Yesterday was the 5 year anniversary of World Hijab Day. This year also marked 25 years since I started wearing Hijab! Yes, I realize that’s longer than some of you have been alive!
What can I say? I’m old!
I was 11 when I started wearing hijab. No one forced me. My parents didn’t have to bribe me or encourage me to start. Something about covering myself for the sake of Allah just seemed so natural, how could I not wear hijab?
I guess since i’ve worn hijab for most of my life, I never bothered to count exactly how many years its been since I became an official “hijabi”. Wearing hijab has felt like a second skin to which I never gave any thought, until today.
Something about reading all the incredible stories, tweets, and messages from the brave women around the world that chose to wear Hijab in solidarity with Muslim women, encouraged me to reflect on my own Hijab story.
Honestly, sitting down to calculate how many years i’ve been wearing hijab brought me to tears. I didn’t think consciously reflecting on this part of my identity as a Muslim woman would move me so profoundly. Without my Hijab, who would I be? Would my life of been much different if I had chosen not to wear hijab? Would it better?
People often ask if starting hijab at such a young age ever became an obstacle in pursuing my goals or ambitions? They wondered if I felt scared to go out in Hijab in NYC, post 9/11. My answer is always no.
Honestly, I walk with confidence because I wear Hijab. Because I wear Hijab, I fear no one but Allah. Because I wear Hijab, I feel protected, regardless the place or situation I find myself in. Because I wear Hijab, I’m able to stand up against injustice and hatred. My hijab has not limited me. It has empowered me. It has taught me how to become a brave, unrelenting force against Islamophobia.
I feel grateful to Allah swt for guiding me at such an early age to embrace Hijab. Without the help of Allah, without His Mercy, I couldn’t of made it to 25 years. #StrongInHijab