I come from a "not too conscious" Muslim family. My family can be said to be the "what's up" type, my parents are not left out. You could hardly find such things as Qur'an recitation tape or an Islamic lecture in my home.

I grew up as the only girl in my home, I was surrounded mostly by guys, I have a brother and had three other uncles around. This setup had much influence in the water I behaved. I did lots of "boyish" things with them, we listened to music together, saw those mad WWW wrestling together, played video games together, just mention those " boyish" things and I will tell you my story on it.

Unlike most girls, skirts and gowns wasn't my thing, I preferred trousers. I didn't really see anything bad in rocking the world in trousers and there was even no one to complain about that. My parents were totally cool with it, my dad got most, if not all of my clothes for me. If my parents are cool with it, so who is the "Amebo" that wants to complain.

The challenge

During my days in secondary school, I had some friends who used the hijab at home and I really admired them for this. I didn't know why I admired them so much for this, though I never had the intention of using it.

Then the big occasion came. I was in SS3, precisely first term. I got into some sort of challenge with my friends, I told them I would cover my hair throughout the break and they dared me. Somehow I agreed to their challenge, I told them bluntly, I was going to do it. Seeing my reaction, they were all like "you ke, it's a lie", "you that like shakara". I was really scared of losing the challenge but I was scared more of really using the hijab. I sincerely wanted to know how it felt to be covered, though I also wanted my friends to get something straight into their skulls "I ain't a promise breaker".

Fortunately for me that holiday was a marvelous one, I spent most of it out of Nigeria. Before I left, I had already started using simple caps. When I was out, even when I was tempted to remove my head warmer, the winter just wouldn't let me be. Somehow, I was happy about it, I was happy it was winter because I would have stopped wearing the caps and head warmers if it wasn't for the cold, but the challenge was still on. So, I was getting two benefits, getting warm and keeping my words.

I finally had to return to Nigeria after two weeks, it was few days to resumption of second term and I was determined to keep my hair covered. I was like after all I didn't expose my hair all these days, why should I do it now, since I had a couple of days to resumption, I needed to show my friends what a woman of her words looked like. Though hijab wasn't allowed in my school, so I could not further the challenge to school days but still, I covered my hair throughout that holiday (my first time ever) till resumption day.

I was so happy when I returned to school, my friends found it hard to believe but......they had no choice, they had to believe me anyway. I have always rowed with the good gangs and they knew I wouldn't lie over such important stuff.

That was the beginning for me after then I was ready to stick the hijab to my head, I wanted to be identified as a a Muslim. Anytime I was getting pessimistic about using the hijab, i had some few words i mumbled to myself, "you started this, so you can't stop now", "the hijab stayed on your head during that holiday, so will it now". These were my power ups when I became discouraged of using the hijab.

Journey away from home

Towards my resumption to OAU Pre-Degree, I got some scarfs, I would put it over my head, not by tying. When I got to PD I learnt to tie it to the shape of a mini hijab. This PD period was my first real exposure to "Islam" in a way. I knew close to nothing about Islam before Pre-Degree. At pre-degree I learnt much about my deen and it was amazing, interesting, fascinating, it was just so nice. I just wanted to know more, all the things I never had the opportunity of learning. Some were strange at first,  though I never bluntly condemned or opposed them. I believed I didn't know and I was ready to learn. Truly, they were hard to accept at first but later I found these things easier and easier to accept.

When I attended the darul hikmah classes organized for us, that was when I had my first exposure to jilbab from sisters on campus. I loved the way they downed the jilbab. How it drapes and flows on them, it was always amazing, I could barely take my eyes off them. I always secretly wished I was like them. Still I never summoned the courage to be like them.

During the PD I acquired 3 skirts and a gown which were for Fridays only, trousers had the other days, though I made some attempt to be more modest by increasing the length of my tops.

Bold step

Towards the end of PD, I started mixing my pashminas with small hijabs, and this was as far as I could go till I resumed to campus. I started feeling  uncomfortable with my dresses, I started feeling naked with my skinny jeans. Most of my friends and the people I moved with wore the jilbab or something close. Sometimes I had to say bluntly to myself  "see your life", you are the only different one amongst them". I started feeling guilty, I couldn't continue living in denial any longer, I felt really bad that I was still going against Allah's commandment, despite knowing fully well what I had to do to make things right.

I began feeling very bad when I stepped out without being properly covered, I was just too close to my elastic limit. And just like that, Bam!!, I decided to make a swift change, I couldn't just take it any longer, I just wanted to be a good muslimah and with Allah's help I did it, I got the jilbab on.

I saved myself from guilt, I saved myself and the men from sins. So, I made the decision boldly, I got my first jilbaabs.  WalhamduliLlah when I started using it, I felt relieved, I was filled with joy. It was then I knew what freedom tasted like. I didn't have to worry so much about wrapping pashminas, No!!! My jilbab was there. I didn't have to start looking for pins to hold my hijab, No!!! My jilbab was available. Not that one would start looking shabby, Islam is against that.

Talkers talking

On my first day of using the jilbab, I was shy to go into my class but I shook it off quite well, i took the "kilo fe sele gan" stand and I was good as ever.

Some of my roommates in Moz started generating negative comments to discourage me but I gave them the *WOMAN reply*, instantly they generated padlocks to their mouths, I didn't give any room for their noise to find it's way to my heart.


Surely there has been challenges but mine has only made me stronger. People get to judge you so easily expecting you to be perfect. In a way, it shaped my behaviour better than it used to be before, because I knew I wasn't just representing myself, I was also representing Islam and I had to represent it well. I really had to learn patience. I realized one needed not to reply all comments. Some just want to bring out the human in you, then attach it to ISLAM. At times I just get surprised by the perfection the world want from us, we are human, we also make mistakes.

 The jilbab is a crown, when we walk with it, we walk with dignity and modesty. When we are outside, my voice is on the low-key. We don't have to be loud, hasty and jumpy before we command respect.

Putting on the hijab shouldn't make you feel any less feminine or inferior to other women. Never sink yourself in the delusion that you don't look good when you use the hijab, nah!, you are just too good, ordinary eyes aren't meant to see it.

Jewelries are for women and the sahabahs used it. So one should dress well and look good. Allah says in the glorious Qur'an “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze , and protect their private parts and not to show off their adornment except only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils all over their bosoms and not to reveal their adornment..."

Sufficient is it for us to be adorned and fashionable but not to feed it to the lustful eyes and those that are not permissible to see it. Besides the Muslim woman is similar to a pearl in a shell covered, preserved and cherished. The hijab will protect you from molestation and preying eyes.

Lastly, one's intention should be solely purified for Allah's sake. Because ar-riyah which is also a form of minor shrik does no good than make a person's deed waste in vain. So, what would it profit one to let her strivings and patience upon trials and trials end in shame.

May Allah make the deen and obedience to Him easy for us.

® Régne

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