I had already been wearing hijab and burkha from class 8, but it was a once a week affair, to go to Islamic class, and I would hide my face from my friends whenever I wore it, out of shame. I was ashamed of my hijab. I felt it was a burden on me. I was scared of being prejudiced. I was a very pretty girl and I felt that the hijab hid my beauty from the world. I was proud of my beauty, too caught up in the world to care about Islam and the Hereafter.
I had sort of grudgingly accepted the fact that I would have to wear hijab in high school, but I wasn’t ready for it. I thought that if I was given a pretty face and a perfect body, I had to showcase it to the world. I was very shallow-minded. Add to the fact that I was in a so-called ‘hi-fi’ school and my classmates, even my Muslim classmates preferred the world and the baggage that came with it.
Even among my peer group, everyone was busy discussing about boys and relationships. At the age of 12, everyone was worried about relationships! I was brainwashed into thinking that the world is all that is there. I started posting flattering photos of myself on Facebook, started chatting with boys, hung out with the wrong crowd and was slowly falling off the cliff into Haram. Allah gave me a lot of blessings, but I still didn’t pay heed. In May 2014, we went for Umrah, and instead of worshipping and remembering Allah, I was looking for excuses to go on Facebook and see what the world was doing.
I wasted the chance of Umrah I had been given, something which people long for. I also made 2015 my worst year. I fought and screamed at my mother, was dangerously hovering at the brink of forbidden, Ramadan was spent on Facebook and Instagram. So much so that I was actually hating myself. How did I turn into this monster I was? What happened to the sweet and innocent Anam? I had killed her by my own hands. My grandfather’s demise made me start thinking about death and the Hereafter.
Then on Facebook, I chanced upon the page ‘Muslim Halal Pickup Lines’ which taught me that it is okay to be a Muslim, it is not an embarrassment, not a burden, it is actually a beautiful gift given to me, not many people are endowed with this gift. I started changing myself, dumped my so-called friends, deleted my social media accounts, and started compensating for all the wrong I had done, the garbage I was sinking in. It wasn’t easy, I was too proud; I wasn’t prepared to give up my music. The same Facebook, which I used to showcase my beauty on, led me back to Islam. Now I am ashamed of what I was before.
I’ve learnt that your friends matter, your company matters. I know it sounds clichéd, but you must choose your friends wisely. Because of my rotten apple friends, my good apple self was decaying and becoming rotten. I have read somewhere: ‘In this world of Kardashians be a Khadija’.
I’ve learnt to accept Islam and Hijab as part of my life, looking beyond what people thought about me, what they judged me as, how much I fell or rose in their eyes. I’ve learnt not to be scared about that. I’ve met many girls who say they wish to wear a Hijab, but are scared to be judged by society. Society has become a scapegoat for everyone to lay their blames and fears on.
I’ve learnt that people will judge, whether I’m wearing a hijab or a mini-skirt. It is very hard to please people, but it is very easy to please Allah. So focus on pleasing Him, and everything else will fall into place. I’ve learnt that it is never too late to come back to Islam. I had given up all hope, and Allah still guided me. I am thankful for that.
Someone once told me Allah only guides those who chose to be guided; you cannot force guidance down somebody’s throat. But, I am not perfect, I still slip sometimes, and then get back up, because I know Allah is with me, always.