You are probably thinking, 'how did this happen?' and 'how do you do this without your mother finding out?' Well, let me embark you through the journey of how I came from not observing proper hijab to being fully covered, allowing me to gain the pleasure of my Lord.
When I first reverted, I feared that by wearing hijab in public, I would be recognised by people that would as a result tell my mother that they saw me dressed as a Muslim and then I would be dead meat, so to speak. Also, because I go to a school sixth form, it is linked to my old secondary school, where some family acquaintances attend, and news could potentially be fed back to my mother. These factors put me off wearing hijab. And so I would just bring in a scarf to put on when I needed to pray at school. But that was about it. After a while, I started bringing in an abaya to pray in as I felt my normal clothing 'revealed my bodyshape'.
At one point, when I went out, if it was a suitable distance away from my area, I would find a masjid and then use their toilets to change into headscarf and abaya, and then I would spend the rest of the day dressed Islamically, so to speak.
Months passed, and I discovered a method to sneak out of the house in abaya and headscarf. I would tuck my abaya into my trousers and then wear a coat on top - I call this 'half abaya'. The further away I got from my house, the more abaya I would take back out. And when I got a few roads down from my house, I would start putting on a headscarf. When I got home, I would tuck the abaya back into my trousers in the hallway and yank off the headscarf and put it into my bag before entering the living room.
It was World Book Day at one point, and we were given the option to come into school dressed as a character from our favourite book. I don't know why, but I suggested to my friends that we should come into school dressed as niqaabis, and when questioned, we planned to say that we are dressed as Mariam from 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini. So we went shopping for a niqaab, I remember trying a niqaab on for the first time. As I'm of Vietnamese descent, my eyes are quite 'Chinky' so to speak, (but not too much) and so my eyes could hardly be seen when I wore the niqaab. Even my friend's eyes went a bit weird, and she was Somali, so it wasn't just me. (I think that niqaab was a bit dodgy)
I eventually found a niqaab to wear for World Book Day, and came into sixth form with 'half abaya' and then went into the toilet to get dressed as a proper niqaabi. I remember not being able to breathe under the niqaab, as the material was quite thick, and I kept on having to flap my niqaab like a mad person. I had physics for my first lesson, and my class decided to make me stand in the middle of the classroom in niqaab, and when my teacher walked in, he would have the biggest fright of his life. That didn't work, but he asked me if this was a 'permanent thing', but I didn’t think much about wearing niqaab then, and so I shook my head. The day was full of people asking us questions about the niqaab, why we were wearing it and all those types of questions. One person called us ‘scary’ while we were walking up the stairs. I could feel people just standing and staring and whispering to one another as we walked past, but it really did not bother me, as I learnt that as long as my Lord is pleased with me, nothing else matters.
It was the day before we broke up for the Easter break, and it was a non-uniform day for the rest of the school, and so we decided to come in dressed as niqaabis again, as no one could really say anything to us as the whole school was not in uniform. That was when my friend said that she wanted to start wearing niqaab full time, and she told me that maybe I could start wearing niqaab as it may be a means of me observing hijab without being recognised by certain people. It was like Allah had provided me with a way to worship Him, and it was a way to perfect my imaan externally as well as internally. And so after that, I acted upon the advice and started wearing the niqaab whenever I went out. It was the 2nd day that I began to wear the niqaab that I went out and as I was walking, a person drove past and shouted out ‘NINJA!’ and 2 minutes after another person drove past and shouted ‘son of a b*tch!’. I just carried on walking.
Moving on, one day during the Easter holiday, a friend called me and told me to meet her in the library for revision. I was running late and because one of my abayas and headscarves were out, I didn’t have time to fold it up and so I just squeezed it into my drawer where I usually hide all of my abayas and ran out of the house. I came home later that day to find my abaya and headscarf all neatly folded up. I thought to myself, “either this is a helpful jinn, or my mother has found out.” I didn’t want to say anything that would blow my cover, and so I remained quiet about it until one day when I was tucking my abaya in and taking off my headscarf in the hallway before I entered the living room, when my mother said “you don’t have to do that, you can wear whatever you want, as long as you’re not naked..” I was so surprised, and so I asked her again to confirm what I had just heard. From then on, I now leave the house with ‘full abaya’ but without a headscarf or niqaab on, as that is just pushing the limits. And so I put them on in the hallway before I leave the house. It’s like Allah has placed a veil before my mother’s eyes, as she just thinks that it’s some funky piece of clothing without realising that it’s Islamic. Alhamdulillah for this great blessing.
So that is my story of how Allah has given me the ability to observe proper hijaab, solely for His sake. And I hope that this was somewhat beneficial to you.
Basically, because I wear hijab and niqaab to sixth form, initally, there wasn't that much of an issue with my friend and I wearing it, but subhanallah, one of my chemistry teachers, who is an Arab and is Muslim herself, told us to take it off in her lesson, as she 'wanted to see our faces' and another teacher requested that we have a note to wear the niqaab in her lesson. The next day, we went to the head of sixth form to ask for a note, and she asked us why we decided to wear niqaab. She then told my friend to leave the room and asked me about my conversion and stuff and how my family have a right to know about my Islam because I am still a child and that I'm still under their care so to speak, and that she'll call my mother in for a meeting and tell her about my Islam then. So that day caused me a lot of panic. I sent out a message to people requesting them to make du'a for me, and at one point, the information finally sunk in and as I was talking to a friend, we cried together over the phone. But in the end, I said to myself, 'if Allah brings me to it, He'll bring me through it'. So in sha Allah, whatever happens, happens for the best.
May Allah continue to bless us and grant us all hidayyah, ameen.