When Hanna was young she grew up in the era where women only wore selendang, to cover their hair. Not many women wears the proper hijab in those days. Her father always emphasized “It is not what you wear but what is in your heart”. This resonates with Islam which emphasizes that – the hadith of the prophet which says that God does not look at what you wear but looks at your deeds and faith in God.
You see, she grew up in a flexible and lax environment. she was a practicing Muslims in terms of belief but she was spoilt. she took Islam for granted. She was adamant about professing her belief but she was not so good at carrying out the tenets of Islam like the obligatory prayers etc.
Hanna used to be a victim of the beauty industry. She bought handbags, make-up, clothes which never reflected the gist of a being a women in Islam. In later life Hanna began to understand that the media played a big role in influencing her perceptions about her feelings of self. She noticed that in her obsession of beauty she grew up with a mixed perception about covering herself as a sign of her submission to the will of God as opposed to appeasing her ego on beauty. She thought it was justified to dress provocatively but still be a Muslim.
She was dubbed a progressive Muslim. Hanna was not liberal but she bent rules in her youth out of ignorance.Yet something drew her to the head covering otherwise known as Hijab. She saw tremendous serenity in the faces of women wearing Hijab. When she dressed up to the nines Hanna never felt peace. In fact she felt harrassed when the women envied her and the men ogled at her.
So the Hijab seemed more alluring. She admits at hindsight that it was the Hijab that kept her in line. It was the Hijab that saved her faith. Why?
When she was younger she was blessed with beauty. She always felt confused with this gift. She did not know how to handle it. She never understood it. She always rebelled. Blooming from a young beauty to a rebellious tomboy. She wanted men to stop taking her unseriously and woman from envying her. She needed protection from these forms of harassments. She always felt upset and confused. Beauty never gave her peace. It just gave her problems.
So she was drawn to the Hijab because she felt it protected her from her insecurities.
So after she married she mustered up the courage to wear the Hijab.
She was overseas then, so the pressure was higher. She bought a couple of colorful scarves from the shops and donned them in front of the mirror. She felt so comforted, She felt so secure. She felt so good. She felt at peace with herself.
She went out and walked along the street. She felt trepidation. No one looked.She felt self conscious. Would people label her a terrorist and look at her apprehensively. No one looked. And as Hanna walked, she did not get any cat calls. What a relief. She was surprised the folks did not care much. She thought they would frown on her. She was wrong.
Finally Hanna felt free. She felt protected and felt peace. She felt closer to her Creator. Nowadays the Hijab has strengthened her faith and made her a better Muslimah. She prays more constantly and is constantly reminded of God everytime she wears the Hijab.She offers sincere repentance for her old ways. She avoids places that are harmful to her because she feels embarassed to go.
She says “Hijab has freed me and protected me and given me inner peace.”
Quran An Nur 24:31
And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, their brothers’ sons, their sisters’ sons, their women, that which their right hands possess, or those male attendants having no physical desire, or children who are not yet aware of the private aspects of women. And let them not stamp their feet to make known what they conceal of their adornment. And turn to God in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.