Words can’t describe how glad and comfortable I am to wear Abaayaas. People might say that hijab restricts freedom, but it doesn’t. If you think you’re “free” and wear what you want, think again. What you believe is what you want is not actually what you want; it’s what the fashion industry wants. Let’s be real here. You’re not wearing those Nikes because out of the all the shoes in the world, they happen to be the ones that you like or find most comfortable. You’re only wearing them because they’re Nikes. You’re only wearing those jeans because everyone else wears them. You’re only carrying that purse because it’s the latest trend. You’re only wearing that dress because the media brainwashed you into thinking that you look gorgeous in it. You only have that outfit on because you’re trying to impress someone. You see, whether you like it or not, whether you’re aware of it or not, and whether you acknowledge it or deny it, the media and fashion trends shape what you “want” to wear, on some level of your subconscious or conscious. They determine what you consider to be beautiful or ugly. Yes, you’re brainwashed by all the content you’re exposed to and what you take in on a daily basis. And this doesn’t just apply to clothes; this is true for everything in life. You’re not free; you’re a slave of the media and of society and of bandwagons and of people. If I’m going to be a slave of someone or something anyway, then I’d rather be a slave of Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa).
Even if you truly do what you want, you’re still a slave of your own desires. You give in to them and allow them to lead your life. You don’t control your desires; your desires control you. These yearnings are a weakness Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) put inside of us. You’re weak against them. You can’t resist their temptation even when you know they’re bad for you. Just look at the unhealthy food you can’t stop eating and the cigarettes you can’t stop smoking and the alcohol you can’t stop drinking. Just look at the toxic relationship you can’t end because of your attachment to that person. Just look at the girl or guy you can’t stop chasing because of your desperate longing for them. Just look at the bad habits you can’t get rid of and the addictions and obsessions you can’t free yourself of. Desires chain you, and your love for Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and willingness to obey Him sets you free and makes you strong against them. You’re not even aware that most of the time these cravings aren’t even really your own thoughts but merely the whisperings of Shaitaan (Satan). You just can’t tell the difference; which means you’re only fulfilling Shaitaan’s wishes.
I’ve confirmed that following my desires leads me nowhere and ultimately destroys me. I’ll wear what Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) wants me to wear, because what Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) wants has become what I want. I’d rather submit to His will than succumb to my own yearnings. Because the truth is, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) knows us better than we know ourselves. You think you know what’s good for you but most of the time, you really don’t. Obeying Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) is what grants you true freedom; you don’t have to blindly follow the crowds anymore, you don’t have to worry about your appearance and reputation anymore, and you don’t have to impress this person and that person anymore. All you have to worry about is pleasing Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and no one else. If that’s not ultimate freedom and peace of mind then I don’t know what is. Plus, I genuinely do feel happier and more comfortable like this. I love Abaayaas. In a society where women have become sexually objectified, I feel more empowered covering up. Now you can no longer judge me by my physique or appearance; you can only judge me based on my character. I don’t want people to notice, analyze, or comment on my body, especially since I started working out. I want to feel like I work out for my own health and fitness and out of honest love for it and not just to build a more attractive body and show it off like most people do. I don’t want to try to get attention from people; I want to try to earn Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s love instead. If people think you’re beautiful, yes it’s flattering; but if Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) thinks you’re beautiful, it’s the greatest honor.
I know that some of my friends are not happy with the new me, and that’s fine by me. I don’t expect everyone to understand. I can talk about Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) and Islam for the next ten years, but the truth is that people will only truly understand when they reach the level of faith that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) has bestowed upon me. This is something that can’t be taught or passed on; this is something that you must experience on your own in order to grasp. I know that I’m on the right path and that I have changed for the better. I’m a far happier, stronger, healthier, more confident, and more tranquil person now. I’m a more forgiving, respectful, polite, and honest person now. And I aspire to become kinder, more generous, more loving, and pure-hearted. To me, religion isn’t just some sort of obligation like it is for a lot of people. It’s a way of life and a means of developing a genuine relationship with Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). I don’t pray just because I have to and to get it over with like most people do; I pray to speak to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa). I don’t read Quraan just because it’s some sort of task I have to complete and get out of the way; I read it because Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) speaks to me through it. Life is a journey to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), and I know for a fact that Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) made me go through all these experiences so I could find Him. I couldn’t be more grateful. Being who I am today is worth all the suffering.