For all the right reasons

Do you ever wonder if you are doing something for the right reason? Sometimes it’s hard to say…especially when this decision will change your way of life forever!  You begin to ask yourself questions like:

“Am I doing this to blend in/ be different?”
” I like this now, but will I like it 5yr from now?”
“Am I just caught up in the rush of it?  Do I really feel this way?”
“I don’t care what others think,  but will I stick by this life choice if the going gets tough?”

Both marriage and moving to Turkey were easier decision to make than this one. What I’m talking about is converting to Islam and wearing the hijab.

Yes yes yes, I know what you’re thinking. You probably know (or are) a muslim who doesn’t wear hijab. No one can force me to wear it, I don’t have to wear it if I don’t want to. I suppose this is partially true. No one can force me, and that is a fact. But I feel like, if I am going to claim a religion that I wasn’t raised in, I must do everything that entails.

I really do like hijab. I think it is beautiful and comfortable. However, I began “trying it on” in the winter. Recently the high temperature here have reached 80F and I longed to feel the warm sun on my arms and neck. I have no problem covering my hair, I have been doing that for years (not daily, but several times a week with scarves given to me when I was in Turkey). What makes it difficult is covering my neck and wrists. I greatly admire the muslimahs that wear hijab as a sign of devotion.

But even with this issue, I cannot deny my draw to Islam. This has been a change I’ve been struggling with and contemplating since our return from Turkey in 2011. I have been looking deeply into the practices and beliefs of Islam, making sure that I am fully informed and agree with the aspects of Islam that many people may not know, even trying to reconcile the truth with the questionable practices we in the US associate with the Middle East. The more I read, the more I understand and love the faith. I’ve been told that it is better to accept the faith, take my shahada, and then try and adjust myself to the requirements and expectations. For instance, I haven’t eaten pork in 4 years (I never was a fan), but not drinking on occasion is a feat I still am trying to complete. Not touching men…well, I find refusing a business hand shake incredibly rude, so that one may never come to fruition completely in the US. But no one is perfect! Even the completely veiled hijabis have faults. It’s part of the faith to struggle with ourselves (inner jihad).

If my heart knows that Islam is the true and right way, why am I holding back? Changes…they’re hard. And I continue to circle back to my original questions. Is this really how I feel? Or am I caught up in the rush of a new concept to adapt to, and a group to which I can belong?

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