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Ask Haute Hijab - How do I tell my parents I want to wear Hijab?

Posted on October 08, 2012


Salamu Alaikum,

For the past few months I've been thinking about beginning to wear hijab, and my thoughts have become a lot more persistent during Ramadan. I'm 18 years old, and this Fall, I'll be starting my freshman year of college. It seems like the perfect time to start wearing the hijab since it's a new environment, I'll have a fresh start, but I'm terribly nervous about what my family will say. My family is not a religious family, we understand that we are Muslim, but for the most part no one in my family wears hijab. I'm nervous about clothing, having to go out and purchase a bunch of new outfits, especially for parties. I'm Indian and the outfits I have aren't necessarily covered up fully.

Also, I know this ruins the point, but I feel as if I'll look bad wearing hijab. I see so many beautiful people in hijabs, and then I look at myself and I'm disappointed I can't look as pretty as others in hijab. I feel as if my hair is what defines me because people always comment on how they like my hair, and without it, I feel like I look terrible. I really do wish to start wearing hijab, but I don't know anything about these hijab styles or what I should be wearing honestly. How do I tell my not so conservative parents about my decision? 

Wa alaikum as Salam!

Sounds like there are a few issues going on here. First, congratulations on your first step - the willingness and desire to wear hijab! Clearly, Allah (S) is giving you the gift of bestowing His favor upon you and inspiring you to become closer to Him through obedience, so say alhamdulilah for that! It sounds like you come from a family that does not practice the wearing of hijab and you're apprehensive about wearing it when no one in your family does. The best thing to do is talk to your family beforehand. Let them know about your decision and why you feel it's right for you. Their reaction may surprise you! They may be supportive or may be indifferent. In the event they're not supportive, don't despair! Give them time, understand that it's probably not something they were expecting and is something they may have to get used to. That being said, know that above your duty to obey your parents is your duty to obey Allah (S). Clearly this is a delicate situation, but if you decide to wear hijab despite your family's objection, respond to them with patience, kindness and love. If you feel alienated or that your relationships are in a state of disrepair, know that you are getting rewarded for your patience and that you did the right thing by obeying Allah (S) over your family. With time, they will accept your hijab, inshallah, and who knows, you may even influence them to become closer to Allah (S) through your own actions!

On a personal note, my mother is Catholic and when I made the decision to wear hijab, our relationship suffered immensely for many years. It was very hard on me to know I was hurting my mother and made her feel alienated from me. I prayed to God every day that He would repair our relationship and give her the knowledge that with our without the hijab I'm still her daughter and nothing has changed. Hamdulilah we've come a long way and she's accepted my hijab and our relationship has become much stronger as a result. 

Now to your second point, I'm hearing that you won't feel as beautiful when wearing hijab and feel your hair defines you. Join the club! While women can be beautiful in hijab, the hijab is meant to conceal our outer beauty and save that precious gift for our husband and family - those who deserve to see it! There are going to be days when you will not feel pretty, when you wish you could show your hair, and we've all been there! The important thing to focus on is yourself, not others. On the Day of Judgment, are you going to feel comfortable standing in front of Allah (S) saying that you didn't obey His command of covering your hair and body because you didn't feel pretty? Or because your hair defines you? Of course not. Those things seem petty when put in this context. No, people aren't going to praise you on how beautiful your hair is, but Allah (S) and His angels are praising you everyday when you put that hijab on to please Him, and Him alone. Allah (S) says in the Quran, "I did not create the jinn and humans except that they may worship Me" (51:56). We were created to worship Allah (S), not to seek acceptance and affirmation from our peers.

With time, you'll forget about the days when people always complimented your hair (there's more to compliment you on than just your hair!) and your friends will know you with your hijab on. Try a few on, see what styles and colors work for you! If you find it overwhelming at first, try wearing hats or other creative ways of covering your hair. There are so many great tutorials on youtube that show you literally hundreds of different styles. Slowly make the transition to covering properly and make du'a along the way. Do not underestimate the power of du'a! The Prophet (S) said, "Du'a is the weapon of the believer." Make du'a Allah (S) softens the hearts of your family members, make du'a you find your hijab groove and come up with fun and creative ways of wearing hijab that still make you feel confident and beautiful. Make du'a He keeps this feeling of wanting to wear hijab in your heart forever and that He only strengthens your conviction in it. When you take a step toward Allah (S), he takes ten steps toward you. Don't underestimate the power of du'a.

As far as clothing goes - who doesn't love an excuse to go shopping! We're here to provide you with hundreds of clothing options and outfit idea's that you can peruse right here on our blog! There are some really great Muslim fashion bloggers out there helping girls dress modestly while remaining stylish - check out Haute Muslimah, Hijab Style and Hijab Revival (our favorites) just to name a few! There is no shortage of appropriate traditional Indian and Pakistani clothing, as so many hijabi's work the sari and shalwar-kamees beautifully. Check out our guest blog post on How to Work a Sari with Hijab! There are many great resources out there, so don't be discouraged; there is support and help every step of the way.

We wish you the best of luck and pray Allah (S) makes this transition easy for you! You are in our thoughts and prayers and always have us to lean on! 

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