Husband’s Family Expects Me to Wear Hijab

04 June, 2018
Q As-Salamu Aleikom. I have a question. I have been a convert for about 3 years, but it has not been easy for me. I felt excluded most of the time, did not receive any help when I had a postnatal depression except my non-Muslim family and friends. I only learn about Islam from the internet since I have been excluded and my husband is not a very good imam.

Now, I was asked to visit my husband's family for 2 weeks, but they asked me to wear hijab. I actually don't want to wear hijab only because of the family, and I rather don't share my conversion story since it is too personal. How can I deal with these people?


In this counseling answer:

• If you wear it, do it for Allah and your own personal growth.

• Try to make the best of the situation that is presented.

• If you feel depressed, please seek counseling.

As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,

Congratulations on your reversion to Islam. While it may seem like one test and trial after another right now, in sha’ Allah it will get easier.

I remember when I took shahadah, I was told by an older sister, who was Muslim for about 25 years, that I should not be surprised if I don’t get much help in the mosque in learning how to pray, learning Islam and so forth.  She learned how to pray for an 8-year-old child. I was kind of shocked but knew that as in any religion or group, there are issues among the people which have nothing to do with the religion. Suffice to say, I too had to teach myself and learn from the internet until I met an imam who taught classes and made my daughters and I feel welcomed.

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At any rate, I am telling you this because I sense loneliness, depression, anger, and disappointment in your words. I just want to say, it’s not Islam, it’s not Allah (SWT), but it is the problem with some Muslims who should be welcoming and helpful but they’re not. Since my reversion 14 years ago, I have met many wonderful sisters alhumdulilah, but yes, those first few years were hard.

Should You Wear the Hijab When Visiting Your Husband’s Family?

Now for your question, as you are going to see your relatives and you usually do not wear hijab, you can state that you will not comply and you will not wear it (which may cause some confusion as you are Muslim). Or you can pray on it, asking Allah (SWT) to give you the strength and courage to wear it just for this occasion.

I do suggest the second option sister. Why? Because it is only two weeks, because you will being shown respect, and because you will be pleasing Allah. Do it for Allah and your own personal growth. I know it’s difficult to get use to hijab if you have not grown up wearing one, but all things come in time.

You may also feel angry due to being rejected when you should have been accepted, nurtured, and shown love by Muslim sisters. Hence, you desire to reject the “symbol” that identifies you as Muslim (the hijab). It is understandable my dear sister, and I am so sorry that your introduction to the Islamic “family” was anything less than joyful. Rest assured, however, that in Islam there are good sisters who would have loved to be by your side, helping you and being a true sister.

Check out this counseling video:

Allah Knows What’s Good for Us

As far as this trip to see your husband’s family, what you see as bad for you may, in fact, turn out to be good. Allah (SWT) has a way of making seemingly negative things beautiful. It could be when you go, you will meet Muslims there who embrace you and treat you as a family.

While I don’t know your relationship with your husband’s family, it could be that Allah has other plans for you there to increase your faith, joy and feeling a part of the true Islam which is love and sisterhood. You may find that once you wear hijab in new surroundings, you may begin to lose the hurt, pain and feelings of rejection and find a new found sense of unity and peace and belonging.

Make the Best Out of the Situation

Sister, I would encourage you to try to make the best of the situation that is presented. Go with the attitude of openness to new experiences and meeting new sisters in the mosque and community. You may be surprised what Allah has for you. Wear your hijab with determination and pride, for no one can take that away from you; no one can stop your blessings from Allah. If you are still apprehensive about the hijab, look at it as an “experiment”. How will you feel in a different place among different people as a Muslimah in hijab? It might feel good.

Make du’aa’ to Allah (SWT) that He makes this easy for you and that He blesses you in your sacrifices and journey. I say this because I do not know what is going on in your life, especially with your husband, but I sense you have made a lot of sacrifices, and you have not been appreciated as you should be.

If You Decided to Not Wear the Hijab…

If you decide that you just cannot wear hijab, then state so clearly saying it is between you and Allah (SWT). In the end, that is the truth. They will either have to accept it, or they will cancel the trip.

I would also like to state that if your refusal to wear hijab puts you in any danger from anyone, seek help from your family and friends. You mentioned they helped you with postpartum depression. No one has the right to harm you sister.

Lastly, while you did not state anything about your home life or current emotional status, I just want you to know that if you are still experiencing depression, please seeking counseling as soon as possible. You are a precious Muslimah, and Allah loves you very much and does NOT want you to suffer.

While I expounded a bit on your question, I am sorry. If I am wrong, may Allah forgive me. I just felt something more was going on behind your words sister. Know that you are loved; know you are not alone.

Please let us know how things went. We do care and are keeping you in our prayers.


Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Read more:

Is It Sinful to Not Wear Hijab?

Is Hijab an Insult to Unveiled Women?

Getting Ready to Wear Hijab

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha received her PhD in psychology in 2000 and an MS in public health in 2009. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. Aisha specializes in trauma, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. Aisha works at a Family Resource Center, and has a part-time practice in which she integrates healing and spirituality using a holistic approach. Aisha plans to open a holistic care counseling center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocate for social & food justice. In her spare time she enjoys her family, martial arts classes, Islamic studies as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.