You Don't Have to be Perfect in Your Islam to Wear Hijab
Posted on Dec 27, 2019
Editor's note: What does it mean to "wear it like you mean it?" We know this coming year may be hard for Muslims, especially visibly Muslim women, and we invite you (and ourselves) to renew our intentions and reflect on what our hijab (and faith) mean to us. Throughout the month we are sharing stories of what this means to women around the U.S. as well as highlighting local heroes who are quietly doing good and hard work in their communities.
By Danah Shuli
If there’s one thing I’ve learned 2019, it’s that there’s no time like the present. This year has been one of major change – for myself and my family. With family loss, new births and personal growth, I’ve learned that the best time to start doing something new is now.
Growing up my dad would always tell me “ Don’t delay today’s task until tomorrow.” This little piece of advice has served me well in recent years since becoming a mother. It’s easy to push daily, never ending tasks to the next day, which leaves me with a long to-do list and the feeling that nothing ever gets done. Sometimes I feel like I’m so far behind and in too deep that it’s too late to even begin.
Trying on hijab in the mirror; image source: Twitter
Taking this concept and applying it to other aspects of life, like wearing hijab or performing hajj, I can see how delaying these acts of worship can turn them into daunting tasks rather than enjoyable acts of worship.
The notion that we must be perfect to start wearing hijab, to start praying or going for hajj is nothing more than whispers from shaytan meant to keep us doubtful of Allah's (S) mercy. These ideas usually stem from the notion that we must be perfect in our religious practice in order to be “worthy” of performing others. This is far from true, because we are human and it is in our nature to be imperfect.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
Every son of Adam makes mistakes, and the best of those who make mistakes are those who repent. (At-Tirmidhi)
In the spring, I took a deeper look at this concept of repentance in a post I wrote here for the blog. Now, I want to focus on the illusion of perfection and how we don’t need to, nor are we expected to be perfect in all aspects of our deen in order to wear hijab.
If you’ve been following along Haute Hijab’s "Wear It Like You Mean It" campaign this month, you may have read my interview with my friend Lamia, who started wearing hijab at the age of seven! I don’t know about you, but I know I was not a perfect Muslim at that age. At seven, some of us are just beginning to practice some of the five pillars of Islam, like salah. However, at such a young age, my friend was able to see past society’s expectations of perfection and decide for herself that she wanted to try putting on hijab, despite the fact that she was no where near perfecting other parts of practicing Islam.
I think many of us can learn a great deal from this childhood innocence, if we let go of the unrealistic expectations society has pushed on us and how we should be practicing our faith. If you wait until the perfect time to engage in any one part of Islam, you are susceptible to falling into a vicious cycle of procrastination that may lead you to fall off and deviate from the path of Allah (S) in fear of not being good enough. The beauty of Islam is that is it not a linear path. As long as there is a solid foundation – tawheed – the other aspects are all going to be a work in progress.
In some seasons of life you may be on a spiritual high; your prayers may be solid, your hijab game strong, reading Quran is part of your daily routine. We all know, however, that these spiritual highs don’t always last. You may hit a season of life where some areas of your faith are lacking and need a boost. It is in these times of “spiritual lows” that we have to remember that Allah’s (S) mercy and guidance is always there for us. We just have to look and ask for it in the form of constant du’a.
Here at HH, we have been challenging each other, and you, to think deeply about why you wear hijab and renewing our intentions towards it. For someone who is thinking to start wearing hijab, this may seem a little strange. Why would someone who already wears hijab need to challenge themselves and think deeply about why they wear it? Well, it’s simple – we are all human!
Even as someone who’s worn hijab for several years now, I have my days where I think to myself that life would be so much easier if I didn’t have it on. I sometimes go through phases where the hijab becomes more of a routine, something that I am used to wearing and not truly reflecting on why I do so. I sometimes get bored of wearing it day in and day out and feel like I need a refresh.
Just because someone has worn hijab for a long time doesn’t mean they don’t have their own set of struggles. So, if you are someone who is mulling over the idea of wearing hijab but are worried that you are not perfect enough, here are some steps to help give you that extra nudge and hopefully the confidence to try it on!
1. Make the right intention and leave the rest up to Allah (S). Whether you keep the hijab on for a day, go through phases or continue to wear it, starting off this journey with a pure intention and mindset will pave the way for a successful experience, Insha’Allah. If you're trying to figure out how to actually wear a hijab, check out this gallery for 16 foolproof steps to wrapping a hijab.
2. As my friend Lamia said in our interview, don’t care so much! Don’t care so much about where you are on your religious journey or what other people may think. Believe it or not, taking this step and just trying on hijab for a day may help you in other areas of your deen where you feel you are lacking. The more connections you make with Allah (S), the easier He will make it on you to practice Islam.
3. Surround yourself with like-minded people and clear out your social media. This is something Melanie talks about all the time when it comes to making a change within ourselves. Who we surround ourselves with and what our eyes consume has a direct impact on us, and in turn our thoughts and actions. We all know bad company when we see it, and we all know what accounts on Instagram we shouldn’t be following. Take the things that don’t correspond with our morals as Muslims out of your life and see how much of an impact this will have on your thinking and religious practice.
4. Buy yourself a beautiful, high quality hijab! Invest in this piece of fabric. You want to wear something that will make you feel beautiful and give you confidence. Check out HH's Definitive Style Guide to help you figure out your hijab style (or try a new one), and click here to learn how to build a great hijab collection!
5. Don’t be discouraged by the way you choose to wear it. Putting it on is better than not wearing it at all. Of course there are certain guidelines we all need to be aware of when wearing hijab, but “perfecting” it from the get go may be the reason why you are discouraged from wearing it all together. Know that your relationship with the hijab will be an ongoing journey towards Allah (S). With time, patience and practice, you will learn to wear the hijab in a way that is pleasing to Him and empowering for yourself.
Danah is wife to Kareem and mama to two children. She was born and raised in Charlotte, NC, and loves all things food, fashion, photography and home decor. After having Kinzah, she created her blog, Mother of Pearl, where she shares a glimpse into her life as she navigates motherhood and hopes to build a safe space for other mamas to connect. You can follow her on Instagram.
All images are from Unsplash.