Me, Myself and Hijab (Part III): FAQs

Ever since I've started wearing the hijab, I've received emails and feedback from women who wanted know about my experience as a new hijabi. I've compiled the questions and answers into this post so that other a who may have the same questions can read them as well. To everyone who e-mailed me, thank you for approaching me with your questions and my apologies for not replying earlier. To my readers, if you have anything to say to these girls feel free to add to my responses and share your thoughts and knowledge.  May Allah swt guide and reward all of us who are trying to lead better lives, Ameen.

Q. I'm not a good Muslimah but I do pray, fast. I don't wear revealing clothes as my mother counseled me to dress modestly since I was a kid. Now the problem is that I do not wear hijab. I don't think wearing or not wearing a hijab makes people more devoted and conservative. But recently,I'm thinking alot about Hijab, but i don't have the courage to wear it. I'm afraid of being judged as an extremist, being a laughing stock of my relatives and friends and at the same time I don't know how to put a Hijab and I scared I will look funny and not pretty with it. I want to obey Allah but I am so self-conscious. I am now in a dilemma. :(

- N

A. Salam. First of all, you are brave. Thinking about hijab isn't easy when most people around you don't wear it. Second of all, I faced the same dilemma. I didn't want to be perceived as old fashion or extreme. I felt unattractive with hijab and thought hijab would stop be from finding a husband or having my dream job. Then I realised that rezeki rizaq (provision) comes from Allah swt. I wasn't a very good Muslim but I realised that everything I had was because of Him and I thought, "What have I done to deserve all this? A loving family, the opportunity to pursue an education. That's all I ever needed, isn't it? I wonder how amazing my life would be if I actually tried to be a better Muslim?".

I wanted to be a modern Muslim girl and prove to people that not all Muslims are the same but I realised that I had to get my priorities straight. I was created for a purpose and that purpose was not to please people but to find out who my Creator is and lead life according to His will. You're still young and you have your whole life ahead of you inshaAllah. My advice for you is to read more about Islam and find out why Allah swt has set certain rules and guidelines for us. I just discovered an awesome new website that's all about hijab and modesty - I Got It Covered. Hopefully you'll find something that will inspire you there.

When you're ready, try wearing it for a few hours, days, or whatever you're comfortable with and see how it makes you feel even if it's just around the house. Hijab hasn't stopped me from being a modern Muslim girl or achieving my dreams. I'm pretty sure it won't for you either.

Q. Where do you often buy your tudungs (hijabs)? you've been such a good inspiration. Looking at how stylish you are wearing tudung:) I would like try to start wearing them too :)

- K :)

A. Salam. Thank you for your sweet comment. In New Zealand, I get them from Glassons, Witchery, Equip, Farmers, Cotton On and Dotti. Back in Malaysia I get them from everywhere... even those little stalls in shopping malls because seriously, hijabs are everywhere! There's no specific place that I go to. Mydin Subang Jaya has some stalls downstairs that sell nice hijabs and sometimes Bonita has pretty hijabs too. Accessorize in Pavillion has beautiful scarves as well. These days you can even buy hijabs from websites, blogs and Facebook pages. I think Shea might have some good links to blogs you can purchase hijabs from.

Q. Salaam Shahirah, do you mind sharing your hijab styles one of these days. You make wearing these types of hijab sooooo easy! I'm still having difficulty to get it this neat. Hope you don't mind sharing. :)

- I

A. Wassalam. I would love to! But at the moment I just don't have the time to record videos, edit them and then upload them. InshaAllah during my summer break I will try to! But my hijab styles are very simple and nothing you won't be able to learn from the the hijab style guru, Amenakin.

Q. salam sista :) i was wondering once you started wearing the hijab, did you ever feel like you were 'missing out on all the fun' ? did you ever miss who you were before wearing it? i sometimes do, then, i realize who i am now is much better than before after receiving hidayah (inspiration and guidance) from Allah :)

- K

A.. Walaykummusalam sis! Brilliant question. A lot of people have the perception that hijabis don't know how to have fun and I was one of them. When I came to live in New Zealand I was exposed to all sorts of cultures and I started attending girls' only parties that my Arab and Afghani friends would throw to celebrate birthdays or weddings. I remember thinking, "Hey this makes sense!" because they could wear stunning dresses, dance and be themselves while maintaining their modesty (when it comes to men). Muslim women are allowed to have fun but they must do so within the guidelines of Islam - no alcohol, no strange men, no drugs. In other words, we don't have to go to clubs and be harassed by men in order to dance and have fun and when we dress up, we only do so for ourselves and/or loved ones (e.g. family, husband). We don't have to become sex objects for random men to stare at.

During the first few weeks of wearing hijab I did miss wearing the 'old' clothes I would wear before going out but when I think about it I still dress up but I do it the Halal way now. When I do feel like dressing up the way I used to I just do it at home or better still, I throw an all girls' party! Covering up in public makes me feel happy and dignified because I know I'm saving a special part of myself for those who really matter in my life.

Sometimes I do miss the old me but despite not being a horrible Muslim, I was selfish, a tad shallow and didn't really know what I wanted out of my life. I'm so much more grounded, stable and at peace with who I am and my life now. Like you, I feel that I am a better person now and it's not just because of hijab. I decided to change my whole outlook on life and give more priority to the important things in my life such as Islam and my education.

Q. I am really inspired with the style you are showing. I don't wear hijab but I am trying to dress moderately before making the big step. I am just wondering, with all the makeup.. how do you keep up with solat especially during the day? Do you start with the whole regime (wash, moisturized.. etc) then put on make up after solat then clean it up again.. I have a bit of a problem especially when I go out all day to keep up with washing and putting up makeup again and again. Maybe you can offer me some tips..

- A

A. As women we put a lot of effort into the way we look and wearing make up is part and parcel of this. However, it can be a hassle because we have to perform wudhu' or ghusl (ablution) and that includes washing the face as well. My tip is to wear make up as light as possible. The make up I've done in my profile picture is what I recommend for hassle-free everyday make up:
  • Use a light foundation that can be easily applied such as a mousse or two-way powder foundation. Liquid foundation can get messy and you may need to use a brush so it would take way too much time.
  • If you're going to use a mascara don't use a waterproof one because it is a pain to remove for the next ablution session. However, if you don't use mascara but would like to make your eyelashes look longer and thicker, dab a bit of Vaseline on your middle and index fingers, then stroke your eyelashes by placing them in between your fingers. Your lashes will look long and shiny after but don't do this if you have oily skin.
  • Add a bit of colour to your cheeks with a soft pink or peach blusher (or a shade that suits your skin tone). Remember to keep it as light and natural looking as you can.
  • Replace your lipstick with a sheer or subtle-coloured lip balm or gloss. 
  • Keep eye make up from zero to a minimum. If you really must, use a black or brown eyeliner.  

All this should only take you 2 minutes. The trick is to wear simple make up because a) you can remove and re-apply it with ease and b) it will help you to realise that you don't need a ton of make up after all.

I used to think that I needed all these make up products on my face and secretly envied girls who could walk out of the house without a stitch of make and still carry themselves with confidence. Over the last few weeks I started wearing less and less make up because I didn't want to rely on make up to feel confident anymore. I would only wear it for special occasions. On some days I'd wear a light layer of foundation (to conceal blemishes) and black eyeliner, but on most days I ditch the whole routine and just leave the house only with moisturiser on my face. Try doing the same. You'll be surprised to see that it isn't so bad. Plus, when you do wear lots of make up, like the whole shebang, you'll feel like it's an extra special occasion and that feeling is so worth it.

If you have problematic skin that requires a lot of foundation I advise for you to monitor what you eat to see what could be causing your breakouts. If it's nothing a good detox diet can't fix then I strongly recommend for you see a dermatologist.

Q. i decide to wear tudung (hijab). earlier, i tak rasa i salah for not wearing tudung.
i did perform the mandatory five prayers, fasting in Ramadhan, recited the Quran.
i said to myself ; im not gonna wear tudung because everyone else is.
but, God has given me so much. this change is a small offering to Him, the least i can do.
am i right?

tapi, kenapa ada masa nya, rasa rindu zaman " free hair " tu dtg ehh? is that normal? or sebenarnya my faith are not strong enough? tapi i selalu doa supaya iman i kuat. i selalu baca blog yang berkaitan " penghijrahan " kepada pemakaian tudung ni, so i akan rasa lebih yakin dengan keputusan i untuk bertudung. thanks for reading my email.

- L

(For my non-Malay speaking readers, L started to wear hijab in March 2010. She's happy with her decision but she also misses the days when she wasn't a hijabi and she could let her hair out freely. She is wondering if this is normal or if it's a sign of weakness in her faith.)

A. Salam. It's perfectly normal for you to feel that way and getting over it can be easy, inshaAllah. Ask yourself, "What aspect of not being a hijabi do I miss?" If you miss styling your hair then style your hair when you're at home or at girls' only events. Also try out new hijab styles so that wearing hijab doesn't become too much of a routine. Hijab doesn't have to be boring. You can explore and experiment with all kinds of colours and styles as long as you maintain your modesty! And remind yourself that one day Allah swt will ask you on Judgement Day about how you looked after your awrah during your time on Earth. We tend to get complacent and forget that qiyaamah is coming and we will be questioned for all our deeds. Nothing great and meaningful is ever achieved without a struggle or challenge. Be patient and inshaAllah, He will reward you for having faith in Him.

Q. Salam, I was raised in a conservative family, so going to agama classes (religious classes) and school wearing a hijab is a must. But in a way my mum isn't as conservative as my late dad, so hijab is almost on-off. But after nearly 4 years living in Japan, I realize that studying/living abroad makes me want to cover up more than I did back home, I don't know why. I don't wear hijab when I go buy groceries back home, but here I don't feel comfortable if I don't cover my head going out.

I just wish I have the same feeling when at home, you know? So my question is, do you experience it too?

- Z

A. Walaykummusalam. When I went back to Malaysia in July for the winter break I have to admit it wasn't easy. First of all, it was so hot and humid and honestly, the practical thing would be to not wear it. But I wanted to and I just adjusted my hijab style so that it would be more cooling for me.  I used Amenakin's summer style . Sure, some people are going to say, "That's not hijab!" because my neck wouldn't be completely covered and all I can say to such people is . . . "Hey, I'm not doing this for the sake of style but I'm trying to maintain my modesty and not die of heat at the same time!"

Secondly, hijab was kind of a challenge in Malaysia because I was so used to dressing up whenever I'm back there. I'm usually on holiday mode and I have all the time in the world to dress up, wear make up, go out with friends and have fun. It was a habit that I developed for many, many years. On top of that, none of my best friends wear hijab so I felt a tad awkward at first and I think some of them felt the same way because they weren't sure if I were still the same 'Sha' they have always known. After a while they realised that personality-wise I am still the same and I still love them as before if not more but it was my habits that had changed. Alhamdulillah, I am very lucky to have very supportive friends! Vivy, Ella, Marissa and Minzy were very understanding. Vivy knew that I was contemplating about hijab for a while and when I actually did it she was my number one supporter. Having supportive family members and friends my side made it much easier for me  but at the same time, I wanted to be an individual and do what I felt was right so even when I do meet friends who don't really like the fact that I wear hijab now I remind myself that it's my body and my decision.

Q. I'm not a hijabi but i wish i can be one soon. Currently, i followed few other hijabi bloggers and found that it was so nice, and refreshing feeling for you guys. During Ramadhan last year, I make a step and wear hijab for the whole Ramadhan since I heard that it would be useless if we did the fasting but do not keep our 'aurat'. Right after that month, I've become the same 'arda'. Being surrounded by people and environment that i can say pretty social, had make it harder for me to move.

I wish i can have some strength since I've really need to move and i wish i can be a perfect muslim, later. I would like to know where did you get the strength to start everything at the very beginning.

- A

A. Salam, congratulations on trying hijab for a whole month! Don't feel disappointed because Allah swt knows you really tried. He gave you this challenge because He wants you to realise that you can improve yourself as opposed to some people who are non-chalant about their iman (faith). In regards to being surrounded by very 'social' friends, well this is the decision you have to make for yourself. Always remember that one day Allah swt is going to judge each and everyone of us individually for our good and bad deeds. I'm sure your friends mean a lot to you but becoming a better Muslim doesn't mean you'll be abandoning them. One of the reasons I was afraid of wearing hijab was the thought of losing friends. Your true friends will never leave you because you're trying to become a better person, a better Muslim. In fact, they will respect and love you for it. If you do lose some friends along the way it's okay because He will surround you with better friends, trust me. 

I was very apprehensive about hijab but my desire to wear it was stronger. I gained strength from going for Umrah, and seeing and feeling the beauty of His love in the Holy land. I gained strength from reading about Jannah (Heaven) and how Allah swt will reward us for being good Muslims. I also gained strength from reaching out to my hijabi friends and asking them all sorts of questions about hijab. I remember e-mailing Hispanic Muslimah and I was very frank with her about why I was afraid to wear the hijab. I told her things I never told anyone because she is an inspiration to me and I wanted her to help me. 

I did a lot of research about women and modesty across various religions. When I learned that even Jewish and Christian women are taught to dress modestly, I learnt that hijab isn't just for Muslims. Allah swt had prescribed hijab and modesty when Judaism and Christianity was revealed but along the way their values and practices changed from what it should originally be. A married Orthodox Jewish woman is supposed to wear the 'sheital' or 'sherntichel' as part of her faith. Islam didn't introduce the hijab, it simply brought it back. Knowing this made it easier for me to wear hijab in the West because I now know that I am simply doing what the Creator of all human beings and creatures has told us to do. So who cares what other people want to think of me? What He thinks is most important. I knew it was the right thing to do, I did it and I don't regret it. All those things I thought I was going to miss out on just don't seem as important today because I know I'm not missing out on anything that really matters.


shea said…
to L:

"tapi, kenapa ada masa nya, rasa rindu zaman " free hair " tu dtg ehh? is that normal? or sebenarnya my faith are not strong enough?"

..Do not worry hun.. I think this is actually a permissible phase in which all new hijabis usually go through. I myself got around to 3 to 4 years of letting go of those 'missing my free hair' days! So I guess it's normal.. If you want something, and it's your niat, I'm sure Allah will always be there to guide you :)

Good luck to all of us!

petisuara said…
hey there

regarding of what shea said,i sometimes missed my zaman free hair too..hmm i dont know why..and this also happens when i see clothes that looks more prettier to wear without hijab and wearing it with hijab makes me looks weird..but then i realised theres no need to missed my zaman free hair because Allah had promise us a better life in syurga later right?
nn said…
i've never missed zaman free hair because i've started wearing hijab since i was a kid. maybe 9 or 10 years old. but sometimes i do envy my friends who are not hijabis.
hatim a.r said…
personally i think u and hana tajima have the most awesome hijab style =) stykish but modest.
Unsettled Soul said…
I have to say, with so many styles these days, a hijabi sister can totally out-fashion and out-class a non hijabi any day. Not that this is why people do it, lol, but my point to sisters in doubt is that hijab can be wayyy more elegant, regal, and funky if you want it to be. So do not let "feeling ugly" stop you.
wa said…
yes, please do not wear for the sake of coolness or fashionista babe! i truly agree that it has to come from our heart.. and it is Allah who guides our heart.. pray to Allah the hidayah will not fade away ..