HIJAB-E-RELLA Once upon a time, in a far away land, in a small farm out in the country, there lived a young girl named Aliya. Aliya's mother had died when she was very little, and her father got married again to a woman named Hinda.Hinda had two daughters of her own from a previous marriage, that ended up in an ugly divorce. Her daughters were twins named Hina and Hira and they were the same age as Aliya. Aliya's dad was never at home because he had a business overseas, so Aliya was left alone with these strangers, her Step-mother and step-sisters. Aliya was mashAllah, a very good, practicing muslimah and strict about her hijab. Her stepsisters on the other hand, were the complete opposite. An outsider would have thought they were hindus. They would make fun of Aliya and constantly tease her claiming that she would never get a husband because she was always covered up, in addition to her quiet and reserved personality. For these reasons and many more, Aliya was always feeling insecure about herself and it had an effect on her self-esteem as well. One day as Aliya was browsing through the mail, she saw a letter from the masjid. She opened it and her heart leapt with joy, because the young, heart throb Shaykh who had come the previous year was coming again to conduct a Marriage Seminar this weekend. Just then her step sisters walk in and Hira asks, "What are you smiling at and reading Aliya?" Aliya replied, "Oh its nothing," as she quickly put the flyer in her lap. Hina raises her left eyebrow suspiciously and grabs the flyer from Aliya's grip. As her step sisters preyed on the flyer, Aliya was beginning to lose what little hope she had, thinking her chances were very dismal, because now she had two more competitors in addition to all the other fair maidens in the community. Then Hina said disappointedly, "Oh God, just our luck! The bottom of the flyer says All women must wear proper Islamic hijab and dress, or else they cannot enter. What the hell is that all about? That is sooo not fair!!! Now we cant go." Hira looked confused and said, "Hmm, what about that green trouser suit I wore at Bunty's wedding last summer? I know its sleeveless, but what if I wrapped the dupatta around?" Aliya said, "By proper Islamic hijab and dress, they are referring to a scarf and an abaya." Hira cried, "But I don't have any hijabs or abayas, what shall I wear!" Hinda had just entered the room and Hina ran and showed her the flyer. "Look Mom, there is going to be an Islamic Conference on Marriage at the masjid tomorrow, and that buff Shaykh Hussain Alam, you remember him right mom, the cute one with the goatee, well he is going to be the speaker." Hinda carefully analyzed the flyer and claimed, "Hmm interesting indeed. My sources tell me that he is in fact coming to look for a wife." The twins looked at each other and started jumping up and down. "What are you two idiots getting happy about? Have u thought about what you are going to wear?" their mother scolded. "Mom, but we don't have any proper Islamic dress…," Hina said disappointedly. "Not to worry girls, I'm sure Aliya wouldn't mind if you borrowed something of hers." Aliya looked up stunned, as all eyes were focusing on her like a hawk ready to prey on an innocent squirrel, "Hmmm Aliya??" Aliya nodded and quietly replied, "Of course they may borrow mine." The big day was here and Aliya was helping her step sisters get dressed. She taught them how to pin a hijab and walk in an abaya. "What are you going to wear Aliya?" they asked, as they were hastily splattering their makeup on, hoping that Aliya would wear an ugly black abaya. "Oh you'll see, it was my mother's best one." After Aliya put on her mother's cream colored abaya with white flowers densely embroidered throughout, along with white beads and sequins, the step sisters stared in bewilderment, their blood fuming, and their face green with envy. How dare Aliya save the prettiest dress for herself! They immediately approached Aliya, complimenting her on how beautiful she looked in her mother's abaya. Then, as Hira stroked the sleeve, feeling the soft material, she tugged the sleeve so hard that it ripped off. Aliya was stunned and cried in fear, as Hina grabbed the hijab and started cutting it with scissors. Then Hinda walked in and pleased with the scene that was unfolding, calmly said, "Oh dear Aliya, just look at yourself, you can't possibly expect me to take you to the masjid looking like that? I'm afraid you'll have to sit at home until you learn how to dress like a lady." With that said, the three witches took off, their evil laughter echoing throughout the neighborhood. Aliya started weeping with a heavy heart, as her only chance to ever get rid of living with these evil step sisters and step mother was looking rather bleak. Just then she heard a knock on the door. She peeked out the window and saw a beautiful woman dressed in a white chador. Aliya opened the door and politely greeted the stranger. "Assalamu Alaikum," the woman said in a heavy accent, "I am coming from Syria for trade,I have lovely hijabs and abayas for sale at very special discounted price." "I'm sorry but no thanks," Aliya said as she was about to shut the door. "No wait," the woman negotiated, "I can sell this to you at very, very low price. Only 5 Euros for lovely abaya with matching scarf. How do you like this deal? I am making you offer you cant refuse it!!" Aliya replied, "I would if I could, but unfortunately, I have no money." The woman saw that Aliya was disturbed, tears swelling up in her eyes, eyes puffy from crying, and her clothes were torn apart. "Oh my dear child, what happened to you?" Aliya then broke down and started crying, while she explained everything. "Don't cry you poor child," the woman said as she patted Aliya on the head, "Here, you can borrow this one, but please keep the tag on. I am going to America to start a business there. You know, I can buy these hijabs and abayas in the Middle East at almost nothing, a price so very cheap, and then I can go to America and make fortune by charging 10 times the price. But child, I am leaving for the airport tonight at midnight. I will come by again to pick it up, so please be here on time." Aliya agreed and accepted the woman's kind gestures. She picked out a sparkly silver abaya with a matching shawl and niqab. The abaya was long and flowing, with bell sleeves and tassels hanging at the sides of the hijab. Meanwhile at the masjid, Hina and Hira were pleased to find out that there would be no curtain separating the boys and girls. They took advantage of this and walked around gawking at all the young men. Then they spotted the shaykh sitting alone by the podium, reviewing his books and lecture notes. "Oh my God, there he is! Now's our chance!" Hira grabbed Hina and they ran up to introduce themselves. "Ass slaaalayykoooo Hussain," they said in a flirtatious tone and batted their mascara soaked eyelashes. The shaykh was rather surprised at the boldness of these two girls to approach him in this manner and, on top of that, they called him Hussain! Only his father can call him by his first name. Everyone else is supposed to say "Shaykh sahab" The shaykh, with his gaze lowered, mumbled "walaikum salam." "Oh my God, he talked to us!" Hina whispered, "I think he likes us." The girls giggled amongst each other and the moulana was getting a bit irritated, thinking when will they go away? The girls kept giggling and smiling, making the moulana feel very uncomfortable. Finally he slammed his book down and said, "Can I help you? What are your names?" Hina replied proudly, "My name is Hina and this is my twin sister Hira." The girls beamed their crooked yellow teeth as they gave him another big smile. Hira even winked at him! The shaykh looked at them in disgust and replied, "Ya Allah, such beautiful names, but how filthy personalaties you have! Is this your idea of a joke?" The girls walked back to their seats in utter confusion, for they had such little knowledge of Islam. It was now time for the lectures to begin. Shaykh Syed Hussain Alam took to the podium and starting delivering his lecture on the importance of marriage. Midway through his talk, he saw a light glowing in the back. He gazed in wonder as this light slowly became bigger, and to his surprise, it formed into a beautiful silver ninjabi. As everyone turned around to see who it was, the moulana started stammering, "SubhanAllah… MashAllah… InshAllah" he mumbled as he looked in awe. Coming back to his senses, the shaykh said, "I think this is a good time to take a break now for some refreshments inshallah. Everyone please recite Salawat." "Finally! I thought he'd never shut up," Hira said. "I know right. These Islamic lectures are so boring. Man Im starving." Hina replied. "Dude, lets make a run at the buffet table," Hafsa rubbed her big stomach. "Oh My God! Theres nihari!!!!! I love nihari!!!!" The girls ran so fast to the buffet table that Hira tripped on her abaya and fell flat on the steaming hot pan of nihari and almost knocked the entire table down. With nihari dripping all over her clothes, Hira looked down in embarrassment, as everyone stared at her like she was some circus freak. Hina burst out laughing hysterically, "Oh my God Hira you fat cow!" "Oh shut up! This is all your fault!" Hira said as she threw big pieces of meat at her sister. Aliya grimaced in pain as she saw her abaya drenched in nihari. But to avoid a confrontation with her stepsisters, she strolled to the corner to get some tea. Mesmerized by her sparkling, innocent eyes, the shaykh approached Aliya and said, "What time does a lovely hoor al ain like you have to be back in heaven at?" "Midnight," Aliya said with her gaze lowered. "Oh I am really sorry sister in islam, I think that was the wrong approach on my part. Let me try again.." He cleared his throat and said, "Can I have your wali's number so I can ask for permission to court you?" Just then the clock struck midnight, and Aliya quickly ran out of the masjid. "Wait!!!" the shaykh cried, as he ran after. "I didn't even catch your name. Please don't leave like this." As she turned around to tell him, a sudden gust of wind blew her niqab off right into his hands. He caught a glimpse of her beautiful face and their eyes met, Aliya felt too embarrassed to speak, and quickly disappeared off into the darkness. The shaykh was so lost in his own little world, that he didn't even realize that Aliya was gone. He tried to find her, but did not know which way she went. "Shaykh sahib, the break time is over now. Get back to the podium nah," a fobby kid shouted out. The shaykh looked into the night one more time before halfheartedly going back inside to resume his job. But he was determined to find the girl, the one who wore the silver niqab. He frantically went from door to door of all the young girls houses, asking if the niqab belonged to any one of them. Then he arrived at Aliya's home, but coincidentally Aliya was not home, as her wicked stepmother sent her off to run some errands knowing that the moulana was on his way. As Hina and Hira eagerly tried the niqab on to see if it fit them, the shaykh was disgusted at the way their big fat noses were sticking out of it. Seeing his expression, Hinda got very defensive of her daughters and started lecturing him on his arrogance. "To love someone is to let them go," Hinda stated cunningly. "Life goes on, you cannot just sit there and reject every beautiful girl because your heart is set on some fantasy girl who you don't even know what her name is! Who knows what her whereabouts are, she is probably living in the other side of the world, and you will never meet her again. This is the reality of life my dear. It is not a fairy tale, so don't expect a happy ending." The shaykh gripped the niqab firmly and got up. "Masalama Aunty, I must be on my way to continue my search. My time is running out." The shaykh's time did run out, as it was now time for his flight back to Canada. As he checked in his baggage at the airport, the shaykh was really depressed as all his efforts went down the drain. He could not get his mind off that hijabi and he still carried her niqab in his pocket. If only he didn't act so stupid and use those lame pick up lines! If only he had introduced himself properly and asked for her name in the beginning! The shaykh, with a heavy, broken heart sat there, clutching the niqab in his hands and thinking about the biggest mistake of his life, his missed opportunity, and wondering how different things could have been, if only he said the right things. "Excuse me. I think you have something of mine." The shaykh looked around baffled at this sudden and random accusation.Aliya pointed to the niqab and smiled. He gazed into her familiar eyes and exclaimed, "You are the one. The one I've been looking for! You are my Hijaberella! " "Excuse me. But I believe that niqab belongs to me," another voice said. Aliya turned around at the familiar voice and saw that it was the nice lady who let her borrow the abaya. "I thought you were gone already," Aliya said,"I was going to return it, but you never stopped by like you said you would." "Just keep it child, consider it your wedding present, " the woman said with a smile. And they all lived happily ever after .