Monthly Archives May 2014

“Because I can’t get admitted into a medical school, I have faced mockery from my own family. I’ve tried to commit suicide because of the bad attitude from my family with me for not getting admitted into a medical school. When it comes to marriage, there are many challenges to face. Nowadays, grooms’ families are very demanding; they just want a lot of dowry, a furnished house, and a car. They don’t have any interest in the girl’s skills…”

I have a story of struggles, sacrifices and efforts. From the moment I was born, I have faced many challenges and each coming day is still bringing new challenges and unlawful temptations for me. My pasts habits didn’t change in a single day. I had fight to for it and even now, I am still fighting.

Being born into a Muslim family and in a Muslim country didn’t bring me much pleasure because my family was not as religious. There wasn’t any religious pressure on me to pray or to fast. Additionally, I had never taken religion seriously and never thought about questions such as: “WHY was I born?”, “What reason is behind my birth?”, “Why was this world created?”, and “Why was I born a Muslim?”. Islam was just an outdated thing for me. My journey from bad to good made me a changed Muslimah; mostly a better one but sometimes I lose my temper and again attracts by fitnas such as drugs, music, movies, dancing, parties, and haram relationships. I was born into a Muslim family in a Muslim country, yet I had problems with covering my face and hair.

My family doesn’t want me to wear Hijab in weddings because no girl should do that in weddings in my family’s opinion. I have to get rid of it when it comes to social events that I’m supposed to attend. I can’t wear Hijab in some working institutions either. I don’t have many opportunities and choices. There are all kinds of social and cultural pressures as well. I can’t make my own decisions because I have to listen to the male members of the family. When I was in school, I was forced to take subjects that my parents chose for me. I have no will, no choice.

Life is not easy now at this stage where my career and wedding are both important for me. My father is no longer earning and all of my siblings are independent. Although they support me, I feel bad for this. I want to become independent as soon as possible. For this to happen, I might have to discontinue my studies and start working. In terms of a job, I have many requirements: whether the atmosphere is suitable for me or not, whether I can work there in Hijab or not. Here, men are still narrow-minded and don’t like working with women. They don’t respect them. Here, men are mentally and physically violent. Women are raped and sexually harrassed. At school, I was forced to learn biology. Like every typical Muslim family, mine want me to become a doctor, but I wasn’t mean to study medicine. Its out of my skill set and interest. Because I can’t get admitted into a medical school, I have faced mockery from my own family. I’ve tried to commit suicide because of the bad attitude from my family with me for not getting admitted into a medical school.

When it comes to marriage, there are many challenges to face. Nowadays, grooms’ families are very demanding; they just want a lot of dowry, a furnished house, and a car. They don’t have any interest in the girl’s skills and good manners.

While I’ve been writing, I’ve had tears in my eyes.

I cry whenever I’m forced to remember the past. The past has always been painful for me. I started becoming a victim of sexual harassment and abuse when I was 6 or 7. One of my close relatives brought me into an empty school and did things with me. My Family still doesn’t know about that incident. Later on, when I moved to another city, the same thing happened to me. One was a shop keeper and the other was a young Molvi who came to my home to teach me the Quran. I become an atheist and was very much disappointed. If there was a God, I wouldn’t be feeling so alone and hurt. This has left me with nothing but psychological issues that still haunt me.

Approximately two years ago, I met a boy through Facebook. I was completely in love with him. One day,I proposed to him, but he rejected my proposal because of his family. His family wouldn’t allow him to marry someone outside of his family. I was very disappointed and cried day and night. I wanted to die because I can’t live without him. I lost interest in everything.

During this, I met A daee through Facebook who helped me to come out of this situation and teach me about Islam. He helped me a lot and to this day, still helps me. Whenever I have any questions about Islam and Dunia, I ask him. He’s guided me very well. I’ve had a scarf on my head since the 5th Grade, but I’never known its purpose and never took it seriously. I did it because its my social value and culture. Then, I took it seriously and started knowing its purpose. When I come close to Islam and start studying about Islam, I find the Hijab is so protective and I feel so proud. Alhamdulillah. Although I can’t cover my head in weddings and in other social events because of pressure from my family, I’ll do it the rest of the time because I do Hijab for the sake of Allah, not for the people.

Life isn’t very good yet, praying Saleh and Quran helps me a lot. Allah will guide me through this. Alhamdulillah!

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“Alhumdhulilah I was born part and parcel of the Muslim Ummah but now I feel part and parcel of the Muslim Ummah.”

Living as a Pakistani girl born and brought up in a Muslim family under the stark blue skies and greenery of Nairobi city, Kenya, then proceeding to University in England, over time, Alhumdhulilah I have had the pleasure of experiencing a world of incredible ideological and cultural diversity.

Before University had begun, I had no inclination towards any belief system. I believed in what I used to call humanism (a word I thought I had made up that encompassed my love for humanity and being a good friend of the earth without the need of organized religion to gear my good deeds). Along the way I was surprised at the wonderful paths that were paved which slowly began to gravitate me towards spiritual diversities. A multitude of curiosities began to build within my mind as I delved deeper into the questions of existence and purpose. Through this, I became more open-minded to all religions and with the guidance and mercy of Allah, the opener of hearts, and some pretty awesome souls I had the chance of crossing paths with (you know yourselves), I awakened to the true beauty and light of Islam which has transformed my world today. After that.. everything is history but wait, what about the Hijab story?

This is my Hijab story.

Accepting the Hijab into my life came after understanding our Maker. His brilliance. His mercy and love for my loved ones, myself and the whole universe. His words Subhanallah at times would make me quiver with understanding of the truths He has made so clear. Looking outside my window would fill me with gratitude; for all His signs were a blink of an eye away. I felt serenity in my heart that I had never experienced before. The sense of my existence and purpose was deeply connected to my commitment to submit to His eminence for He deserves it.

As my love for Allah grew deeper day after day, how I spent my 24 hours began to reform. Consciously making lifestyle changes allowed space to reflect on the way I identified myself as Muslim woman.

I took baby steps to put all the knowledge I was learning through reading different topics of Islam to representing myself as a Muslim woman into action, but I was constantly reminded that it was good to pace myself with whatever change I planned to make. However, I believe that anything is possible as long as our intention is pure in the eyes of Allah. I never doubted he would give me strength to make any hardship easy.

As I felt my intrinsic haya (internal modesty) being practiced, Alhumdhulilah, this included my thoughts, intentions, interactions, actions, speech and body language, I began to value my modesty so much more than before. Soon I felt I was ready to practice extrinsic haya (hijab) for my identity as a Muslim, embracing the beauty in modest dressing, allowing whats in my head to triumph over what is on my head and most importantly, the obedience towards my creator for which the satisfaction would be unparalleled. But the journey did not prove that easy mainly due to self doubt and fear of not knowing enough about Islam to wear it. However later I realized these were Shaytaans way of pinching my heart which I could not allow to hinder my efforts and that one will never reach a point in their life where they know ‘enough’ about Islam. Islam is a progressive leap into the Creator’s conversation with His creation, revealing that the conversations will be of endless knowledge and understanding until we return to Him.

Soon I approached a sister who is now my close friend, Khalida Hussein. May Allah keep her steadfast. I had not spoken to Khalida for about a year and between that time we had not been in touch she MashAllah started to wear the Hijab. This drew me to her and I felt she could answer all my questions about hijab which she absolutely did. She ignited the fire within me to take my first few steps towards Hijab. She said, “Kandy you will never feel ready, but when you feel even a little ready, you’re ready, go for it!” A few months passed and I kept flowing in and out thoughts of wearing the hijab, taking a healthy number of selfies with it on to get comfortable of how I looked in it and sharing it with close friends to ease the process. This helped me get slightly more warm towards the hijab. At this point I knew there was no reason for me to delay the hijab any further but still, I didn’t do it.

It was fate as my Universiy Islamic society was presenting an Islamic fortnight and their last lecture was on hijab. At this point there were signs so prominent that gave me even more confidence yet I convinced myself I needed to hear the lecture to gain more insight into the realm of hijab. I told myself I have to be strong and make efforts to understanding the jewels of Hijab the best I can, for I believe that understanding reveals long term success. The lecture by Sister Sahar Al- Faifi were full of reminders of the advantages of hijab that I needed. One important point she mentioned was that hijab is much more than just a piece of cloth but hijab begins in the heart and in the eyes and is thus reflected through your actions. I asked a question on maintaining modesty amongst boys, specifically when they want a hug. I explained that “a hug is a simple friendly exchange of warmth between two people and they are free, so why is it so bad?’’ The Sister addressed this situation and said ‘a touch’ is something intimate in Islam, so if a touch is, a hug is something even more intimate and therefore as sisters and brothers in Islam, we maintain respect for each other by firstly valuing our touch hence not anyone should get it and secondly by not practicing any form of intimacy there is no margin at all for further unprecedented deeds unless of course the man is your husband. In addition with hijab on, men are automatically inclined to respect a woman’s space.’’ I found a lot of sense, respect and maturity in the answer.

Another month passed and on a fine April day in 2014, I decided to leave the house with my hijab on. It became that simple because Alhumdhililah I felt more confident with my connection with Allah than ever before. Subhanallah No one’s stare or hate could waver my bond. All I can say is from that day till to date, I will never look back InshAllah.

One close friend congratulated me and said, “Welcome to team hijab” and I replied, “Its good to be home.” It felt so right. I suddenly became much more content after I stepped into the world whilst remaining true to my inner voice. More importantly I felt the unparalleled satisfaction of being obedient in one more aspect our Maker has asked of us as He indeed knows what we are and what suits us best and Inshallah we should all keep striving to do our best.

Many perceive hijab to be a cloth wrapped around a woman’s head. however for me, it is above and beyond that. My life has taken a wonderful whirl into enlightenment, liberation and peace of mind. I value my body and feel secure in my Maker’s warmth.

I feel Hijab allows a double bond between one and their maker and Hijab almost becomes a second skin. It reminds me of Allah each time I wear it and what could be more beautiful than dhikr. Hijab has somehow brought me closer to the Ummah too. Alhumdhulilah I was born part and parcel of the Muslim Ummah but now I feel part and parcel of the Muslim Ummah.

After all it is true; Allah says, take one step toward Me, I will take ten steps towards you, walk towards Me and I will run towards you.

Thank you taking the time to read my Journey to Hijab. I hope it serves good for you dear reader Inshallah. If there is one last piece of advice I can give, it would be that, understand the value of your womanhood and be open to ways to gracefully guard it.

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“Everything hit me hard after I was betrayed by my boyfriend at the time. I loved him so much; he gave me so much ‘love.’ Once I found out that he was having an affair and married his mistress, my heart broke into pieces.”

I used to really want to wear hijab, especially when I was in high school. But when I entered elementary school, I hated Islamic studies. When I was in grade school, I’d started to have a mind that was quite … against Islam. At the time, I thought,’What is the importance we lead prayers, fasting, and so on, if it’s just a waste of time?’ I came from a religious family.

I’d been lazy praying five times a day. My role model was my cousin, but when she started to wear hijab, I distanced myself from her and began to hate her. If I was asked to pray by her or anyone else, I would get angry.

I was known for having a cruel mouth. I even insulted a friend in elementary school who was orphaned. I threw sand directly into one of my friends while playing traditional Indonesian game, the Fortress game (or in Indonesia, we called Benteng). Even though I had friends, I didn’t get along with them and they ended up using me.

During the month of Ramadan, I just went along with fasting and I didn’t understand why I have to endure hunger and thirst for the day. In the morning, I quietly ate, although I was eventually caught by a friend of mine.

In the 4th grade, I’d fast half a day. I slowly started to understand why I had to fast, although the reason I fasted time was because of the lure of money given during Eid. I still didn’t pray five times a day.

I remember my grandmother forced me to be able to learn the Quran so that I could reduce my negative nature. I hated and scolded my grandmother. And the first time I learned Quran lessons with my tutor was the first time I wore the hijab, although I would not continue to wear it when I go to school.

When my sister was born prematurely, I would sometimes annoy her and my father would not hesitate to be violent towards me. I felt like everyone would give more attention to her and didn’t love me as much.

My relationship with my sister was good until I was in college, before I put on the hijab. We fought physically; bruises, cuts, and sprains filled my body because of a fight with my sister. I nearly attempted suicide because of the behavior of family members.

The days are past college also somewhat somber. Friends on campus always bullied me, some of them even did it without realizing they had hurt me. I was becoming increasingly depressed because of their behavior, and eventually I had to get out of that campus, though most of my family is very disappointed with the decision. But, I guess that is the most appropriate decision. However, that doesn’t mean I didn’t do anything after leaving the campus. From the year 2011 until now, I am a student at a music school.

Everything hit me hard after I was betrayed by my boyfriend at the time. I loved him so much; he gave me so much ‘love.’ Once I found out that he was having an affair and married his mistress, my heart broke into pieces.

This experience encouraged me to start fresh and try the hijab. The first time I wore it to my music school, my friends didn’t believe what they saw. My mom and grandmother didn’t believe it either. Although my mother didn’t want me to wear the hijab because she wasn’t sure if I would wear it permanently, I managed to prove to her that I was very sure and steady with this decision.

I finally met a man who was far better than my ex-boyfrend; my future husband plans to convert to Islam at the beginning of February. He had been close to my the entire time; he was nice to me ever since my breakup.

I should have never felt lazy to pray to God because what I wanted and what I needed was closer to me than I expected; and inshaaAllah I hope this is the case for others as well.

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