Originally posted to my Facebook in 2013
Being a Muslim convert can be confusing when it comes down to the question, ‘What on earth do I wear?’ With all the varieties and ways to wear hijab combined with the opinions of others, dressing as a convert can make you go just a little cray cray!
Sometimes, some brothers and haughty naughty sisters will say, “your hijab is not good enough! or “Only wear black!” Some will say, “cover your face!”, “hide your eyes!” or “do not wear make up!” Haram, haram, haram! You get me? I am just so haram, to some Muslims, for not doing it ‘their way’ and this can make a new sis very insecure! Really, it’s like being scolded by cranky shrewd people who hate you, when all you want is kind helpful solutions in finding a way to dress and embrace hijab with ease.
Straying a bit here, but are strange men even qualified for the job of telling a woman, he barely knows, how to dress? And another thing, a brother in Islam is lucky enough he can get away with wearing jeans and a t-shirt while not being the target of threats as an obvious Muslim in the wild wild West! For us ladies it is so different than any man could imagine.
Dress in Islam is a greater jihad for a sister comparable to brothers! We stand out like a sore thumb when stepping outside covered in the US. Wearing hijab in the west and walking outdoors is like committing social suicide, but we do it for Allah anyways. I learned through this hijab “jihad” of mine it is best to connect with what you think Allah wants for him and yourself rather than let yourself get bitter over criticism and throwing on some clothes that make you feel frumpy and depressed.
Allah wants us protected, yes, but he wants us happy and eager to serve him too. He wants us safe from all types of haram, but it does not mean he wants us to lose touch with our femininity either, or finding acceptance in how we see ourselves in a style or hijab that makes us feel comfortable and secure.
When we wear hijab we worship Allah too, so we must think carefully on how we worship, how we feel when we worship, and when we wear hijab–it is important. The way we worship is on our account not on the account of others. We must remember that too, when letting others have too much control over how we dress.
Furthermore, women are like flowers of all varieties, who express themselves differently even within Islam. Like flowers we exhibit color, but we are also attracted to those things that capture a woman’s eye and makes her heart say, “Ohhh MashAllah!” A man could really never understand why our hearts go pitter-patter for the beautiful things Allah has created, he is not a woman! Back to what I said, I learn to ignore the harsh voices of people who do not understand the Muslim woman. I think first on my relation with Allah and what he would want for me. I do what makes me and my relationship with the Great Creator work.
As of now, I choose to wear an array of different hijabs, but modesty remains an important part of my style . I prefer a hijab that keeps a woman looking elegant, pure, and ready for vudu and namaz. I prefer the Persian style of hijab, because it caters to all my Islamic needs living in the west. I wear hijab in a town that is not used to seeing covered women. I am the only hijabi of a population 40,000–without many Muslims to the north or south of me. I conformed to these modest Iranian fashions that were not a total shock factor to Westerners here; however, I am often mistaken for a nun.
My preferred styles – as there are many around the globe – are made by my husband’s sister, who specializes in making mantos. Women wear what they call MANTO in Iran which is an elegant coat or jacket that covers all parts of our body; past our knees with a nice pair of slacks to wear under; adding a scarf, veil or hijab to top it off. Sometimes, they wear jilbab in Iran and much of the time you will see many women in chador. I wore all forms of these dresses while in Iran – mostly, wearing my chador in the holy cites like Mashhad and the shrines of Tehran. I wore my lovely mantos when having dinner with my husband in the hotels and going on hiking trips. I found that these mantos conveniently blend a little with western styles, so they attract less attention. Overall, isn’t that why we dress modestly in Islam to repel attention?
I guess what I really want to explain is find the best hijab that makes you feel safe, secure, and does not make you stray from your commitments and duties to Allah. A hijab that says you all over and that you still love and can serve Allah in.