It has been more than a month now… That day seems so distant..the day when I left my home with trembling hands, shaking out fear, that day when my heartbeats were so loud that the person next to me could perhaps hear it loud and clear.. it seems to a blurred image, a long gone thing that had once happened.. The day when I entered my office for the first time wearing my hijab, expecting scorns and glares, when I was trying to study every person with whom I interacted “what is he thinking about my hijab? Would he behave differently if I wasn’t wearing one?”
Alhamdulillah, none of it happened. Never did I feel a second glance from anyone, never did I face a scorn. It has been a month now, and I see myself grown a lot more as a muslimah than I ever did in 23years of my life. So what happened in this month? How has my first month as a hijabi been?
I remember being heartbroken about getting this job. I kept wondering why was I here when all my friends were in better places, earning five times more than I was going to earn? Why did I have to be here and slog for long hours for a meager sum?
“O you who Believe! Have taqwa (fear) of Allah and believe in His Messenger; and He will bestow upon you a double portion of His Mercy and He will provide you with a light by which you will walk” [Al Qur’an 57:28]
Today perhaps I see a little glimpse of His mercy (for his bounty is infinite and we are too insignificant to be able to measure it). Alhamdulillah. Perhaps this place was the best place for me to take my baby steps as a Muslimah, to take my first shakey steps and face the world. With my fear of facing the world, and their scorns with my head covered, I still do not know how I would have reacted if I would actually face any discrimination or agitation about my hijab. The people in my office are amazing people Alhamdulillah. It is always a very cheerful and glee environment. People work hard, talk like friends and laugh like a family. My hijab never really made any difference. After the initial days of being reserved, I started opening up to. I could be me in this place, what I really wanted to be. I did not have to shy away from any activity or be any lesser of an employee because of my deen. SubhanAllah!
A week after joining, I wanted to ask for praying. My Zuhr and Asr salah timings come within my office hours. After thinking about it for long, I gathered the courage to approach the Facilities department head and fumbled a few words about my desire to pray twice a day. Nervous as I was, I was expecting a question or two about the loss of work during that time and I was desirous of getting even the smallest corner of the office store to pray. However, better things were waiting..without even a second thought the head of department communicated to the watchman that everyday twice the guest room must be unlocked for me to pray. Till date, even before it is time for my Zuhr and Asr Salah, the watchman unlocks for me to pray the most lavish room of the office meant only to host privileged guests..why not? Wasn’t I communicating to our Rabb- the Highest and the Most Special? SubhanAllah.
Indeed, Allah has the best plans for you. He knows what is good for me and it is He who can see what I cannot. Alhamdulillah. There are obviously girls who are curious about my hair and how I would look without my scarf. One of them- Payal- once took me to the washroom just to make me undo my hijab so that she could see my hair! Sara once asked me whether my hair is so long as to go below my waist. My response that it barely goes a little below my shoulders made her gasp in surprise!
-“but woman! The bun you make is hugeeeeeee!!” . I had to then explain her about the clips below my hijab.
A popular joke also circulates that I carry a secret gun/ knife under my hijab. During an important meeting, a fellow new joinee was secretly having a chocolate when he realised he doesn’t have a place to discard the wrapper. He whispers stealthily, “pssst!! Mahdiya” (handing over the wrapper) “hide it where you hide your khanjar (knife)”. The people around, including me, found it really hard to suppress our chuckles!
Yet another popular joke is that I am secretly bald. 🙂 It is all taken and sported nicely. It does make me feel happy that I did take this decision. It gave me confidence to be what I want to be. Shukr only to Allah Alhamdulillah that He put my amongst the most encouraging, positive and happy people. Now I know that even if I ever shift my work, I shall never again feel scared of facing new people with my hijab on. I know it is now an integral part of me, and people do accept me just this way.
Not everyone knows that I am a revert and the ones who know never frowned. There is Suhana (who is now my flatmate) and Khushi who appreciate me for my decision and encourage me on this path. Yesterday, it was time for Maghreb and I was in a mall with Khushi. As I prepared myself to spread my prayer mat in the basement to pray, Khushi suggested me to go to a trial room of some store and pray. It was a whole new experience for me! We pretended to pick a dress or two for me, I went inside the trial room and prayed to heart’s content while she patiently waited for me outside. SubhanAllah. When I came out, we kept the dress aside joking, “it’s not my type! :-)” and laughed our lungs out!
This month was special for me beyond my office too. I had never thought I would ever blog. Writing has never been my forte. Even now all I do is putting forth my thoughts in the simplest of words. I don’t know how and when one day I took the initiative to write my first post. Never had I felt so touched, never had I felt that I am important too.
Through this blog I got in touch with beautiful sisters of mine in Islam. I met reverts like me in India who face similar troubles like me about upkeeping salah, worries about marriage and disclosing her religion to her family. Women who are striving for Allah swt and with a smile awaiting the reward of jannah. I met a beautiful woman struggling to please our Creator..striving each day to better herself as a pious muslimah, a niqabi, a mother, a wife but despite everything first a muslimah. A woman so kind and loving, who became as a sister to me, made duas for me when I was low, shared my joys when I was happy. I met learned women who are alimas and striving to be one. Women who gladly extend their generous hand with a big heart to support their sisters in Islam when they need them the most…whose hearts fill with joy to see muslimahs like me taking baby steps and progress slowly. Then I met beautiful sisters in Islam who are always generous to drop an encouraging word or two when I share my experiences. I know I am not alone now… I know you are there out there my dear sisters and brothers of Islam… JazakAllah Khairun. Shukr only to Allah for bringing you in my life. Masha’allah.
Every day I learn, about life and about my deen. I learn that life on earth is meant not to be easy but we can attain contentment by accepting that no matter what we do, our destiny is in the hands of our Lord, He is Al-Malik and Malik-ul-Mulk. No matter how much we try, the outcome is going to be what He decides for us. All we can do it put our hopes on him completely and have faith and patience.
“And be patient for your patience is but by Allah…” [an-Nahl 16:127]
Please remember me in your duas that I remain steadfast. May Allah bless and reward each one of you immensely. Ameen.