By Zainab Shahid
Leaving primary school and moving to secondary school was a big step for me, as I’m sure it will be or has been for you. I didn’t have many friends at primary school, and I went to secondary school hoping that I would have a wider friends circle. But that never really happened either. Living in an area that was mostly non-Muslim people, I always felt different. Before I started wearing the headscarf (hijab), there were many times that I had wished I could fit in more.
When I was at primary school, other children had birthday parties at a place called the Wacky Warehouse (it’s still around today, but it is not as popular or well-known as it used to be). I never went. Not even once. I always felt like the black sheep amongst the other children at school, because I never joined them in these parties.
Have you ever been in a place where you didn’t feel comfortable, even with lots of other people? I have. Yes, I never went to any birthday parties, but in year six we had a leaver’s party in the school hall. I attended it using the excuse that everyone else in my year would be going. I had no idea that it would be anything like it was. My teacher used to turn on the radio during class, but I never thought anything of it. But when I was at the party, music was blasting out of the speakers – accompanied by many colourful lights going off in the darkened hall. It seemed to be a disco.
I tried making myself feel comfortable and not let others know how I felt. But it was difficult. All of the other children were dancing and jumping around, whilst I stood at the side of the hall (or outside a few times), wishing for it all to be over soon. Allhumdulillah, I did end up going home earlier than the rest and I was very thankful for it! I wasn’t used to being in such an atmosphere. Even at weddings, I would always sit in the corner or go outside because I’d feel uncomfortable with the music being played so loudly.
As I grew older, I felt and believed that Allah has always wanted to protect me from things that are wrong. And He will always want the same for you. So, if you are ever in an uncomfortable situation, or feel that something is wrong, it is most probably Allah guiding you and protecting you. Don’t force yourself into doing something or going somewhere just because everyone else is. On many occasions, what everyone else does isn’t right anyway!