A Woman Abandoned Her Religious Family, but When Her Father Fell Ill Her Brother Insisted that She Wear a Hijab to Visit – Would She Be Wrong to Refuse?

A 23-year-old woman was raised in a very religious household, with her family being devout Sunni Muslims. Due to her differing beliefs, the woman had become estranged from her family, but her dying father would soon make her backtrack and question her religious morality. 

A Religious Upbringing

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Growing up in a Sunni Muslim family, her life had been steeped in religious traditions since a young age. “When I was 5 years old I had to start wearing the hijab and pretty much had religious dogma shoved down my throat”, she explained.

The Hijab Rebellion

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At 16 years old, the woman dared to defy the religious norms that had governed her life. “I tried to take off my hijab and my parents freaked out”, she recounted. “My mom even cut off my hair in an attempt to force me to wear it.”

Escape to Freedom

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At the age of 18, the woman successfully managed to escape the confines of her family’s strict religious environment by pursuing higher education at university. This newfound independence allowed her to distance herself from her family and their religious expectations. 

Estrangement From Family

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Over time, the woman became estranged from her family due to her life decisions and her reluctance to succumb to their religious values. Thankfully, Canada’s laws supported her in this endeavor, ensuring that she had the freedom of religious choice upon reaching adulthood.

A Desperate Plea

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Recently, the woman’s younger brother reached out to her to inform her of troubling news: their father was gravely ill and repeatedly asked for her. Her brother implored her to visit their father, even if it meant temporarily wearing a hijab, in the event that he did not recover.

Conflicting Emotions

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Reliving traumatic experiences with the hijab and a deep-seated resentment stemming from her isolated upbringing, the woman faced a difficult decision. She had managed to grow her hair over the years, a symbol of her newfound freedom, and the thought of wearing the hijab again was unbearable. 

Fearing Her Mother

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The woman shared further thoughts on seeing her family again: “I’m okay to see my dad in the hospital, but maybe not my mom, as she was the disciplinarian growing up. Either way, putting the hijab back on is a no-go.”

Supportive Allies

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The woman’s boyfriend stood by her side, understanding the emotional turmoil she was grappling with. He helped her decide not to succumb to the pressure of pretending to be religious, but she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of guilt for what she would put her father through.

An Understanding Brother

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The woman also explained that her brother was understanding of her predicament, despite his request. He wasn’t religious himself, but felt bad for their parents, and begged his sister to wear the hijab. He agreed that then, she could cut her religious background off for good.

Becoming Less Extreme

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The woman’s brother even told her that their parents had “chilled out” with their Islamic beliefs since she had left her past life behind. However, considering the extreme attitudes of her mother in the past, the woman found this hard to believe.

Seeking Guidance

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The woman felt deeply conflicted by the position she was being put in by her brother, so she decided to share her story online with internet friends, asking for advice. “If your father truly cares for your presence, merely being there, with or without the religious clothing, should be enough for him”, pointed out one reader.

State the Facts

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One commenter suggested that the woman be completely honest with her father. “You don’t practice their religion”, they reminded her. “Tell your dad that you will visit him, but without the hijab. This is who you are and if they cannot accept it, that is not your problem.”

A Stark Warning

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However, some commenters gave the woman severe warnings. “Be VERY careful”, one person begged. “This could be a trick. Upon returning to see your father, they could take you under their control again and force you back into the faith AND maybe into marriage. If you go to see your father, do not wear the hijab, and make sure you bring someone with you as backup.”

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