Najwa Mardini has Syrian, Spanish, and Lebanese roots but was born and raised here in the USA. In the little free time she has she enjoys kayaking and spending time with the family. She’s currently an MPH candidate and envisions a future of helping the many underserved populations that deserve basic human rights. Here's what she has to say about Hijab:
What does the hijab mean to you?
It outwardly shows my lifelong commitment I’ve made to God. Hijab is a tool used to suppress one’s human desire to gain praise from people about your appearance and leaves you to only want to please God in that regard; it leaves you to realize that the only love you must seek is His. I have been wearing hijab since I was eleven years of age and by the grace of God, I’m still going strong. I believe the reason I still have it on is only because God has been strengthening me to keep it on when now it isn’t perceived as just a spiritual statement or commitment to God but a political one. I thoroughly believe that when you trust in God, renew your intentions solely for him in anything you do, do your part, and have faith that he will be your sustainer and strength; you have nothing to worry about. Everyone that covers or not has a journey to God and that’s why we’re here on this Earth - wearing hijab is an integral part of my journey to him. Muslim women that cover are not a monolith and different women wear it for different reasons, something I’ve realized over the years is that each woman has a personal story with how, why, and when they chose to wear hijab and commit to it - every single story I have heard and read is beautiful because everyone has their own unique spiritual journey between them and God.
What inspires you to wear the hijab?
Growing up I learned about Sitna Khadijah, Aisha, Nusaybah, and Fatimah peace and blessings be upon them. They are my inspiration. Despite the severity of the political climate at the time of the Prophet PBUH and all the calamities and tribulations they endured; they were in my opinion, the greatest feminists of all time.
What advice do you have for those struggling with hijab?
Do not be hard on yourself, no one is perfect and everyone goes through insecurities and hardships. God knows you are trying and he knows what’s in your heart. Remember that God hears every word you utter, every thought that comes to your mind, and every tear that falls; he listens when no one is listening and he is the most merciful. Be mindful that God will never give you more than you can handle and that every struggle that befalls you is to put a little piece of the puzzle that is your life together. Lift your hands up and pray for him to strengthen you through it. Something I’ve had to learn is that when it comes to hijab, only you get to decide how to wear it - try different styles until you find something that you’re comfortable with and that works for you. A common theme I’ve seen is that women tend to get judged on how they choose to wear their hijab; be mindful that this is something you’re solely doing for God and no one has the right to dictate how your personal journey is with hijab and God.
Would you like to be a part of the PFH Hijab Movement? Send us your responses to the above three questions at getPFH@gmail.com for a chance to be featured!