Hijab & Niqab Reflections

The Hijab Diaries: From Sweet 16 to Hijabi Before 16

http://www.flickr.com/photos/clevercupcakes/2467872184/By Gabrielle Deonath

The Hijab Diaries: Part I | Part II

There is one thing that little girls dream about: getting older. Since I was four years old, I’d been dreaming about turning the golden age of sixteen. I watched shows, like My Super Sweet 16 on MTV, and I thought I would plan every detail of my Sweet 16 party with my cousins. I thought I would have an amazing teenage life, like they show on all the TV shows and movies: an unforgettable Sweet 16 party, the cutest boyfriend, the best clothes, my driver’s license, etc. I imagined I’d be living the good life.

I’ll be sixteen in two months and let’s just say life didn’t turn out exactly how I had once pictured it. I just finished my sophomore year of high school with grades that I’m truly proud of. Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala (exalted is He) blessed me with a powerful brain. I’m starting a college summer class and I’m volunteering at the local children’s museum. This past Monday was my first day. Monday was also the day I became a hijabi (someone who dresses modestly, including wearing a headscarf).

This decision has been on my mind for about eight months. After many months of going back and forth, I finally decided in April that I would start wearing hijab. Many factors motivated me to do so, starting with the Saturday Sisters’ Class I attend weekly. Our teacher is a wonderful speaker and instead of falling asleep during her lectures, I anticipate them all week. Then, a reality show came out on TLC called All-American Muslim about everyday Muslims and Islam’s effect on their lives. It was the first time my religion was represented in a positive light by real people. Seeing the life the more religious cast led made me start to consider this life-changing decision. On Twitter, I asked two of the hijab-wearing sisters from the show, Suehaila and her sister Samira, for advice on this decision and they gave me words of encouragement that made me feel like no matter what I chose, I’d be ok. While this lifted my spirits, I was still confused about what I wanted to do.

I needed to be completely sure of my decision, so I went to every teenager’s favorite place, YouTube. I searched the word “hijab” and I found tutorials by many people, but the ones by the user Amenakin stuck out the most. She seemed like the best kind of role model and I was hooked to her videos for guidance and inspiration. I found lectures by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan, which were funny and intriguing, but also taught me more about Islam. I found Muslim comedians, like Baba Ali, FouseyTube, and Omar Regan who helped demonstrate to me that you can still have a good time and stay within the fold of Islam. I’ve also informed myself about the best example in Islam, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ (peace be upon him).

Now, as easy as this sounds on paper, it was a process. I was a singer and a dancer, who listened to music every free moment I had and loved watching Bollywood movies. It started with removing all the songs from my iPhone. That alone didn’t do the trick though. Abstaining from music is a struggle I deal with day by day. Then, after many therapeutic sessions with my school’s social worker, came the final decision to wear hijab. After that, I told the people closest to me about my decision and I started to mentally prepare myself for what was to come. Not every reaction was pleasant and I had to deal with the reality that wearing hijab couldn’t be to please anyone, except Allah (swt). I revamped my wardrobe with more modest clothing and started my hijab collection. I bought my first Islamically acceptable swimsuit, with head-to-toe coverage. Just yesterday I took down all of my Facebook pictures.

It’s been four days since my first day as a hijabi and it’s been a satisfying experience. I have more self-respect and I can tell people respect me more, as well. The people I’ve come across in these few days have judged me by my personality and demeanor.  It is frustrating when it’s hot outside and I’m continuing to learn efficient ways to dress modestly for the hot weather.

As my sixteenth birthday comes around, I may not be having any party, but I have much to be proud of; I may not have the life I desired as a young child, but I have a life that holds the highest reward, the blessings of Allah (swt). I was guided to this path and my parents couldn’t be happier. Not only are they proud of the strong person I’ve become, but they are also delighted by the amount of money they’re saving by not throwing me a Sweet 16. Allah (swt) really is the Most Merciful.

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  • Ma-sha’Allah. May Allah (SWT) reward you for your perserverance. Ameen. I hope other young girls read your story and take inspiration from it. All the best sister.

    • A very inspirational post Sister Gabrielle! May Allah reward you for the path you chose. I really hope the young Muslim girls out there take note of this memoir and rethink their priorities, especially those sucked into the materialistic and glamour-concentrated life of typical girls your age. Ha! “My Super Sweet 16” made me nauseated when I saw a few episodes.

  • may Allaah reward you immensely for these very brave decisions. i am very happy for you and i pray that Allaah supports and guides you every step of the way. may you be destined for jannaah insha Allaah 🙂

  • Mashallah, may Allah (swt) reward you and give you the strength to always maintain your hijab! I’m so ispired by the fact that you have made such an important decision at a young age! Mashallah, you seem to be mature beyond your years!

  • Love the last two sentences! May Allah continue to guide you to greater things. Amin!

    From a fellow daisy! 🙂

  • Wow this was absolutely uplifting to read and definitely made my day! Girl you are the essence of what it means to be growing up in america and then finding Islam and the change that we go through as a result. It’s really not all about the fun times and definitely you will go through some tough times but at the end of the day the cause is so worth it! Because indeed there is nothing that can fill that void in our hearts except the obedience and closeness to Allah. It’s reward is the tranquility of our hearts! I am extremely proud of all our Muslim youth who are continuously struggling to become better Muslims all the while living in an environment that is not really conducive to it. You all are true heros!

  • MashaAllah. I was very happy to read your story..You have chosen the BEST path any human being can – to please your Creator. May Allah make you steadfast in your choice and increase you in imaan. ameen.

  • assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatUllah!

    Ma sha’Allah, this is always wonderful news! May Allah strengthen you and always grant you the sweetness of Iman and the sweetness of hijab! Ameen.

    Love you for the sake of Allah!

  • Assalaamu alaikum sis! MashaAllah. I am really happy for you. May Allah swt make it easy for you to strive in His path. Ameen. inshaAllah keep praying and asking Allah to help you too.

  • MashaAllah! You have brought tears to my eyes and really touched my heart. may Allah Ta’ala make it easy for you, make you strong and make you steadfast inshaAllah. And May Allah make us all from among HIS favored servants inshaAllah

  • how beautiful mashala, you are an inspiration to the youth of the West well done 🙂 I wore a scarf too at a young age and it was the best way to be al hamdulila, May Allah make it easy for you and give you the strength to follow the correct rules of Hijab so that you may be a good example to those around you xx

  • Masha Allah! Congratulations sister! It is hard to find muslim girls nowadays who mentally prepare themselves and commit to, not only wear a hijab on your head, but to change their lives and habits in order to increase their iman.
    I am truly proud of you and may Allah guide you and help you 🙂

  • Jazak Allah for all of your comments. They come at a time where I need all the support I can get. Jazak Allah again.

  • Mashaa Allah, beautiful article! May Allah continue to fill your life with His blessings Gabrielle and continue to make you a role model for Muslim women <3

  • Mashallah…Congratulations!!!
    I know how difficult it is in the beginning but it gets much much easier with time.
    Its also fun….letting the world know that we dont give a hoot about how everybody expects a female to dress…..that nothing matters more than the pleasure of Allah SWT.

    Today the khateeb at the masjid mentioned that a Hijabi is silently doing the best kind of da’wah fi sabilillah….
    And a few weeks back at another khutba he said that a Hijabi in this society is a true MUJAHIDA….that almost made me cry…Subhanallah!

    May Allah guide you and all of us to the highest levels of Taqwa…..

  • You were my student in Pre-K and look at you now. I am extremely excited about your Islamic stance. It is a day to day process but remember when you take steps towards Allah, who created us all. He runs to you. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep striving.

    Make your future endeavors evolve around assisting the muslims and mankind in general. It should be your intention in whatever field you choose. Inshallah, Allah will make ease for you to achieve success in this life and the next. Love you for the pleasure of Allah.
    congrats for a job well done!

  • So, so proud of you my friend! I’m happy to know that words of encouragement still motivate people to make important decisions in their life. Hamdillah! When I put the scarf on again, I can’t tell you how my life has changed for the better. Allah (swt) presence feels a lot closer to me. I am very happy for you and your decision. Alhamdulillah Allah (swt) has answered my prayers of having a child and we’re expecting in February 🙂 always keep your head high and remember that He is watching over you and shining a light on you now. Inshallah you’ll inspire other woman to make the decision as well!

  • salam, may Allah SW reward you immensely. you seem very mature for your age. mA, just imagine all these ppl that are going to be motivated by your blog and you will get the reward if some of them starts wearing hijab or you will boost the confidence of the ones that are already wearing it. i am sure you make your parents proud.

  • I am not Islamic but have many Islamic friends and I was very touched by your story. I began wearing full covering swim wear myself, quite independently and by my own choice, some years ago. At first it is of course heavier than normal swimwear when wet, but it brings its own blessings. And you certainly don’t get burned when swimming outside like many of your friends will. 🙂 But what I think is most marvelous is that as a young woman you have made a strong decision for your future. You are wise enough to see that there will be some time needed to make certain changes, but your writing itself shows you are an intelligent, thoughtful person with excellent communication skills. From this position you have made a decision with no pressure, but with love in your heart and mind. No wonder your parents are so proud of you. May you be for ever blessed.. Inshallah!

  • Masha’a Allah..I can’t believe that you are 16..
    You’re family is lucky to have!
    You have made a great decision..I’m Proud to have a sister like you..
    But know that nothing is easy and remember that Allah is watching you and he is the merciful..!
    May allah make happy and bless you and your family!
    “you made my week ;-)”

  • AssalamuAlaikum Gabrielle!

    MashaAllah–you’re truly an inspiration! Your holistic approach to the Hijab is intelligent and refreshing. It’s great that you don’t limit the Hijab to a headscarf. By extending the idea of Hijab to every aspect of your dress, personality, decisions, and most importantly, your connection to Allah (exalted is He), you truly define what it means to be a Hijabi, Alhamdulillah! May Allah (exalted is He) reward you and always keep you on the path of those whom He has favored, Aameen!

    I pray that we all strive to look beautiful and act beautifully, not based upon society’s standards, but rather, based upon Allah’s (exalted is He) standards. May we all understand that we are here to please Him and no one else. And may we make every effort in our daily lives to be successful for His sake alone. Aameen!

    Sending lots of love, Duas, encouragement, and congrats your way. All the best to you InshaAllah on your journey to becoming closer to our most gracious, most merciful Allah (exalted is He).


  • Asa sis!
    This is great news mashaAllah! May Allah accept it from you, make you steadfast upon it and reward you multifold inshaAllah.
    Always keep your intention clear and hold on tight, because it may not be easy. Its not just the hijab, but everything that alhamdulillah comes along with it.
    May Allah make it easy for you and all the others striving for Him, ameen. And may you and your family always taste the sweetness of Imaan and the sweetness of this love of Allah :):)

    love you for the sake of Allah!!

  • I am new to islam. I took my shahada about a month ago. At first I wasn’t sure if I could commit to wearing a hijab all the time especially to work. I wasn’t concerned about what people would say or think. I just wansn’t sure if I was ready to take the step to cover. But Mashalla I did. It’s been 2 weeks now and I wear hijab every day. I don’t mind being covered I just still have to get used to the extra weight it brings. Everybody who I’ve came across has been very supportive of my conversion. I’ve actually been getting alot of complements on my modest attire. I feel better about myself because I’m doing this for Allah and I am still beautiful in my very own way.
    My question to all you guys would be about music. I am Puerto Rican and have a very strong heritage and culture. I don’t know much on the rules of listening to music?

    • Welcome to the club! MashAllah! In Islam, musical instruments are not allowed because 1) it imitates the nonbelievers 2) when ur praying and all is quiet, the song is stuck in your head and takes you away from prayer, in general it takes away from the remembrance of Allah. It also helps to research the topic and understand for yourself or ask an imam or scholars. I too have a strong cultural upbringing and it’s not easy to give up something that brings such pleasure and cultural connection. I still have not yet given it up completely but I’m trying and make intention to. If you need help with anything in ur journey with hijab and Islam, u can find me on twitter @gabbierd, or on Facebook (just search my name). I’d be happy to share with you how I deal with such situations.

  • Assalumu alaykm

    Sister. Mabrook.
    Am proud of u. This is a how a Muslim should b. make their choice n act accordingly. Responsible.
    May Allah make us all as He wants us to be. United we are. Let us grip more firmly to the rope of Allah Swt while following our Prophet saw.
    See u all in Jannah inshallah

  • Sister, its really nice to hear your experience : )

    “Not every reaction was pleasant and I had to deal with the reality that wearing hijab couldn’t be to please anyone, except Allah (swt)”

    This is where we all fail …!!!

  • Asalaam mu alaykum!! my name is djenabou im 15 but im planning to wear my hijab whan im 16 so i would like you to help me because i kind of have the same story to have so i would appreciate your help.
    thank you

    • Salaam. I’d love to help. You can find me on twitter (@gabbierd) or on Facebook (search Gabrielle Deonath). We can talk there and I can offer my help where its needed 🙂

  • It’s so nice Sister to have you n all those dedicated sisters who have chosen the path of serving Allah , at the same time set examples to our younger sisters that they too can strengthen their belief n determination to serve Allah , by showing that by empowering themselves in wearing of the Hijab,is only one of many Good to come in their young lives,not only is it a blessing from Allah,the Almighty, which is the utmost needed from Allah.. For UR community ,family , siblings n peers will b proud of you , u r empowering not only Muslims,but all young ppl of all walks of life , culture,n heritage .
    May ALLAH continue to shower his blessings to u n all of us ,INSHALLAH

  • Macha’Allah I really feel happy for you.
    But I don’t wear Hijab :'( .. I really want to but I feel that it’s so difficult and that I won’t be able to do that. I need help, sisters, please. May Allah bless you.

    • Assalaam o alaikum wr wb!

      May Allah accept your intention and make your way towards hijab easy for you! (Aameen)
      The following is a really good website for other motivational and informative posts on hijab in sha Allah:

      I hope it helps in sha Allah!

      Wassalaam o alaikum!

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