Putting my hijab on wasn’t actually a hard decision for me.
Since I took my shahadah, I was always dreaming of wearing it outside as well.
For some Muslim women, it is a real jihad as they can’t imagine themselves wearing a veil and covering their hair.
I met many Muslim women who were praying, fasting, going to lectures, seeking knowledge, yet they always found excuses why not to wear their hijab. But Al-Hamdulil-Allah, in my case I was very attracted to hijab.
I can’t describe how much sadness and jealousy I felt when I saw a Muslim woman on the street walking with her beautiful hijab. On one hand, I was so happy to see her because in Budapest it is pretty rare to see a Muslim woman with hijab but on the other hand, I felt so disappointed as I was a Muslim too, yet I feared she will never recognize me and greeting me with “Salam”; rather she’ll simply walk away not even thinking of that she just passed by a Muslim sister. I was so disappointed as I felt “out of the group.”
Hijab was a sign of a real Muslim woman for me and I felt I am like in between: A Muslim as I already declared my faith, but still “not a real one”.
Hardships of a New Convert
This time I was almost seventeen years old. Everyone knows that assuming the faith in Islam in the West is like throwing a sheep to the wolves; it will cause many days and months of struggling and fighting with the family and friends, basically about any issue. But insha’ Allah, Allah will reward you for these hard moments and soon comes the ease.
During my last high school year, I just felt it is impossible to walk in with hijab. No way. My class already excluded me; they attacked me every day with some hurtful comments and couldn’t leave a minute without making fun of me. When I returned home, the story continued with my family. I could only find real peace while listening to the Holy Quran lying on my bed.
So, after all of this I guess my faith was just not strong enough to bear fighting for my hijab as well; it kept on burning inside.
However, I took every chance to wear hijab. When I attended any lecture of a Muslim community or visited the mosque, I quickly put it on at the entrance as I felt too embarrassed to step into the House of Allah without it, especially in front of Muslim men.
I’ll never forget when a young Arab man saw me in front of the mosque putting the hijab on. He came to me and called me a hypocrite and that I am not a real Muslim if I was not wearing the hijab properly. I got too shocked and shy but I wished to tell him what a convert is going through for Islam and wished that he understood me and gave me some kind words to encourage me, and not attack me!
Unfortunately, it is such a common mistake among Muslims in the West. All the time, we give other Muslims a good telling-off if we see they are doing something we learned differently or we’ve never seen it before so we think it’s wrong. The problem is not informing another Muslim, but the way we do that.
In my situation, this guy was right: I was wearing my hijab only in the mosque, which is wrong of course, and I was completely aware of that. I didn’t do it out of ignorance or lack of knowledge. But why did he have to use such harsh and hurtful words with a new Muslim without even asking about her circumstances?!
As a new Muslim, especially in the West, when you’re already the target of almost every member of your society and the most beloved people, your family is against you, a world collapses in a newly convert when she even gets such a “nice” treatment from her brothers and sisters in faith!
When you embrace Islam and discover the beauty of it, you think all other Muslims see it as you see. You think all other Muslims are struggling to follow the right path and that they’ll be all so kind and so nice to you. That they are your real brothers and sisters! And the more you go to the mosque and the more you interact with other Muslims the more you realize that you are just dreaming and it’s time to wake up. Muslims are human beings as well with the same good and bad characters as anyone else.
Going back to the issue of hijab, naturally this incident fastened the guilt in me. Al-Hamdulil-Allah, after high school Allah responded to my supplications and helped me to finally wear the hijab.
Next to my studies, I decided to work and find a job. It was spring holiday and I got an interview to a multinational call center. I can’t lose anything. I need to do it. I need to go with my hijab and if I am accepted in this workplace than that is it; no excuse anymore, no more procrastination. It’s time to assume my hijab.
I woke up in the morning of the interview with some fear but I confidently tied my hijab, took a big breath and stepped out of the home, the first time with my hijab. I was so worried about people’s reaction what they will do, what they will say and how they will look at me. I went to the bus stop; an elderly lady was standing there staring at me as if I was an alien as I walked toward her.
‘Everything is going to be just fine’ – I thought to myself.
And it actually was. The bus came full of people, of course staring at me with the elderly lady, but I was just thinking about Allah that now He is pleased with me, insha’ Allah, and proud of me that I finally did it. I was overwhelmed with joy and gratefulness toward Allah that He made my dream come true. I put my headset and just listened to the Quran the whole way until reaching the place of the interview while trying to ignore the staring eyes.
Alhamdulil Allah, I did great in the interview! Moreover, I didn’t get any hurtful comment or strange question. They treated me as a human being, as anyone else in the interview and it pushed my low-confidence up to the sky!
But what would be the best way to make my parents accept my hijab?
That question was still unanswered. I didn’t see any point to talk to my mom face-to-face as I already did many times before and we always ended up in a huge, long fight. As I am terrible in expressing my deep thoughts and honest feelings, I decided to write out everything in a long letter telling her everything that was hidden inside me.
An Honest Letter to my Mom
After 4 years, it is hard to remember what exactly I wrote in that letter, but I know I wrote it from my heart. I only remember one part clearly which was something like this:
“Aren’t you grateful to someone when he gives you a present or does for you a favor?
Won’t you be particularly kind to him after that, thank him and always look for an opportunity to please him?
Well, God gives us everything. Just look around: we’re alive, we’re healthy, we have a nice home, a car, work – I just got a job – my sister is a great student at school … we’ve got everything and if we want something, we ask God to help and grant it to us and in sha’ Allah, He will. Then, shall we not be grateful to Him?
And He can do anything! He can change anything! Shall we not try to do as He asked us to do in order to please Him? You’re trying to please dad, your boss, your children, your parents, even your neighbors. So why wouldn’t we want to please God who is actually the only One who can give us or take it away in the blink of an eye.
Hijab belongs to me; it is part of me, part of being a Muslim. As you cover an expensive jewel from the inquiring looks, women in Islam (and not just in Islam) are wearing the veil and covering themselves for the same purpose because women are precious.
Please, understand that it is very important for me, I am really suffering from not wearing it and I can’t endure it anymore. Please, forgive me for everything and look at who I became since I am a Muslim; I am more kind to you; I am helping you in everything you ask for. Don’t look at what I can’t please you with because I can’t take off my hijab. It is something beyond me and it is only for God. But look at what I do for you and insha’ Allah, I will do even more than that.”
At the end, I asked my mom to accept me with hijab because I can’t come home without it. I left the letter on the dining table. I took some clothes as well with me as I decided to spend the next few days at the home of one of my best Muslim friends to give her some time to think.
Al-Hamdulil-Allah, nothing can destroy the love a mother feels towards her child. She called me immediately that night crying that of course she accepts me with or without hijab; it doesn’t matter as long as it makes me happy.
So never lose hope in anything and put your full trust in Allah because He is the Most Powerful and the All-Knowing.
If you keep asking Him and you’re sincere in your supplication, Insha’ Allah He’ll always be there for you!