I live in a country, where more than 45% of the population are Muslim, so all my life I have worn hijab, scarves, and sometimes just caps, because it was the norm. I didn't really understand the meaning of wearing the hijab until I started practicing Islam, I just assumed that the hijab was a cultural thing that we had to wear to cover our hair, mostly as protection from jinn.
A few weeks after I started practicing, I encountered a beautiful soul, a practicing Muslimah who wore the Niqab, but that didn't stop her from reaching her full potential. This completely changed my perspective of what the Niqab stood for, and contradicted with what the media feed me to believe. With the emergence of Boko Haram in my country, I couldn't just decide on a whim that I wanted to start wearing the niqab, so I did some research, to get more knowledge about it, I read tons of articles and watched a lot of videos online, my first mistake though was getting information about the niqab from people who opposed it. I exposed my self to doubt before I had an armour ready for it. Like Ustazh Muhammad Tim Ul has said: You should know the truth before you come to know falsehood.
Anas ibn Malik (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah said, "A time of patience will come to people in which adhering to one's religion is like grasping a hot coal". Sunan al-Tirmidhi 2260. Nevertheless, this was something I knew in my heart that I wanted to do, so I started
wearing the niqab. Shockingly with over 45% of the population in my country being Muslims, most of them saw the niqab as a flag for extremism, including my family, some of them were indifferent about it, while some completely opposed it and tried to make me take it off. One time during a family event at my sisters house, my Aunts tried to convince/advice me to not wear the hijab and niqab, but when I didn't agree with their views, they turned to my mother, trying to convince her that "I must have joined a cult, or I was going to try to bomb people, even if this wasn't the case surely I will attract these kinds of people", they even gave examples of parents they've heard of whose kids started out the way I did. My mom didn't agree nor support me in wearing the niqab, but she drew a line when they started talking like that,
Their words amongst other people's comments were hurtful, and I started to resent them, because whenever I wore the niqab, I remembered what they said, and I listened to those thoughts and judged myself based on it, my confidence and self-esteem diminished drastically, but Alhamdulillah I was able to overcome this and gain confidence in wearing Niqab. These are five (5) things which helped me in gaining confidence.
1-Correcting your Intentions: Umar bin al-Khattab said: I heard the Messenger of Allah say: "Deeds are only by intentions, and every man shall have only what he intended.......
For some of us, we may have started wearing the niqab for worldly gain: I started because I wanted to be like someone else. But "What really counts are good endings, not flawed beginnings." -Ibn Taymiyyah
So constantly renew your intentions, make wearing the Hijab/Jilbab/Khimar/Niqab solely for the sake of Allah, because he commands the believing woman to do so.
"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 la portion of their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adorment [i.e., beauty....... -Quran 24:31
Correcting your intentions doesn't only make you gain reward from Allah, but you also gain in this world, It gives you consistency in your commitment to wear the Hijab/Jilbab/Khimar/Niqab. If you make your intentions for worldly reasons (usually to impress people), you will realize that people's opinions aren't constant, and they change their minds all the time. So are going to keep changing who you are based on what people think? Or are you going to do it solely for the sake of Allah, whose command is constant and applicable in any situation or era.
2- Increasing your knowledge of Hijab: it feels horrible when you don't really know to the fullest, what you are trying to say or who you now are, and when someone asks you why you are wearing the Hijab/Jilbab/Khimar/Niqab, you are like "I don't know, let me look it up" they may not say this to you, but it may cross their minds, "How do you change who you are, yet you don't know why?", They won't take you seriously, so I suggest you learn and understand what the hijab is and why you wear the Hijab/Jilbab/Khimar/Niqab. So you can confidently explain why firstly to yourself, when you have doubts and to people when you are asked.
3- Choosing a hijab style: I can't stress this point enough, you should choose a style of hijab that doesn't just fit you, but you also feel comfortable in. With social media it's easy to get lost in all the different styles of hijabs and end up spending money on a style that you don't feel good in, or isn't even proper hijab. When you are choosing a style of hijab make sure it ticks all 8 conditions of hijab and remember what fits someone else may not be a good fit for you, so if possible try the style you've chosen or a similar one to it before buying it.
4- Surround yourself with positive people: Encountering people that do not agree with your views is inevitable, but having supportive people can make it easier for you to brush off negative comments. With social media now, you can connect with supportive practicing muslimahs who face or had faced similar problems, and have applicable solutions to them.
5- Focus on improving yourself: Not everyone is going to agree with your decision or how you choose to live your life, and that's okay, you don't have to dwell on what so-and-so said, because "If you know yourself, you will not be harmed by what other people say about you". -Sufyan Al Thawri.
So focus on improving yourself, being more conscious of Allah, becoming a better Muslim, learning more about your Deen, improving character/man and controlling your emotions.
Remember nothing worth doing is easy, If you are faced with adversity after you start wearing the Hijab/Jilbab/Khimar/Niqab, remember that this is a test from Allah, He is testing you to know if you have Ikhlas(sincerity), and if you find yourself wanting to stop wearing the Hijab/Jilbab/Khimar/Niqab this doesn't mean you've failed, it quite the opposite, because Allah wants us to succeed, he makes it clear to us that our intentions aren't sincere, so you seek forgiveness from Allah, renew your intentions, and be steadfast and hold firm on your beliefs.
PS: If you are a sister who wants to start wearing the Hijab/Jilbab/Khimar/Niqab, you should start learning about it from, the ulama(Muslim scholars), and there are a lot of lectures on YouTube about this topic.
You may have had this thought that the Hijab/Jilbab/Khimar/Niqab limits your opportunities, even if you haven't thought of this, someone must have pointed it out to you, "You should know that the Hijab/Jilbab/Khimar/Niqab doesn't limit your opportunities" it's actually the opposite. When I started wearing the niqab, better opportunities were presented to me, compared to when wasn't practicing Islam.
Abu Qatadah reported: The Messager of Allah said,
"Verily, you will never leave anything for the sake of Allah Almighty, but that Allah will replace it with something better."
Source: Musnad Ahmad 22565.
This article is written by Naziha Njidda.