Fairuza was honoured with the opportunity to start us off with the hijab journeys. What a great journey it was indeeDo. Let’s take a look at this superstars journey and how she found hijab.
My Hijab Journey – 3rd April 2018
Tomorrow will mark the 9th year of me wearing the hijab, Alhamdulillah. I will use the term ‘hijab’ here to mean the piece of cloth that covers my head.
I was not brought up as a hijabi. I was like any other normal kid living in modern Singapore, going to secular government schools. Our school uniform was always knee-length and short-sleeved. The only option we had was to put on long pants during our PE lessons. I was always into sports and had participated in various sporting activities.
In school, I was a school swimmer, which meant that the attire did not conform to a Muslimah’s proper dress code. I was also in the school Netball team, where we competed with teams on a national level. We had to wear the netball skirts during tournaments, which just about covered our bum area. I was also in the track and field team and each time we participated in a national event, we would have to wear the runner’s attire, which was a sleeveless tee and really short shorts.
My mum was very strict about what I wore, especially so when I was in my teens, which was also when I got more and more involved in sports. Once she saw the netball skirt I was about to wear and she said she wanted me out of the team if I had to wear that. I couldn’t quit because I was the captain! So I would leave the house in my tracksuit pants, then go to the nearby mall and change into the netball skirt before heading to the competition venue. I went to great lengths to hide it from my mother because I knew she was serious about having me quit all sports if she were to see me dressed that way. I then, got more involved in competitive rock climbing. While the attire was not as revealing, the harnesses we had to wear accentuated our bum area even more so. Not very shariah-compliant.
Even though my mum was strict, she had never forced me to wear the hijab, unless we were going for religious classes etc. Therefore, I had never felt pressured to wear the hijab as my lifestyle was not very accomodating to donning it.
Later on, in my adulthood, I took up scuba diving which became something I fell completely in love with. That was also around the time I had just gotten married. My husband was my dive buddy and we planned our honeymoon and all other vacations centred around diving. It was not a holiday if we had not dived.
My husband then started to learn more in depth about the deen and felt compelled to have me embrace the hijab. I however, brushed it aside time and time again, thinking that I want to wear it for the right reasons. So I made excuses for myself. I told him that i felt unprepared to wear it, because the hijab is a strong symbol of Islam, and if I were to wear it, I would be an ambassador of Islam, which was an image I felt was not befitting me due to how little I knew of the religion. The truth was, I felt the hijab would restrict me of the lifestyle I was enjoying. I wanted to carry on rock climbing and scuba diving.
My husband didn’t buy that of course. His approach from the beginning was a casual mention of hijab, then a suggestion, followed by a request and eventually after a few years, he got pretty mad and said that he had every right to force me to wear as he is the husband and I am to obey. I was running out of excuses by then and knew I was pushing it a bit too far.
During this time, I was doing my Diploma in PE. In a week, I was doing 4 hours of hockey, 4 hours of soccer, 4 hours of gymnastics, 3 hours of badminton and a few other games. It was strenuous and gruelling and I felt the hijab would definitely not fit into this equation. However, in the same class with me, was a sister named Aisha. She would come for classes in the morning with her hijab on, then change to a more breathable bandana when we had physical activities. For 2 years, while the rest of us constantly complained of how hot and sweaty we felt after class, I noticed she had not joined us in these complains and I observed how naturally the hijab was to her and how she did not let it affect or restrict her active lifestyle. I was inspired and intrigued.
That was when I decided to take upon one of the most monumental change in my life. I set a date for myself and worked towards it. I bought more long sleeved tops and started collecting hijabs and experimented with the styles. When the actual date came, I wore it out for a picnic outing with friends. I felt so self conscious but when everyone saw me, they smiled but didn’t say anything. The looks of horror and disgust which I had anticipated did not become reality. I was treated like I always was.
My second day, I went for a badminton session with some friends and it was HOT! But I told myself that this is a commitment that I want to stick to till the end no matter what.
There were many adjustments I had to make after putting on the hijab. I was still active but had to choose my sport. By far, the biggest sacrifice I had to make was scuba diving. Even though there were covered-up versions of the wet-suits, it was still figure-hugging. The lifestyles of divers were not always very Islamic. There were constantly girls in bikinis sharing the same boat and the guys around were always with beer in hand. These were not the kind of companions I wanted to surround myself with.
It was painful but I had to reassure myself that I am doing this for Allah and I know that when I make it to Jannah, He will give me something far better to replace this.
Shortly after, I gave birth to my daughter and gave her the name of the person who had inspired me in my hijab journey, Aisha.
May Allah keep us firm in this path always. Allahuma Ameen 🙏