Hijab Series: What I Got Out of Wearing Hijab

Third in my hijab series is a post from Rahila Ovais, blogging at https://diaryofahijabimommy.wordpress.com/ 


It has been about five years since I started wearing hijab. I cover up whenever I am out of the house without my husband. He doesn’t like me with hijab yet. He probably thinks people will assume he is the one forcing me to wear it.  I hope and pray that if I continue with determination, he will also come to terms with my choice.

Before I started taking hijab I used to look at all other hijabi sisters with respect and admiration and wished I could be as strong and brave as them, I used to ask them to pray for me too that Allah gives me Hidaya (guidance).  Inspiration came to me in many ways. I had attended a lecture during my last pregnancy and the lecturer described how a woman when she gives birth becomes as pure as the baby. The way she described it gave me goose bumps and sent chills down my spine. I wished I had been enlightened earlier.

I remember the first day when I walked into my work with my hijab on, I was ready for a few weird looks and a lot of questions. It was to my uttermost surprise that there were no weird looks; in fact most of my coworkers complimented me. Few had questions, like what made me decide to wear hijab after all these years. To them my answer was simple “because I have to, my religion prescribes it for me, and because I want to set a good example for my girls and if not now then when?”

It was interesting to note that my coworkers were more supportive than family!  My family is a reflection of modern day Muslim. It is a general opinion on my husband and in-laws’ side that we don’t have to dress a certain way to be identified as a good Muslim. I agree with this to a certain level. Wearing a hijab does not really qualify you as a Good Muslim but for me it has certainly enabled me to learn more and practice more of my religion without imposing it on others around me.

To me, hijab is not just that piece of cloth covering my hair. It took a complete overhaul of my closet.  It’s a constant reminder of what it means to be a Muslim. It’s a continuous prompt that I must also always make sure of all the little things that are required of me, to pray on time, not to indulge in gossip, not to lie, not to listen to music to name a few.

During an event at work, I couldn’t believe how many pleasant encounters I had. There was this Egyptian lady, when I greeted her in the morning, she automatically replied with a Salam. Another Muslim Pakistani gentleman said Salam and automatically lowered his gaze while he spoke to me.  Yet another older Muslim lady, who had met me before in my non-hijab wearing days had a hard time recognizing me, nevertheless when she did she said “MashaAllah you look good. Pray for me too”. I replied

“In sha Allah, you never know when you will be inspired and Allah will grant you Tawfeeq (inspiration)”.

Hijab is my identity now.  No one has to wonder and ask me what my background is or where I am from. They see me as a Muslim and that is enough.  But honestly, come to think of it, donning the hijab has made me more confident, more self assured and contrary to popular belief, it has given me more independence.

photo credit: Umbrellas and scarves. via photopin (license)


A modified version of this article was previously published on MuslimMoms.ca



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  • Ma’sha Allah, this is a splendid article.

    I faced criticism from my own family when I started the hijab almost four years ago, but actually got praise from strangers and friends. May Allah always keep us Steadfast and allow us to continue this practice without any fear. (Ameen)

  • Alhamdulillah I’ve never had to face being discouraged from hijab, especially by family. I commend you for perservering despite not getting much encouragement.
    And I absolutely agree with the sentiment that hijab does not restrict you, it in fact gives you more freedom to be recognised for your true self, and not your physical form. May Allah accept it from us all.

  • Well written mA. May Allah bless you for your perseverance! And I pray your family accepts your decision. Love and prayers coming your way.

  • As salamu alai kum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh sister. MashaAllah. I can totally relate with each experience of yours. The compliments, the questions, the lowering of gaze and request for duas! Subhanallah. Also the pleasure you feel when people just ‘know’ that you’re a Muslim. Alhamdulillah. May your husband accept this decision, may you have More such beautiful experiences and may allah reward you with steadfastness. Ameen

  • MashAllah great story, I totally agree with you in that after wearing the Hijab people recognize you as a Muslim, not as a certain race which I think is the beauty of our religion.

    • this is an experience for hijabis in the west. however, as an expat in turkey, obvs a muslim majority country, wearing a hijab sparks questions of whether i am muslim because i dont wear it the way the locals do. hijab is really cultural. it’s not just a marker of being a muslim, identifying as a muslim, but often the case is it is a cultural uniform that marks national/ethnic origin.

  • Your story is inspiring. May Allah give me tawfeeq to don proper hijab as well. And I pray your family becomes more supportive of you.

  • There are so many points of view about hijab when subhanAllah it really is simple. May Allah swt gives those the tawfique that dont understand. Ameen

  • Alhamdulillah…. the hijab elevates and brings honour in sooo many ways. It also shines light and beauty on its wearer both on the inside and outside.

    May Allah keep you steadfast and guide your loved ones to the truth.

  • Masha’Allah. It definitely takes a strong resolve to put on the hijab, especially when you feel that others will judge you or give you a hard time for doing it. I was blessed that I didn’t have much opposition, although it feels hard some days. One day we will be rewarded with the best rewards, insha’Allah!
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  • women should be wearing the hijab because Allah has instructed women to wear it. your article writing is powerful & inspiring to others women.