Today is my hijab anniversary. A year ago I made the decision to wear the hijab. Hmm the decision wasn’t entirely mine – keep reading. After recently traveling to war torn Somalia where I was forced to wear it – as in “you better put the hijab on in Dubai before you reach Somalia or you’ll be beat!”. Well, I wouldn’t say forced but the action was heavily influenced by mother. I couldn’t stop thinking about my mother’s words as I boarded the flight from Amsterdam to Dubai. Experienced a little bit of a culture shock – I’ve never seen so many covered people in my life! There I was with my funky curly hair and a scarf wrapped around my neck – I like to call modest chic. So, I march into the washroom and threw on an abaya (the long Islamic dress) and the hijab. Feeling a little awkward, I put on a little more make-up and glossy red lipgloss. The message: I’m a Western Muslim woman.
I leave the washroom and head over to the check-in. They greet me with “assalamu alaikum”. Hold on! I didn’t get this before. Ahh now that I LOOK like a Muslim, I’m greeted as one. I get it…It all makes sense!
I wore the hijab for a month in Somalia and as soon as I landed in Dubai on my way to Toronto, I did the reverse. Went in the washroom and took it off. Fluffed my hair a little, threw on that uber-chic scarf and painted my lips red.
As soon as I got home from the airport I felt as though something was missing. Ah yes – the hijab! I went through all the holiday pictures and noticed that I look fabulous wearing the hijab. So, I told myself that I would wear the hijab as long as I didn’t have to compromise my personality. I wanted to know how I can be ‘me’ and wear the hijab at the same time. That meant hours of Youtube ‘How to wear the hijab’ videos. I wasn’t convinced. I didn’t want my hijab matching my bracelets, or worse, the stitching of my outfit.
One morning, I fluffed my curls and headed to my sister’s school to update their registration. Oh sh^t! They go to an Islamic school. Oh man, did I feel out of place! My mother and I take a seat in the waiting room and wait for the Brother Principal Imam Man to call us into his office.
He takes one look at me and says in a very strong Pakistani accent “You veear the heejab and I give you job”. He offered me a teaching position but the only condition was that I would cover up – I accepted! You have to understand that I had just graduated and was terribly broke. Being the person that I am – I took it as a sign (I’ll fill you in later on my terrible teaching experience).
So, thats how my hijab adventures started. Mind you, I’ve had weak moments where I took it off but those feelings soon subsided.
Here’s to a year! InshaAllah many more!