By now, you are probably familiar with the world’s first Muslimah "supermodel." If you're not, then you should know that such title belongs to Halima Aden, a young Muslimah who rose to fame in the modeling industry in the span of just a few short years. As of last week, Halima announced that she will be stepping away from the fashion world to focus more on her deen.
Halima Aden is a 23-year-old Somalian woman who is widely known as the first woman to wear the hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. She made it to the semifinals and although she didn’t win, she gained a tremendous amount of national attention, which later lead to her being signed by IMG Models, a top-tier international modeling agency headquartered in New York City.
Since signing with IMG, Halima has worked with a multitude of fashion brands. In June 2017, she became the first hijab-wearing model on the cover of Vogue Arabia, Allure, and British Vogue. She is also the first hijab-wearing model to appear in the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, sparking controversy and criticism by many Muslims who viewed the act as un-modest and a mockery of hijab.
Although her rise to fame initially seemed like a dream come true for Aden, she made the very difficult decision to step away from the industry altogether. "Being a 'hijabi' is truly a journey with lots of high and lows,” she said.
Aden took to Instagram to share how being a model has compromised her religious beliefs. From controversial outfits to allowing a brand to put a pair of pants on her head in place of her hijab, she recognizes how her career in modeling led her to put her faith aside.
“Thanks to COVID and the break away from the industry, I have finally realized where I went wrong in my personal hijab journey,” she continued. “I wish I never stopped bringing my black hijab to set. Because the minute I got comfortable… let’s just say I got too carried away." Aden even recalls sobbing in her hotel room after shooting a particular campaign, expressing how badly she felt for not speaking up for what she thought was right.
As mentioned in the Quran:
"...And if you were to obey most of those people who are upon the earth, they will lead you away from the Path of Allah..." Al-Qur'an 6:116
"And do not follow your desires so that they lead you astray from the path of Allah." Al -Qur'an 38:26
We just want to take this time to remind ourselves and all of you, that when you truly put Allah first and at the center of your heart, your iman will carry you and restore you back to the correct path. You will truly feel at peace when you stay on the path of following Allah.
It takes a great deal of courage to recognize your shortcomings and to do something to change them. We want to applaud Miss Halima Aden for her strength and courage to get back on the path of the deen.
Halima is not alone in her struggles, many people face the challenge of compromising their religion to get ahead in jobs or careers that offer the lure of money and fame. The struggle is real and none of us is immune. It takes strong iman to protect yourself against your desires and the allure of worldly gain at the expense of your religion.
We would like to offer a sincere dua for our sister Halima, for our clients and supporters, and for ourselves and ask the Most High that we all remain firm upon correct guidance and to protect us from corruption in our deen. Ameen.
As Halima put it, “Fashion can wait. My deen cannot."
Alhamdoulillah, may Allah directed us all into the right path and strengthen our iman.