Below is an email I recieved from a sister struggling with Hijab living in the west. She has asked me to post this on my social networking pages such as Twitter (@Zahraalawi) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/zalalawi) to spread awareness on the struggles some sisters face. Do you think our communities are doing enough to support and aid sisters struggling with Hijab? What leads sisters to feeling conscious of their apparance in Hijab? Ive copied and pasted the email below.
With Salaams and Duas
Dear Zahra Al-Alawi
I have thought long and hard about sending you this message and only until yesterday i decided to sit down and write you this letter after i saw that you will be lecturing at Aston university on the topic of hajab and seeing the girls letter you posted who got attacked in Canada for her hajab. You may ask why im writing this letter to you? The reason im writing this letter to you is because i have seen your lectures and tv shows on hajab and i have seen the large followship you have on facebook and twitter and i want to get this letter out to as many people as possible. I have no way of portraying my feelings and emotions and this seems like the perfect way to do this. All i want from you Zahra is to post this on your twitter and facebook page, I want people to know what im going threw and to know there are many other girls who are going threw the same. I dont know what the answer is but i just want people to know. I hope you find the time to read this letter and post it as i have messaged you before and have received no reply.
To whoever is reading this and to the general public. I am a girl living in London struggling with hajab, and recently i entered a illegitimate relationship with a guy which i have no idea where it will lead to. My reputation is ruined to the extent that i dont know if i will ever get married. My confidence and self esteem is so low that makeup, fashionable clothes, attention from men and being loud and bubbly is the only way to hide the hurt i am feeling inside. I am one of hundreds of girls who are currently struggling with hajab in London. I am about to tell you how i reached this stage in the hope that someone will find a solution to prevent other girls in falling in this pit hole which im currently in. It started when I was 16 and has carried on to this day, i constantly felt that i was in competition with other girls. I didnt feel attractive in my hajab and was jealous of the other girls who were receiving attention from the boys at school. In desperation i started wearing makeup, wore revealing clothing to show off my figure, began to diet and began to act like the other girls. I even started smoking just so i got more attention. Unknowingly this led me to get negative attention and the attention from men which will lead to my reputation getting ruined. My parents noticed the change in me and tried so hard to change me, but i constantly felt pressured and misunderstood. Suddenly all the “religious” girls started abandoning me and looking down on me. I started to rebel even more as i already felt like a outcast. Thats when i started entering relationships with guys (to feel the love and attention which my parents and the community were neglecting me on). Alot of things have happened in the past years which have outcasted me more. Now it seems all the shoes, handbags, makeup and nice clothes is all which makes me feel worthy or satisfied. I know what i am doing is incorrect but its the lack of confidence which leads me to this. I just want everyone to know “we” girls are not bad, and if the community look away from us we will fall into more sin in desperation. We need positive motivation and advice without feeling pressured or feeling lower than the rest. We need to be welcomed into the community and made feel apart of it. I have watched your shows on Ahlulbayt TV and the other shows and it has helped my confidence alot. I see you and others so happy and confident in hajab and think to myself why cant i be that happy and confident in mine. I dont think i knew why i wore a hajab until recently. I want to change my life round and i too want to get married and be respected rather than classed as one of the “bad girls”. I wish the community does something to change this because i can tell you there are so many girls and boys in illegitimate relationships and are falling into a sinful trap without having any support or guidance. It has taken alot of courage to write this message without revealing too much of my life to expose my identity. I just wanted to share my feelings in hope that more help and support will be given from our communities or something is organised to help us feel confident in our hajab without the c–p we hide behind.