Why do you even bother wearing the hijab? …they said.
I bet they didn’t dress like that when you were at Hajj ...she sent.
AWRA is such a ridiculous name, me & my friends couldn’t stop laughing …she typed.
Is that even hijab? …they say.
WE SAY - KEEP GOING.
For those of you that know from our previous blogs posts, my name is Nurjan and I’m the founder and director here at AWRA. I wanted to write this blog post personally due to recent messages sent to us on social media regarding our hijab styling.
Now, I’m a grown 31 year-old woman so I can honestly say maturity has reared its wonderful head and I am rarely bothered by negative messages sent to us by negative people. Most of the time, I’m too tired to give it any brain space. My brain is already like a disco-tech of thoughts, jam packed with my daily life and things I want to do but the reality is… they exist.
Rude? Absolutely. Unnecessary? Yes. Hurtful? They give it their best shot.
I’m open to receiving feedback and constructive criticism, of course, what sort of brand/business would we be if I encouraged my team to cut off all interaction or customer service. When you run a business, you learn to take the good with the bad, the ups and the downs.
However, what personally saddens me is the lack of basic manners amongst Muslim sisters towards other Muslim sisters, in this case, regarding the hijab.
Yes, there is correct hijab and incorrect hijab – please kindly send forward a sister who doesn’t know the difference and I’ll eat my own hijab. There is no debate here.
There’s perfection and to balance this, there is imperfection – we’re somewhere in between, constantly battling our Nafs like the warriors we are, trying to reach our god given framework of perfection.
Due to our imperfect nature, this is somewhat impossible but our reward lies within our struggle and our efforts. There’s a beauty in this.
It’s personal for each one of us. Our paths are different and that is OK. Don’t ever let anyone shame you in this world.
They have no place and no right to. They are creation just like you and me. We must never shame one another, it’s just wrong on so many levels.
Allah has given each one of us our own personalities, skill sets and understanding of the world around us and as a result, we are all different. How miserable and boring would it be if we were all the same?
My point being, due to our differences, our individual struggles and tests will differ from the next person, as they are specially catered to our individual differences. So if Allah has given a person the ability of ease in wearing hijab, then we must recognise this as a gift and reach out to those that find it difficult in humility, understanding that our strengths and capabilities are gifts from above.
Sometimes, there are Muslims who gain knowledge, and this is without a doubt a wonderful blessed thing. A gift from Allah SWT. And sometimes, the gifts Allah gives his slaves can be abused and misused, resulting in self-righteousness and arrogance – all part of the test. How do we use the gifts and blessings Allah has given us? Just a thought.
We all have fluttering thoughts of judgment from time to time, it’s human nature and it’s all part of the human experience, but it’s what is done with those thoughts that matter. Calling people out on matters of deen that you may find easy, is simply unkind and unpleasant to say the least, unless done with sincere concern and manners.
I launched AWRA in 2012 as a small business to fund my Art career, I had no idea I would be where I am today with the company Alhamdulilah. I just knew I wanted to do things properly.
Since 2012, the team has received many emails from customers and revert sisters who have started to wear the hijab permanently because they came across our styling and our range of hijabs. They were grateful for the inspiration we provided, as they felt they could still fit in amongst western society, whilst still being true to our Islamic dress code as Muslim women. They no longer felt out of place and finally found a comfort and confidence in wearing our designs.
The thing is, we are bombarded with images of air brushed women, skinny women, perfect women, sculpted women, where the majority of these women have had plastic surgery but we are still sold a fake image of beauty. For some sisters, it becomes overwhelming and it affects them, making the hijab a real struggle for them on a daily basis. It’s a reality.
My vision with AWRA, is to include all sisters.
Sisters who wear hijab with ease.
Sisters who struggle.
Sisters who are in two minds about removing the hijab.
Sisters who want to wear the hijab.
Sisters who have removed their hijab.
Sisters who don’t wear hijab but dress modestly.
What if we just styled the hijab just one way, would we have inspired others who have reached out to us, explaining how they have decided to wear the hijab permanently?
Revert sisters who reach out to us with joy, explaining how our brand has made their transition to Islam easier for them, as they were struggling with the hijab and how to wear it.
Even sisters who are contemplating wearing the hijab just because they want to look like our models?
Is this all not one step closer to where we need to be?
Do negative people only see one version of what and who is considered to be a Muslim woman? Is this fair or realistic?
People who comment negatively don’t see all of this, all of the positive that has come from our brand, because this all happens behind the scenes with AWRA.
"Islam isn’t for the most pious only and the day I think like that is the day I close the doors on AWRA."
Islam is for everyone. I work hard to include all sisters, at every stage of imaan, who am I to judge? I have my own flaws I’m focused on improving. I don’t see the negative, I see the positive. What are we doing to help one another? A sister might not have her hijab properly but is she trying? Are we stopping to see her efforts? Why do we judge so quickly? Why are we shaming her instead of helping her? Where’s the compassion and love for one another gone? These are serious questions I often ask myself.
As for the styling, I decided to leave the hijab loose on the model, as we are an online store only. I want customers to shop with ease, and to me, leaving the hijab loose would show exactly how large it was, how the fabric fell and how transparent the fabric was. That’s why the models neck is showing. How the customer chooses to wear the hijab, is completely up to them. Our job is to show you how versatile our products can be, appealing to all sisters, not just one group. We have customers from all walks of life, all different careers and from different ends of the world. The aim is to not misguide but to demonstrate the nature of the hijabs we sell and their fabric qualities.
“Those who judge will never understand, and those who understand will never judge.”
Our Social media will continue to be a safe place for our customers and followers to interact and reach out to us. I want to build a community for AWRA, it’s not just a website, or a social media page and it’s not just about building a brand that takes money. It’s so much more than that for me. I’m passionate about my vision for AWRA and I work day and night to ensure I give it my best shot at making it a reality for you all. I will fight for what I believe in.
If you struggle with hijab and you want to reach out to us, don’t be afraid, we are here for you. We’re sisters, not just a business. We’re in this journey back to Allah together.
I think there’s a real wisdom in everything that happens to us in life, there’s a lesson that needs to be learnt in order for you to move on to the next faze in your life, or the next test rather. It’s a tough journey to Jannah, no one ever said it was going to be easy. When you look back on your life so far, do you see how Allah’s plan was perfect for you the whole time? The stress, anxiety and sleepless nights we went through due to our limited knowledge but trust him. Allah is your guide.
Embrace the journey, always reflect, learn the lesson, grow from it and most importantly… keep going.
Lots of love,
Your sister Nurjan X
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You can also read our blog: AWRA UNCOVERED: WHY WE WILL ALWAYS BE OPEN WITH YOU