I love it when people speak of hijab as being a “solely Muslim” custom. People need to be aware that it is a common, ANCIENT part of the female wardrobe which has been found in MANY different cultures since the dawn of man. They need to get used to the fact that it has been around for thousands of years and will BE around for thousands more to come.
That being said, I am not an advocate of forcing a hijab on anybody. As some one who went from wearing nothing on her head to a 40″ by 40″ wrap of fabric over her head, I will say this: covering is NOT an easy thing to do. It is difficult to know that you may be the target of an insult, a vicious stare, or God forbid, an attack. You have to have nerves of steel to be a hijabi, and most women I know do not have what it takes to be wearing a scarf (even the ones who wear it). This is because you have to be able and ready to defend your choice, physically, mentally and spiritually. This is always in the back of my mind when I step out of my house each day.
There are many different interpretations of what “hijab” means. Some women do not cover their hair and instead wear very modest clothing (as I have noticed amongst many modern Turks, for example). The thing that differentiates me from most other hijabis is that I do not have a gut reaction of anger towards non-hijabi women. Most often times, I have the opposite reaction. This has come from nothing but “on the ground” experience with the Muslim community. Some of the most pious, generous and sincerest Muslimahs that I have met, have not been hijabi’s. It is the God’s honest truth. In fact, I would say that 8 out of 10 Muslimahs that have taught me the most valuable aspects of my Deen……have been non-hijabis. Is it any irony that most of the non-hijabi women that I have come into contact with were the FIRST to remind me of my religion and my purpose on this Earth? I think not. Now would it be nice if they also wore hijab? Sure. But I know that there is more to a person’s soul, than what fabric they put on their body, how much of it they have on, and where they choose to PUT that fabric.
Hijab for me, is more than a commandment from God. Actually, the very first reaction that I had towards seeing a woman dressed in hijab was “my God, she looks like an angel!” It is an ascetically pleasing way for me to dress. It is an elevating way for me to dress. It is a constant reminder of the ideals that I should be aspiring to. It is also a sign post that alerts people that there is a Muslimah in the building, which forces me to constantly be in check of my attitude, manners and character. I know there is Divine Wisdom behind the wearing of this shield. No doubt about it, but it isn’t the only piece to the puzzle. Wearing it doesn’t GIVE you wisdom (as if through some magic osmosis). The wisdom comes from knowing what hijab is to you, and knowing what it is to others and how to navigate the sea of different opinions without diminishing another human being, and their own personal journey, WHILE you are donning it.
That for me, is the key to wearing hijab PROPERLY.
Please report any
broken links to
Copyright © 1988-2012 irfi.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer