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Everyone is Against My Hijab

07 September, 2017
Q Assalamu alaikum. I've been facing some kind of a dilemma lately. I'm a Muslimah living with my parents and brother in a secular country. I can't work here with my hijab even though I have a master degree. I'm trying to practice my faith as much as I can. But the community here doesn't seem to have the same concerns. My own community encourages to not wear hijab, beard ...etc. to blend in the population. We shouldn't look too Muslim. My own father yells at me for wasting my degree for a piece of clothing on my head. He's not religious and becomes angry every time he sees me wearing it. I try to nicely and respectfully remind him of our deen, but he usually becomes angrier and starts swearing and dissing our religion. Besides, halaqat and Islamic seminars are very rare where I live. Access to knowledge is quite limited for Muslim women here. I would like to get married and move to the UK as it's easier to be Muslim there. But my parents don't want to leave this country. They're quite old. They only have me and my little brother. As a woman, I'm supposed to get married and move out to my husband’s home. Can I then go and live with my husband in another country or should I stay near my parents to take care of them once they reach advanced old age? I'm confused and worried about my future. I don't want to hurt my parents but I also don't want to raise children here. What should I do?


In this counseling answer:

“Be steadfast in your identity as a Muslim, even if the society or some people make it hard for you. This is your test from Allah (saw). Plan properly what you want. When planning, look at the factors that the new location provides you with. Also, think about things that it does not provide. Do not suffer in silence. Tell your parents honestly how you feel living in France.”

As-Salaam ’Aleikom sister,

Thank you for writing to us. Unfortunately, what you are telling us is a very common problem in the Western society. A lot of Muslims, especially women, are challenged by the Western culture and expectations. Surely, it’s hard to practice your religion in France. The media has shown a universal picture of how a woman should dress and how she should be acting to be ”accepted” in the society.

Ma sha’ Allah, it is good that you are strong and willing to even move from your country to keep your values. Not many people think like you. You have a higher education, so work would not be a problem for you if you moved to the UK in the future, in sha’ Allah.

However, your parents should support you to wear hijab and should not be negative about it. You are following Islam and it is your personal choice to decide whether you want to stay in France without a job or go somewhere else and keep your values and practice your religion without it affecting your career.

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Feeling Excluded

It is a painful situation for a person to not feel accepted for who they are. Feeling excluded from the society hurts psychologically. A lot of research has shown that being rejected can make people feel sad and angry. Rejection of a person can reduce one’s self-esteem, sense of control, and the sense of having a meaningful existence.

Be steadfast in your identity as a Muslim, even if the society or some people make it hard for you. This is your test from Allah (saw). I know many employers reject people with hijab, but there will surely be many who will employ you because of your skills. Be patient and keep applying everywhere.

Make a decision: France or UK?

Consider your well-being when making a decision whether you want to change career and apply for jobs that are more hijaab friendly in France or change the country. Remember, your brother will not have the same barriers when it comes to working. It might be easier for him to stay in this country and look after your parents financially.

Your life in the UK can give you and your children a brighter future. There are more opportunities work-wise, well established Islamic schools/education, and a large Muslim community which will give you the chance to educate your children more Islamically. You will be surrounded by other Muslims without feeling excluded. Therefore, the best option would be that your parents relocate as well with you.

Treat parents with kindness                           

There is nothing wrong with moving to the UK after you get married to someone there. But you should always remain kind and respectful to your parents. Make sure you visit them from time to time and speak to them on the phone so they do not feel alone.

Allah (swt) has said in the Qur’an:

Your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be kind to parents. Whether one of both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of contempt, nor repel them, but address them in terms of honour. And, out of kindness, lower to them the wing of humility, and say, `My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy even as they cherished me in childhood.” (17:23-24) 


Moving to another country is not easy, but you will have to find out your motivation to move to the UK. Plan properly what you want. When planning, look at the factors that the new location provides you with. Also, think about things that it does not provide. Look at the factors that influence your current life in France, both in a positive and negative way.

Here are a few factors you will have to look at when you are considering moving:

  • Quality of life at the neighborhood and community
  • Climate
  • Social support, family, and friends
  • Ability to be productive, purposeful and creative
  • Sense of safety and trust
  • Perceived stress, worry, and anger in the community
  • Cost of living, socioeconomic stability, and employment security
  • Community alignment with personal values
  • Access to learning and stimulation activities.

I know your biggest motivation to move to the UK is to get work and be more productive. But there are so many other factors that are worth looking at because they are important to make a satisfying life too. Overall, are you happy in France? Or do you feel that most of the factors I just mentioned above are not fulfilling where you live now?

Talk to parents and family

This is important to discuss with your parents. Tell them how you feel and what you might want to do about the situation. Your father may not understand you because he is not religious, but you can at least try to explain to them what bothers you and how it affects your mental health.

You are in tension and worried about your life. Psychological tension is similar to stress. For you to feel better, you need to discuss your issues with your parents or a family member. In addition, it’s always good to have some moral support and advice from people close to you when you might be going to take such a big step. They may not agree with you, but that’s not the point. You just want to talk so you can clear your mind. Do not suffer in silence. Tell them how you feel living in France.

Pray and follow your heart

I would advise you to keep strong and pray to Allah (swt) to guide to the right path. If you feel that you and your children will have a much better life in the UK, it might be a good idea to move and start your life there. Remember, follow your gut feelings, your intuitions.

You can listen to your gut feelings by pausing and listening to your inner voice. If you feel uncomfortable, don’t ignore it. Try finding out what made you uncomfortable. Have an open mind and let yourself listen to your inner thoughts. This way, you can train yourself to improve the accuracy of your inner voice, In sha’ Allah.

May Allah (swt) make it easier for you and guide you the right path.



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.

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