A teenager finds her way out of the curl pool!

As a teenager, living with a mane of thick wavy locks was never a source of pleasure to me. Especially when I witnessed long, silky and straight hair possessed by any female, I couldn’t help but turn green with envy. So I headed for refuge to the nearest beauty salon. Back then the best the hair stylist could come up with was to apply a blob of foul smelling crème to my head. This was followed by a wash, some blow-drying and Voila! I actually ended up with the desired straight hair!

For the next five days, believe it or not, I didn’t dare to wash my hair. In a mad state of ecstasy, I unnecessarily jerked my head around and tossed my tamed curls, but then inevitably, I stepped into the shower. The straight strands turned back into wavy wisps. Alas! My horror knew no bounds. I drove down to the beauty salon and bombarded my hairstylist. She calmly informed me that if I was to have uncurled hair, I had to blow dry them eternally every time I washed them. Then, adding a few more words of wisdom, she continued: “By the way, the new hair that will grow on your scalp will be curly, so in any case you will have to keep coming back to straighten them out too.”

Now, that was a death sentence for a lazy Garfield like me. To me brushing hair was an ordeal and here she was suggesting standing before the mirror every day and wrestling with my tangles. For the next three months, misery was my constant companion. From hot rollers to blow-drying, from gel to mousse – I tried a myriad of hair products and processes, not to mention the wasting of all my spending allowance. The curls growing at the roots, the mercilessly pulled and blow-dried locks … they all appeared like a graph of ECG – zigzags, straight lines, crooks…

One day, sanity knocked on my door. Amid tears, I started to reflect: why did Allah (swt) give me wild and curly hair? Did he run out of stock of straight strands by the time it was my turn? Now, that seemed highly unlikely. So it must have been a deliberate attempt to make me look the way I am. I knew He (swt) is Al-Adil (The Just) so He (swt) was bound to do justice with me. I also realized that He (swt) was Al-Jameel (The Beautiful) and Al-Aleem (The Knowledgeable). His aesthetic sense combined with His knowledge was far beyond my pea-sized brain.

I started to see the sunny side of life. Casting aside nasty comments from people and luring beauty products on TV, I broke free from the myth of traditional mindsets propagating a ridiculous idea of beauty. Who decided that straight hair was something to be proud of and curly hair a cause for shame?

I searched for the beauty that was permanent and abandoned the idea of borrowed looks that were superficial. I treated my curls with more respect, once I learned that Allah’s Messenger (sa) also did not have straight hair. I began to see humour in a new light, too. When others would make fun of my hair calling me names, I retorted that I would still have half of this hair on my head when they will have none in ten years time. So there was a silver lining to the cloud!

The Quran states: “So whatever you have been given is but (a passing) enjoyment for this worldly life, but that which is with Allah (Paradise) is better and more lasting for those who believe and put their trust in their Lord.” (Ash-Shura 42:36)

After making peace with myself, I thanked Allah (swt) for His guidance. I still haven’t given up though. Now I ask Him (swt) to grant my desire in Jannah, Insha’Allah – originally and eternally soft, silky and straight hair. That too minus the blow-drying, Insha’Allah!