We were discussing the concept of hijab and introducing it to young women. Here are my thoughts:
Firstly, when a girl reaches the age of puberty, the hijab becomes important, so a parent can wait until then, but it is *essential* to prepare her; it will make it easier and is more just towards her, especially in our times.
Secondly, it needs to be a transition, and a process for young girls, which needs to be done lovingly. We need to inspire them with its purpose; it’s for Allah, alone, rather than remind them of the consequences of neglecting. Do we expect them to be inspired through fear? We inspire them by cultivating a love for God, and focusing on achieving our self worth through our obligations, and achievements in life. In addition to our relationship with God, rather than what other people think of us.
Thirdly, we need to teach them it’s for themselves, their decision, and motivate them by reminding of the reward, and possibilities which exist for them. It is unfair to expect young adults to embrace the headscarf without any preparation in younger years, or an adequate explanation. In today’s age, the peer pressure is immense, so it needs to be done well, and one of the best ways is to show you can wear the headscarf, and it doesn’t limit you. This can be done by showing examples of women who are achieving great things whilst they’re Muslim, women, and wear the hijab. As a parents, we could prepare a scrapbook of Muslim women who are great achievers, and leave the final page for our daughters, in an aim to inspire them.
Fourthly, we need to remind them they’re beautiful, with it and without it, as well as give them opportunities to let their hair down, dress up, look beautiful through other mediums, within halal settings.
Fifth, we shouldn’t feel guilty for being firm at times, if done with wisdom, don’t we insist our children wear their school uniform, or specific PE gear? Isn’t it expected to dress professionally when you go to work? No-one suggests we are forcing them, we are being forced to dress a certain manner by our employees. Rather we meeting the schools and works requirements, as are women.
Sixth, focus on teaching how it’s all-encompassing. The hijab revolves around exemplary character, and a component of success for her to she to achieve great things in life through her internal character, will, and desire to make a different. SubhanAllah, there is so much scope to make the whole process exciting! When we make their character a focus, we will teach them the importance of being non-judgemental, kind, and gentle with others. Everyone is on their own personal journey, including them.
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we had a hijab welcoming party? So the girls look forward to becoming an adult? Honestly, if I was a child I would be super excited if it was done right, and look forward to becoming a ‘woman’ rather than dread the thought, from a child or parental perspective!
photo by Zahra Summayah 2014