Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
When is it really permissible for a Muslim girl to wear the hijab? Does it matter when she herself is ready to wear it or is there an age where you would have to?
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Praise be to Allah. May the peace and blessings of Allah shower upon our Beloved Messenger, his family, companions, and those who follow them.
It is permissible for a Muslim girl to wear hijab any time she pleases, even if she is not old enough to have to wear it. As to when she has to wear it, a Muslim female is required to observe hijab as soon as she reaches the age of puberty, that is, when she sees her first menstruation. However, it is highly desirable that she be introduced to hijab before puberty. Sometimes, if a girl waits until she reaches puberty, then puts on hijab all at once, she can find it difficult. Hijab is best introduced in stages, say, first a scarf, then the long sleeves, long skirts, etc. If it is done this way, along with strengthening one's iman and love for Allah, then insha'Allah when puberty comes, there should be no difficulty.
As to when you feel ready, readiness can vary with the individual. Some people feel ready right away, and some take a lifetime, and some never feel ready. So don't base your decision to wear hijab completely on readiness. If you do, you may miss out on the immediate benefits of wearing it.
Strengthen your iman, establish your prayers, and constantly remember Allah. Make small but significant changes to your wardrobe, like making your clothes longer and looser. When you cover for prayer, keep your scarf on longer, instead of taking it off. These are steps that can increase your himma or enthusiasm for hijab. And keep in mind that the Prophet, peace be upon him, said in a Hadith Qudsi, "God Most High says I am as my Servant thinks I am. I am with him when he makes mention of Me. If he makes mention of Me by himself, I make mention of him to Myself. If he makes mention of Me in an assembly, I make mention of him in an assembly better than his. If he comes closer to Me a hand span, I come closer to him arms-length, if he comes to Me walking, I come to him running."
And Allah alone gives success. And Allah knows best.
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