No one said that wearing hijab was easy, and making that first step of deciding to wear it is a big deal! It’s a decision that usually requires a lot of contemplation. Even if you think you’re completely ready, there are bound to be some things that you never expected or thought about.
One of the most common struggles with hijab that we get emailed about is the fact that no one else wears it. This could be the situation in the city or country you’re living in; maybe there aren’t many Muslims there and nobody else around you that wears hijab. This could also include nobody in your family wearing it. Either way, it can be a daunting prospect being the only one to wear hijab!
Many of you who email us to tell us about the struggles you have with this situation tell us your fear about being singled out for being Muslim, or being asked questions about your faith. It’s true that wearing hijab brands you publicly as a Muslim in a way that nothing else does. People can and will assume lots of things about you because you wear hijab. They can assume you are an expert about Islam and can bombard you with a million questions under the sun, things that they don’t understand or that they have a problem with. They can think that you are like other Muslims that they’ve seen in the media and have heard lots of negative things about.
The only way to get over this fear is to have strength and be patient. People will probably ask you questions, and depending on the way they ask you, think of it as a way to spread Islam! Use those awkward questions and moments as opportunities to dispel people’s misunderstandings. Even if the other person ignores everything you said and takes nothing away from your conversation, at least you tried. There might be a time in that person’s life when they remember that encounter with you and your polite and kind manner might be the only thing that sticks out in their mind. So don’t be afraid of people asking you questions about your hijab. Embrace it!
In addition, some of you write to tell us how you’re the only ones in your families who wear hijab, whether it’s your immediate family or extended family. This can make hijab even more tough, because family is often a group of people with whom we have the most similarities. So being the only one to wear hijab in a group of girls who choose not to wear it can suddenly make you feel like an outsider.
As long as your family is supportive, it’s okay to look and be different. Your sisters or female cousins are probably different from you in ways that you can’t see; your one difference is just more visible! So don’t be disheartened by looking different. You never know, you might inspire your sisters, your cousins, and even your mom to start wearing hijab because of your decision. So don’t be frustrated.
Some of you are also just afraid of looking so different in a place where everyone dresses the same. Sticking out like a sore thumb because of the way you look is no fun at all. It can make you even more self-conscious to wear hijab and to dress the way you want. Having people stare at you and give you funny looks can make the prospect of stepping outside of your home in hijab a daunting idea.
But there’s nothing else to do but be confident. The more self-conscious you feel, the more others will feel like it’s a strange thing. It can be tough to feel confident in hijab in the beginning, but it’s so important for you to own up to your hijab and be proud of it. Think of the reasons why you choose to wear it, and keep those in your mind when you step out of the house. Remind yourself that the piece of cloth you wear on your head daily is for God. And no one else.
So when people stop and stare, smile at them. Be comfortable and confident in your choice to wear hijab and eventually people won’t make such a big deal of it. But the first step starts with you.
Deciding to wear hijab is no easy feat. And it’s not just something that you put on one day and that’s it, you’re done. It’s a journey and the journey is filled with struggles. Many women who have worn hijab for several years will tell you that they still are faced with challenges to this day. The struggles don’t disappear overnight, but you become stronger at being able to face them.
So keep your chin up and keep working at it!