A couple of days before my 31st bday, I put on the hijab. It was during the month of Ramadhan. Not many knew of that sudden drastic change. When I went to work, I know many were shocked. And during Aidilfitri, most of my relatives were surprised. Some even thought that I’d put it on just for Eid celebrations.
Not many knew that my intention to don the hijab and take a complete physical and spiritual makeover was permanent and had been in my mind for the longest of time.
See, I wasnt a very good Muslim girl. Out of so many sins, I prolly just fell short of murder and black magic. I think.
It wasnt always like that. I was brought up okay. I was religiously schooled part time in my neighbourhood mosque since I was 9 till I turned 15. And every weeknight I’d attend Quran reading classes with a neighbour till I khatamed. I went for every haj lesson with my grandmom till she left for Mekkah for her hajj without me. Heh.
But growing up in a home who dont practice the faith much, I dont pray 5 times a day. Only when im troubled or needed help. I knew of Allah’s existence but I dont practice what I know. Still, I stayed away from what I believe are sinful.
Till I went to pre-uni. I was a late bloomer but I made sure I caught up with my peers who were… cool. I think. Haha! Off came the modest boring drab ive been wearing my whole young life. Suddenly, Im the new havoc girl in town. Where im normally quiet and reserved, I turned into this confident trash-mouth. Loud and bossy.
The nightlife was my world. It continued till I met my husband. He was a naughty Mat himself. Like bonnie and clyde. We were night creatures. I became bolder for ive met a man who loves me regardless of my size. And my dressing got skimpier than ever. Haha!
After we got married when I was 26, our world was about one great big happening party. For a couple of years, we only cared abt the next holiday destination. The next clubbing session. Worldly things and possessions.
Until my dad passed away suddenly.
That was a wakeup call. For me. I returned to the sejadah. But that lasted a couple of months. After the grief has passed, my husband and I, resumed to live our lives the way it was before. Modern, hip, not at all God-fearing. But somewhere deep inside me, I knew it was not right. That niggling feeling stayed with me everyday. Every second.
Then at 30, I was diagnosed with diabetes type 2. My death sentence. Confirmed to make me suffer a long amd painful life till my time is up. I tried beating it by running and dieting till I lost 20kg in 3mths. I lost so much hair in the process and my menstrual cycles got even more messed up. My 5yr marriage was also on shaky ground coz somehow I was constantly arguing with my husband. Over the littlest of things. My performance at work took a beating no one else could understand. At this point, I really felt that everythings breaking apart and life is just not worth living anymore.
Then mom came back fm umrah. As I was admiring the pictures she took, the Kaabah caught my attention. I remembered those times I accompanied grandmom to her hajj classes. How Id really wanted to go. And be a guest in the holy land. And how at peace I felt just by looking at pictures and videos of Mekkah.
I went home. And cried in the shower. That year, I vowed that I will be a better Muslim woman, wife and daughter if I live to see my 31st year. I started performing my prayers. Missed a couple. But try again and again.
When we were holidaying in Sabah last June, we passed by a quaint little shop that sells all things Muslim. We bought a large wooden frame with the Surah Yassin. And 2 smaller ones with Allah swt and Muhammad (pbuh). Hubb took great pains to protect and carry it home safely to our Punggol home. And it was up on our living room wall as soon as we got back. That was the first time, our marital home had anything Islam in it. :))
Ramadhan came and altho I didnt go for terawih, I was home and started reading my old yellowed Quran after Isyak prayers.
It was difficult. Because my husband was not in with me on this quest to become a better Muslim. He didnt understand my change. But he observed my subtle changes. And I prayed that Allah gives him his love too.
I started asking about the hijab from a couple of girlfriends. Bought a couple of shawls. Was getting myself ready for that big change when I turn 31 on the 2nd day of Eid.
Then 1 week before that. On a Saturday I think. Was getting ready to go to my in law’s place for buka. Somehow, I felt compelled to reach out for my shawl and cover my hair. Took out my cardigan and wore it over my tshirt. In jeans. And left home. My mother in law, if shes shocked at seeing me in my red shawl looking out of place, she certainly didnt show it. Cool woman, that one. Heh.
How did it feel? Well, there was no mystical song playing in the backgroud or a strange light engulfing me like they do in the movies. It was… normal.
Uncomfortable. Of course. I kept readjusting the shawl. I was perspiring like crazy! But the next day, I put it on to my mom’s. Shes surprised. Of course. And the hijab and covered clothes stayed on since.
Its been less than a year since my ‘transformation’ but i no longer feel uncomfortable. Still perspire like siao but ive yet to pass out from heat stroke in this crazy spore weather. My wardrobe hasnt been totally transformed. Some of my clothes have gone to ‘charity’ that is to the delight of my baby sis. Haha! I bought so many shawls, my husband is on the verge of keeping my cards.
My husband. Another case. Of Allah’s magnificent grace. A couple of weeks after Eid last year, he hugged me one morning and started sobbing into my neck. He started praying. He started going for religious classes. He led the prayers. Hes reading the Quran. Hes been going to the mosques. Hes been trying to live according to the prophet’s sunnah (pbuh).
My prayers were answered.
My husband now knows more than me. He chides me if I dilly dallies in performing the prayers. Our home dont play music anymore. Only Quranic verses. We hardly watch tv even! When we pray, even the cats sit quietly around us. Altho sometimes they get frisky and play hide and seek between our kain or playfully drums our heads as we sujud. Or try to catch invisible insects in between the ruffles of the sejadah. Hahah!
Still much to learn, the both of us. Our decision to ditch our old lifestyle and go back to Allah has made our marriage stronger. Rezeki comes when we least expect it. We are calmer, happier and at peace. Alhamdulillah.
Family that prays together, stays together. Insya Allah. (Yes. The cats too)
Whatever we do, wherever we are. When the time comes, drop everything and make wudhu. Spare that 5 or 10mins for your 1 on 1 with Allah swt. Coz as Muslims, thats the Least you can do. To remember all that Allah has blessed you with. To say thanks. To ask for forgiveness and mercy. For yourself. For your loved ones. 5 times a day.