From London to Lebanon the Hijab is one of the most politicized items of women’s clothing around. Required in some countries and completely banded in others, this religious article elicits responses along the entire spectrum of emotions. Yet, in this day and age it’s important to remember that like beautiful snowflakes, each Hijab wearing female is unique. She is someone’s mother, sister, daughter and friend and the reasons she chooses or doesn’t choose to embrace the scarf are equally diverse. In an attempt to bridge the divide and share diverse stories of faith, we asked three Hijabis in Oman, England and the United States to join us for a little show & tell.
I never thought that my decision to become a muhajaba aka hijabi would have such a positive impact in my life. My relationship with the hijab is one that started when I was 16 years old. Born to a Christian mom and a Muslim dad, the topic of wearing the veil was never made an issue, which resulted in me being very neutral on the matter.
Contrary to what others may believe, I was not forced to wear it by my male relatives. I choose to do it willingly. It is an obligation for a Muslim woman to cover her hair, but I believe she shouldn’t be forced to wear a hijab, as it affects her life. My close family and friends were very supportive, which I consider a blessing, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t face any challenges along the way. Many questioned my decision, especially due to my age. Personally, it is a form of worship with the aim to get closer to my creator and to show my love and commitment to my religion.
Being a muhajaba has challenged my fashion sense, as I needed to find pieces that were modest yet fashionable to wear. The hijab is not just a piece of cloth that covers your head. It is an act of worship, an identity and a form of modesty. I value my hijab as it has taught me that I matter and I should stay true to myself and fight for what I believe in.
My aim through my blog and social media is to inspire women to embrace and love who they are and ultimately live a life they love.
As far as wearing my hijab, I started off quite young. The women around me were powerful and I noticed they all wore one. I too wanted to be a powerful woman, a powerful Muslim, and a powerful me. It was hard at first because what I needed was to figure out who I really wanted to be. At that age I was asked if I was really sure. If the Hijab was what I wanted and if it was everything I was looking for. I was about eight years old in Florida and down there, there’s a lot of hate but I wanted what I wanted and what I wanted was to be great. My friends, they didn’t wear one and that didn’t bother me. We were still growing up and working on our deen.
Fast forward to today… over the years where I have grown, I’ve overcome a lot of obstacles and there are things I still don’t know; but the hijab, it keeps me safe. My hijab tells who I am. When asked if I’ll always wear it…..well I mean, that’s the plan.
I hear that around the world Muslimas are being harassed for wearing their hijab by people who do it just for laughs. We are still standing strong because words are just words and with our faith in Allah we can get through the worst. I will admit, its been hard being away from the powerful women I used to know. But now I am one of those powerful women and my hijab is one way it shows.
I hate not being able to participate in a conversation because of my own ignorance. I started University and all these people were having religious conversations, using terminology and jargon I could not decipher. So I started to read, just so I could partake in the discussions. My journey to practising my faith and wearing my scarf was fuelled by a sense of ignorance not a need for religiosity.
When I was a kid, heaven never appealed to me. The idea of gardens and lakes and an abundance of things did nothing for me, but then I heard someone say you see God’s face and I started to cry. The reason I wear my scarf is because He (in my opinion) commanded me to and He is worthy of worship. It is not because of heaven or hell, good or bad, right or wrong, but because God is God and He asked me to.
I won’t bore you with the clichés of modesty and not being objectified etc, that is all a given. For me it is so much more than those things. It boils down to my faith and my scarf is just one manifestation of how I choose to explore and develop my relationship with God.
Initially I did wonder whether it would hold me back in certain aspects of my life, whether that be sports or work, social or otherwise but honestly, it just hasn’t. I gym in a mix gender gym, I cycle, I swim, I work in construction, a predominately Caucasian male dominated industry. I go to concerts and dinners. Just regular stuff people do. I don’t really think about my scarf at all. It doesn’t inform my decisions or interactions. It’s just part of how I choose to express myself. No different to jewellery or hair dye. It’s just an aspect of me. It is not me.
Please feel free to share your Hijab Story in the comments.