Mama decided it was time that her daughter Fatima could start wearing a hijaab. She gave her a pretty little hijaab with little beads on the ends and a lacey trim on the part that went over the forehead. Fatima loved her hijaab. She put it on right away and smiled a big pretty smile.
"Jezak Allahu khairan Mama! I love it so much, I'll never take it off!" Fatima said. "Wa Iyaaki, Fatima. But we have to wash it when it gets dirty!" Mama joked. Fatima put her fingers to her lips, and thought for a moment. "I'll wait right by the washing machine, or maybe I can wash it with my hands, in the sink," she replied. Mama nodded, and gave her a hug, "May Allah make you love hijaab all your life. Ameen." "Ameen," said Fatima as she ran off to play.
That whole day Fatima wore her hijaab. Then the whole week and the whole month. Every time they saw Fatima, she'd have her hijaab on. Even when it was time for wudu, she wore her hijaab into the bathroom, and came out with it on.
"You can't make wudu with your hijaab on," her older brother Yusuf told her, his hands on his hips. Fatima smiled, "I take it off to make wudu, then I put it back on!" When they finished praying, Yusuf said, "Why do you have to wear your hijaab all the time? You don't see Mama doing that! You're weird!"
"You're just jealous 'cuz you don't have such a special thing to wear! Maybe you can ask Mama for a hijaab since you like mine so much," retorted Fatima, her eyebrows high, trying not to grin. Then she laughed. Yusuf sat frowning.
Yusuf came to Mama. "Mama, what's wrong with Fatima? Ever since you gave her that hijaab, she's been acting like it's part of her body or something. Why won't she ever take it off?" he asked. "Well, we made a du'a together that she would love her hijaab her whole life. It's very nice she likes it so much. You want her to wear hijaab when she's a woman, don't you?" Mama looked at Yusuf as she kneaded some bread dough.
"Yes, but she's a little girl now, and she's being silly!" Yusuf complained, crossing his arms in front of his chest. Mama rested her hands on the dough. "Try not to bother her about it, Yusuf. It's a new thing for her and she's excited. You were a little like that about the kufi your father gave you when you were her age, you know." Mama reminded Yusuf.
"Okay Mama, I will try not to let her bother me," Yusuf grumbled. He turned to leave the kitchen, then stopped and turned around. "You know what I think? I think she was playing with the scissors and gave herself a bad haircut, and she's waiting for it to grow out."
Mama laughed as Yusuf left the kitchen. As she formed the dough into balls, she knew Yusuf would never understand. She knew what it was like to wear hijaab. It feels like a protecting shield, like a warm cozy blanket. That is the reward in this life for obeying Allah; and in the next life so much more.
Fatima wore her hijaab through to the spring, when she was playing in the park, and even when she was sleeping. In the mornings, it was usually around her neck, but when Fatima washed up, she straightened it out. And every time it needed washing, Fatima would wait by the washing machine, like she said she would, and grab it out of the dryer as soon as it was dry.
Baba started to become worried about Fatima and her hijaab, too. "Asalaamu Alaikum, Um Yusuf," Baba said to Mama. "Wa Alaikum salaam wa Rahmatulaah, Abu Yusuf," replied Mama.
"I am concerned about Fatima's love for her hijaab. I am worried one of her teachers has been pushing her to be extreme with it," said Baba as he slowly sat down. "I don't think so. She has had two different teachers, this year and last year. And through both years, she has worn her hijaab this way. I think she just loves to wear it, that's all. Don't worry," replied Mama.
"I hope InshaAllah you are right," was Baba's response.
For Eid, Fatima's grandmother gave Fatima a new hijaab. The one her mother had given her was getting a little old. It had a stain on the back, and almost all the beads had fallen off. Even the lacy trim over her forehead was curling up. Everyone in the family wondered if Fatima would like this new hijaab as much as her old one.
Fatima put it on. Everyone waited. Fatima looked down at the edge of her hijaab. "This one doesn't have any beads," said Fatima, peering down at the edge of her new hijaab. No one could yet see the look on her face. Then she looked up, with a big pretty smile on her face.
"Jezak'Allahu khairan grandma! I love it so much, I'll wear it every day!" Fatima gave her grandmother a big hug. "MashaAllah," said Mama. Baba clapped his hands and gave Fatima a big hug. "Not again!" mumbled Yusuf, frustrated.
Fatima wore her hijaab at school. She wore it at the masjid. She also wore it when she took a bath. "You'll wear down the material and make it look older, faster, if you wear it while you wash, Fatima," Mama advised. "Oh, I don't wear it in the bathtub, Mama! I hang it up on the towel rack, and then I put it on when I'm all dry," Fatima explained as she took Mama's hand. Even though Mama smiled, she was beginning to worry about Fatima and her hijaab.
Mama waited till bedtime to talk to Fatima. She opened the door, and sat down beside Fatima on the bed. "Fatima," Fatima turned around in her bed, and her hijaab twisted around and covered her face. She pulled it back around, squinting, and smiled at her mother. "Yes, Mama?" Fatima said, rubbing her eyes. "Fatima, do you think you could ever take off your hijaab for a day?" Mama asked. Fatima's eyes and mouth popped open.
"Oh, no! I mean, I wouldn't want to. I love it too much!" said Fatima, clutching the end of her hijaab. Mama flattened her hands on her lap.
"You know how important it is to obey your parents. Especially your mother," Mama said. Fatima's lips came together and were a straight line. Then her bottom lip quivered. She wondered if her mother would tell her to not wear her hijaab. "Oh, Mama. Please don't tell me to take off my hijaab! It makes me feel like I have a big shield, protecting me! Like a cozy, comfortable blanket! Please, Mama. Ask me to do anything else. Please Mama," Fatima pleaded. Fatima saw Mama had tears in the corners of her eyes. "May Allah prevent me my whole life from ever asking you to take off your hijaab, Ameen," said Mama, her voice shaking. "Ameen," said Fatima as she hugged her mother. They sat together, Mama holding Fatima, until Fatima fell asleep.
And that was how it was in Fatima's house from that day on. Fatima wore her hijaab as much as she wanted. And Mama made sure no one bothered Fatima about her love for her hijaab.