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Confessions Of A Hijabi: How I Found My Voice And Happiness

Sarah Ghanem of Modanisa speaks on the struggles of her reversion to Islam and how she refound her voice

Confessions of a Hijabi: How I Found My Voice and Happiness

I reverted to Islam and I felt lost.

The feeling did not appear because I had to make some lifestyle changes — if anything, it has had good effects on me. It was not because I was oppressed by men — if anything, my brothers in Islam has been respectful of my opinions and rights as a person.

I felt lost because I lost my voice.

Right after my reversion to Islam, I had harbored the feeling of uncertainty towards my new identity. After all, I did not know who I am and who I could be. Losing my voice was devastating. I lost sight of who I was and after a while, I forgot that I had a voice of my own.

Finding my voice was a long and arduous road of unpacking and repackaging the things that I identify myself. In the end, not only did I found my voice, I had found my happiness.

I know there might be some people who feel the same way as I did and I would like to share what I did to quell the feeling of self-doubt about yourself. What worked for me may not work for you but it is not an easy journey so I hope my experience serves as a suggestion as you go through your journey.

Acknowledge the importance of your voice

Before assuming my new identity as a Muslim woman, I always thought that my voice was important. I was always trying to have conversations with people to have my thoughts out. After my reversion, it dawned on me that while I was invested in my faith, I do not know much about it and therefore probably should not share my opinions about it.

However, I soon realized that I have a new story to tell and that it is a story that no other person has. My story is uniquely mine as much as Sana Khan’s story is uniquely hers. As I learn more about Islam, the more questions and opinions I have about it; voicing them out allowed me to reaffirm and strengthen my belief. Having myself heard was also important because I’m lending my voice to those who have yet to find the courage to voice out theirs.

Keep calm and find your balance

The life of a revert is a tough balancing act. On one hand, you want to go learn as much as you can about your new faith — for me, it came to a point where I was obsessed with chasing as much knowledge as I can. No, it is not a bad thing to want to learn and grow but at my rate back then, I was ALWAYS doing something — I was either attending self-development seminars, learning how to style my existing wardrobe towards modest outfits, watching tutorials on how to fashion my hijab or finding ways to substitute unacceptable ingredients with permissible ones in my family recipes.

It was not until I met my yoga teacher in a Starbucks line that I learned the power of staying still. She saw how “frazzled” I was and recommended me to stay on my prayer mat a little longer than I usually would. In that stillness, I had found time for inner reflection which subsequently helped me with my spiritual growth.

Positive vibes only

Of course, there were some people who were negative about my reversion. Mean things were thrown my way and my initial responses were mean themselves. After all, mean words only deserve more mean words, right?

Turns out, I was wrong. A friend pointed out that by reciprocating with not-so-nice words and behavior, I am only feeding the negativity that causes stress, frustration, and exhaustion. In other words, I was creating chaos for myself.

Once I stopped, not only did I found peace and happiness, I also found a better voice to counter negative things thrown my way. Eventually, people stopped harassing me because by not succumbing to the negativity around me, I was able to limit myself to it.

Feeling empowered, fulfilled and blessed

These days, I am much more present and livelier than I have ever been. I had found my voice and subsequently happiness through learning and relearning about myself. I am glad that my younger self-has been brave and resilient throughout this journey.

I understand that I am a work in progress, but I will not be silent again.


About the author

Sarah is a happy Muslimah who is keen on trendy, yet modest Muslim clothing for women. She always tries to stay productive and passionate. Ever since she managed to turn her passion into a profession, she’s been a proud stylist and fashion consultant at Modanisa.