15 October 2012

Advice for Hijabi beginners (non-sugar-coated)

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After the African millionaires desperately throwing their life savings at me, the most common emails I get are from girls thinking about wearing hijab and wanting some advice. I'm not going to beat about the bush, I am the worst person to ask for advice when it comes to anything, let alone a religious subject. My opinions regarding hijab have definitely changed over the past few years and of course, I am not a scholar so my views are often riddled with bias and influenced by my state of mind at any given time. Having said that, as so many people have asked, I decided I should make a post giving anyone thinking of wearing hijab a few pieces of advice, things I kind of wish someone had told me.
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1. Wouldn't advise you to overhaul your wardrobe the minute you start covering your hair. I did that and it didn't go well - take your clothing transition slowly.

2. It is a piece of cloth, not magic: don't expect to suddenly become divinely religious. Please don't act it either, it's so off-putting.

3. One of the biggest shocks I got when I began to mix with Muslims was realising just how bitchy a lot of hijabis can be. Some are nice, but don't expect to suddenly discover a "sisterhood" that you weren't part of before you wore hijab. You weren't part of it because nobody is. It doesn't exist.

4. Keep reminding yourself that you are wearing it for the pleasure of Allah (SWT) and not for people.

5. Hijab is not about 'modesty', it's about doing what Allah (SWT) commands you to do. You can be modest without covering your hair and you can be immodest in a niqaab.

6. Be prepared for some interesting questions/comments. Some recent ones I've had (from non-Muslim men) include 'are you wearing a wig under that?', 'I bet you don't wear that to the beach.. you don't do you?', 'how long is your hair and have you dyed it?' and 'what would happen if I pulled the end of your.. headpiece?' HEADPIECE.

7. Be confident! It doesn't matter how you dress as long as you are confident and nice, people will like and respect you. And if they don't, it's not your problem.

8. Be cautious of judging the way other Muslim girls dress and act. It has nothing to do with you. Anyway, they might actually be much better than you.

9. Once it's on  you become a walking representation of Islam (like it or not), which is a huge responsibility, especially if you turn into one of those hijabis that find it impossible to smile.

10. I beg you don't start dissing advising hijabis on the Internet about how 'haram' they are and telling them how they should and should not be dressing. People did this with me a lot at the start of my blog when I did not wear the hijab and it almost put me off the idea altogether.

11. Allah (SWT) judges our scales of good deeds in relation to our bad deeds. Hijab will increase your good deeds but it is not the be all and end all of your deen. Just another good thing to do.

12. You will probably, at some point after wearing the hijab, want to take it off. I would strongly advise you to stick with it simply because if you do there will come a moment when you think 'I'm really glad I didn't take it off'. 'Jihad al nafs' was never supposed to be easy, so don't instantly succumb to your inner desires - they are almost always fleeting.

13. I wouldn't even think about hijab if I didn't pray and fast.

The tips are just my opinions and based on my experiences so they may not apply to you but I hope at least some of them helped :)

25 comments:

imaanii said...

Salaam, oooh, I love this posts. It's needed, especially the part about how you should treat others, and also taking things slowly. JazakiLah kheir sis :)

Anonymous said...

I agree with so much of your advice, but specially with not taking it off once you begin. People will take you and your beliefs more seriously. And you'll have more love for Allah after you pass through the time of wanting not to wear it.

Safiyya said...

Aw, I really loved reading that! Wallah, it is just exactly as how I experience it all!

Love u, S.

Gail said...

Assalaam waliekum.

I like reason #12: stick with it.
Letting others get the best of you, trying to be fast, thinking the hijab as "taliman" are some of the few ways that can derail a sister's hijab insha'allah she let's it.

Reason #3: Some are nice, but don't expect to suddenly discover a "sisterhood" that you weren't part of before you wore hijab."
I would like to add, even the non-hijabis can get this way. Especially when they are the majority of the Muslimahs in an area and the hijabis are the minority. I had a friend who wears abaya & hijab told by a "modern" hijabi that her covering wasn't Western/modern enough.

❤ αmαℓ said...

Nice. I agree :)

HijabPrincess said...

great advice, I only disagree with the "there is no sisterhood" one, when I came to my new town to study, the first people that came to talk to me and to welcome me were other hijabis. I think this is one of the biggest advantages (after pleasing Allah (t) of course) to be recognized from other muslims and as well from non-muslims who treat you with more respect. No flirting or touching at all.
I just ignore the rude hijabis and im happy about every smile I get from other sisters.
I guess Im talking to much, anyway I love ur blog and again great advice. :)

Have a nice day! ws Valerie from Germany

LK said...

This is wonderful. So honest and really puts the hijab in its proper place. My favorite is "I wouldn't even think about hijab if I didn't pray and fast". So many put so much importance on the scarf in particular that they often forget its not the main focus of the religion at all. I wish I would have seen an article like this a couple years ago when I was considering Islam. Honestly the pressure of hijab and the community really turned me off.

Ingrid said...

This was very interesting to read. I'm thinking about moving to a Muslim country in the near future and I think it would be reasonable to try to adjust to covering my hair or more of my body for that matter. I will keep this in mind so thank you!

Ingrid
Hitchcockesque blog

Albie said...

Ohhhh my goodness, to number 3, oh yes. I became a hijabi about 4 months ago, and I have been really shocked since then to find just how unfriendly other hijabis can be. Oh well, no judgment, right? I was just expecting some sort of welcoming committee :)) Haha, boy, was I wrong!

Anyways good list, and asalaamu alaykum to ya sister :)

Stylish Muslimah said...

Gail: Yes that's true about the non-hijabis but the only reason I didn't mention it was that I once had this crazy idea that hijabis specifically were all nice to each other :O

HijabPrincess: Yes I think I made a bit of a generalised comment about the sisterhood; nevertheless I am glad that you have had a good experience with the Hijabis in your area.

LK: Very true, I can see how a hardcore attitude towards Hijab could put someone off Islam altogether.

Ingrid: Glad it helped! I like your blog btw, you have awesome style :)

Albie: LOL at a welcoming committee! That's kind of what I expected! Unfortunately there is no such committee :( Congrats for wearing it though! I hope it's been easy for you.

Everyone else: Glad you liked it! :D

Salam x


imaanii said...

I forgot to say something :p I actually started to wear hijab before I acknowledged that I was a Muslim, but it made me feel a connection to other Muslims. So in that sense the hijab was right for me, even thought I didn't pray or fast, I didn't even consider myself a Muslim. The hijab actually led me to Islam. I think people are different from each other, some start wearing the abaya and hijab the first day, others wear tight-fitted clothing and a hijab, but go through different stages. I have met a Somali sister who didn't pray or anything, and she wore an over-head abaya. I must admit I thought it was strange, but then again, I did the same, so. :p Other than that I think your post is very important, even though I wish it wasn't necessary to remind sister to be polite towards each others. Unfortunately it is xP

Anonymous said...

Love your post! Couldn't find anything to totally disagree with.
I wish I could have read something like that when I first decided to put on hijab.
Keep up the great work!

-H-

Anonymous said...

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/world-history/meet-mansa-musa-i-of-mali--the-richest-human-being-in-all-history-8213453.html

Stylish Muslimah said...

Interesting list! Salam :)

As-salaam alaikum said...

Salaam.

Is the expected pay for a pharmacist in England around 100,000 pounds per year??

Stylish Muslimah said...

£100,000?! I wish! Average salary is between 20,000 and 60,000 depending on the pharmacist's experience and sector i.e. hospital pharmacists get much less pay than community and industry pharmacists. Salam

As-salaam alaikum said...

Salaam.

Do u know if the pre-Islamic Arabs were using alcohol for reasons other than getting drunk? Maybe medicinal or ceremonial?

Anna Ruslina said...

huhu
"sisterhood"! that makes me smile
but i had to admit i did found some when i was a student
random girls that care and love me because Allah
if u attend tauheed classes etc you'd find some
when i leave unis, there's only friends,hijabis or not they can be care and loving but they'll never love you like muslimah 'sisterhood'

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

I disagree about the sisterhood part only. The rest is verrrrrry true. I got true sisterhood.... and I also met the evil hijabis lol.

Ppl act like hijab is one of the pillars of Islam but it isn't. It is just the responsibility of making oneself recongizable towards those other more important parts of a Muslim's character.

Stylish Muslimah said...

OPNO: I'm glad that you've found a sisterhood! Maybe it does exist but I've just never seen it :S I definitely agree with people making out that hijab is a pillar of Islam, they need to accept that there are more important things than a piece of cloth.
Salam x

Joanne said...

Hello there - can you please clarify #5? Specifically, how hijab is not about modesty.

Thank you!

Blessings, js

StylishMuslimah said...

Hey Joanne,
The Quran tells both men and women to act modestly before it tells them to wear anything. From this we understand that modesty comes from actions and not clothing. Yes, clothing can be modest but if the person acts immodestly then it is pointless. The true REASON we adhere to hijab is to follow God's commands as opposed to just be modest as you can be modest without covering the hair and vice versa.

:)

Liuba said...

love your this post!

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum,

Recently I just started to learn about Islam, I am born as a Muslim but I'm not a good Muslim and I don't practice the Islamic way in my entire life. Despite of all the fun I did with my friends, I still felt really empty inside and everything I've done can satisfied me. I can't hardly sleep at night and I started to wake up when I heard azan Subuh (I am known as a later riser among those who knew me). I felt something different, I felt so peaceful and comforting. And lately, I'm started going to Fardu Ain classes to learn how to pray and read Al-Quran. Alhamdulillah, now I can pray and learning Iqra'. I was thinking to wear hijab too and your post is a good tips for someone like me. Thank you for the tips.

Fyi: nobody knows about my transition and I kept this secret from my friends and family. I dont want they to think I pretend to be 'baik' and said nasty things to me because I'm still new and my Iman not that strong yet. Insyaallah, when my Iman is strong to face all these kind of people, I will reveal the new me :)

StylishMuslimah said...

Anonymous: Wa alaykom al Salam! Your comment really made me smile, I'm so happy that you've found your way, alhamduliallah. I'm really glad that the tips were of benefit to you :) Please do let me know how everything goes and if you have any sort of questions please do ask!
Salaam and good luck! xx