslim women to observe the hijab and some even face discrimination for wearing it. New Muslims, in particular, may also grapple with wearing the hijab as it can result in increased suspicion, loss of employment or even hate crimes.
Regardless, the hijab is a Divine Decree and a religious duty that all Muslim women must strive to fulfill to the best of their abilities. In most cases, it is easy to wear and gives the wearer a sense of piety and obedience to her Lord. However, when wearing the hijab in the West, there are some strategies that make being a ‘hijabi’ all easier.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
It goes without saying that you should always be aware of your surroundings. This counts double for a woman wearing the hijab. Whether you’re going to the grocery store or walking in a parking garage, always make it a habit to park in well-lit areas near the closest entrance or exit.
Distractions, such as a cell phone or ear buds, must be avoided so that you can give your full attention to your surroundings. In the event you feel afraid or threatened, do not hesitate to call out for help or even call an emergency number. Remember, you have every right to wear the hijab and if anyone has a problem with it – it’s their problem.
Be Mindful of the Clock
The day moves fast and the hours melt away like minutes. Be mindful of the clock and prepare to complete all of your activities in the day time.
The morning can be utilized for doctor’s appointments and trips to the grocery store. The afternoon can be used to run errands or visit the mosque. But before the sun sets, plan to be secure at home. This is also the tradition of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who said:
When the wings of the night spread – or when evening comes – keep your children in, for the devils come out at that time. Then when part of the night has passed, let them go. And close the doors and mention the name of Allah, for the shaytan (devil) does not open a closed door. And tie up your water skins and mention the name of Allah, and cover your vessels and mention the name of Allah, even if you only put something over them, and extinguish your lamps. (Al-Bukhari)
In most western countries, the night is reserved for playing and various acts of vice. As the old adage goes:
“It’s better to be safe than sorry.”
And with the day’s activities complete, you can make use of the night hours for increased acts of worship and the remembrance of Allah.
Strength in Pairs
Life is unpredictable and there will always be instances where it’s safer to go out in pairs, such as visiting a new city or a seedy part of town. In this event, it’s always better to team up with a buddy or spouse to conquer situations where you feel anxious as a hijab-wearing woman.
By leaning on a loved one, you can take comfort in their strength and hold your head high. Most importantly, you send a message to anyone that would greet you with negativity that you’ve got someone to cover your back.
Ultimately, it is Allah Almighty who is the Disposer of Affairs. If you wrap your hijab around your head in obedience to the One who holds your soul, then you can seek His protection each time you wear the hijab in your daily life. As Allah Almighty reveals in the Noble Quran:
Those to whom hypocrites said, “Indeed, the people have gathered against you, so fear them.” But it [merely] increased them in faith, and they said, “Sufficient for us is Allah, and [He is] the best Disposer of affairs. (Quran 3:173)
Just as a diamond is one of the most precious gemstones known to man, the hijab is even more beautiful than the rarest one. Because it is worn in complete and total submission to the Lord of the Worlds.