Learn about World Hijab Day & How to Get Started with Wearing Hijab
by Aaqeelah Floris
“I felt so helpless and terrified. Classmates constantly asked me if I ever dressed ‘normal’.”
In 2013, Nazma Khan made waves globally when she recounted years of being humiliated and ridiculed for wearing the hijab. With her voice brimming with emotion, she stood at the podium and urged the world to replace discrimination with love and empathy.
The 1st of February marks World Hijab Day every year, a platform for women of all faiths globally to stand by one another and to end the othering of Muslim women wearing the hijab.
Nazma shares that the drive to bring about awareness, understanding and to educate people about hijab was what fuelled her to start the initiative. And so that one day, sisters wouldn’t have to face persecution for their faith, like she often did. She notes that to her, hijab symbolises commitment and submission to her creator, Allah (SWT) and that it serves as a visual identity of being a Muslim woman, which she proudly embraces.
To her, hijab is also a constant reminder to be good to others in speech, manners and morals, and to reflect good character which goes hand-in-hand with Islam, her way of life.
After graduating from University in 2010, Nazma started an online scarf business. Her reasoning behind her venture was not only to sell head scarves but to connect with sisters struggling while wearing the hijab, like she had. On social media, she encouraged sisters to share their hijab stories and an overwhelming amount began to stream in.
“I received stories from all over the world. As I read through them, I saw my own struggles within my sisters. I faced many hardships due to my hijab while growing up in New York City. I was constantly bullied in middle school and high school. I was chased, spat on, surrounded by men and called a terrorist. So, after reading all the stories from sisters, I felt extremely sad and wanted to help them. I thought to myself, if I could invite sisters from all faiths and backgrounds to walk in my shoes just for a day, perhaps things would change”.
Listen to Nazma Khan’s inspirational story
Today, in 2019, World Hijab Day has women from across the world participating, non-Muslims and Muslims alike. Sister Nazma and her team are working on many exciting programs such as tackling Islamophobia in the corporate world to empowering Muslim women through job training, self-defence classes and mentoring programs.
The inspiring founder of this initiative encourages those wanting to make a difference in this world and believes that anything is possible. Sister Nazma advises taking the first step, to be brave and persistent. Furthermore, she says you will need to give your all and shares that behind every success, there are hundreds of failures. Most of all, she says that having sincere faith in your creator and believing in your cause will help you reach your goals.
Whether you are Muslim or not, or a hijabi or not, by walking in your sister’s shoes for one day on the 1st of February every year, you’ll be making a lifetime worth of a difference.
Deciding to Wear the hijab – Tips to Get Started
For those sisters who want to start wearing the hijab, we have compiled tips to help you on your journey.
1. Wear it for the sake of Allah (SWT)
Make the intention to wear the hijab for the sake of your creator. Take the first step and He will take care of the rest. Always remember, Allah (SWT) is الْوَلِيُّ (Al-Waliyy), the protecting friend, your biggest supporter.
2. Make the decision to start
Set a day and don’t back down from your decision. Leading up to the day, offer Salat al-Istikhara (prayer for guidance), ask Allah (SWT) for strength, and remember the power of patience and faith. Don’t worry about tomorrow, leave that to your creator.
3. Ignore the outside noise
Remember, you won’t stop being yourself because of the outside noise. When you start wearing the hijab, you might come across a lot of judgment but remind yourself of your intention and why you are doing it.
4. Take it one day at a time
If you dive into the deep end before you learn how to swim, you might end up drowning and will be hesitant to swim again. The same principle can be used when you start wearing the hijab. Take baby steps when starting out. Try wearing the hijab when going out every other day and soon with the help of Allah (SWT) and patience, one day will turn into weeks, then months. Before you know it, your hijab will become second nature.
5. Work your way up to proper hijab
In the company of non-mahram men, sisters should cover their entire bodies besides the hands and face. Your figure should be concealed with loose clothing and your hair, chest and neck should be covered, too. After making the decision to wear hijab though, jumping straight into Jilbab (a loose, full-length outer garment, which covers the head and body) might be overwhelming, so start with what you’re comfortable with.
You might choose to start wearing modest clothing first, such as long blouses or long coats, with long skirts until you are comfortable with wearing a headscarf as well. Once you are comfortable wearing modest clothing and a headscarf, you might be ready to wear the Jilbab or Abaya (a long, loose dress).
6. Give yourself a chance and have faith in Allah (SWT)
No matter what anyone says, making the decision to start wearing hijab is between you and your Creator. You may stumble, you may even fall, but try and try again and you will reach your goal.
“I believe real change takes place when we start to educate our next generation on accepting each other’s differences at an early age”- Nazma Khan
7. Start with a friend
It’s only natural for us to seek moral support, especially when embarking on a new journey.
Remember: as well as being adherents of faith, we are also human beings. Allah Himself knows this, as does not neglect our emotional and psychological needs. Starting this journey with a friend of family member will not only provide you with the support and motivation you need, but will increase you in rewards. As we know, when we encourage another onto a good deed, we also receive the rewards of the deed without any being taken away from that person.
What’s Your Hijab story?
We’d love to hear about your own journey with Hijab. Whether you currently wear one, are thinking about it, or have dealt with struggles, scroll down and leave a comment below. We’re all in this together, and we’d love to help and support you.
Donate Towards the Cause
Help support this wonderful initiative by donating towards World Hijab Day.
Follow World Hijab Day on Social Media
Need a Hijab?
Want to start wearing Hijab, buy a gift for a loved one, or just feel like updating your wardrobe?
We recommend Shukr Clothing for premium modest Islamic clothing.