Sister Khadija T.

Hijab 🧕🏼 Journey

My journey is ordinary but a reflection of how Allah winds our paths with determination, inspiration and circumstance. 2002. I was in the 11th grade, just found a new part time job at Harts and doning “The Rachel” mane. Fashion forward and incredibly narcissistic, I was living for HSC and Year 12 formal- such is the life of a 16 year old. By and by, on a Saturday, my very popular and drop dead gorgeous cousin Rena now known as The Turban Queen walked into my mother’s overcrowded house in a hijab! 16 and covered! At that moment, I looked at her in complete awe. “If she could do it, well, it would be easy for me too.” I still remember the metallic blue and silver square hijab, the sports girl long skirt and country road cotton top she wore. She made it look easy. I went straight to my humble mum and said, “next year in Ramadan I’m putting hijab on.” I don’t think she believed me.  My dad said, $500 for you if you do it.” Deal was sealed.

After everyone left, I opened my wardrobe. 3/4 skirts and tops... nothing long. After all, only daggy Noni B sold long skirts... and Some women sold new scarves and “bonds” because they went Cabramatta and did it themselves. Or maybe I could go to La Bonita in Lakemba? was I seriously going to do this? Shaitan decides to pay me a visit every night with whispers, “no one will look at you". What about the formal, hello! You’ll look

So daggy. You can’t get a job. Hijab is for old people. These whispers haunted me for 10 months. I slowly built up my hijab clothes- mostly cheesecloth bohemian skirts and shirts, the odd Mr K skirts and pants with overlay. 2004. Ramadan came. It was do or die. The day before I had hair done and walked around Bankstown enjoying the attention with my locks swooshing down my back. When I walked on my break that first time in hijab, I felt invisible. Invisible to society- but so alive. I was me. All me. I was studying Martin Luther King’s speech, “I have a dream”.

I have a dream my children will not be judged for their colour but for The content of their character.” Content of their character. That’s been my mantra since. And what a liberating one. The bells of freedom from within, granted to the believing woman. Alhamdulilah

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