“Make things easy for the people, and do not make it difficult for them, and make them calm (with glad tidings) and do not repulse (them).” (Sahih Bukhari)
Who would have thought that the infamous religous police of Saudi Arabia, the Mutawas (Islamic religious police) would have made their way into the United States! Instead of long unruly beards and white thobes (I’m not judging, I swear), they have come in the form of Muslim facebook “friends”.
So, I have been struggling in wearing hijab while in Miami for many reasons. For one, my parents simply don’t like it. I already told them I am a practicing Muslim and that went incredibly well. My mom actually said she has only seen positive changes in my character since becoming Muslim, so she couldn’t object. On the same token, she asked that I don’t wear hijab around the family because they are simply not accustomed to it. I thought this was a fair deal considering that I am not 100% committed to hijab. I have been trying, but I strongly believe in taking small steps when making big changes. God knows I yearn for the moment I will be fully committed, but that moment is simply still in the works.
Back to the tale. So, yesterday was my birthday and I went to dinner with my family. I had the most amazing time and took absolutely gorgeous photos with them. The pics, naturally, were without hijab. So, I (unapologetically) posted my photos onto facebook. A few minutes later, I receive a message from a brother (Let’s call him Fred) saying, “Advice from a friend: I wouldn’t put pictures of urself w/o hijab on facebook.” I don’t even know this guy. Fred is a Muslim who became Christian and later reverted again to Islam. Alhamdullilah! Fred came back stronger than ever, but from the few conversations I’ve had with him, I got the sense that he’s on a mission to prove himself good (not to Allah, but to the community who saw him leave Islam for a few years). I know the feeling of wanting to make up for loss time, but seriously. Don’t get into others’ personal spiritual affairs.
I received a second message that said, “As a muslimah who has put on hijab, for Allah and Allah only, it should remain on. The reason for wearing it is because it is a commandment from Allah, not for others. When u post pics up revealing urself w/o hijab, it takes awayfrom the reason Allah has commanded for it. I know ur situation is tough and I see why u wouldn’t wear one at home, but I advise u not to put it up to where the world can see@”. I am not saying he is wrong. In fact, Fred is totally right. All our struggles are for Allah alone. And if hijab isn’t in my heart at this time, why would it be for Fred?
Why did Fred feel a duty to search facebook for Islamic incongruities? Does he really believe that I am so dense in the head that I posted non-hijab pictures by “mistake”? Hell, what would he even know about my struggles?! As a fairly new Muslim, I really value advice from friends, but not chiding from strangers. If we all go through spiritual struggles, doesn’t it make more sense to work out our own problems before becoming missionaries? If I didn’t have strong faith on the purity and truth in Islam, I swear that the self-righteous attitude that hoovers over my Islamic community would have driven me away by now (as it has done to many reverts who simply don’t want to put up with the social scrutiny).