The news of my admission into the University was received with joy by all members of my family. They were all so pleased with me for making the dreaded JAMB examination in one seating and being fortunate to gain admission to study a choice course in the university of my dream. For me, it was not just an opportunity to further my education; it was the chance I had to see the larger world where people were free to make their choices. Even though I attended a boarding school for my secondary education, I relished the thought of living outside my home without the close supervision of school authorities! Even the fact that my sisters and I would be sharing the same apartment was not enough to dampen my excitement; I intended to enjoy life to the fullest. " As the semester commenced and lectures began, I started meeting all kinds of people; young, old, Muslims and non-Muslims among others.
I also began to see a new kind of dressing; some [Muslim] sisters wore Hijabs all the time. Though I observed Salaat regularly and knew that women should always cover up their heads and bodies properly during Salaat, I could not understand why they should go about all the time dressed like that especially when the weather was very hot. I began to see them as going too far with this Islam thing after all, "ones heart was the most important reflection of righteousness!" Out of curiosity, I began to move closer to some Hijab sisters as we called them. I would ask them if they were feeling uncomfortable dressed the way they did. They would smile and say they were happy to do anything for the sake of Allaah. I really was puzzled at their attitude. Did they have to go all the way? I learnt more about the Hijab from various lectures that I attended at the Masjid and began to understand that it was a command from Aliaah to all believing women.
All the same, I could not imagine myself dressing that way. It would mean giving up too many things! For one, I was a tom-boy and felt more comfortable in trousers and shorts; I did not want to think about having to go about in skirts and gowns all the time. Second was the issue of my friends; they were mostly non-Muslims and I could not bear to think of their reaction if I started wearing the Hijab, they would probably laugh at me and begin to keep their distance. I did not want to lose my friends. There was also the thought of getting a job after my studies. I had begun to hear of the serious discrimination that ladies in Hijab faced when they went for job interviews.
I also heard of so many sisters who tried without luck to secure jobs until they eventually gave up and sought alternative sources of livelihood. I did not want to end up like them after so much money invested by my parents and the time and energy spent on my part in my education. Most importantly, I wondered, which really nice and handsome guy would want to marry me if I dressed up that way? All the nice guys would rather marry pretty, smartly dressed ladies who had nice jobs as part of the package! Now that one I did not want to compromise!
This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited