Muslim women wearing Hijab are often claimed to be oppressed, suppressed or having no choice of their own. My Hijab My Choice hopes to clear this misconception with real life stories from Muslim women connected to Hong Kong.
The following is the story of Rameen, a 19-year-old Hong Kong Muslim teenage student’s journey to Hijab.
To the fellow muslims, the story that I am about to unfold could possibly take the shape of a much-needed catalyst for mending ways. While to the non-muslims, it could potentially be a “Hijab FAQ”. Either way, coming of age best describes this journey of practising the Hijab.
Rewind my life 2 years from now when I was the goody-two-shoes (I still am!) type of a 17-18-year-old school-goer.
On one hand, never had I ever compromised with integrity. But on the other hand, I was the infamous, nonchalant and unapologetic girl that teachers would frown upon for singing in school corridors and staircases at the top of my voice.
I, however, was also the same honest student who would let teacher know if accidentally they would award me even a mark extra. Yet still, thanks to my happy-go-lucky nature, I always landed in soup for several episodes of slip of the tongue and failure in controlling my laughter when it was absolutely necessary.
As obvious as it is, my day-to-day actions were far from adequate in terms of self-control and modesty.
What struck me amidst of this commotion was guidance from the Supreme Allah who enlightened me through various means.
Simply put, Allah is the changer of hearts who guided me into donning the headscarf on the 18th of September, 2014.
Increased exposure to Islamic videos on YouTube and becoming part of an Islamic WhatsApp group were mediums that Allah facilitated for me to be guided.
Hijab is the idea that changed my life.
I thoroughly enjoy the fact that it is now an indispensable part of my identity which completes me.
At home and school, everybody was perplexed seeing me wear it. Teachers were pleasantly surprised with my demure mannerism and with the 180-degree turn in my life. A roller coaster ride aptly describes my first few months wearing the headscarf. Although I was determined to wear it for the rest of my life come what may, but it were the curious questions that I was bombarded with which made it a nerve-wracking experience for me.
But again, those loaded questions were a blessing in disguise which cleared misconceived notions that my family, friends and teacher had about Islam in general.
The most precious lesson I have learnt during my journey practising the Hijab is that it is unjust to belittle the importance of it i.e. deeming modesty is just covering every inch of the body. When in fact the purpose of the headscarf is far more superior.
It motivates you to strive achieving results when it comes to controlling your temptations, self-discipline as well as modesty in walking and talking and the like.
It empowered me to feel confident being righteous even when it came at the cost of setting apart from the crowd solely because living by Allah’s principles has given me the guarantee that I will always be at advantage in this world and the Hereafter.
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