SHAFAQNA – Hanan Turk is a famous Egyptian actress who started off her entertainment career as a professional ballerina. In 2006 she decided to wear hijab and shocked her fans by taking a break from the spotlight for a few years. She’s been back recently in the Arab cinema and television scene and has surprised naysayers with her success as a serious actress who just happens to don a headscarf.
The Following is her explanation about the moment she decided to wear hijab and thereafter :
“I was tired & I wanted the truth. I wanted to overcome my whims and get rid of all my desires in any way possible . I went to a sheikh, may Allah shower him with generosity. I asked “ is the hijab Jannah or fire? Or levels of Jannah? If it’s the first, I can’t even tolerate the burn from a candle and if it’s from the levels of Jannah, I’m pleased with the basement.” The Sheikh smiled and said ”listen, O sister Hannan, everything that is obligatory is Jannah or fire, and all which are voluntary are levels of Jannah.” He continued “are you a Muslim ?”
_ “ Alhamdulillah I was born a Muslim”
Then he asked if I believed in pillars of Islam. I said of course I believed in all five them but Alhamdulillah hijab is not concluded. “Then go to the pillars of faith. The belief in Allah” he continued.
_ “l come here because I’m a believer of Allah and I want to satisfy him”
Then he asked about Quran. I said that I believed in it so he recited a verse: “ indeed, he who imposed upon you the Quran is obligatory [28:85]. “Then he came to surah An-Noor and explained about the importance of this chapter because of numerous rules that it contains. So I was alright but yet I didn’t understand where is the hijab in all of these! He got the chapter to the verse 31:” …and to wrap [a portion of] their KHAMIR and cover over their chests” but how should I suppose to know that the word KHAMIR in the verse meant the head and the hijab?
“Let’s look for the word in the Arabic dictionary.” He answered. It was written that the root of the word is KHAMR which in Arab language meant ‘ the covering of the brain’. “Where is the covering of the brain? The elbow? The knee?”he asked and I answered the head! “Exactly, so this is hijab”He added and let me say it in my own:”so it’s obligatory!” The sheikh told me that I was doubtful about it but then I searched and got certain so I should hurry and then he left.
When I first started to wear hijab I thought it would affect my job prospects, but it was the opposite. I actually received more offers. However, I preferred to stop acting for awhile. I didn’t know how long at the beginning, but ended up taking a break for 3 years.
During those three years I wanted to learn more about my religion and I wanted to do something different, something for children. I started a childrens magazine called Hanoon. I also worked on myself a lot and during this period of reflection the right offer came at the right time. It was a time when people started to say “Oh she stopped acting because she wore hijab”. I worked on some television series and movies. The choice of roles is definitely harder after wearing hijab. It’s not like before, you can take any job you’re offered. Now you have to be careful to choose the right one. It’s not everyday you’ll find a role that suits a hijabi because there isn’t much script writing geared towards a hijabi character. People thought because I started to wear hijab that I would be getting offered less money, but it was the complete opposite.
This is my message. First for people already in the industry, my friends who are actors go ahead, put on hijab. It’s not going to make you poor, it’s not going to affect your life.
When I visit schools and see students who want to be actresses or reporters and they are worried they wont get a job if they wear hijab, I tell them to go ahead and wear hijab it shouldn’t affect you. If you give up something for the sake of God, then God will replace it with something better. That is what happened to me. When I wore hijab I didn’t worry about money and in the end God gave me more.
for girls who wear hijab and want to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, I should say nothing is impossible. It will happen. Actually it is happening now where you see some hijabis in American movies. Look at Iranian films even. The actresses are winning prizes for their work and they all wear hijab. There are basic rules for hijab and as long as you follow those you can do whatever you want, it all comes down to your personal taste. These days we have more options than in the past. It used to just be abayas and now there are special fashion lines just dedicated to women who wear hijab.”