My First Month of Wearing Hijab

It’s been one month exactly since I decided to start wearing a hijab. How has the experience been so far? Not bad actually.

In some ways, I feel relieved and unburdened. Because I feel like I’m no longer pretending; the secret’s out—I’m Muslim. No hiding it anymore. I can be who I am.

I don’t think I’ve really had any negative reactions from others. There was one lady in Target who stared at me for a while—not sure if that was good or bad. But otherwise, I haven’t really noticed a big difference. If people are thinking anything negative of me, they’re at least not saying it out loud (I guess people are much more open to criticizing me when we’re not face to face, such as in response to my blog posts . . .)

I think this is definitely something where it’s a bigger deal to me than everyone else. Most people don’t know that I’ve made a change, so they may not react in any certain way. They are probably used to occasionally seeing covered Muslim women, so no big deal for them I guess. The most awkward interactions for me so far have been with people I have put in the category of: “I know you but don’t know you that well.” These are people who know my face and recognize me when they see me, but don’t know me well enough for me to ‘announce’ my covering to them or explain why—i.e. the staff in my apartment office, the postal worker, the cashier at Target (yeah, I go to Target a lot . . .), my doctor, etc. The other day the maintenance man stopped by our apartment to change some light bulbs. I think I really caught him off guard—he hesitated for a second and looked kind of puzzled.

So far, the biggest effect that wearing hijab has had on my life has actually been on my own behavior—and in a good way. I now feel life like I’m an ambassador for Islam, so to speak. I feel more pressure to be a better person—to be a good example of what a Muslim should be. For example, being kind to others, smiling more, holding the door for someone who needs it, not cutting off people in traffic (lots of ways to be a better driver and avoid road rage!) , and just in general doing ‘good deeds’ and abstaining from ‘bad behavior.’ I don’t want to give anyone a reason to judge Islam. Rather, I want to be a reason for them to rethink Islam.

I believe that the biggest difficulties in wearing hijab are still ahead for me. I have yet to be in the presence of my non-Muslim friends and family (none of them live locally). It will be interesting to see how that works out in the future. The first time I fly a plane will also be interesting; I am curious to see if I’m treated any differently at the airport, especially at security. I’ve heard from a fellow Muslim convert that the airport experience definitely changed for her when she began covering. The last time I flew, I was upset that they made me take off my cardigan sweater, which I was uncomfortable doing since I had a short sleeve shirt on underneath. (What was the big deal anyway? It’s not like it was a big coat or anything. It’s not enough you make us go through the body scanner, but we have to strip down too?)

Anyway, so you’ll have to stay tuned to see how that is all experienced in the future. Until then, I’ll be working on being the best representation of Islam that I can be.

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About Meditating Muslimah

Sharing my experiences as a new Muslimah, thoughts on religion, things that inspire me, foods I love to make and eat, Islamic fashion, travel, and life in general!
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33 Responses to My First Month of Wearing Hijab

  1. You are doing great MashaAllah! Keep up the good work.

  2. AH says:

    I had a friend who said ppl stared at her more in Europe than US.

  3. Jessica says:

    There *is* something to be said for physical representation of our faith. I am not Muslim, but I applaud you for your devotion. I hope your non-Muslim friends can accept your decision and love you as you are. There is nothing worse than judgment, especially from people we hold dear.

    It seems the correct thing to say here is, “Masha Allah!”

  4. moetyrm says:

    Alhamdulillah, sister… keep istiqomah in doing the right thing.

    “ambassador for Islam” <— i love this term.

  5. Titik Asa says:

    Like very much tihis posting.
    Especially this words… I’ll be working on being the best representation of Islam that I can be.
    Greeting from me in Indonesia.
    Best regards,

  6. ismakarim says:

    Masha ALLAH! 🙂 May ALLAH shower His Blessings upon you and May He guide us all to the right path. Aameen!

  7. Mashallah.. Your may feel more confident in time. It is normal that you feel like everybody stares at you, actually you keep looking at them to get their feelings about your outlook. So far so good..And I hope it will be better in time..

  8. catmirto says:

    Mashallah. I am glad that this has been a pleasant journey for you. The whole point of choosing to wear a chador or hijab, in my opinion, is to deepen your relationship and faith in Allah. I don’t think any logical person could read this and find fault in the change (for the better!) in your decorum let alone chastise or ridicule you for wearing a chador. I believe the whole point to any religion should be to project the grace we receive from it. You are doing a beautiful job at it, too.

  9. Maxim Sense says:

    I particularly like this one: “I don’t want to give anyone a reason to judge Islam. Rather, I want to be a reason for them to rethink Islam.” I think the ones who had been destroying the image of Islam are the so-called pseudo-Muslims (of course, not you sister – in case you may have some thoughts about this). They are also sometimes called radical Muslims by the media. And yes for me, they are radical in the sense that they have a radical interpretation of Islam. These are also the pseudo-jihadists – having (again) radical interpretation of jihad. For example they believe that one of the sure way to go to heaven is to kill all the infidels (kafirs, ubelievers) – which was never in the teachings of Islam. Terrorism (read radical Muslims by most western media) is a condemnable act in Islam especially when its victims are the innocent ones (regardless of who they are).

    When Mohammad (pbuh), the Prophet of Islam migrated to Madinah at a time the Muslims were persecuted in Mecca (yes, Just like Christianity, the early Muslims were also persecuted.), practically, all of the people of Madinah that time were the unbelieving Jews, yet the Prophet of Islam showed the way – the model – to deal with the unbelievers. For example, when a Muslim owed a Jew a camel-worth of indebtedness, and the Muslim paid the Jew a sickly camel, the Prophet reprimanded the Muslim and asked him to pay the Jew a healthy camel. That was Islamic justice exemplified by the Prophet of Islam. What this simply means is that Islam (as a way of life) should rather encourage (not discourage) non-Muslims to agree (at least, if not believe) that Islam is good both as a religion and as a way of life.

    How I wish the western media should look at Islam through its righteous followers who rightfully practice the Faith, just as we (Muslims) look at Christianity through its righteous adherents, not through the so-called Christian bigots.

    • Well said! ….. but don’t all religions basically law down guidelines for living a ‘good’ life with consideration for our fellow human beings?
      As for the media – certainly Islam does get a bad press, helped no end by radical/pseudo-Muslims (great term!). The saying “good news is no news” sadly holds true and the positive aspect of any body/event needs to really promote itself in order to be heard at all.

  10. kmiller4261 says:

    Thank you for the update you are an inspirtaton to me.

  11. I appreciate your faith, the problem often arise when we deviate from our own way of thinking and think what people will think of us rather than what we think of ourselves. Anything in good spirit and faith will always be beneficial as long as you keep the balance with this worldly life which is just for a second or will be over just over a blink of an eye. After all it is the after-life for which the balance is needed in this life and for which we strive and for which we live.

  12. augustmidge says:

    I think what you are doing is a wonderful thing. I am glad that you feel better about how you are representing yourself and your faith. I love your devotion.

  13. moniquecomeau says:

    Mabrouk (congratulations) sister ❤
    ❤ Allah ibarek fik (God bless you)

  14. Pingback: I´m a Muslim too. Beyond tolerance. « amararama

  15. Lic. María Raiti says:

    I´m so happy I found your blog because your life experiences are very close to my own search. I started writing a comment here but it went too long and decided to post it at my own blog so I wouldn´t take that much space here. In the search of information for my post (“I´m a Muslim too. Beyond tolerance”) I found this beautiful video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jind7HjIieQ Towards the end, the boy says we cannot judge people for what they wear on their heads. It´s really inspiring! Love, Fernanda

  16. I thought that “I feel more pressure to be a better person—to be a good example of what a Muslim should be. For example, being kind to others, smiling more, holding the door for someone who needs it, not cutting off people in traffic, and just in general doing ‘good deeds’ and abstaining from ‘bad behavior.’ ” was an interesting aspect to relate to being an ambassador for Islam.
    Surely that’s what we should all be doing, or at least striving for (!), anyway? If more people would live by the maxim “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (my intention here is not to promote other religion/s – it’s just a great maxim) the world be a much better place – regardless of religion. Please don’t get me wrong, I absolutely respect your choices and find the obvious joy you feel heartwarming, it just seems to me that ‘good behaviour’ is a humanistic goal rather than a religious one …..
    I wish you all the best and hope that the people you meet, including your non-Muslim friends and family, ‘do unto you as they would have you do unto them’ 🙂

  17. Densleonis says:

    This is really inspiring! 😀 i am a born muslimah from Indonesia. and a hijabbi as well. Alhamdulillah.
    here in my country there are a lot of people that thinks the same way as you : to be an ambassador of our faith by our manner.
    but sadly, there are MORE people that just doesn’t realize this : that the way they life are the way others will judged Islam.

    yeah, how ironic… 😥

    But thank you for sharing. May Allah keeps you in His mercy and safety. :)))

  18. Pingback: My First Month of Wearing Hijab | Densleonis

  19. Pingback: My First Month of Wearing Hijab (reblog) | Densleonis

  20. aliyahniqaabi says:

    Mashallah ! I hope that you continue to wear hijaab and to benefit from all the blessings it brings with it. May Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) bless and portect you and all who you love. Ameen

  21. What a nice blog post! Glad you’re having positive experiences, for the most part. I’m Bangladeshi-American & most of us don’t wear hijab; there are exceptions in certain ethnic neighborhoods and w/ older generation. Even back in Bangladesh, very few of my relatives wear hijab. I’ve met a few older ladies who went to Mecca and then decided to wear hijab (or just cover their hair w/ sari) here in DC area.

  22. naimavanswol says:

    What great post. I love keeping up with your stories.

  23. MashaAllah sister! I would like to know what your experience has been like working as a social worker while observing hijab? i’m asking because i’m going to be starting my MSW and eventually working as a social worker but i want to start wearing hijab… i live in a small town in Wisconsin and most of the people are very conservative.. another thing is i will be working in the field of child welfare .. did you encounter any weird responses or differences in dealing with your clients? please share as thre really aren;t that many hijab wearing social workers out there

    • Thank you for your support. Actually, I am not currently working in the social work field. I have actually been working from home for the past year. It was convenient that I wasn’t working at the time I started wearing hijab, because I am able to get used to it. I feel it would have made things very uncomfortable for me with both co-workers and patients if I had been working at the time. Anyway, I will let you know my experience if I go back into the field . . . my suggestion is that if you have decided to wear hijab, you should do it before starting work or internships, or when between placements. That will make things easier for you inshallah. I feel I would have had problems with some patients if I were still in the field; there’s a lot of very conservative elderly here in Texas. Unfortunately, I know some of them would not have wanted me as their social worker if they had known I was Muslim.

      • thank you for your reply sister..i really wish we never had to worry about what people would think of us just because we are covering our head with a scarf its so unfortunate especially for muslim women living in small conservative areas of the US to fear being hurt or mistreated. the other day i saw one of my friends on fb had shared this.. http://publicshaming.tumblr.com/post/54707234407/american-flag-hijab-wearing-girl-attacked-by-patriotic .. after reading all the hateful and sickening comments I just dont know what to do because if this is what some people think then some crazy person and i know how many crazies we have in our society you being a social worker, theres high chances of someone saying or doing something to hurt hijab wearing sisters… but i appreciate you sharing your perspective with us. May i ask what is the nature of the work you do from home? i would love to eventually work from home but social work is a very practical field and your presence is required and you often have to go visit clients new or old in their homes and that puts us in a very vulnerable situation if we are wearing islamic religious garb.however Allah is the one to protect and keep us from harm if HE intends to.

      • That is very sad sister 😦 I’ve found however, that people are very brave in saying such hateful things on the internet, where they can be somewhat anonymous, but given the chance they most likely would not say the same hateful thing to your face. People tend to turn off the their ‘filters’ when online. But still, it does speak to the hateful mindset and attitude of some.

  24. Mabrook and prayers for you! 🙂

  25. MR says:

    Asalamu Alai Kum wa Rahamatullahi wa Barakathu sister,
    May Allah (SWT) propect you and all muslims from evil eyes and guide us to right path ameen.
    Please remember this:
    There will be tests ,from your near ones and others… so always ask Allah (SWT) helps and guidance. Before reacting or taking any decision.

    Fi Amanillah

  26. Ash says:

    Salaam sister
    mashallah you have so much courage and such a strong deen! i feel blessed to have such an inspirational person part of our muslim ummah. Your words have truly encouraged me to become hijabi for sure. i have been thinking about it for a long time now, and kept making excuses as well…
    but inshallah i am definitely doing it – happy but also a little nervous to finallly do this! thanks for the inspirational words! May allah guide you and make all your hardships easier.

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