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Four Teenagers Put on Hijab - Here's Their Advice by 'It Girl' Hoda

Posted on Oct 13, 2015
Guest Contributor


We have all experienced it. One day, as you’re scrolling through your news feed, you come across the profile of someone you know. Except they look different. Totally different. They are now without the hijab.

Let’s be clear, this post is not about lambasting those who decide to take off the hijab, because everyone has their own struggle and the struggle can be hard. As Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) said, “Taqwa is not in the length of your beard, or in the layers of clothes you wear. It is in your heart.” None of us are in a position to judge or make assumptions about the state of one’s heart. Now this post is about those putting on the hijab. I have encountered many women taking the leap of faith and welcoming the hijab into their lives. I want to introduce you to four young ladies, Rana, Zara, Marwa and Iman, who this past Ramadan, decided to wear their religion on their sleeve. Well… their head.

It is no secret that Melanie has been working towards the unification and empowerment of women through Haute Hijab, and she has inspired me to do this in my own way. This post is about celebrating young women, young Muslims, and new hijabis. This post is about those of you who are thinking about wearing the hijab. Or even for those of you who have taken it off and are searching for motivation. This is for those of you who may not feel that hijab is the right thing for you in this moment of time, but find joy in the fact that young Muslim women are proud to represent their faith.

I was so inspired and moved by the fact that these girls made such a big decision that I wanted to know more. With the help of Melanie, and the willingness of these remarkable young women, I was able to spend an afternoon discussing their journey to hijab. If you follow Haute Hijab on Instagram, you saw how much fun we had together! I learned a lot from these girls, and I believe many others can take something from their words as well.

I asked Rana (16), Marwa (16), Iman (16), and Zara (15) several different questions, and I fell in love with the answers they gave mashallah. So lets get to it!

I was very eager to know what inspired them all to wear hijab, so naturally, this was the first question I asked.

Both Marwa and Iman commented on the Chapel Hill shooting that happened this past year. The tragedy hit home for these girls and they highlighted how the tragedy pushed them to explore their religion more deeply, and that putting on the hijab was a way of showing that they had conviction in their faith. As Marwa said, “I realized how short life is and I wanted to make the most of it, by doing what was best for my faith.”

It has only been a few months since declaring themselves “hijabis,” so I wanted to know what the journey has been like thus far, and what struggles the girls were facing up to this point. They all agreed that they were having “hair withdrawals.” As Rana stated, “I love doing hair, and used to always straighten my hair and wear it out, and was very big on my hair.” Marwa noted that it was the small adjustments that were most difficult for her to become accustom to and said, “she wasn’t used to wearing a scarf to go get the mail or other small things, and would always accidentally walk out without it.” I’m sure many other hijabis can share in this struggle. I know I certainly can!

Thankfully, they were all able to say that they felt very safe in the Raleigh area, and that they had a good group of friends at school.

Since hijab can be something some Muslim women in America struggle with initially, I asked each of the girls to share a piece of advice, and I think you all will like what they had to say!

Zara and Rana advised to go on the journey with a friend. Both girls had been thinking about this for a long time, and decided to take the leap together in Ramadan. They said, “When you have a friend, it keeps you grounded and also holds you accountable, because you wouldn’t want to tell them that you don’t want to do it anymore."

Iman advises to, “Let the decision come from yourself, and make du’aa for Allah (S) to make it easier for you.” She waited until the last week of Ramadan, just to make sure she was absolutely certain of her decision.

Marwa told us to, “Remember the reason why you wore it, and whenever you are struggling always think back to that moment you decided to wear it, and how you were feeling.” This is great advice for anything in life. When things get tough and you are searching for inspiration, bring yourself back to those initial thoughts and emotions, and remind yourself why it is all worth it.

To summarize their advice:

  • Be sure to have a support system.
  • Remember Allah, and always seek comfort in Him and ask for guidance.
  • Remember why you are doing it in the first place.

Now for the fun part ;) I asked them all what their favorite part about wearing hijab was. Personally, as someone that has worn the hijab for a long time, it was amazing to hear the perspective of someone fresh and be reminded of all the things I have overlooked or gotten used to over the years.

What Zara had to say was something I rarely pay attention to anymore. She stated: “When I was in New York over the summer, there would be random hijabis that would give me salaams, and at first I thought it was weird, but then realized how cool it was because you have a connection with people you don’t even know, but you know that you have Islam in common.”

Rana liked that she no longer had to explain herself. “People can see you and know who you are, prior to hijab you’d never be able to tell what my background was, but the hijab strengthened my Muslim identity.”

Iman made a very strong point and reminded us that, “Wearing the hijab is automatic dawah, and if people meet you and see that you are a good person, you will leave a lasting impression of how they view Muslims.”

Marwa loves the fashion aspect of hijab. Don’t we all? “It's always fun to go hijab shopping and find ways to pair together your outfits.” Luckily, they entered the realm of hijab at a very opportune time, because thanks to brands like Haute Hijab, modest fashion is on the rise ;)

Although they all said many more inspiring and thoughtful things about their journey towards hijab, these were the points I had to share. Often times, we think that we should look up to somebody older than us, but I can honestly say I look up to and admire these girls for their courage and desire to make a positive change in their life. We are so blessed with a beautiful sisterhood, and I pray that it only grows stronger, God willing.

I hope you enjoyed getting to know these girls as much as I did. Please keep them in your prayers. If you or someone you know is struggling with the hijab then share this advice, and always continue to pray to Allah to give you strength and patience.