In my third part of my "hijab series," I will explain to you how my FAMILY felt about wearing hijab. I'll talk more about my family themselves in later posts, inshaAllah, but this will start to give you an insight into my family. To answer the question, no. You don't have to wear it around immediate family members - men and women. All women can see me with it off, but the men that can see me without hijab are my father, brother, grandfather, sons, husband, etc... And, I don't wear hijab in front of them.
At the time I converted to Islam, I had been through a lot of craziness in my life already. Further craziness has ensued, but my life was far from "normal."
And, I'm very thankful for that, to be honest. However, my grandparents saw how happy Islam made me for the first time. My grandma often comments that there is a new "calmness" about me that she never saw before. So, in general, she was okay with Islam. She thought that it was going to be a phase and that eventually I'd grow out of it, but for now, I was happier and calm.
Then, I wore hijab.
My grandma was scared to death that someone was going to see me with hijab... and that was going to be enough to push that person over the edge, and they were going to hurt me.
She didn't know when, why, or how it was going to happen, but hijab was going to put a huge target on my back - or my head - for any psychos.
She was sure that I would lose my job, lose my friends, lose everything I have if I put a scarf on my head!
Seeing as though I lived two hours away from my grandma, it took a while before she had the privilege to go out in public with me in hijab. But, when she did, she started to be more understanding.
The only issue we had was once at a restaurant when people did treat my grandma a lot different because she was with me. They probably thought she was an old Arab woman and so they treated her like she didn't know English. She could tell. She was a little upset. But, she moved on.
Then, we'd go shopping with me in hijab, we'd go out doing our normal thing, and she felt more and more comfortable. It was normal. No one looked at me with disgust. No one hit me. Alhamdulilah, now she and my grandfather both accept it.
She does, however, find humor in the fact that she wears more "revealing" outfits - at the age of 80 - than I do - at the age of 22.
The one shocking family member confrontation that I have and that really bothered me was with one of my uncles. We were all gathered around in the kitchen the first time he saw me in hijab - my entire family. He looked at me and said "I'd like to shake the hand of whatever guy made you wear that thing" ... I just asked "why?" and he said "I've been trying to get you to cover up how ugly you are for so long, I'm glad he managed to finally do it!"
Everyone in my family was silent - and I could tell he was uncomfortable after that came out of his mouth.
Despite the fact that I know this man is an uneducated, ignorant racist that just happened to marry into my family, it was pretty hurtful.
The good that came out of it, however, was that I realized from this confrontation that my family - excluding him - was on my side. They were noticeably offended by what he said to me - as if they were defending my hijab. If he had made a comment about the shirt I was wearing, they probably wouldn't have reacted, but the fact that he spoke of my hijab didn't fly well with them.
Alhamdulilah I have more important things to worry about than ridiculous comments like his, and Alhamdulilah all the important people in my family and in my life accept my hijab.
I'm a very lucky girl.
May God bless and protect my family - no matter what religion they happen to be.
Enough about my family, though, what about other families?:
Recently, an absolutely GORGEOUS girl who converted emailed me and asked me what to do seeing as though her family is so against her starting to wear hijab.
I had just read a quote that said:
"If you can’t love her in her hijaab, you can’t truly love her in anything else either.
She will be the most beautiful to you when she is obeying God. She will be the most beautiful when she is trying to make her way to Heaven.
And, If you can’t see the beauty in that, then your perspective of beauty is distorted.
If you can’t love her enough to help her get to Heaven, then perhaps you don’t love her at all."
And I realized it was important to remind her family, and mine, that if a piece of cloth changes their love for you, they clearly don't love you as much as they should.
I challenge you to think about your family. If one day you came home in hijab, would they treat you different? Would they love you different? Would you love them different if they did the same?
If so, you should reflect on what it means to really love someone.
If not, then you know the meaning of family: true, unconditional love. This kind of love far surpasses any love we have for how we look, how they look, or what is wrapped around our head.