All About Al-Muhajabah
A Brief Bio
Prelude: What does "Al-Muhajabah" mean? "Al-muhajabah" is an Arabic word meaning "she who wears Islamic dress". I chose this nickname because my hijab (Islamic dress) is an important part of my identity and how I want the world to see me.
I come from an ordinary middle-class American family. My dad's ancestors are English and Scots-Irish and my mom's ancestors are from Slovenia. My dad works as an engineer; my mom is a homemaker. I have one sister, who works in signals processing in the Bay Area.
I went to The Johns Hopkins University, where I majored in physics. I originally planned to have a career as a scientist and went on to grad school but then I discovered that I didn't like grad school and wanted to get out on my own and start working. It was during this period that I began studying Islam and eventually converted (read more about my conversion to Islam.)
For quite some time, things were up and down. I started out working in computer technical support. However, about a month after I started wearing hijab I was more or less asked to resign from my job. I spent the next 14 months searching for a new job. Despite going on more than 40 interviews, I was unable to get hired in the high tech field. I finally took a part-time job as an administrative assistant. The position also allowed me to serve as the organization's computer support person and webmaster. My employer was a non-profit teacher-training organization. The work was very rewarding and the women that I worked with became my friends as well as my colleagues. Unfortunately, after a year and a half of working there they had to let me go because they could no longer afford to pay my salary.
What with one thing and another, I had spent three years more or less treading water, just trying to keep up to where I had been. For that reason, I decided in fall 2002 to go back to school and get some specialized career training to become a paralegal. In August 2003, I completed my program of study and received my paralegal certificate from Highline Community College.
Then things turned on their head again - and for the better! After a brief contract position as a researcher and writer that didn't work out, even though it made the best use of my new skills, I ended up with a new job back in tech support, working for Six Apart (the makers of the Movable Type software I use for my blogs). I've been working there since August 2004, first as a part-time contractor, then as a full-time contractor, and finally as a regular employee. Recently, I got a promotion from first-line tech support, to a position involving more team leadership.
This is the best job that I've ever had. I love the flexibility and freedom of working from home, and Six Apart has continually provided me with new challenges and new responsibilities.
In conclusion, I can only say this. As I have sought to find my place in the world, the two things that have kept me grounded, and kept me from giving in, are my faith in Islam and my family. I could not have made it without either of them.
About The Veiling...
Since I work from home, I don't go out a lot. When I do, I wear either hijab (headscarf) or niqab (face veil). The pictures of myself that I've put up on my website, including the ones on this page, tend to feature me in niqab, for extra privacy.
However, currently I do wear the niqab only part-time (I like to say "I wear it when I feel like it") and not professionally. Although I did this for a time, and went through my paralegal studies and an internship and volunteer position fully veiled, I am not there yet with my current job. Perhaps I may be in the future, as Allah SWT wills.
I believe that niqab is religiously voluntary, although commendable. I wear it as much as I am able, and ask Allah SWT to lead me to wearing it more, as He wills.
Still More About Me
If you'd like to learn a bit more about me, you can read my conversion story, my experiences on and after 9/11, and the story of how I started wearing the face veil.
I'm one of the few people I know that has been wearing eyeglasses since the age of two. I was born with a condition called amblyopia. The first time I ever saw the world clearly was when I got my first pair of glasses. I had to wear an eye patch for a couple of years to treat the amblyopia and had eye surgery at the age of four to try and correct the condition. Without my glasses I can't see anything in focus, neither close up nor far away. My other health condition is Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, which I was diagnosed with at the age of thirteen. My thyroid gland is basically non-functioning so I have to take medication every day to generate the hormones that my body needs. Al-hamdulillah, the medication is not at all expensive.