Hijabi of the Month May 2012 - Nadia Pardesi
Posted on May 07, 2012
This month's Hijabi of the Month is Nadia Pardesi from Chicago, IL. Would you like to be a HOTM? Is there someone you'd like to nominate? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Upon graduating from college, I felt overwhelmed thinking about what life would be like without the comfort and predictability of being a student. My parents thought it was important for me to complete Umrah, since I had never been as an adult and needed clarity to move forward.
Umrah was an experience I could not put into words. The most important lesson I gained was being conscious of how I spent my time. I knew I could bounce back to America and just take a job at the first place that took me. Instead, I wanted to make sure the place I spent 40+ hours a week made a difference. Just a few weeks after my return, Allah (S) blessed me with the opportunity to work for a non-profit organization, Unity Productions Foundation (UPF). Their mission is to educate Americans on who Muslims are, their impact on history, and how many commonalities Americans from all faith backgrounds share. They fulfill their mission by creating award-winning films, organizing interfaith dialogues, and promoting Muslim roles on mainstream TV shows and films.
Nadia in the Deniz Scarf with her Husband
Working with UPF was eye-opening: I realized how important it was for Muslims to reach out and simply tell people about Islam. I loved attending the dialogue sessions and having group members feel so comfortable asking me why I wore hijab and what my role as a Muslim woman was in society. I felt empowered being able to dispel so many misconceptions and noticed a sense of admiration grew in their eyes for me and my hijab. I love that I cover. Not just because Allah (S) deemed it my responsibility, but because once I take the time to explain to someone why I cover, they seem to value it as well.
1) How old were you when you started wearing hijab?
I began wearing hijab when I was 18 years old. I had set a goal to myself that I would start the day of my high school graduation. Alhamdulillah, this June will be my nine-year hijabiversary!
2) What was a positive influence you had growing up?
I was blessed with a mother who has such a strong sense of modesty. She wore hijab, but more importantly, she carried herself with dignity and grace. When I was young, I recall being embarrassed that my mother did not "look like" the other moms in my school. As I grew older, I respected and admired my mother for being very conscious on how she dressed and interacted with others.
3) What piece of advice would you give to girls who are struggling with hijab?
I would tell them hijab, no doubt, is a difficult task in the society and time we live in. I think that whenever you find yourself struggling with anything (whether it be hijab, salah, making a big decision) you need to turn to Allah (S). Ask Him to give you the strength to pull through and guide you towards what will bring you closer to Him. Ultimately, we live in this life to achieve success in the hereafter. And our success is at the hands of our Creator.
4) What's one thing you would tell your 17-year old self?
When I was 17, I had a strong desire to wear hijab but was scared of starting in the middle of my junior year of high school. I went to school with predominantly non-Muslims and was consumed with how my classmates would react. Looking back, I wish I realized that I should not allow others to come between me and my relationship with God. While I'm happy I gave myself a deadline and met it, looking back, I now know that I need to put my trust in Allah (S) and commit to improving myself as a Muslim regardless of what others think. In the Politely Pink Scarf at a Fundraising Dinner