Posted on Sep 28, 2013
For the past few months, I have seriously began considering wearing the hijab, especially after Ramadan. However, for a year and a half, I had a boyfriend and it is the worst mistake I have ever made. It's been a year since I ended our relationship, but I still feel guilty about it every single day. I've been working since then to try and strengthen my Iman by reading Qu'ran more and becoming more diligent with my prayers, but I'm afraid that people will think I am a hypocrite for wearing hijab because of the mistakes I've made. I'm also worried that I'll be disgracing the hijab because of my awful deed. I do really want to start wearing the hijab, but I just can't seem to bring myself to do it. I am going to be applying for medical schools soon and, eventually, jobs, so I am worried that it will be more difficult to get a job later on. It's just a huge commitment and I guess I'm just having trouble making it. Do you have any advice for me?
Thank you for reaching out. It takes a lot of courage to be this open and honest. There are a few issues you've brought up that I'd like to address. First, never allow past sins to stop you from doing good deeds now. Indeed, this is one of the ways shaitan tricks us and keeps us further from Allah (S). We feel such overwhelming guilt from a past deed that we feel we are unworthy of Allah (S)'s grace. What's in the past is in the past and should have no bearing on what you do in the present. Today is a new day. It's clear that you acknowledge it was a mistake. The key is to ask forgiveness from Allah (S). Sincerely repent for your deed, have remorse and resolve that you will never return to the sin. Allah (S) says in the Quran, “O servants who have acted recklessly against their own selves, do not despair of Allah (S)'s mercy, surely Allah (S) will forgive all sins. Indeed, He is the most forgiving, most merciful” (39:53). Once you've done that, move on and do good deeds! Good deeds negate bad ones, so wearing the hijab is a wonderful thing to do - especially considering your past misdeeds.
Now, in regards to people thinking you're a hypocrite for wearing hijab due to your past deed - the opposite is true! It will be apparent you're really making a change and taking steps to become closer to Allah (S). People don't typically start wearing hijab on a whim - it usually results from careful contemplation and constant du'a. Who knows, you may even inspire others around you to wear hijab! When people who others think would never wear hijab actually put it on, it speaks volumes. Of course, you shouldn't worry what others think! Wearing hijab is ordained by Allah (S) and enforced by the Prophet (S) and every day you walk out of the house without hijab, you're disobeying Allah (S). Why let what others think hold you back from becoming closer to Allah (S) or even worse - from ceasing sinful behavior. This decision is between you and Allah (S) and you and Him alone. Don't let others influence this very important decision in your life.
As far as your future career - put all your trust in Allah (S). If you take this huge step in order to please Allah (S), do you think he would leave you? Quite the contrary - He'll pave the way for you and remember you, just as you have remembered Him. Allah (S) says, "And whoever places his trust in Allah (S), He is sufficient for him" (65:3). Trust in Allah (S) and allow Him to be sufficient for you - allow Him to provide for you - whether it's applications or positions - and if a University or workplace denies you due to your religious beliefs, then you don't want to be in that environment anyway. You see how hijab is a blessing for you in all aspects? It even protects you from things you wouldn't be able to protect yourself from without it.
If I can be completely honest with you, all these concerns you have - guilt, what others will think, your future career, etc, are all excuses that are keeping you from doing what your heart is clearly leaning towards. Listen to your inner most self and be honest with yourself. What do you really want? Don't think about anyone or anything besides Allah (S). The answer should be clear. Follow this instinct and don't delay - you never know if this feeling will enter your heart again. You should truly feel blessed and privileged that Allah (S) has opened your heart in this way. The feelings you're experiencing are a manifestation of Allah (S)'s grace and blessings on you. Trust Him.
Lastly, make sure you make du'a! Du'a is the weapon of the believer for good reason. Pray Allah (S) makes things easy on you as you strive to please Him and obey His commands. Make du'a every day with a sincere heart and witness the power of God as He makes things easy on you and illuminates a path for you. Allah (S) says in the Quran,"Your Lord has said, 'Call me, I will answer you." (Quran, 60:60). Additionally, in a hadith qudsi, the Prophet (S) said, Allah (S) said, "I am as My servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me to himself, I make mention of him to Myself; and if he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than it. And if he draws near to Me an arm's length, I draw near to him a fathom's length. And if he comes to Me walking, I go to him at speed." (Hadith Qudsi 15, related by Bukhari).
We are praying for you and hope you make the decision that's right for you. No matter what you decide, you always have us to lean on!