Thinking About Taking Off Your Hijab? Read This

As wonderful as the hijab is and can be, you may find yourself at a crossroads from time to time. Like all things in this transient and temporary world, nothing lasts. Moments of good and bad times all eventually fade and our emotions fluctuate just the same. When it comes to your faith, this too can often fluctuate. No two people will ever be at the same level of faith; everyone has their own struggles and circumstances within which they try to find some solace and understanding. You yourself may have felt a great sense of purpose, happiness, and direction when you first started wearing the hijab, and yet now, here you are, questioning whether or not you ought to keep it on. Don't be so hard on yourself, we have all been there. Wanting to take off the hijab is a daily struggle for many. But that's the point. A struggle is never going to be easy. Especially in the world you find yourself living in today. Think about it. you are bombarded with images, songs, movies, all sorts of stimuli, that celebrate the temporary luxuries of life. Fame, social acceptance, unrealistic outer beauty standards, the desire to want to fit the mould for what Instagram deems to be "trendy." All these things can impact your sense of self. Why? Because believe it or not, you are a sponge. Whether you notice or not, every single day, you are absorbing all these stimuli unconsciously and are harbouring these ideals without knowing it. You don't just wake up one day and decide that you no longer want to wear the hijab. Like anything, it's a process. It takes some time to build to that point. Maybe you start noticing that you look better without it more frequently, maybe you start questioning why you need it to begin with, maybe you ask yourself if you really need to wear it at all. Pair life's stressors on top of these emotions, on top of what social media is bombarding you with, and you have a recipe for disaster.   I remember last year, I was very seriously considering taking my hijab off. It was when I penned this blog piece. 

This culture of putting ourselves out there is making us unconsciously forget the fact that the idea of modesty isn’t just for hijab-clad women. Physical modesty, emotional modesty, intellectual modesty, verbal modesty, and the modesty of our intentions and actions are part of what it means to be a practicing Muslim. But our glorified modern society and culture is telling us to exchange these levels of modesty for pseudo-fame and temporary status.

Is my self esteem really that easily influenced? Am I really contemplating the trade-off between pleasing my Creator and pleasing my nafs/ego? Has it come to that? Are we compromising our modesty (not just physical modesty) with extreme levels of ease at the hand of our own desire to want to be accepted by other people? Why is that?

Sometimes you have to ask yourself what really matters.

Yes, it’s hard for me to be the only one in my immediate circle of friends that wears the hijab. The frustration of being the only hijabi at my job and internships is a lot to deal with sometimes. It’s just hard being judged from the very onset by people you barely even know just because you wear something on your head. It’s hard to be confident when you know you look better and are perceived as “better” without this cloth, or social barrier. It’s really, really tough.

  I remember though, one of the sayings of our Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him with the highest mercy and peace:

“No fatigue, nor disease, nor sorrow, nor sadness, nor hurt, nor distress befalls a Muslim, even if it were the prick he receives from a thorn, but that Allah expiates some of his sins for that.

I reminded myself that I would much rather be tested in this world. As hard as it gets on some days to wear the hijab in the morning, I know that I'm wearing it for a higher purpose. Yes it's difficult, and it takes courage and strength, and God knows that. That's why the reward will be unfathomable. I'm not perfect. Wearing the hijab doesn't make me perfect. I sin every single day. I make mistakes and I forget. I'm only human. But the hijab for me, is a way to continuously strive to be better. Perfection isn't an ideal we ought to be striving for before making the decision to wear the hijab. Perfection should never be a prerequisite for any kind of worship. There's no perfect time to wear the hijab. The act itself, the hijab itself, paves the way to attaining that fragment of perfection that is humanly possible for us to attain. The hijab is a reminder that I will keep trying and struggling no matter what. Often times, the frustration you may be feeling with the hijab is just a projection of other problems in your life. We are so quick to use the hijab as a scapegoat when really, other issues stemming from other stimuli are the cause of our emotional dysregulation. Friendship problems, relationship dynamics, family troubles, these are all often projected onto the hijab. Ask yourself though, will taking off the hijab really solve these issues? Who and what are your decisions being influenced by?   Leena, from With Love, Leena, posted this great piece about her hijab story. 
No matter where you are in your hijab journey, I hope that I can inspire and encourage you through my experiences inshaAllah. You might be planning on wearing hijab one day down the line. You’re not really sure when and don’t really want to think about it. Maybe you’re a girl who can’t stop thinking about the obligation you need to fulfill with your Creator and need advice on how to start dressing more modestly. Maybe you already wear hijab and are struggling with self-confidence and are in need of motivation to continue on.  I have been the girl in all of those scenarios and after three years of wearing hijab alhamdulillah, I can say that I have some good advice to share. I hope you can find hijab a little easier with my tips inshaAllah.
Her tips are extensive and really resonated with a lot of women, all over the world. So give it a read and see where asking yourself some tough questions leads you. Another blogger, Alina, posted a piece on Haute Hijab about her hijab story. I think reading what other hijabi women are going through really helps put things into perspective. It's important to realize that your journey with the hijab is going to have ups and downs. Life was never meant to be a walk in the park and anything good comes with some strife. As difficult as it is becoming to keep the hijab on, as hard as it is to be a visible and blatantly obvious Muslim in an ever-growing Islamophobic world, the hijab becomes wrought with more and more blessings and rewards. The harder certain facets of worship become, the greater the reward. And oftentimes that alone is enough when you think about the grand scheme of things. What really matters in this life? Who are we living for? How great of a pull do our desires and our egos have on our decisions? Who are we striving to please? I'm reminded of the Hadith Qudsi : The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Allah the Most High said, ‘I am as My servant thinks (expects) I am. I am with him when he mentions Me. If he mentions Me to himself, I mention him to Myself; and if he mentions Me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly greater than it. If he draws near to Me a hand’s length, I draw near to him an arm’s length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed.’” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) If the hijab is your way of getting closer to God, regardless of where you stand with it, imagine how much closer God is to you on a daily basis. After all, the hijab is a reminder first and foremost that we're doing this for the sake of God alone. There has to be good in that, despite the struggles we can often face. At the end of it all, asking yourself why you wore it to begin with can often be a great an refreshing reminder as to why you ought to keep going.