Today while shopping for jubahs, I was trying out one jubah in the dressing room while my mom waited with the auntie/akak kedai when I accidentally over heard what they were talking about over the counter.
With my low-performing eardrums, I managed to hear just a few things.
The akak was indirectly asking my mom about my age, as she wondered and was amazed that I wanted to try jubahs and not other more younger/modern traditional clothes. She also noticed that I was wearing socks and so did my mom, despite us coming in with jeans.
I could hear my mom 'accepting' those praises humbly and when I came out the dressing room, the akak continued to be joyful to the fact that I was happy and satisfied with that loose-and-not-fitting-jubah.
She soon learned that I was a teacher. Is it fair for me to say that her 'makcik' mood soon kicked in? XD
As we left the store, I pondered on how by hearing her praises of my modesty and that the years of my struggles were not in vain, it actually made me smile. Praises were not the reasons for me to cover up, God is. But hearing assurance from a complete stranger looks so much like a gift and blessing from Him. :') Alhamdulillah..
A year back, I started to wear 'handsocks' consistently because I knew that while teaching in baju kurung/jubah, I will definitely need to use my hands a lottt in front of a whole class every lesson.
2/3 years back, I started to be more conscious of my headscarf/hijab more; is it too thin? is it covering my chest enough? I also started to be more conscious of my dressing; Is this too tight? Is this figure-hugging or sexy?
What is deemed sexy? What is too much, what is too little?
Experimenting and consistently trying new attires: through trial and error, I learned, and am still learning.
To be completely honest, I was SUPER naive and innocent. That doesn't mean being naive is wrong, but being knowledgeable and aware is more important.
It wasn't easy to find the right/big enough hijab for me as I have broad shoulders; a little bigger than usual makes me look like Jigglypuff. (trust me, I tried.)
4-5 years back, I started to wear socks consistently (as our aurah is the whole body, except for our hands and face).
When I started, I did not have ANY closed-toe shoe. I had sandals, slippers, and perhaps one or two pairs of sport shoes. I still remember clearly wearing socks with my sandals; which is completely fine at Pennstate, but a crime to fashion itself especially in Malaysia haha XD
I also remember being criticised for wearing socks with sandals; not because it was a crime to fashion, but because I was deemed as an 'extremist', anddd also being reminded that sandals are not meant to be worn with socks. I clearly remember the faces I was given too, and they weren't happy smiley faces.
Since then, I only started to buy closed-toe shoes (a lot of flats) and shoes to reduce the opportunity for them to criticise me or discourage me.
And even up until today with all the closed-toe shoes that I use, I now get a comment that goes 'Those do not go with socks!'
10 years back, I started to wear the hijab permanently.
I remembered clearly my first day out with a hijab on; I was using my mother's hijab. With one end just pinned onto the other, not knowing how to adjust the 'payung' above my forehead, my family and I went out.
There were two times that year I think, that when I went out, I COMPLETELY forgot to wear my hijab! I would then hide myself until I am not visible through the car window. My father had to turn back to our house to get my hijab XD (funny thing is even my family too did not realise I was not wearing my hijab!)
When I went for tuition, with a HIJAB on, I remembered wearing this three-quarter sleeved shirt and jeans. The jeans were quite fitting, and that shirt was the closest thing I had to a long-sleeved shirt.
All the jeans I owned back then were all fitting/stretchable because they were more comfortable than those non-stretchable ones.
With the HIJAB on, I went to a bazaar Ramadhan with my mom wearing a t-shirt (they were short sleeves, mind you) and jeans I think.
This is because when I first started to wear the hijab, I did not have ANY 'muslimah' attire. I only had t-shirts and fitting jeans in my wardrobe.
So when I started to wear the hijab, I only had so little (or none to be exact) clothes to be covering up 'perfectly'. I used what I had at that moment.
Throughout these 10 years, I have consistently tried to cover myself up more appropriately and properly.
As you may have noticed, I did not go from a free-hair-tight jeans-t-shirt girl to a hijabi-long-sleeved shirt-socks and flats-looser pants/jeans in one night.
I tried, learned, failed and tried again. If it was just right, I'll keep that shirt/jeans/scarf. If it wasn't, I would give it away.
I noticed my collection of hijabs, scarfs, more decent (and CUTE, mind you) attires grew bigger, slowly, one piece at a time, over the years. It changes and has been changing so much within 10 years.
It is a long, painstakingly lonely journey, but oh, SO WORTH IT.
When you do something for God, for Allah, I can GUARANTEE you that it will only bring you so much more good than harm in the future. :) You might not realise it until the end, but be confident in Him of His promises.
To my dear sisters who are thinking of wearing the hijab one day, who just tried their first hijab, who wants to wear the hijab but are afraid because they are not 'good' enough, trust me.
I was FAR from being good enough or PERFECT when I first wore my hijab.
It was a journey for me to properly cover myself, to cover my aurah.
I didn't get it right the first time. I am still trying to get it right now. Boy was I off target back then! XD
I might never reach perfection, but that is NOT an excuse for me to give up and throw myself in the trash can.
*I am quite a stubborn person, thank you :D*
Remember that NOBODY is perfect. Only ALLAH is PERFECT :) and yes, society, friends or even family might be against you when you try to change. That is just ingrained in human nature. Some or most, will oppose change. Others will support you. Some will try to hurt you. Some will be jealous of you.
Note that when you change for the better, HE, will always SUPPORT you. And that is all the strength that you need.
A.k.a, completely IGNORE those.......... IGNORANTS :P (this is as polite as I can get)
To my other brothers and sisters, Muslims or not, please support your sisters who WANTS to wear the hijab and to dress modestly.
Not all of us are lucky enough to be born a Muslim.
Not all of us are lucky enough to be born in a good-muslim family, getting all the proper education about Islam since your tender ages.
Not all of us were positively encouraged to wear the hijab. Heck, someone even told me that it was such a waste of myself because I wore the hijab!
When I see sisters with hijab but wearing tight-jeans and t-shirts (hence not properly covering themselves up), I am reminded of myself during my first days of wearing the hijab.
It could either be that they do not have the complete awareness on how to properly cover up, or it could simply be that that is all the type of clothing they have at that moment.
So please hold back your judgement, and give your support to these sisters. Imagine judging them and criticising them for not covering up properly, when all they need is a little bit more time or even awareness. I didn't know that the hijab needs to cover the chest until a few years back when we actually read the verse of the Qur'an.
We all have our own sets of challenges. Spread the love and support without judging. Because you'll never know what the other person has went through :) Give them some time. Share your knowledge kindly if they are yet to be aware.
I surely needed those years to improve myself, friends who kindly taught me what I did not know without judging me. I'm sure these sisters are no different too :)
*Peace and love,
Yours truly :)