If I wear the hijab, does that make me less of a woman?
Because we cover ourselves and try to observe modesty. In this world where we have many means of expression, why can’t our hijab be accepted as one of them? Why should our entire being be defined by a piece of clothing? By the religion we practice. They say we’re oppressed, we have no voice, but
the hijab IS our voice.
Through it we speak of our faith, choice, identity, history, courage in a world where less is more and our refusal to be objectified by society. It’s us inviting you to know the person within without the distractions. Instead of speaking about it, listen to it, the things one can learn.
It is enough pressure to know somehow by putting on this clothing we’re expected to represent a whole diverse community of women, we are in no need of further judgment.
In the end, the opinions of others, the criticism, and judgment are irrelevant. We just remind ourselves why and for whom we wear it, and that is all that matters.
As a young child, my parents have always encouraged me, to wear the Hijab. As part of our culture, religion and tradition passed down from generations. As a child, at first, I didn’t like it. Some of my friends did not wear it, and I thought it made me look uncool.
But now as I look back I realize, the uncool thing was that I did not own up to whom I was. I did not like school either, but my parents made me go anyway –just like how every other parent out there encourages and tell their kids to go to school every day, because that’s what’s best for them. We never knew the value of it until we grew up.
That’s the same as my Hijab. As I grew up, I realized the significance of it, and I wearing it became my choice, my identity.
I realized that I am proud of the person I am, and I wanted people to see me and identify me as a Muslim woman. I want to be differentiated from a man, but not be treated less than one. I realize that my hijab feminizes me, and that there is NOTHING wrong with that.
There is nothing wrong with making a choice that does not bring harm to another soul.
I might say I come from a bit of a religious family, we aren’t extremists but we are very mindful of certain aspects of the deen. If I were to trace back to my parents generation, I could tell you that things were a little lax then. For one my mother didn’t use to wear the hijab….at least not full time, when I ask her why, when she is now a strict observer of it, she says “back then the hijab was an Arab thing”. For her not to wear the hijab then didn’t make her out to be a “bad Muslim” it was socially acceptable, that is, it was her choice. Maybe the times have changed, or she grew more attached to the deen but my mother raised us with the mentality of ‘Muslims wear hijab’. It wasn’t until later in my life that I understood that not all Muslims wear it, you can be a Muslim and also a non hijab wearer, it’s not an identity marker.
Growing up, as a child my head was free. I wore my hair as I wanted, wore whatever I wanted, because my mother understood the importance of freedom as a child. Nevertheless I was not a stranger to the hijab, I had a couple of pairs of pin-less hijabs for kids that my mother would make me wear to the mosque, a prayer or whenever she just felt like it. I never hated it. Then I grew up. People have different opinions of when a girl becomes a “woman” for us it was at the age of nine. I went to an Islamic school, so by the time I turned nine, it was obligatory for me to wear it. I never thought twice about it, to me it was a sort of initiation into the big girls club. From school to the outside world, I wore the hijab. I never questioned it; I just wore it because I was “supposed to”.
Here I am now, and you ask me why I still wear the hijab, no one is here to force me or tell me it’s what I am supposed to do, yet I still wear. If I were to give an answer as hard as it may be, the hijab is how I interpret my religion. This is how I choose to practice, the teachings were put before me, and this is how I received them. I like it; no in fact I love it. Being a hijabi gives me a sense of freedom, identity, security and kinship with all my Muslim sisters. When you pass a fellow hijabi, that look of “I see you “ is the best feeling ever. Just as putting on that velvet red lipstick makes you feel like a boss, wrapping the scarf on my head makes me feel empowered. I am not a perfect Muslim, this piece of clothing isn’t meant to fool anyone, I wear it for me and for me alone
As a child I recall questioning everything but never as a child did I ask “why do we have choices?” it felt good to have options back then and even better now.
We all have to make decisions as we grow; some are difficult, easy or just feel right, like my choice to cover my head. If I need to explain in short why I wear it, my response would sound like this:
“I am comfortable, happy and safe with the choice of my hijab. I don’t think it defines my thoughts or feelings and most importantly what I stand for. It’s not a mark, rather it’s my strength”
I too wonder why this piece of clothe raises so many issues especially in this era. Now my family is not perfect when it comes to religion. And then again, who is? I did not attend a religious school until I was a teen. Before that, I used to practice my religion scarf free. It did feel exhilarating then, the air penetrating though your hair and the beautiful hairstyles Mom used to do on me. Entering my junior years, I decided out of choice and I could say, learning more about my religion, to start wearing a scarf. Changing schools to a religious one, I was glad to see students observing the same thing. There I further got more insight into my religion and reasons as to why it was emphasized for women. Now, one could say I love it for the wrong reasons but I cannot seem to do without it. It is so good for winter, in bed as well as outside where the harsh cold winds give others colds. I love it because I can wear my hair however, without judgment for my hairstyle while looking at others who anxiously wonder weekly where to make their hair and how to do it. I love it because it shapes my face ever so beautifully and all I need to do is change the color of my scarf. I love it because I feel it sets me apart from every other girl. I love it because it provides me with a constant reminder of my duties and responsibilities and how I should be as a Muslim. Perhaps through this I appear flawed; I am exactly that. Perfectly flawed and proud.
A personal choice of no consequence to others, so own it, say it loud and proud.
MY Hijab, MY choice