“In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful, Praise be to
Allah, Lord of the Universe, and Peace and Prayers be upon His final
Prophet and Messenger.”
Asalaam alaikum wrt wb,
The following is a true story of a sister living in Iowa in the U.S.
Asalaamualaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu
MashaAllah, the first annual CZ-camp this weekend was no doubt a blast.
I have never before been surrounded by such a group of wonderful and
sincere people with so much knowledge to share in so many ways. All for
the sake of Allah (swt).
Growing up in ‘hickville,’ IA (not Iowa City), Islam was not very
prevalent and nearly unheard of by all the Caucasian, narrow-minded
residents when my family moved there. There was no Mosque in the city;
in fact the nearest one was almost 200 miles away.
In later years, I was what the ‘non-practicing’ Muslims referred to as a
‘good’ Muslim, even though that decision is left only to Allah (swt).
Until now, I have displayed modesty to what I believed to be the
fullest: long pants and such. I believed the hijaab to be every Muslim
woman’s personal journey. My personal decision had been to not wear it
until some undetermined time; sometime later in life. I made, for lack
of a better word, justifications for why I didn’t cover myself with a
hijaab. The pious Muslim women of my family in Pakistan had never worn
them, so my relatives would not accept it or would become offended or
intimidated by it. Not knowing Arabic well enough to read the Quran on
my own, I thought the head covering was part of culture or something
some scholars had made up to represent modesty. I was still representing
modesty, displayed through my clothes and actions. I feared that others
would stereotype my personality because of a cloth on my head. I didn’t
want it to define me as a person. Allah (swt) knows best.
I had in some ways been turned away from it by people (mainly some
brothers who thought they had the right to judge sisters without
hijaab), telling me to my face that this everyday-sin would by far
outweigh the good things I was doing for Allah (swt). They were forcing
it upon me, which made me reject it even more.
When my sister started observing hijaab, one woman came up me when we
were on campus and said “InshaAllah, next week I will see you wearing it
as well.” She assumed I would start wearing it as a conduct of
competition or jealousy. I didn’t want to wear it for such silly and
entirely false reasons. Alhamdolillah, I knew that one day I would
understand the hijaab, so much more than a piece of cloth to represent
In this camp’s comfortable environment, I had the opportunity to take on
‘hijaab-in-training.’ When we arrived at camp, I put on my hijaab as I
would in any Islamic setting, such as I had done many times at the
Mosque. SubhaanAllah, I learned so much more than I had ever expected.
Wearing a hijaab was not difficult at all at the camp. It gave privacy
and hid the beauty from any looking eyes. It hid the “crown of a queen
(or princess),” as one Sheikh at the camp stated. I prayed to Allah
(swt) to give me strength to take what I learned and apply it outside
this comfort zone.
Just a few minutes before taking a final dip in the pool with the
sisters, saying last Salaams and taking on the five-hour trek back home,
I was given the opportunity. SubhaanAllah. Not just in an ordinary
location, but a town (actually village) at a level of hickishness
incomparable to even the hickville of Iowa where I spent seven years. In
this village, where 911 ceased to exist and the Harley bikers were the
diversity, I not only wore hijaab, but I experienced it.
I now realize the importance of the hijaab, especially in areas where
Muslims are underrepresented. It is not so much a symbol of modesty, as
I had thought before. Modesty comes from within and even a woman
observing hijaab can have a lack of it. However, Islam is outward and
the hijaab can be part of that outward Islam. In some ways, it will make
my life easier. InshaAllah I will never have to provide an explanation
of why I don’t want to take part in some event or activity that is
considered un-Islamic. No longer will I have to endure the nasty glares
that violate my privacy. Also, the opportunities for dawah will be
endless, InshaAllah. Above all, I will be pleasing Allah (swt).
As I know from Muslim sisters who already wear hijaab, it will be
difficult also. The stares will come, classmates may think differently
of me, and I will be a minority on the Iowa campus in this respect.
Further education could be more difficult, since engineering, which is
still predominately full of males, for some reason has not many outward
Muslims. It is Jihaad, internal and external. May Allah (swt) give me
strength to endure these challenges, and others that I may not be aware
of at this time.
I am writing these scribbled notes on the way back to home. I know I
must get this down on paper now. Alhamdolillah, just as I finish this,
the fever I had all day has just passed and we are only nine miles from
Jazaakum Allahu Khair to each and every one of you at the camp for not
only taking part in the wonderful camp, but also for being a part of
such an “awesome” change in my life.
May Allah (swt) forgive me for any faults, they are entirely my own. All
praises are for Him alone.