I've been wearing hijab for a few months now, and there has definitely been reactions to the change.
Good and bad. More bad than good, as I expected. But I have to say some I didn't expect at all, or rather some reactions I didn't expect from some people. Read RELATIVES. Here are some comments I've heard for the past few weeks...
'What's that thing on your head?' [while grincing]
'What's this? So you're a mujahada now?' [with fear in the eyes]
'So you cover now? You know you won't be able to wear make up anyone, don't you?'
'Do you want to look old?'
'Were you forced to wear it?'
'[Relative] What kind of new trend is this?
[Me] This I call the Islamic trend [with a smile]
[Me] Where is so-and-so? I just saw him, he didn't come to say hi
[Relative] Well, he probably didn't recognize you with this thing on your head' [laughs heartily]
Apart from being plain rude and mean, I find these comments troubling. What irks me is that my relatives are all Muslims. My parents are from Mauritania (Islamic Republic of), I grew up in a Muslim environment, yet people don't like seeing one of them covering her head.
What's the matter? Isn't hijab a command from Allah (SWT)? Weren't these people exposed to West African hijabis?
I find it sad that people neglect this aspect of the deen, to the point that they would even feel hostily towards hijabis. Islam isn't just praying 5 times a day, fasting, etc., it's also in the attire. Overlooking the hijab issue is one thing, pretending it's not part of the deen or that it's extremism or backward is plain wrong.
I know there are about 1.3 billion Muslims in the world, living in different areas and with different cultures. As a result, there are cultural forms of hijab. So who cares whether I wear an actual scarf rather than a boubou with misoor, as long as my awra (nakedness) is covered?
I'm not attacking non-hijabis. I just feel that whether you decide to cover or not, people shouldn't judge, mock or making rude and shallow statements.
This post is not an outburst of hate against West African Muslims. I was born and raised in this community, hence love it dearly. Neither am I trying to make sweeping generalizations about them. Just like the Umma, West African Muslims are a diverse people, among whom you can find various denominations and mindsets. I'm just discussing my personal experience with some of my relatives.
May Allah (SWT) give us strenght and guide us on the right path.