By: Sr. Kanwal Malik Saba
“You see if even one person starts wearing the hijab because of this event, I will achieve my goal!” My older sister’s voice rang in my ears. She was going on and on about her efforts to set up a Hijab booth at the local mall to celebrate “World Hijab Day” celebrated around the world on February 1st. She was also the source of highlighting and promoting Islam in her hometown in Fort McMurray, Canada, through stories in the local magazines and newspapers. A true community worker!
After the phone call, I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate on something else, but another voice popped up saying “my hijab started from my legs not my head. First- I started wearing loose pants, then long sleeves and eventually started wearing a scarf and then the hijab” these words kept coming back to me said by a beautiful Pakistani Hijabi I had just met a few days ago.
“Why don’t I wear it”? I asked myself. “Well simple, because you are too young”, I answered my own question. “Yes, but your teenage daughter does it? Isn’t she too young”? I answered my own question. “That’s true but can you imagine going out there and looking for a finance or Human Resource job, with a hijab on?” I heard myself asking mockingly. “We do it”. I imagined my mother in law and sister in law saying in unison. Both doctors, both Hijabis.
“Yes. But I can’t do it”, I reassured myself. And, on came another excuse.
It’s too hot in Florida and I have a baby. Imagine going grocery shopping in the baking sun. I tried to console myself. ”I do it” said a voice, and I saw a busy mom pushing the stroller to the park- walking in the blistering California heat, that was my younger sister, mother of a toddler, a Hijabi as well.
“There is a time and place for everything. The time for me to wear the hijab hasn’t arrived yet,” I thought as I put on my earrings.
“But you said you would do it after performing the Hajj, you always said that”, I heard my own voice again.
“Yes, but I will do it after my second Hajj, I promise,” I told the voice, hoping it would go away.
“How do you know you will be around for a next Hajj or even the next day”? I inquired…no answer came!
And, then I tried to go about it another way. The “fix small things before the big ones’ approach. And this time my own voice reminded me: “Because this is a “fard” and obligatory in Islam”.
But I had to find proof. I reached for the computer and went on different websites and found the words of the Quran reaching out to me “...and not display their beauty except what is apparent, and they should place their khumur over their bosoms...”The translation clearly depicted that women are supposed to cover their head, ears, bosom and neck.
Left speechless I turned my attention towards my daily routine. The next morning as I started my Fajar Salat I thought about how my parents have always taught us to do the right thing. I mulled over my husband’s words who had no qualms about my being a Hijabi. I thought about my daughters and whether I was a good enough role model or not.
“It’s time to pray” I told myself, after I finished, I glanced at my parents who were staying with us for a few days before moving out of Tampa; and then at my husband,” I have started doing the Hijab” I heard a voice, it was mine!
Alhamdulillah after going through a list of excuses and considering it over the years, Allah had finally allowed me to defeat my vanity. I had overcome my fears! As my parents and husband congratulated me, I walked towards the phone and called my mother in law and told her I had started the Hijab, “I am really happy!” she exclaimed…and SO WAS I!