Today I met an old friend I haven't seen in 3 years! Our lives are so busy and we live far from each other and it just hasn't been easy to meet up. But this week we both made a special effort.
The last time I spoke to her at length was about a year ago and she told me she had started wearing hijab, she sent me a picture and masha'Allah she looked so beautiful. I don't know what its like if you've always worn it, but for me I started wearing it a few years back after I converted to Islam and it really was a big deal for me. I used to pray to Allah (swt) to give me the strength to wear it, it was a very big deal for me. But I wanted to do it and had thought about it for a while. During the first few months of wearing it, it really affected me, even in my dreams.
In my dreams, no matter what the dream was about if I saw myself or became aware that I was not wearing hijab in my dream, it would suddenly wake me up in a panic because I'd feel upset that I wasn't wearing it in my dream. Silly I know. But it was so deeply embedded in my mind. Alhamdolilah, I love wearing hijab. I wear it with pride, May Allah (swt) continue to give me the courage and pride to wear it.
Anyway, my point is that I don't know what its like for those who have worn it from a young age, but I know what it was like for me when I started wearing it in my twenties.
Today when I met my friend, I found it surprising as I drew closer to her, I realized she wasn't wearing hijab. I was so happy to see her though and we hugged and sat down somewhere for coffee.
Soon after she told me herself that she had stopped wearing it because she "just couldn't do it". I know first hand how it can be but I felt sad that she didn't persist and only tried for a short time. I also didn't agree with what she was wearing because part of her outfit was see through and I could see flesh where I really shouldn't be able to. Now, I'm not judging her personally, that's not my job, but she's changed so much now that I'm finding it hard to understand her and I miss the friend I had and miss that I've lost someone I had so much in common with.
Her mum is very religious and so is her father. She had the best upbringing Islam-wise and best role models and examples, but somehow that hasn't rubbed off on her. I find her full of contradictions and although she's in her thirties and a mother, she doesn't seem to have it together with her religion.
It saddens me. She used to. It was the contradictions that saddened me more than the outfit.
I have a Hindu friend who I care about a lot and respect, but I always thought that this particular Muslim friend was someone I had more in common with, now it feels like they're about even.