Sunday, July 20, 2008

Taking Off Hijab Syndrome

  I borrowed this form Anisah Shukran sister!!

Taking Off Hijab Syndrome

She was over-weight but beautiful. She proudly wore her hijab everywhere. No one who saw her knew she was suffering from depression. Hoda* would come to the masjid every Friday listen to the lectures. At one point in time, she stopped coming to the masjid regularly and would pop in every once in a while. News came around that she went to the hospital for over-dosing on weight-loss pills.

At that time I was a regular member of all-woman's gym. I would see her there regularly and every week it was like she kept dividing her body in two. It was a little odd to me, but mashaAllah she grew even more and more beautiful.

One day at LSU I was walking to class and this skinny girl who I didn't recognize immediately passed by me and said, "Salam alaikum, Shirien!" and I look up and I reply "Walaikum Assalam!" and we both kept walking our separate ways. It was wallahi one of those moments when reality doesn't hit you until 10 seconds too late. I turned around to do a double-take to see who this sister was. And my mouth dropped.

I realized it was Hoda. At that time my mouth dropped because she looked like a completely different person. But even later than that, I realized that she was out in public without her hijab, which left me speechless. I guess it didn't strike me as odd at first because I saw her all the time at the gym without her hijab. But when I realized what was really going on, a rush of grief overtook me. I couldn't believe it.

Not only was her body image different, but her relationship with Allah soon became different as well.

Most of us know someone who has put on the hijab and then taken it off. And dear sisters, if you are amongst them then do not despair, but take heed to the rest of what I have to say.

During my first few days here in Egypt I went out with my cousin and her friend Lena* to this beautiful restaurant over-looking the beach. It was the first time I met Lena. She was sweet, kind and polite — she also happened to be a hijabi.

We went out and had a great time. I don't know if i'll see her again any time soon. But I was happy my cousin had such wonderful friends, mashaAllah.

Two days later, I'm with my cousin in the car stuck in traffic and she tells me "Did you know Lena took off her hijab?" I was like, "When? You mean a couple of years ago?"She replied, "No… I mean like yesterday. She's been wearing it for seven years now."

I was baffled. The thought of going out without my hijab after putting it on - especially for so long- is unthinkable to me. Not only because 1.  I do it for the sake of Allah, but 2. Because it would make me feel so exposed and naked without it.

I proceeded to tell my cousin that the intention probably wasn't right from the beginning. After all, a lot of people in Egypt do it because of culture, not religion. But my cousin refuted that and told me that she was very sincere when she put it on and Lena told her that she wore it for the sake of Allah.

But WHY? What is the reason a person takes off their hijab if we know it is fard and we know that we are doing it to please Allah? What are the possible reasons that we might take off our hijabs?

And then I thought back… and I thought about the low self-esteem.

Not everyone who takes off their hijab does so because they never had the right intention. And not everyone takes it off because they have low self-esteem or family pressure.

But still the question lingers… why? What is missing in our lives that we feel will be fulfilled with taking off our hijabs? One answer?

The love and attention of people, whether we know it consciously or subconsciously.

Allah 'az wa jal says in surat Al-Baqarah:

"And of mankind are some who take (for worship) others besides Allah as rivals (to Allah). They love them as they love Allah. But those who believe, love Allah more (than anything else). If only, those who do wrong could see, when they will see the torment, that all power belongs to Allah and that Allah is Severe in punishment"

It's seeking love from other than Allah. It's obeying (worshiping) society and desires and leaving the worship of Allah 'az wa jal.

And wallahi dear sisters, it is this seeking of filling the void in the heart in places other than with Allah that brings a person to the edge of a very steep cliff — a cliff that can lead to a person's spiritual death.

What we truly miss in our hearts that needs fulfilling, is the love of Allah.

Dear sisters, whether we've never worn hijab at all or recently have decided to take it off, first, know that we do not judge anyone and what another's heart contains. The hearts belong to Allah and no one can know what is in another person's heart other than Allah. There are girls who wear hijab and commit shirk with Allah. And in the eyes of Allah they are nothing.

Second, know that Allah 'az wa jal says in His noble book:

"Say: "O Ibadee (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allah, verily Allah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."

It does not matter what people think of us. If you feel, since you've taken off your hijab, people have judged you, then know that Allah 'az wa jal is the one who will judge between people on the day of judgment. So what matters is what Allah 'az wa jal thinks about you. And we should not seek love and attention from people before we seek it from Allah. Truly if you seek the love of Allah, then you will follow what Allah has sent with Muhammad Salallahu alayhi wa sallam and in turn you will gain the love of Allah and feel it in your hearts and be fully content.

As Allah 'az wa jal says,

"Say (Muhammad salallahu alayhi wa sallam): 'If you really love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you. He will forgive your sins and Allah is the Oft-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.'"

Third, every girl who starts to wear hijab late in her life always goes through this stage in which she thinks about what it will be like to "never go out with her hair done again." I know many sisters who set a time period of when they will start to wear hijab. They tell themselves, "I'm going to start wearing hijab FOR SURE, inshaAllah, when Ramadan starts." (Hopefully Allah allows them to live that long.)

And we want to enjoy their time while we can before we actually commit to wear the hijab and never take it off.

Subhanallah, we know what you are going through, sisters. But know that while we think that we are "enjoying your time before commitment," we will soon regret that time we spent before committing to hijab.

When you do something purely for the sake of Allah, then you regret all the times you didn't do it.

It's like a Muslim who starts to pray later in life, they soon regret all the times they didn't pray when they were supposed to.

Allah 'az wa jal clearly gives us an order in the Quran to wear our hijabs, and who has more right to be obeyed and fully submitted to other than the one who created us, nurishes and provides for us? No one.

Allah 'az wa jal orders the believing women surat An-Nur to:

"…not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent (like both eyes for necessity to see the way, or outer palms of hands or one eye or dress like veil, gloves, headcover, apron), and to draw their veils all over Juyoobihinna (i.e. their bodies, faces, necks and bosoms)…"

We all say that we want to get closer to Allah. And it's always about taking that next step. Everyone deep down knows what that next step is in their life, whether it's actually doing something or even just refraining from one particular sin.

"Taking Off Hijab Syndrome" or "Didn't Start Wearing Hijab Yet Syndrome" have cures. And that cure is found only with Allah. Seek help from Allah more than you would seek help from a doctor for a fatal disease. Because even doctors cannot cure diseases without the will of Allah.

Take the first step and Allah will help you take care of the rest inshaAllah. He will take care of all the people who have ever judged you, he will take care of your beauty and most of Allah he will take care of that void in your heart.

Wallahu alem. May Allah 'az wa jal guide us to the path that leads to seeing His Face in Jannah, and may Allah make it easy for all our sisters. Ameen.

from a blog I read. :
" Baaraka-Allaahu Feekum - wa sal-Allaahu wa-sallam 'alaa Nabiyyinaa Muhammad, was-Salaam 'alaykum wa-Rahmatullaahi wa-Barakaatuhu.   


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