Thursday 8 July 2010

Little Lady and Hijab

I have made quite good friends with a Sister whose daughter is in Little Lady’s class. One day she invited me to her home and I went along with my children in tow. She was great company and very hospital, bringing out endless trays of food. Whilst there I met another Sister whose daughter was also in Little Lady’s class and we all got chatting.

At one point the other Sister rebuked me, asking why I don’t make my daughter wear hijab when both the other Sisters did make their daughters wear it. This meant their daughters were questioning why if Little Lady was Muslim and didn’t have to wear it, they did. I was speechless for about a minute before I explained that I was not going to force my child to do anything she didn’t want to. The Sister was not convinced by my reply.

This exchange bothered me. I didn’t agree with the Sisters decision to make their daughters wear hijab, but I could see their reasoning for it. They didn’t expect that once their daughters reached puberty and hijab became obligatory that they would suddenly wear it, they believed that the child had to be strongly encouraged from the start.

For myself, I believe that Allah (SWT) only wants the best for us. I believe that he has commanded us to take up hijab when we reach puberty, so I worry that Little Lady will not want to and that this will displease Allah in relation to both of us. I can imagine many people saying that I am wrong to want this for my daughter, that there are more important things to worry about or want for her, that it is not for me to push her towards hijab. However I still worry, tarbiyyah (or good upbringing) doesn’t begin at puberty, but at birth by setting a good example and formally at seven years of age. Encouraging modesty is part of that tarbiyyah.

What do other sisters think and what do they suggest?


  1. salaams sis i pray whatever happnes is for yuor khayr inshaAllah, your husband is a wise man mashaAllah as he has just advised me without even knowing i'm going through career related dillemmas and that his little gem has reassured me jazakAllah khayr to you both xxx

  2. oops this comment was meant for the last post!

  3. My dear sister, I love your blog and often read it. And it saddens me that another sister has made you doubt yourself, if even for a moment.
    I believe you are doing the right thing. I can not tell you how many girls I know who have been told/ordered by their parents to wear hijab and then behind their backs they behave in a manner that it not befitting of a hijabi Muslimah. It is important the desire for hijab comes from their own heart. In the afterlife, you will not be held accountable for your daughters actions in life. You will only be judged on your own actions. And to me it seems you set a beautiful example for your daughter to follow. I get the impression you teach her well about Islam, and what's right and what's wrong. InshAllah, when the time comes, she herself will say she wants to wear it.

  4. A'salaamu alaikum sister. My daughter is only 2 but of course I worry about her future now. :-)

    I pray she will follow the example I set. I think it's important to show our children it's not a burden to wear hijab but rather a blessing. So I never complain about it even at this age such as "Oh I'm sooo hot I wish I could take this off" or anything like that.

    I do the same for salaat. I want her to realize how beautiful it is so I always say, Oh we can pray now! in an excited voice. Anything to encourage her insha'Allah.

    Give your daughter the option to wear hijab now. Let her go with you and pick a couple out. Tell her how modest she looks, how pretty. If she wants to wear it let her, if not, no pressure. Insha'Allah it will come with time.

    Ma salaama.

  5. Asalaamu Alaikum

    I taught my daughters that hijab is obligatory once you reach puberty. However I also got them to wear it to the mosque before that time and of course during prayer. This got them used to it and when they reached puberty they just automatically started wearing it. The oldest is (handmade beginnings) and she is still wearing it and the next one is also still wearing it. I have a 10 yr old and I can tell she is really gearing herself up for it. I tried to buy her a sleeveless shirt and she refused! My oldest was like that too. I think when they grow up with a modest mother they are inclined to that and its fitrah too. My younger daughters are 5 and 1 and I think with watching all their big sisters and mother wearing it, it will just come naturally. Your daughter has aunts that wear it right? So this will affect her too.

  6. I agree with Umm Aaminah's and C's suggestions. I think you are giving your daughter a beautiful example. And I think letting her pick out a few hijabs she likes, that she can wear to musjid or prayer will let her get used to it, and she won't feel forced. InshAllah, she will easily take up hijab when she reaches puberty.

  7. Sister! Assalamu alaykum! I agree with you........hijab has a purpose, a very strong one; and it is not always apparent to pre-pubescent children. I think it is really important for them to be able to internalize and understand why it should be worn. If she shows any interest right now, great!!! If she is not ready, shes not ready. I worry that inshaallah my little girl might be turned off by it if I approach her too soon with it. Every child is different, and you know yours the best, so what works for one may not work for another.

    Allah always knows best; just keep asking for guidance on this issue. You are a beautiful example and Muslim role model for Little Lady.

    Sorry you felt bothered by the exchange with the other sister- it's unfortunate.

    I agree with some of the comments, let her start by wearing it during prayer, and take it from there.


    iMuslimah & Co.

    PS Happy Jummah!!!!!

  8. PS- Because we are expecting a girl inshaallah, i get lots of questions from my peers, colleagues, family (non-muslim and muslim) about her wearing hijab, and my answer is the same as yours.....I just dont think that forcing such an abstract issue on a child is going to work. its my instinct. Sorry for the rambling.

    Dont walk around feeling bad! You are not alone!

  9. Anonymous12 July, 2010

    This is between you and your husband, but I would, like the other sister's ave mentioned some of her own hijabs to have on hand.
    My girls are young, and don't wear it, but we have a ton for them to wear if they want. I encourage them to try wearing it to the mosque, it doesn't stay on but I hope it imprints.
    I expect her to wear hijab with puberty. Inshallah. If all fails, then the least I expect is that she wears it at the mosque--out of respect for Allah and the other mosque goers, wears it when she prays, and dresses very modestly.

  10. Anonymous12 July, 2010

    Assalamo elikuim
    Sorry you have been made to fee l uncomfortable.
    I have a 5 year old daughter and have been told by some people to not to let her wear dressess and long shorts,short sleeves etc since age 1 1/2!!!
    Seriously, why do we have to make something fard for our girls when Allah hasnt? And I 101% agree with you that modesty is not just hijab, its the attitude and Inshallah once your little princess reaches puberty, she will definitely want to wear hijab like her mom.
    My girl wears hijab when she is praying with me and also when we are in masjid , but I would never ask her to wear it all the time when it is not fard on her. Kids learn a lot by just observing, and Inshallah Allah swt will put in our daughters heart the desire to follow His commands, Ameen
    Best wishes

  11. Assalam-alaikam Dear Sisters,
    this is just the reason I started blogging - to share and learn and alhamdulillah there has been a lot of useful advice and reassurance in these comments.

  12. Anonymous13 July, 2010


    I agree with what the others have said.
    A good muslim mother will encourage their daughter to the right path, not force them to do something just because we say so,but because they believe what we say is the path to Allah's blessings.
    May Allah keep you and your family in his light always.Ameen.


  13. Anonymous13 July, 2010

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  14. Asalaamulaikum sister,

    I agree with all the other sisters here.
    With love, patience, guidance and kind encouragement insha'Allah Allah will warm your daughters heart to hijab and she'll grow to love it just as I'm sure you do. I know I love my hijab, and couldn't imagine life without it now.

  15. I think the choice is up to you and your husband. I think if you force it on her now, she may rebel later. At this point, just teach her modesty, and that there will come a day that, if she wants to please her God/Allah, that is what she will do. You know that I am not Muslim, and I don't have girls. I am Mormon. And I have taught my boys the precepts of our faith since they were born. We also believe in modesty, and the use of appropriate clothing. My boys don't use sleeveless shirts, and I don't let them walk around with no shirts on. When we go to church, they are appropriately dressed. Occasionally my MIL will send tank tops to my boys, and they don't wear them. I don't want them to get used to wearing clothes that as adults they won't be able to use. They are always covered from neck to their knees. I also teach them that as they get older, they need to seek out young women who don't show off their bodies. Since we are in Peru, women walk around in all kinds of undress, and I try to teach my boys that a woman who respects herself and God would never dress like that.

    I think you are doing fine by your daughter, and even your boys. You worry about them and you teach them. Even when you are tired. Even when it's cold. Even when you are sick. I think women should not be judging how another takes care of her kids unless there is serious risk to life or limb.

  16. Have been meaning to post for a while on this topic.

    I myself hope that seeing me wearing it (and LOVING it) will set an example for my daughter that will make it easier for her to take it up when the time comes.

    For now, I spend more time emphasizing her relationship with Allah and His love for her and the blessings He has showered her with. I don't want her relationship to be with the rules, so to speak. Nothing is obligatory on her yet, so I don't want them to define her relationship with her identity, her religion, or her femalehood.

    That being said, I am quite adamant about not allowing her to wear it to places like the mall or the library. I just feel like it's too adult-like, and she's only a little girl. I mean, I wouldn't let her wear lipstick outside for the same reasons.

  17. Umm Ayesha22 July, 2010


    I just read your post, so sorry this is a bit late. I have a 5-year old daughter and if I had a penny for all the time I have spent thinking what to do best on this issue I'd be a millionaire!

    I absolutely agree with what most of our sisters' have said - you sound like you set such a wonderful example, insha'Allah they can't but be inclined towards the hijab when the time comes.

    One thing that I have been conciously doing though, is taking time to explain about the important things in our deen that I would pray that she and my other younger boy will do, insha'Allah. For eg if a non-muhrim comes to the house, I'll tell her why I'm putting it on; or when I'm going out of the house. Masha'Allah children are amazing, they pick up so quick - now, when someone's at the door, she'll be asking me if I need my hijab and even running to get it for me! She also occasionally makes comments about how she'll be wearing it later too, and I always pounce on these opportunities to link the deed to the main underlying reason why we all do it ie to gain the pleasure of Allah SWT.

    Jazakallah khayran Sister, for your wonderful blog

    Umm Ayesha