This is an old blog post of mine which I deleted by mistake today. Hence, reblogging it!
Till 6 months back, never in my wildest dream had I thought this day would come in my life. Not had the remotest thought of becoming a hijabi had crossed my mind. Suddenly my life flipped, my faith was squeezed to be tested and my complete thought process was shaken. Of all the events that have happened with me in my road of reversion, yesterday was the most eventful day till now. Alhamdulillah. I do not know what more awaits.
I have been wanting to adorn a Hijab since about 3 months. Back then, at home, with my parents I had just made up a firm decision and established regular Salahs Alhamdulillah! My heart was very vulnerable and crumpled. I was weak to plan my future or even think about it. All I had was my faith on Allah swt today. I had the desire to become a perfect Muslimah. The kind of woman Allah swt wants me to be (Insha’Allah) and how would I be that without becoming a hijabi first!
Hiding in my room, secretly I used to watch videos of my sisters in Islam giving tutorials of how to wear a headscarf. But how should I start it? I couldn’t wear it while I was with my parents. I couldn’t wear it when I was with my friends. A few months back I came to Bangalore to look for a job. I stayed with my friend Sharron for the entire month of Ramadhan.Though I revealed my reversion to her and she accepted it well Alhamdulillah, I could not tell her I wanted to wear the headscarf. I don’t know whether I was merely scared or awkward or was worried that she would be embarrassed to hang around with me or her family would make fun of me. Perhaps, I wanted to give her some time to get used to my reversion and prayers first and then show her how seriously into it I was. For many, even today the hijab is a sign of oppression and I was already answering a curious Sharron many things about why I chose to become a muslim.
In my mind, I set a date for myself. The day I join my workplace, I will start wearing a hijab. It will be a new place and new people. I will be staying separately with new people. Therefore, nobody will know about my past. Finally in I secured a job in an organization. I even purchased 6 new scarves to be draped around as my hijab. They are the most precious things I have bought till date.
As the date came closer, I started getting anxious. I used to debate for long in my own head why I should be wearing it and why I should not. There were nights when I used to sleep convinced that it really will not be a big deal once I do it and the next morning I used to wake up sweating with nervousness that how will I do it? What if I am shunned by everyone in office? Days flew by. I got a call from the office to report a couple of days before the joining date for some documentation formalities.
The night before that I had been thinking how I should be executing this idea. Which hijab should I be wearing? Should I be wearing? I was very scared. “tomorrow is the day”. I could feel my heartbeats. They have never been so fast and loud! “just do it”.. inspired and encouraged, I woke up the next day. I left from Sharron’s home without a hijab, draped it around my head as I waited for the bus. I draped it casually for the first day, just covering my head with a shawl and wrapped it around my neck. Maybe I would do it more conservatively after my office people get used to it. I was scared. I have never been so scared. When I boarded the bus, I sat quietly, looking at no one. As I walked towards my office my nervousness increased. How would they react? I wasn’t dressed that way when I went for the interview. I avoided eye contact with anyone on my way. I walked towards the lift, went in…head covered…didn’t look at people..could feel some stares and glances.
Finally the lift hit my office’s floor. I got off the lift..I could see the watchman through the glass door. He looked and smiled. He saw me with the headscarf. He was normal. Phew! I started walking towards the lift and to my utter dismay I saw 4 more girls standing there filling up some formalities. They were new joinees too!! I thought I was the only one. I was standing behind them and I do not know what went into me. I had to spend my entire year with them! What would my impression be? The first time they look at me and I present myself this way what will they think of me? In a matter of two seconds before they could turn and see me, something awful overpowered me- my hands went straight up and pulled my headscarf down from my head. It looked like a normal scarf draped around my neck now. They turned. We greeted. My heart was pounding from what just happened in the last thirty seconds.
The next 2 hours that I spent in the office with them completing all formalities, I could not believe what had happened. I was in dismay, shock and extreme guilt. That 1 minute had I tried and held on to my nafs I would have been sitting there with my hijab on. They were new people!!! Why did I bother? What made me do this? They were sweet, normal and really nice. The Associate who guided us with the paper work was also very humble, kind and patient. I knew from within that they really wouldn’t have made a fuss if I wore it. It would have been easy that day. How would I ever wear it again now that they know I am not a Hijabi from the start?
I came back home in extreme pain. I had disappointed Allah swt. I was ashamed of my act. I could not think of anything else that day. The thought of being a non-hijabi again for my tenure in this office was paining me. I failed. I messaged my friend Shanaya ..”I could not do it”and I related the entire incident to her
–“what made you pull it down?”, she asked
-“I don’t know!”, I said
-“it’s not too late yet. Try again on Monday. It wouldn’t matter to them. The more you delay, the tougher it will get”
Did I really have another chance? I had convinced myself that there was no point anymore. Over the weekend I started thinking about it again. This time my fear had multiplied itself. Would I make a fool of myself? Somewhere down the line, I had shattered my faith on myself. I was weak and I will again pull it down, I thought.
“talk to Allah(swt) constantly and seek his guidance. He will make it easy for you to wear your crown, i.e your hijab, tomorrow”, my friend Haseena told me.
“Talk to Allah”…I kept asking for courage all day. The night before was a sleepless night. I woke up every now and then and saw the clock. The morning was coming. I had to leave for office at 8:15am to reach on time by 8:45am. I woke up at 6:45am. What would my flat-mate and her mother think? I was planning to leave before they wake up but her mother woke up at 8am. All the while as I was getting ready for my office I was in two minds. Should I or should I not? I sat in my room alone, holding my scarf. It was soft and blue, matching my kurta that I was wearing. Did I really have to wear it to prove my faith to Allah? I almost ended up convincing myself that Allah understands, he is very kind, I don’t have to wear it. I will carry on like this and it is fine. I am a good person, am I not?
I almost gave it up when I felt my heart crumple. How would I ever face myself after this day? With what face would I go to pray the next time? I imagined two scenarios – how I would be at the end of the day if I did it and how I would be if I do not. I grabbed my scarf, my pins and rushed to the washroom. I stood right in front of my mirror and draped it around myself however I could and pinned it up.
I stood there looking aghast at my reflection. There was another person looking at me in the mirror! Am I going to be her for the rest of my life? Is this the new me? I kept staring and my eyes became moist. I held the door’s knob and my hands were shaking. I was trembling. Once I open this door, I face the world now. Just then I heard my roommates mom outside. The first person I had to face.
I still had time to open my scarf. It was 8:25am already. I was getting late. “open the door Mahdiya. For Allah… just do it this one time”. That was it. Without giving myself one more second to think about it, I pulled the door open, grabbed my bag and rushed out of the house without looking at anyone. Her mom saw me and I could feel her freeze suddenly while working, I could see my roommate suddenly stopping with her jaws dropped at the hallway when I rushed out. My breakfast lay prepared in the kitchen but I couldn’t gather the courage to stay in that house for another moment.
I ran down the stairs and came on the street. It was drizzling. I opened my umbrella, trying to screen myself from the people. I kept walking for another 5minutes. The panic was easing off. My mind stopped thinking. People didn’t bother. Okay, so at least on the streets it seemed normal. I stopped a shared cab service to board, the driver did look at me like an alien for a second but as long as he doesn’t refuse to drop me till my destination I was fine with me. Everything was normal here too. I was relatively calmer now. However, I could not trust myself. I had pulled it down in the last minute two days back.
I entered my office premises. Everyone was again normal. I didn’t look like an alien that means. People seem more normal than I thought.
The lift. I didn’t look at anyone. Just pressed the 6thfloor button and waited. Finally the big moment. “OPEN IT… OPEN IT”…. Slowly and steadily, I walked towards my office. The watchman looked and smiled again. That smile was such a big relief. “He doesn’t think I am any different from yesterday as I am today !”
I was asked to sit in a cabin, where other new joinees were waiting too, until we are escorted inside by the HR. I could see a bit of them through the door. I took a deep breath, “this is it Mahdiya, do it and you are through”. I opened the door, greeted the girls with a big confident smile and sat beside them! There were three girls there. One of them was new. Sunakshi greeting back without reacting (one down) , Soumi was a little stunned, her eyes popped out and got stuck on me but she eventually eased down and smiled ..hahaha..(two down) and the new girl also greeted me back. There were 8 other new joinees waiting in other cabins! Things eased down so much Alhamdulillah!! Things were easier to face now. Nobody even reacted much! Even if I am scorned by the rest of office, I knew at least the new joinees are my friends. We started talking and chatting and all my fears were gone in thin air. I became my ownself again. I kept thanking Allah deep in my heart. I had done it! I finally sat before people in my hijab. Nobody questioned, nobody looked back or stared aghast!
We soon entered the office and Alhamdulillah during our orientation and training session everyone has been very humble, kind and polite to me just as they are with others. We learnt, laughed and chatted. I made friends with all the 12 joinees and everytime I went to the washroom I saw her in the mirror. I smile at her, as if she is a different person. I tell her it is slipping from there and that it could be better next time. I tell her she is looking beautiful and so different. Once, one of the trainees asked me “are you a Bengali muslim or a non-bengali muslim”
Those words were dew drops to my ears…I look like a muslim, I thought. Now when anyone sees me, they will know that I am a muslim now. I do not have to hide my identity anymore. My voice choked and I fumbled out something to answer her back. It really doesn’t matter what I said I was, as long as she says I am a muslim ❤ I spent 10 hours in my hijab that day in my office. I came back home proudly yesterday and smiled at my flatmate as she opened the door, she smiled back.
My heart has been beating loud and happy since yesterday Alhamdulillah. Today morning I was so excited to choose a hijab to match my dress. I wore it again, took a photo of me this time. As I walked down to my office today, I saw another muslimah wearing a hijab above her kurta and pants. In India, you either see women in burqua or without any hijab. Just the headscarf over normal loose clothing are an extremely rare sight. I stealthily looked at her and caught her glancing at me too 😉 the second time she looked, I smiled back and she gave an equally broad smile as if we have always known each other. It was the warmest smile of my life. It was smile from a muslimah acknowledging our sisterhood as an ummah.
Preserving this warmth in my heart I continued walking to experience another beautiful day as a hijabi….