Hijabi of the Month June 2015 - Rahaf Khatib
Posted on Jun 22, 2015
I’m a Dearborn native, Farmington Hills resident and mom of three active and intelligent kids. I love to travel, read, and of course keep fit by practicing yoga, lifting and mainly running. I strive to do my best by contributing to my community and society. I have entered a contest in which the winner will be chosen to be featured on the cover of Runner's World magazine and I need your votes to win! Never before has a Muslim hijabi been on the cover or represented in this magazine! I hope to inspire other hijabi females to pursue their dreams and inshallah win the cover of Runner's World magazine. Voting is allowed once a day until July 22. Stay strong and healthy and Ramadan Kareem to all!
1) When did you start wearing hijab? Tell us a little about your journey.
Wearing Hijab was a gradual process for me. Like running, I started slowly by first running 5k’s, 10k’s,half marathons, finally FULL marathons. I built myself up to marathon potential or “full time hijabi” status as I like to call it, gradually. My father approached the whole “wear your hijab process" slowly by first informing me to wear it to school, then to masjid, after that weekend islamic school, then eventually I just kept it on! In hindsight, this was a genius approach as I was a very fashion forward and such a girly girl. I became slowly acclimated to it!
2) You are a very active runner! Tell us how you got started and what you hope to accomplish through running.
In high school I hated running. It was required and with the added pressure of passing or failing gym, it got me very anxious and I failed at it miserably! Several years later my sons' school partook in a local race in Michigan. The kids were to run the one mile race, others the 5k (3.1 miles). I went ahead and signed up for the 10k (6.2 miles) and started training right after! After crossing the finish line in April 2012 (I’ve only been running 3 yrs!) I knew I was hooked! I signed up and completed the half marathon (13.1 miles) the year after at that very same race! The year after that I completed a full marathon (26.2 miles). What I hope to accomplish is a few more marathons and triathlons inshallah if God wills! I hope to inspire many stay-at-home moms, and Hijabi/Muslim females to get fit and active no matter what the sport of choice is, just get moving!
3) Being heavily involved in sports is something many hijabi women shy away from - what would you like to tell hijab wearing women who are apprehensive about becoming actively involved in sports?
Like hijab, it takes some getting used to. You become more comfortable with running and, in turn, build more endurance. Through running/working out I’ve come to know myself better. I've found that being a stay at home mom who runs and volunteers at my kids schools and various community projects (I helped organize the first ever ISNA 5K at the Detroit Riverfront in the Fall of 2015) gave me my “me” time. I run with heart and soul. I run with my head held high even when i’m being stared at. I've found that it's the best da’wah I could give forth to my beautiful religion. Running marathons while covered is a message I am physically carrying to everyone. It also helps dispel stereotypes about Muslim hijabis through partaking in these runs. So don’t shy away from anything because of hijab, I say embrace it and just like a marathon, its about mind over body!
4) If you could tell your 18 year-old self one thing, what would it be?
That everything happens for a reason. Everything is written and all is going to work itself out. Try your best and forget the rest!
5) What is one statement or motto you live by?
“Verily with hardship comes ease" (Quran, 94:5-6). It's just a wonderful verse that comes to mind when life has its bumps on the road! Another I keep in mind is, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” Both of which I try to instill into my kids in different aspects of their life.
6) If you could give one piece of advice to someone struggling with hijab, what would it be?
As I mentioned above, it's mind over matter. Training for a marathon is 50% mental and 50% physical. Same thing with hijab! You can't have one without the other. Prepare yourself mentally, then prepare for hijab physically by gradually wearing it. Practice putting it on, purchase hijabs to match your modest wardrobe and all will come together inshallah!
Is there someone you'd like to nominate for Hijabi of the Month? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org!