So, recently I have made the HUGE decision to wear abaya along with my hijab (I don't think it's huge but most other people have treated me like I turned into a sheiykha all of a sudden - but that's not accurate). [Note: for those who don't know, abaya is a long black "dress" that covers your whole body]
Yes, it's a definitely scary step that I struggled with for a while, but I realize it's another step in modesty that I have been wanting to take, just didn't know how to break it to everyone.
I thought that my boss may not be a fan of it, or my friends would look at me differently when we go out...
Then I realized, I'm doing this for my modesty and my God and I don't care about anything else! I don't care if I lose all my clients, or if my friends don't want to be seen with me in public, or people make stupid comments and act like I can't speak English even more than they already do.
That's FINE! I can't control ignorance. I can only control my own intentions.
Just today I was reading a list of questions that Muslim women get on a page where they submit annoying questions - unanswered - to "vent."
I thought to myself, instead of venting, I should probably just answer the questions! After all - that's kinda my thing ;)
So here's the first one - on the topic of my new found abayaness : "Do you get hot in that?"
The sun is hot. I live in Los Angeles. If the top is down on my convertible I absolutely roast like a baked potato.
There's no secret air vent under there, no built in air conditioner, no tiny gnome in my dress fanning me with all his strength.
You put it together, hunny! Yes, I'm hot! A lot of the time I'm hot!
All the heat that leaves my head is trapped in my hijab, too! It's not a good look when I unwrap myself on a hot summer day in LA. I'm kind of melted.
This may bother you, this may make you think I'm suffering, or I'm hurt because I am hot, but guess what? I don't mind the heat!
Sure, I get a little annoyed and frustrated sometimes, but I'd much rather be hot in choosing to do something for God than to be cool with only myself in mind.
There are sacrifices I'm willing to make for things I feel strongly about and things that I think may help me in my everlasting quest to Heaven - because God knows I have so many sins I could use some redemption.
And, I must say, I'm much more comfortable being a little sweaty under this thing than I would be with my cleavage showing, or my butt cheeks hanging out, or if I peeled on skinny jeans (literally - PEELed on... like a fruit...).
So dear friends of all races and religions that passed me in the mall today and looked at me like I was crazy, please know I am crazy. But, my craziness has nothing to do with my abaya or my hijab.
You don't have to speak extra loud so I can hear your attempts at English communication with me, my friend at Teavanna.
You don't have to take pictures of me when we get into the elevator together, Mr. Asian guy yesterday at Third Street Promenade.
You don't need to worry about how hot I may be.
You don't need to tell me that this outfit isn't necessary, my sweet Iranian friends I saw yesterday doing dawah.
I know it's not necessary, but it's what I feel best in. And I don't say anything about the fact that it's not necessary to show your entire naked body walking down the street... so I'd like the same respect.
But, to the beautiful little girl I met at Sephora on Tuesday who asked me if I am a princess: Yes, gorgeous, I am!
Your question will never cease to bring a huge smile to my face - not because I think of myself as a princess (because I don't) but because of this:
You have the ability to see me as a confident woman in a pretty dress due to your innocence, instead of the threat to society your adult self may see me as. I pray that the innocence that you have won't be tarnished by the media as you grow up, because your simple 4 year old comment made me smile all week in LA's scorching heat.
May Allah (swt) guide us all to a form of modesty that both we feel comfortable with and that is pleasing to Him, and may we all continue to remember that hijab in its various forms are still just a piece of the puzzle that makes up Islam.