With the rising occurrences of hate incidents nationwide, we all know that removing Hijab is becoming a real concern on our sisters’ minds. I doubt that the sisters who might be considering this are dropping the idea of Hijab from their conscience as a religious practice, rather it is the fear for one’s safety, and this is what I will address.

To all our brothers, please do not start passing judgment on the level of faith of our female Muslims, as I doubt many of you will be going out to take the train or ride the bus wearing a dishdasha these days. We have the leisure of somewhat blending in that our muhajabah sisters do not.

Practicing faith has always been a test, and the Prophet (SAAW) spoke of the future saying, “There shall come upon the people a time in which the one who is steadfast upon his religion will be like the one holding onto a burning ember.” (Tirmizi)

This is our journey in the life of tests: {One who created death and life to test you, [and to reveal] which of you is best in deeds} 67:2. It is the path of struggle that the prophet himself (SAAW) and his companions had to endure. He (SAAW) was called names like crazy, sorcerer and poet, and was attacked even during his prayer. His followers were tortured, exiled, and forced to leave their wealth and their homes behind!

My advice for every sister out there is to hold on to her Hijab, and this is why:

It will not stop when you take off Hijab

So why face it with the feeling that you abandoned an honorable practice you kept for years? How many African-American girls are being subjugated to racial attacks in all forms? How many Latino girls are told daily that they don’t belong in this country? We have all witnessed how communities stand firm against any form of bigotry or discrimination, and we cannot be any less of faith in our rights than any other community facing these issues, most long before us.

How far it will go?

From taking off Hijab, to changing Islamic names, to acting as if Islam is not part of us at all! I do not believe this will remove your fear. Rather, it may create another level of stress and anxiety because being strong believers and dropping something precious in your faith will hurt you more from inside. We all have witnessed how holding on to faith in all aspects including Hijab has empowered sisters of all ages in all areas of life.

Be the model in steadfastness

If the community starts hearing about one incident after another of girls taking off their Hijab, we have doomed our own futures and allowed the hatred and bigotry to win. We need our young daughters to hear stories of holding on to faith that they can relate to, not just stories of the Sahabah times but in our own time and our own communities, when it’s easy and when it’s not so easy. One story after another of standing up for our God-given AND constitutional rights is the only path for true freedom and equality. And one sister’s courage will give courage to another and another…

Be safe

Always keep a support system around our sisters, especially ones that are practicing Hijab. Keep open communication with each other and explore ideas of how to build self-confidence and invite empowerment.

Connect with God through a higher level of practice. Tests ultimately are meant to bring people closer to God, so utilize that in increasing your level of worship thereby inviting peace and tranquility within your Nafs.

Be a strong presence wherever you are because a weak appearance might prompt people to see you as vulnerable. Always use common sense and good judgment, and never put yourself in unnecessary danger if confronted.

Avoid going out alone especially late or in areas you may be unfamiliar with. Keep in touch with family always and make sure that someone knows where you are and when to expect you.

Always be a good role model of Islam when you are in public.  Show kindness to people. Don’t have a bad attitude with others under the assumption that they are bigots or are against you.  There are more good citizens than you realize.  And if we ever expect others to stand up for our rights we must show the beautiful side of our Deen in order to dispel all the negative media propaganda.

May Allah (SW) protect you and keep you safe and heal all your worries and fear.

Your courage makes us proud.

By Sh Kifah Mustapha