Written by Shazia Chowdhury
Alhamdulillah, it all started in 2014. I was lost, confused and scared to take up a decision. A decision I knew would change my lifestyle, my thought process, the way people think of me and the environment I was in. Majority stopped me, talked me out of it, and demotivated me. But, there was something I felt was missing in my life. It was the commitment. The commitment to Islam. SubhanAllah, after a lot of fighting with my mind and heart, I finally took the initiative upon myself to wear and embrace hijab. I could feel Allah (SWT) guiding me. I felt the strong urge to cover.
Living a normal busy life, going with the flow—there were a few thoughts that were running constant on my mind and they were:
• Life was temporary and one fine day I will have to stand before Allah and answer Him in the Hereafter
• I didn’t want my covering to be the first and last when I left this world
• Extreme fear of the hell fire
• Fear of not getting a chance to even smell the fragrance of Jannah
• Purely and most importantly it was an order from Allah.
We, human beings, are not aware of when, where, how and in which state we will depart this world, and believing in the phrase “life’s too short,” I had to choose what was right and ordained by Allah (SWT) .
Hijab happened in the summer; the most challenging time to start. Alhamdulillah, for a change the weather didn’t get to me. It wasn’t bothering me as much as I thought it would. I suffer from asthma since my childhood, so I thought it would be a crazy decision but alhamdulillah, nothing went wrong. Everything changed for the good. I was assured that when you do something for Allah (SWT). He makes it easy.
Mixed Blessings Along The Way
Hijab was a change towards goodness. It has been the best change, even with all the criticisms and nasty comments and stares you get from people. Usually, when we meet and greet, we give salaams. But right after I embraced hijab, I did my part of greeting people with “Peace be upon you.” In return, I was bombarded with questions like “Why?” , “What made you wear hijab?” and “You’re too young for hijab!”
Alhamdulillah, even with all the negatives, I chose to overlook the unwanted attention because down the line there were some amazing people who helped, supported and appreciated my change. They weren’t on the same page as I was, but they didn’t stop me from going forward either.
Hijab has given me feelings I have never felt before; such as having various feelings working all together in a nutshell—I felt protected, comfortable, secured, pure and most importantly I felt I had an identity.
The identity of a Muslim woman. No matter who saw me, or where or when, they knew that I am a Muslim woman, just by seeing my appearance.
Setting Up My Priorities
In this day and age, you have to be famous for people to know you by your name. I am not known for my name or don’t want to be either, but the feeling of being identified in the crowd of being a Muslim is worth millions. Alhamdulillah, I am not a princess or a queen, but my hijab surely works like a crown.
Alhamdulillah, wearing hijab has brought me closer to Allah (SWT), and I believe it has increased my imaan, faith. It is a personal growth, and I’ve been blessed to have had the opportunity to learn about the Qur’an, life of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
I got on a routine of praying on time and not missing the obligatory prayers and embraced life and dedicated it towards helping the poor such as donating and helping Orphans, Old Homes, Destitute women and children, Homes for the Blind, underprivileged families, abandoned children and Acid Survivors. Covering underprivileged schools, shelters for Women’s justice, and those who are suffering from Down-Syndrome, Autism, Childhood Cancer, and people from the Slum areas.
Every soul should strive to better themselves in becoming a better Muslim and person. My growth started only after I came to Islam, alhamdulillah.
It’s a reminder to first and foremost to myself and then to others that even after coming from a Muslim family, I didn’t practice the deen and one day when I went ahead to commit myself, Allah (SWT) made it easy for me and Allah guides whom He wills.
“And Allah guides whoever He will to a straight path.”— Qur’an (2:213)
Allah (SWT) never burdens a soul more than it can bear. It was a difficult change, but I knew deep down, I could handle it because He (SWT) told me, I could.
“Allah does not burden any soul with more than it can bear…”— Qur’an (2:286)
I am convinced that I must strive to change myself in order for Allah to help me become the better version of myself. I had to put the efforts in first, and all the rest were done by Allah (SWT). I just had to trust Him.
“…Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…”— Qur’an (13:11)
Closure At Last
Every time, I look at my past and present, I thank Allah (SWT) for guiding me to this beautiful religion, which made me a better version of myself. Islam is the light in the dark, dusty tunnel and made me calmly walk through the ups and downs of life. Alhamdulillah.
Bio: Shazia Chowdhury is @shaziachowdhury on Instagram. Check out her inspiring posts.