As-Salamu `Alaikum dear sister,
It seems you have some difficulty making a decision whether to begin wearing a hijab or not, and it appears that there are pros and cons to either choice you make. One of the first things I would like you to ask yourself is, “Why do you want to wear hijab? What is driving your decision?”
- Is it because your mother wears it and you simply believe it is the right thing to do?
- Is it because you believe it is unIslamic to not wear a hijab?
- Is it because you are uncomfortable with your body image?
- Is it because you believe this is the only way one can be modest in her appearance?
- Is it because most of your friends wear hijab?
These are just some possible answers, none of which might be yours, but I want you to truly ask yourself these questions and thoroughly understand and justify why exactly you want to wear hijab.
Culture can play a big role in influencing us, but I want you to make this decision solely based on your own preference as opposed to an indirect influence from your culture or society. You are 17 years old, a teenager. Developmentally, every teenager goes through a stage when they are trying to understand their identity, their role, and place in society. You have been going through exactly that. I have come across several teenagers who have swayed back and forth about their hijab decision. This is a time in your life where you will experiment with identities and perhaps this is the one you have chosen to experiment with.
With that said, it is completely okay for you to experiment and see how you feel about wearing hijab and making changes in your life. At the end of perhaps a year, you may feel like this is the best decision you ever made. Or at the end of six months, you may feel like this is not something you want and would like to discontinue.
As much as your parents would not want you to discontinue wearing hijab, at the end of the day, you, the person wearing the hijab, must do so wholeheartedly in the eyes of Allah (swt). If that is not the case, then don’t fool yourself and others.
The concept of hijab in Islam is directly related to modesty. Can you live a modest life without wearing hijab? If after say six months of wearing hijab, you feel that you can still live a modest life without a hijab, then do so and be true to yourself and Allah (swt). I know in cultures and societies we are all afraid of what the community will say if we decide to discontinue wearing hijab. You may be ridiculed. But be assured you are not wearing the hijab for all those people; it is only for yourself and Allah (swt). Therefore, this decision should be made for the sake of Allah (swt) and not all those other people.
Like I mentioned before, developmentally, it is very normal for someone at your age to try something like this to see if this is going to be their chosen lifestyle. It is also very normal for someone your age to try it and then decide that it isn’t for them and then move on.
Wearing hijab is a commitment that must be taken seriously. However, no matter how strict of a hijab you wear, Allah (swt) will first detect what your intention is, i.e. “Why have you decided to wear the hijab?” That is why I cannot stress enough how important this question is.
No offense to those who religiously wear hijab and are practicing Muslims, but there are several Muslim women who wear hijab but their intentions are completely the opposite of what a woman who wears hijab should have. For example, some women wear hijab, appearing to be very modest; however, they are doing everything possible to attract men. In other words, they are getting away with these behaviors because they believe the hijab will shield them and their honor. Clearly, this is not acceptable in Allah’s eyes, but Allah (swt) knows best. I am by no means stating that you will do such a thing; all I’m saying is that you need to be very clear with your intention.
Certainly, wearing hijab requires some lifestyle changes. Are you prepared to make these lifestyle changes? Lifestyle changes include changing your wardrobe, your environment, your lifestyle, your whereabouts, your activities, etc. Have you thought about all these changes? Of course, this does not mean that you cannot be a public speaker or interact with men if you wear a hijab. You certainly can – in a modest, Islamic way.
In today’s day and age, there are very fancy hijabs, headdresses, and unique ways of wrapping a hijab. All these certainly cost money but you don’t need them to start wearing hijab.
If money is your concern,
– Start out by wearing a simple black hijab on all outfits until you can start affording more. You can also use old clothes, scarves, shawls etc. to make hijabs.
– Try to Google or search some YouTube videos, I’m sure you will find something.
– Also, if you want to still make use of your old wardrobe, you can try searching online for arm covers. They are like long knee high socks, except they are worn on the arms. A lot of middle-eastern hijab stores/websites sell them. You can wear those on your arms and still wear all your short sleeve tops. You can also layer a long sleeve t-shirt inside your short sleeve tops.
This decision can be very overwhelming; therefore, I want you to take it one step at a time.
– First of all, ask yourself those questions I mentioned in the very beginning and take some time to think over those.
– Then, do a trial for a week; wear the hijab wherever you go and see how you feel.
– Also, make sure you talk to your immediate family members and educate them that it is developmentally appropriate for a teenager to try something new and possibly discontinue if you don’t feel comfortable later on. Allah (swt) knows best.
– Since money is an issue, start off with something basic like a plain black hijab made of some old clothes of yours. Be assured that if your intention is strong. Things like finances, limited availability or getting bored of hijab, etc. will not be reasons for you to discontinue your hijab. Allah (swt) is looking for a deeper thought process than this. If you don’t have it at this time, give it some time and perhaps start in Ramadhan. Don’t rush yourself and don’t be hard on yourself either decision you make.
Always remember that you are making this decision for the sake of Allah (swt) and only Allah (swt). Whatever decision you choose, be strong and firm about it and don’t let other people influence you in any way.
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