Hijrah Story by: Anonymous Sister
I grew up as bubbly child. I had awesome neighbours who were my sissy’s and my playmates. Childhood was awesome but somehow I knew I was different from the others. I confused dreams and reality and created so many stories with my fingers characters. I loved drawing and daydreaming about how my future house would look like when I became an adult. I cry silently watching a Malay drama about the times during Japanese occupation. And I thought that God doesn’t understand the Malay language. so in my mind I made a conscious effort to speak in Malay so God wouldn’t know my secrets. My parents were busy working and had very little time with us at home. Sis and I were taken care of by my aunt who had blindness in both eyes. My parents back then weren’t practising Muslims. I vaguely remembered Mama on a prayer mat and reminding me not to walk in front of her. That was the only memory I had of Mama praying, when I was 5.
When I was 11, Mama sent siblings and I to ngaji (reciting the Qur’an with a teacher). Our teacher whom we called Makji asked us a question which I will never forget.. ‘dekat rumah ibu dengan ayah sembahyang tak?'(do your parents pray at home?). Makji liked to show us Indonesian dramas on Thursday nights after our ngaji session. They were stories about how bad people in this world would die gruesome deaths. That was probably my first time feeling fearful about death and afterlife. I really enjoyed my ngaji sessions, but somehow the year after we stopped going for classes. Life resumed at home with no prayers done and fasted occasionally during Ramadhan.
When I started primary school, I remembered feeling afraid of the other students because they were all too loud. I did not know why I abhorred being and talking with the others. I was very very selective with friends. I did not open up and express myself well when I’m outside of home. So I was being labelled as the “quiet shy girl”. I hated going to school.
At the tender age of 8, I played truancy. I would hide myself the whole school day in a toilet cubicle. During my teen years I badly wanted to feel loved by the opposite gender. I had many crushes and did stupid things to get their attention. I also hated my family then because we were always quarrelling at home. I got bullied when in secondary school for some time and that made my self esteem dropped even more. I was a shy kid and I hated that fact. I hated being shy. I hated reading remarks on report cards and seeing the word quiet. To me then my failure and inability to fit in with the rest of my peers made me cold and bitter. I hated seeing fine people say that they’re awkward because they think its cool but actually it’s not. It is a struggle to want to express yourself and at the same time, ever so cautiously and religiously building up walls around so high so as to let no one enters. I couldn’t wait to leave secondary school. I would countdown the days to my final days of school.
When I entered Polytechnic, I decided that I was tired of seeking acceptance from peers and guys. I didn’t want to fit in any more. And by Allah’s Grace and Mercy, I was introduced to the school’s Muslim society. I joined in the freshman orientation camp that they’ve organised and felt great in their company. Throughout my semesters I tried my best in attending talks or events that they’ve organised. I loved their company so much – that was all I know and with that, I learned to love the message that they brought along – our deen; Islam. I learned many things which I never knew and yet I still didn’t know how to pray or make wudhu. The only things that made me Muslim all these years were saying the prayer before eating, fasting during Ramadhan and reciting Surah al-Fatihah and al-Ikhlas before bed. So whenever they had jemaah (congregational) prayers, I would follow the actions of the person next to me. During Ramadhan we had ifthar as a group and even then when we prayed Terawih together, I would still follow the person next to me. I didn’t find it troublesome but I felt ashamed of myself. I wanted to know how and why they were so persistent in praying. I wanted to feel how they felt because I knew somehow they felt peace and that they felt amazing pleasing our Creator. The feeling of hypocrisy started to slowly creep in on me for faking my prayers. So I searched for the green book which had taught many how to pray. I tried my best to hold on to my Salaah but sometimes because of my very weak Iman, I will go weeks without prayers and that made me feel really bad.
Some months before entering year 3 in poly, I knew that I wanted to wear the hijab because I wanted to feel closer to Allah. I was so scared to put on that piece of cloth over my head because I was scared of the reactions of my family, friends and classmates. I was so afraid but I knew in the deepest recesses of my heart that I wanted this and I needed this. In my prostration I would cry my eyeballs out talking to Allah, asking Him to ease my affairs and for Mama to allow me wearing the hijab before her. I didn’t want to humiliate or embarrass her. Mama always thought about what others would say and I didn’t want to hurt her. I made Allah my friend because I know only He can change things. I asked Mama once again for the last time on the day before the start of year 3 for her blessings to cover up and she finally said okay. I was the happiest girl in the world!
After putting on hijab, I faced more trials from Allah than ever before I. I tried my best to fill my days going to Islamic talks, most of which I would go alone. That was that – constant reminders was what I needed. The more I learn, the more I realized that I knew little and that there are so so so many things to understand, and love. Everyday is work in progress. Everyday. I have learnt that the one thing that can change everything is the intention. Allah knows our intentions, sees our struggles, and hear our pleadings and our cries. What I love most about Allah SWT is that even though I have failed him a thousand times and I am full of flaws, yet He is so Kind. Our King is so kind His Mercy always remains no matter. Regardless.
I know my journey just began and I still have so many things to learn but I guess if you seek hard and if you want Allah badly enough, He will always make it easy for you. Hidayah, you have to seek. You need to have the desire to know the truth; your existence, your purpose. If you rely on Him and place your trust in Him, see and know and understand that Allah didn’t even need us in the first place, we are the ones in need of Him. I tasted the sweetness of my faith, and it was the sweetest thing I have ever tasted. I continue to kneel down on the ground and make prostrations. I crave the sweetness and the closeness Allah has borrowed me when I’m with Him. That’s what keeps me going. If you feel that you are not worthy, if you feel that there are too many sins that you’ve done and if you feel that you have been neglecting Him or wasting your time for too long, I guess sometimes you just need to call out the name of your Lover -the One that created you, the blue sky, clouds, trees, moon, your mom and dad. Allah. That is enough. Allah. Thank You. Allah. Allah.
Now Alhamdulillah, with constant du’as , effort made and above everything else, His Guidance He has willed for my family to discover our higher and true purpose – to serve Him. Now we pray fajr together. Mama and my sis have also donned the hijab. Alhamdulillah. Allah SWT works in magical and beautiful ways. There is no might or power except with Allah. Alhamdulillah thumma Alhamdulillah a thousand times over.
If you can relate to our Sister’s struggles and wish to create a new sisterhood ukhuwah with her, you can Whatsapp me at +6582981248.
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This may be the last Hijrah Story from the Sisters who attended “Learn to Love Again” HTHT session as most of them are quite busy with their commitments. Jazakumullahu khairan! 🙂