Saturday, April 23, 2011

When should she start wearing the hijab?

I started wearing the hijab, or the headscarf when I was 9, or was it 10?? I can't really remember. But I started fairly early. It was never an issue because everybody was wearing it. But I never really know why I need to put it on. And I never had any discussion with my parents about it. I only started questioning it when I went to Australia. After I was questioned. It only intrigued me when the Aussies were asking why do we wear the headscarf. And I will answer because I am a Muslim. Then they will ask why Muslim have to do it? Why only women? Not men? etc etc etc....I cannot simply answer bcoz God ask me, I do it unconditionally right? I need a logic. Throughout time, that piece of cloth covering my head have evolved from "really short" to "quite long, i.e long enough to cover my chest" to "trying so hard to twist the cloth here n there to be covered and yet still trendy".

And even after I think I have understood the whole concept of hijab or dressing modestly in Islam..and figured out why I should wear it, I still go through that yo-yo cycle where I will change my style from time to time...from loose to tight, short to long, pastel to glaringly bold....all in the name of I need to look good as a women. 

It's ironic that when I was in Tassie, I wore baju kurung most of the time, even in winter. And I have never felt so liberated. Nowadays, the only time I wear my baju kurung is wedding and funeral.

So when it comes to when should the girls start covering themselves, I deliberated. For a long time.

I told Hajar it will be compulsory for her to do it once she hit puberty. Which is probably in another 1 or 2 years time. So she told me she plan to do it next year, when she's 13. Okay...fine with me. So she has started wearing it occasionally. To Quran class mostly. And when she does, she's probably praying hard she will not bump into anybody she knows too. And depending on the days, she will fluctuate from very confident "YES" to start wondering...what will my friend think of me? It might sounds lame...but this is exactly why I deliberated.

It's definitely much easier to get them to wear it when they are still small. No resistance. Not much reasoning and explaination needed. But I want them to understand why they have to do it. And make an informed choice to do it. 

I do not want them to wear it now, thinking they have no choice... and 5, 10 years down the road chuck it all away, because they don't think it represents them, they don't think it gives them freedom, they feel alienated, they feel different , they feel that piece of cloth put them at a disadvantage....etc etc etc.

They have to believe it. Hijab is not about how people perceive you.  You should  believe you are beautiful with it. And of course this comes with the understanding of what defines real beauty. Beauty in the eyes of God. It's about your conviction.  It's between  you and God. It's a personal choice. And it certainly shouldn't make you feel holier than others who don't. To achieve that, you have to discover it yourself. Everybody has their own journey. And it might be a difficult and long journey.

If they have to deal with those issues...vanity, beauty, self esteem, raison d'etre...I would rather they deal with them now. So I can talk to them, and try to make sense out of it, rather than they battle with the issues later in life, and make wrong choices.

I pray they will blossom into a proud muslimah. Slowly and surely. Strong woman with big heart making a great difference in this world, and proud to be themselves. Not a copy cat. Amin.


  1. This is yet another post where I can totally relate with you. I too started wearing at a young age altho at a much older age than when you had to don yours. I too wore mine without argument. And even now I'm struggling to achieve some form of acceptance wrt hijabs while at the same time tempted by my nafs of wanting to still look trendy and not 'kampung' if you get what I mean. haha Hence, the same yoyo cycle I too face until now, undecided because I still want to feel good about myself while carrying out Allah's will.

    Because of this, I too face the same hesitation when it comes to when my children should start donning their hijabs. Part of me do not want to simply enforce it on them, and making them go through the uncertainty I had to go through even until now. The other part of me knows that hijab is wajeeb, and what's wajeeb is wajeeb, much like our solat and fasting etc. You don't question Allah's rules.

    InsyaAllah, I pray for Allah's guidance...


  2. Yes may Allah guide us all to the right path ;) Everybody has their own demon to conquer, their own struggle. Which makes it so important not to be judgmental. I cringe everytime I hear people telling their kids that so and so who doesn't wear the hijab is doomed, and we who wear the hijab is allright...only Allah knows.

  3. noice ლ(́◉◞౪◟◉‵ლ)