'Sinners judge sinners for sinning differently' - a phrase that I'm sure almost all of us have seen before.
Well if you don't know what it means, I'd love to enlighten you.
You see, it's the twenty first century and almost everyone can't help but judge the next person; we look at everyone's clothes, their social standing, their relationship status, who they associate themselves with, the acts they do in public and sometimes even try and pry into what they do in private. We judge people for the sins they might have committed and we love to share our newfound information with others, yet if someone were to share our sins with people, we might never feel like leaving our homes.
When people suddenly take a step in deen, we classify them as acting 'too holy' or being a 'show off' yet if we take a step in deen, we might want to tell it to the world or keep it to ourselves. But buttercup, the thing is people's sins and people's good deeds are between them and Allah and our sins and our good deeds are between us and Allah.
Let me tell you about my journey and allow you to understand my rant above.
Well you see, growing up, my mum wouldn't ever allow me to wear sleeveless clothing or even knee high shorts. I never wore a dress without a leggings or pants underneath and if we were to go out at night I wasn't allowed to leave without a scarf.
I always thought it was embarrassing because other people my age or even few years older would wear mini skirts and have their hair loose all night. They were allowed to wear anything anytime. When we attended family occasions I felt odd, all my cousins would be in revealing clothes and I knew they also spoke about what I was wearing. From the age of 10 my mum would try and get me into a scarf as much as possible, and every time I got the opportunity I'd rip it off so fast. When we went on vacation or even to the pool, unlike everyone my age, I wore 'appropriate' clothing and I started to hate it even more and more.
Months before my 13th birthday, my family was fortunate enough to be able to go for umrah. During the journey I was only allowed to wear a jilbab out of the hotel. My mum made sure I didn't show a strand of hair.
Eventually when I reached the age of puberty, it was a year later than most of the girls in my class, my mum declared it that I can't leave the house without hijab, so I swindled my way about and would roll up my long sleeved clothing and let a little hair show. I would try and get a skinnier jeans or a shorter t-shirt. This went on for what seemed like horrible and long time.
In the beginning of 2016, my mum took me shopping to buy new clothes and swim wear for the vacation were going to take. And so I bought clothes, I bought really loose pants, long shirts, loose long sleeve tops and less skinnier jeans. The Friday before we left for our vacation, my mum pulled out a huge packet of black scarfs and told me to take some new ones. While picking the scarfs I came across a niqaab that my mum wore while we went for umrah. Messing around I tried it on and even laughed at how it looked on me. During that vacation, I wore figure fitting swimwear everyday to the beach and I wore tights a few times.
It was two weeks after I returned from the vacation, a Monday night, I entered the shower to take a ghusal and while in the shower I thought back to the day I tried on the niqaab.
And during my moment in the shower I remembered something that I learnt from an extra islamiaat class that my mum and I attended. Our teacher spoke about how when Allah chooses to guide somebody, that person should grip onto that thought of increasing their imaan so quickly that it won't even have a chance to move away.
So in that shower I gripped onto mine and decided that no matter what. I was going to go into niqaab.
When I came out of the bathroom I performed my maghrab salaah and proceeded to message the only niqaabi friend I had at that moment and told her the great news. I don't even think she knows how much our whatsapp conversation helped me with my journey into niqaab.
That night I randomly mentioned it to my mum and to the rest of my family. I don't think they were totally ready to hear what I had to say but I didn't let anything bad enter my ears.
And so the next morning February 2nd 2016 I started my journey of niqaab.
When people seen me at the initial stages they would say ''I wouldn't fully commit to it if I were you. Just try it out for a week or two. You are only 15 years old after all.'' I would just smile and nod at them but deep down in my heart I was saying to myself ''no matter what anybody tells me, I'm not wearing my niqaab for a week or two, I'm going to wear niqaab my whole life''.
And so I did it. Almost 11 months down the line and الحمد لله I have never had the thought of ever leaving my journey of niqaab.
When people bring up the question "Why did you go into niqaab?" I feel as though I can not really give them the answer they want to hear. But the real reason I went into niqaab is only because my Allah is the most majestic. If it were not for Allah the most high, I certainly would have never been in niqaab.
I feel so safe and so modest with my niqaab on. Yes, I still have weak points of my imaan. And yes, I think my journey of niqaab has strengthened some parts of my imaan. But now when I now see someone with proper hijab, niqaab or even the burqa, I admire them for the strength they have, and when I see people who have not yet reached the level where others have, I admire them for still making an effort,.I am not the one to judge anyone. We all have our own struggles and our struggles do not need to be spoken about in a gossip column or anywhere else for that matter.
We should all just thank Allah for what he has given us and continue making dua for ourselves and one another.
And well here I am. I young niqaabi who is still in school, and has not let the media, family, friends, community and the world have a bad influence my decision of niqaab.
Also I am grateful to my wonderful mum for keeping up with such a difficult child like me and making sure that I went into hijaab. And I'm extremely grateful to Allah for everything including my wonderful mum.
- Zainab from South Africa
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