School, Hijab, and how someone else's example inspired me to be a better Muslim

School, Hijab, and how someone inspired me

Like the rainbow that beams through patches of gray clouds, or the brightest shining star in the velvet sky…there are certain things and people in your life that stand out from the rest.

For me it was my religious teacher. I was 11 and she was probably only nine years older than me…and whatever she taught me grounded a firm foundation that inevitably changed the rest of my life. Most of it was all due to one incident in her life…the first day at high school she wore her hijab.

The teacher demanded the removal of her scarf, and with her refusal she was sent out of class for almost the entire day. The following day she came dressed to school on one of the hottest days, wearing three huge brightly colored scarves not bothered about her teacher’s reaction and what other kids would say.

Due to this, she was allowed to wear her scarf from this day forward. For me, it was the fact that she wasn’t at all bothered by what others thought about her that stood out. I believe many people are stopped in increasing their beliefs due to consideration of what others will think about them.

Looking back in history, people died because they wanted to practice Islam openly. They had a choice to live on for renouncing their deen (faith), but they knew that the right things to do in this world are those that please our Creator and not others.

Thinking of all this made me realize how fortunate I am being able to practice Islam openly. I turned to hijab and being so young many people turned their eyes on me. Mostly criticizing me and remarking that I was going through some phase. To be honest even my parents were surprised.

The people who had the hardest time accepting my decision, were most members of my family. For them having a scarf around your neck or partially upon your head is sufficient. There were things said about me which did hurt, but all I can do is thank the Almighty Allah for giving me the strength to remain strong at such a young age.

The worst that was to come, surprisingly, occurred when I moved to an all-Muslim school. It was here that I was asked by my fellow Muslim sisters why I would wear a scarf all the time. I was practically an outcast, and being shy did not help.

Thankfully, I was moved to a different school a year later in which I could basically "fit" in. Eight years have passed and things are changing around me, some of my aunts have turned to hijab and I am much more respected.

Everyday in my life, like everyone else, I am faced with tests of faith. I’ve learned I must have my faith in Allah and not to worry about what others say. To do as our Creator has ordered us to do, will help us lead a much better life. Insha Allah.

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