A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 2

8:45:00 AM

So, in (A piece of cloth on my head: My Hijab Journey 1), I wrote about my past and how I was like when I never thought that I will ever wear the hijab. Thereafter, I shared about my sudden determination to seek more religious knowledge.

I had always wanted to do law, to follow the footsteps of my father who also read law. Despite my wild and active lifestyle when I was younger, I always somehow managed to get good grades. All praises to the Ultimate Giver. I managed to score straight As for both UPSR and PMR. I expected to do well as well in my SPM exams. But somehow, my SPM results weren’t as good as I expected it to be, which really disappointed me at that time. I remember also that I was also helping my dad out a lot when he made a political stance that year, so we faced a lot of changes as a family at that time. My application to take up law foundation studies was even rejected initially, but I was offered an engineering course instead. It might also have to do with the fact that I was a science stream student. Heavy hearted, I accepted the engineering course. I applied to change courses immediately and after three months, I managed to transfer to the law foundation studies.  I managed to kill two birds with one stone. God’s plans are indeed the best for us.

It was compulsory to wear the hijab in the university compound and wear them to classes. In matriculation (foundation), there was a black and white dress code to attend classes. We had to wear a black baju kurung every single day with a different white tudung. For one year. And you wonder why some lawyers are boring. They brainwashed us well to accept black and white as our only attire. =p Monochrome all the way! There was no other choice.

What did I use to cover my head in the beginning? 
What kind of cloth did I put on my head?

Having no experience wearing tudung before, I started by wearing the tudung bawal (square shawl). I remember clearly at that time, no one wore any other types of tudung other than bawal, maybe except for foreigners especially the stylish and fashionable Bosnians. And at the time, probably Wardina Safiyyah was the only person who sort of wore a different kind of shawl covering her hair. She was deeply inspirational for me as I saw her transition at that time even though it was just through the media.

Incidentally, everyone had to stay on campus throughout matriculation and that was my first experience living away from home (even though it was barely 30 minutes from my home). It was exciting times for me! It was also an adjustment period for me to a different kind of lifestyle.

How did I adjust from never covering my hair at all to having to cover my hair everyday in class on a week day?

In the first few years of being in uni, I can honestly say that wearing the hijab always felt like a hassle to wear it. I would be annoyed when the front part of my tudung bawal kept crumpling as I had to fold it in. I felt that the tudung just did not suit my face and I was better off not wearing it. I would immediately take it off in the car as soon as I was out of the guardhouse exit. So when I went home and when I went out with friends I didn’t wear the tudung. It really was just a cloth I couldn’t wait to get rid of when I could.

However, I also remember that after a few months of being in matriculation, when some friends invited me to go out, I didn’t really feel like going out anymore. Even when I did, I went out without the tudung as usual but I starting feeling a little uncomfortable without it because without me realizing it, I think I had gotten used to it. Something that was so alien to me, something that was such a nuisance and troubling attire to wear had started becoming a familiar part of me. Looking at my old pictures, I didn’t wear it very well. It looked awkward and weird! There were no tutorials going around at that time. (Ladies are so lucky nowadays with the number of tutorials online!) The hijab became something that I started feeling very odd without. But it still didn’t push me to wear the hijab fully, although I started to feel a little weird when I wasn’t wearing it.

This was after wearing the tudung in campus for a few months and living a different kind of lifestyle as well as meeting new people from different parts of the country, even more so when I went to the main campus. It was more open over there. I also met a lot international students. It opened my mind and slowly changed my perspective on people wearing the scarf.

In my next post, I will share about the people who inspired me in their own ways to wear the hijab who I will be forever thankful for and how I finally decided to wear the hijab.

To be continued…

(Photos below are all from when I just started to wear the scarf on my head, some time in 2007 and 2008)


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  1. Kakak, you are an alumnae of uiam, aren't u?