The Girl In The Dark Grey Hijab

I was minding my own business in class. The instructor was droning on about the upcoming test and the rules for the start of class and SHE walked in.
My heart fell out of my chest, melted off the desk and pooled around my feet and I am fairly certain I stared at her like an idiot.
Before you, dear reader, have an idea about what this story will be I need to explain something: She was the only girl, in class, in ‘drab hijab’, and yet she stood out like a star shining over the rest. The best. How was it possible that someone who was doing so little to attract male attention suddenly had all of mine?
I was instantly in love.
At this point you could have paraded every Miss Universe, in the world, before my eyes, and they would have looked like peasants standing next to the girl in the dark grey hijab.
I did everything I could to get her to talk to me and she would not talk. I finally got her to talk to me…it wasn’t that simple. She was not the kind of girl you could offer a ride home from school on your motor bike. She was not the kind of girl who would chit chat for no reason. I had to think of something…ANYTHING…
…Allah…yes Allah.
Finally I messaged her at Facebook and she answered. If happiness had wings it would have been soaring over the Himalayas at that point. I learned her name. I learned she was like an aulemna about Islam. We had wonderful conversations about Islam.
Her name meant ‘honey bee’.
Something deep inside was saying, “No No please don’t do this.” But I had to do it. People think someone like me is religion only. They think of me as some Taliban guy who has no sense of humour and no heart. I am nothing like that. I love Allah. I laugh I cry I feel…
…more than anyone might imagine I feel. I had to talk to her. She was like a living hadith. When I talked to her, I felt as though I had found the missing half of my deen. I made a mistake then: I told a close friend.
He was so awesome! He treated me as an equal! That is not always easy to find among those of us who are true believers! Many men are just looking for a ‘holy cow’ to have babies and cook and when one admires me for my mind…
…it hurts to remember how awesome that feels.
I wish I never knew. He and I do not come from the same land or the same background. My parents would never agree even if his parents did agree. He does not understand. They have already chosen someone for me. All of the hours and days I have spent enjoying someone’s company so much and I can never be what he wishes: his wife.
A mutual friend told me how he feels and this destroys everything. Everything we talked about was not because of my mind but because of his love for me…
…a love he is not supposed to feel…a love I cannot ever reciprocate and now he has put me in a position I hate: I am going to have to hurt someone I have come to love for the sake of both of our deen.
There it is: the text from him on my phone. Ya Allah help me to be strong.
“I cannot talk to you anymore.”
“Because these talks have been haram.”
“Please don’t be angry with me!”
“Why did you do this to me? Why did you do this to us!”
“I love you and I want to…”
“NO! No you can’t even say it and I won’t listen!”
I have to be like stone even while tears are running down my cheeks! How could he do this to me? More than even this…
…how could I have let him. There is a proverb I told him before I decided to never speak to him again.
“Bolted windows with the door ajar…”
He was there. Hurt. I knew he was. Hurt and ashamed. If we had never spoken a word this would have never come to be and we should never have done this but we did and now I had to do this for both of our sakes. I had to spare him for the sake of love.
You see…
…true love is sometimes walking away forever. Sometimes true love does not stay to hurt another soul it can never be with for eternity. He did not know how much I cried the day I cut him off from my life. He believes I hate him.
It is better this way.
(image by


One of the standard, accepted ideas in the west is the one that says the hijab is required only if you are married or if you are going to the mosque. Other than that most western muslima do not wear one nor do they consider wearing one or not wearing one and act of rebellion. One of the first things I learned was from a Lebanese woman who owned a restaurant in the city. She challenged me to read the Quran and find where it specifically said you must ‘cover’ NO MATTER WHAT!

There are things in the hadiths that outline this but they are not in the Quran. It IS clear about married women and about being in a mosque. People do nit-pick over translations but, by and large, unless you marry or you are in a mosque it is considered acceptable to simply be modestly dressed. That means your knees and elbows are covered. I think the salwaar-kameez is beautiful and forgiving of flaws and that is acceptable to me as is a long sleeved maxi-dress.

There are woman who are not married who wear the hijab as a statement. Often they are singled out for ‘special attention’ in public buildings. I know this because I used to wear one, in the beginning, quite often and I took quite a bit of flack for it. I was searched at a major airport for wearing that, (among other things).

The last time I was in college I used to see girls with exceptionally tight clothes and huge boots wearing a hijab. I was watching a video of a western sister who tosses out all the arguments about ‘you are not a real hijabi if you wear make-up and high heels’ and she chooses to wear one with make-up and high heels and thinks hijabs are cute. (Some of them ARE cute!)

But she is uniquely SINCERE in her desire to be a true muslima so how can we judge her intent? We are not supposed to judge people because each of our journeys is only our own and no one elses. It would be easy to call her out for hypocrisy but then we are all hypocrites to some degree…in the strictest interpretation of Sharia none of us should be here being ‘muharram’ with the opposite gender but we all are being that way and Facebook is huge.

I am not married. If I do not wear a hijab I do not see myself as breaking any law. Like one of my cyber kids said, “Don’t worry aunty you are too old to make anyone sin.”

Actually, when I wear one of those I often feel quite vain because they hide the falling neck and they are awesome for ‘bad hair days’. Are those valid reasons to wear a hijab?

If we all get VERY VERY real with ourselves and the world around us it becomes clear that none of us has the right to say that I am more modest because you cannot see the shape of my body when I leave the house as opposed to another in more modest because she wears a hijab and you can see she has a shape with the jeans and the high heels. This is the WEST! You are doing an AWESOME job if you can keep your daughters away from shorts shorts and bikinis!