This post is dedicated to World Hijab Day. I didn’t think I would write about this, but here you go.
I was born in Kashmir-Pakistan but came to Canada at a very young age, for some reason people automatically assume I was born in Canada. When I was in Pakistan, for a being a “Muslim country” I had little to no exposure to Islam. The only exposure I had was when my older brother would pray his daily prayer or when my older sister and mom would recite the Quran but I didn’t know why it was important or why they’re practicing it. Majority of Pakistan’s population is Muslim however, the country is more into practicing customs from their neighbour, India; rather than learning about their religion.
On May 27, 1997 we landed in Toronto, Canada; Alhumduillah 🙂 We didn’t stay in Toronto because where we were living the atmosphere was exactly like Pakistan and my dad didn’t want to raise us in such an environment. We moved to Vancouver that same summer in 1997, best decision for us siblings. When we moved to Vancouver, most of the city was filled with the Sikh community, I still believe we were the only Muslims there. I remember till this day, before going to bed, my dad used to tell my siblings and I Islamic stories. It used to be our favourite part of the day. We heard all the stories and we all began to grow love for one particular story, and I remember when my dad would say “story time” we would all scream a title of which story we would want our dad to tell. We began to love the stories so much and began learning about Islam properly for the first time. After living in Vancouver for a year we moved back to Toronto, but we knew how life works. We were well trained before coming back.
I started wearing the hijab at the age of 12 on and off, I really didn’t want to be committed to it but I knew that one day I wanted to be a hijabi. While I was a part-time hijabi, I remember going to public places and everyone would greet me and treat me with respect and I was only 12! I knew it was the hijab that made people treat me in such a manner. I began wearing the hijab full time when I turned 13. That was the best decision of my life, I was very happy with my life and I know my brother and dad were/are very proud of me.
During 9/11, I was 14 and everyone around the world was showing so much hatred towards Muslims; I remember all my Pakistani-Muslim friends freaked out with the attacks and took their hijabs off because they didn’t want to be labeled as “terrorist.” At this point in my life, I knew I had to do what I had to do, and that was to keep strong at my faith and keep my hijab on. I wasn’t afraid at all, I was still a proud Muslim. People would peer-preasure me to take it off and I would just ignore them. I honestly didn’t realise how strong I was until now that I’m thinking back.
I have one older sister and one younger sister and from all three sisters I’m the only one who wears the hijab. My sister’s dress very modest and I’m happy about that, I don’t think you need to put a hijab on to be recognized as a Muslim, dressing modest is more than enough. I know my little sister (who’s not so little anymore) is very proud of me, she admires me and I just want to be a good role model to her and my niece, and obviously be a good Muslimah.
I feel so blessed that growing up in a Sikh community, and a scared community, my family had such a strong faith and it’s all because of my dad. Our foundation was strong and that’s why we’re still going strong. Until this day, my parents don’t pressure any of us to pray or wear the hijab, they just remind us.
I cannot thank Allah for all the blessings in my life, my faith and my family is everything; Alhumduillah.
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Since this post is a collaboration for World Hijab Day, please check out other blogs from my fellow hijabi-bloggers across the globe for topics like this below (more to be added soon).
Thank you for reading.