MY Journey to Modesty

Assalamualaikum warahmatullah,

As serious as the title sound, I'd like to state it clear here that I am STILL in this continuous journey. A journey I hope to reach the perfection which is ordered by The One and Only, Allah SWT :)

If you just knew me (My name is Sara, by the way!) or if you see me now, I WAS different. Different in so many ways, physically (But still the same size!). I used to see the pleasure of wearing short pants and skirts. Short sleeved tops. As much as I wore it to 'please' the people around me, I convinced myself that it was comfortable. "Malaysia is a hot country, I'll be sweating like crazy". So, I was feeling 'comfy' with what I was wearing. Many Malaysians are worried about getting dark or tan due to the exposure of the skin to the sun. Na'ah, not me. I was 'enjoying' the all-year summer that we are having in Malaysia. 

Hijabs? Of course I did't have one on my head. This is where I had applied 'less is more' in the wrong context. 

Back then, Mama always said the same words over and over again. 
"Mama tengok anak orang lain dari kecil dah pkai tudung. Malu bila orang tengok anak Mama tak pakai". 

I was no different than anyone out there, I was the norm. I still am. I never hated the idea of hijabs and covering up. I was raised with enough knowledge about the religion to know what is right and what is wrong. And I KNEW that what I was wearing is not the right thing. I KNEW that as a Muslim girl, I am supposed to cover up myself except for the face and the bottom and top of my palm. I KNEW that if I expose my hair to those others than my mahram, my hair will be on fire in Hell.

Back then, my answer was simple. Short (and sweet? Not anymore!) : 
"I am not ready, but one day I will".
"One day, one fine day".
When is it exactly?
"Emm, probably when I start working".

I had my hijabs on when I was in school. But my hijab was... Not on my head anymore when I am out of the school compound. Was I wearing the hijab because it was a school rule? Yes. 

My story with hijab, is a very long story. A tudung has been on and off my head for so many times that I myself can't remember. Sometimes, I feel the urge to cover my head, so I did. And the next thing you know, I refused to wear it anymore, and I was giving myself all the 'valid' excuses again and again. I was complaining about the weather, how my glasses won't look good with the hijabs and the list goes on. 

This will be a very long post. I am only writing about how I slowly accepting hijabs and modesty. 

Bright colours; Blue, yellow, red, green, white. All the powerful colours, they were my favourite. I love (I still do,) to wear bright and powerful colours. My top can be red and my pants were blue. Black? Na'ah. Black is sadness. Black is insecurity. That was how my mind worked. My mind was corrupted by disgraceful thoughts. May Allah guide you and me to the real teachings of Islam.

How it all started?

It didn't happened overnight. As I have written above, my hijab was an on-off thing. Some days, I feel like covering up my head and I will. The next day, I feel like going to the movies with my friends and I forgot to put on my hijab. It went that way for so many years (Yup, it was LONG).

Friends and family were curious about my REAL identity. They didn't know which Sara is the real Sara. A friend even told me that he knew that I was searching for something. The truth is, I was searching for the real me. He was not wrong and I thank him for being honest an honest friend. That was in... 2010 I think. 

A fashion victim? 
 "Fashion victim? I am a fashion setter".  Another corrupted though of mine. Some days I was wearing my hijab because it is trendy. "You can do so much with your hijab. Twist here, pin here, wrap here." And as I wanted to do what was been told to do by Allah, I was a FASHION VICTIM.

"If I wearing my hijab to please people which is forbidden in Islam (because we are to please and serve only God), then might as well I just wear my usual shorts and baby Ts because I was not doing it for anyone else. I was doing it BECAUSE I AM ENJOYING THE 365-DAY SUMMER. Right?"

I wore hijab because it was a rule of the school. Because Mama wants me to. I was wearing the hijab because it was the rule at school and because of Mama. And sometimes I will be wearing it because it is what we are told to do. Semi-honesty? 
Early this year, my hijab was still on and off. Depending on who I was with and what occasion it was. If it was a family gathering gathering: Hijab ON. Hanging out with friends while drinking coffee and chit-chatting (well, gossipping): Hijab OFF. BUT as time passes by, with Allah's Will, I started to feel "naked" without my hijab on. Not me being naked, but my head. From family gatherings, I started to wear them to class. I was in a new class with new classmates so I thought it was the right time to make small changes. So, I promised myself not to EVER go to class without my hijab on. And Alhamdulillah, I am still keeping my promise. 

When I go out to have lunch or dinner with my classmates, it didn't feel right to suddenly go out with them without my hijab on because they are used to seeing me with my tudung. So, I covered my head. 

Baby steps. It is VERY slow, but it is effective to me. 

It is very common to see a Muslim girl with her tudung but wearing a short sleeved Tshirt. I was included (was? InshaAllah, never again). It's not something funny because we see it everyday in Malaysia. Again, slowly, my short sleeves were getting longer but not long enough to cover my arms to my wrist (3/4 sleeves lah!). 

Fitted shirts and jeans were getting looser (NOT BECAUSE I AM LOSING WEIGHT! *angry*), but because I AM READY. 

At first, I was only covering up my head, I was not covering my chest. And gradually (and recently), I am learning to cover my chest and my shoulders.I promise myself not to 'selempang' my tudungs to my shoulders ever again, inshaAllah. 

In the year to come, I am promising myself to cover my feet and toes as well. Why? Because Allah said so. And I promise myself not to ever wear jeans again. 

This is my promise not only to myself, but to Allah. With His Will and Mercy. 

To my sisters out there who are wondering how to start to wear hijabs and dress modestly, all I can say that IT IS A PROCESS. A process means that YOU HAVE TO START SOMEWHERE! I believe that I started from having an INTENTION in my heart. And you need to MAKE IT WORK. Push yourself, slowly. InshaAllah, you are making a better you :) 

How do I feel now?
People are smiling at me more than before. People are giving Salams to me on the streets (ladies lah,). Men respect me more. YOU DON'T REALISE THIS UNTIL YOU EXPERIENCE IT. You may not agree with me, but my guy friends no longer dare to put their hands on me shoulder or patting me on the back. Not just men, but the people around me. Friends don't simply curse and swear while talking to me, because it's inappropriate. And I myself, am more aware of whatever that is coming out of my mouth and my own actions. It doesn't feel right to swear or shout when you're in modesty (Oh boy, I was a swearing machine). It doesn't feel right to be sitting around with a group of boys and me being the only girl in the circle. 

And I know, I can never have done this alone. I pray for all the people, family and friends who made duaa to Allah for me. For me to be a better me. I know Mama must have been praying to Allah to soften my heart to accept hijab in my daily life. I know my sister have been making duaa for me. And I can never thank you all enough for what you have made for me. All I can do is make prayers for them too. Jazakallah Khair!

And to all my sisters out there (if anyone is even reading this), I pray to Allah to help you and me to continue pushing ourselves to be the ideal Muslimah. May Allah grant our wishes. InshaAllah. Amin.


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