*Not her real name
totally different person, unrelated day, unrelated event
Two years ago I was just like you. I dressed "normally" - in jeans. I wore gold, makeup and did my hair. Sometimes I wore a loose hijab. I refused to wear abaya. It was my choice.
Then I went on Hajj. I stood side by side with so many people, praying. I stood near the wide, open space where souls return when they die. I thought, Here is where I began and here is where I will end. This is where I will stand before my God. It was a profound experience. This is where I changed.
Now I wear abaya, hijab, niqab and gloves too.
Of course hands and even the eyes can reflect interest and draw attraction in a man. Plus we should use a tone of voice that's not high or flirtatious, but is measured so we don't cause them to be attracted to us.
My husband doesn't always like that I cover. He says, Why don't you wear lipstick and gold and jeans and dresses? Which, of course, I can't do often because I live in a joined house [husband, 4 children, husband's 3 brothers and wives and 4 children each, along with 2 maids]. I don't wear gloves around my husband because he doesn't like them. He doesn't like when I wear sunglasses over my niqab too. Now I can't see you at all, he says.
In my room at night when it's just the two of us I do my hair and makeup and wear jeans. But just for him. That's just for my husband.
Also when I go to my mother's house I can throw off the abaya, hug my brothers. Then I am just me.
When it's just women I can be comfortable. I went to a party and my friends were there, also Muslimah. I dressed up in makeup, hair, gold. But it took a long time to relax. "You can be comfortable here!" my friend said. I took off niqab, gloves. Then hijab and finally abaya. It was so much fun!
Before when I'd dress up, even my husband's brother would say "oooo you look sexy!" and "Don't you look nice." Now when I meet him in the hall he looks down (to protect my modesty). It's better.
My children say, "Why do you always say God this and God that and don't watch this on the tv and you should pray, pray, pray all the time?
Before I did all of this [fun and play and tease and flirt] but now I'm more about my religion.
To someone who asks me why do you dress this way? I would say: I want to be judged more about my deeds, about what I do than what I look like. I'm comfortable this way.
It's my choice.