Me and my Niqab by Tasnim Dendar (Co-Founder of Hijab Support Group)

Read more about Tasnim here.

Growing up in a very modern, open and loving family, hijab was never really an issue. Spirituality and Islamic consciousness was stressed upon at all times even though my parents outwardly appeared to be ‘modern’. Growing up in this environment lead to an intense sense of Islamic identity. My ‘Journey’ towards hijab was a gradual process. I like to refer to it as ‘baby steps’. Nabi (SAW) said (something to the effect) that if you take little steps towards Allah, Allah runs towards you.

A trip to the UK in my twenties made me realise that except for my name I displayed no Muslim Identity. Random Muslims that I met were asking me if I was Muslim. At first I was mortified by the question but later it sinked in that I obviously did not resemble a Muslimah. This realisation was a slap in the face. On return from my trip, Ramadaan commenced and I started wearing the scarf. This was the beginning! I loved wearing the scarf but I was also a lover of fashion. It was sometimes a mission to colour co-ordinate the hijab and ‘hijabify’ western fashion trends but I guess I loved the challenge. At the same time I was attending the weekly taalims and adult fiqh classes. This only beautified Deen for me and intensified my relationship with My Rabb. Alhamdulillah! With Ilm comes action.

Two years later Allah SWT invited me to Baitullah to perform Hajj. During my trip I had made intention to wear the abaya. My abaya! I love my abaya! It’s like my second skin. It makes me feel all regal. There’s just something amazing that happens when you adorn the abaya. It’s your shield, your armour, your sword, your flag, your ‘security blanky’. Ahhh my abaya!! Alhamdulillah tasting the sweetness of following a commandment just made me want to draw closer to Allah.

About 4yrs ago I met Aalima Zaahira through the work we do at Muslim Aids Programme. Zaahira is a graduate of Madressa Mu’ienul Islam and has been in niqab since she became baligh. For one year I observed her every move, how she spoke, how she ate, how she interacted with non-Muslims at campus. I was in awe and amazement by this young Muslimah’s spunk, energy and love for Islam and her Creator. All this she did while wearing the niqab. She made me realise that the fun doesn’t stop! There is ‘life after niqab’. Aalima Zaahira teaches tafseer and fiqh classes and it was at one of our classes that I suddenly decided to adorn the niqab. It was a thought that just popped in my head and a moment that I seized. I didn’t even call my husband to ask his permission because this was something between me and my Allah.

We all need to grab these moments of opportunities in our life that Allah presents to us ever so often to bring us closer to Him, insha Allah. May Allah accept all our efforts, Aameen. That was just over 3yrs ago. Alhamdullillah I’ve had a tremendously positive experience and much support throughout my Journey. With these sentiments Aalima Zaahira and I launched Hijab Support Group. Hijab is not a choice my dear sisters … It is a command! Who is it that is commanding us to cover our precious bodies? It is our most beloved Rabb! Once we realise this then the command becomes a joy and not a burden. Fall in love with your Creator!!!

Yours Sincerely

Tasnim