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 Why I wear my HIJAB?

September 25, 2008 by alinahasni


Salam everybody.


Long time no blog ey 


Ramadhan mubarak everybody! As I was browsing through unfinished drafts in the folder, I came across this piece which I have written not long ago. It’s about my experience wearing the hijab through out my life.  Please read and leave comments 





I started wearing the hijab when I was 7. It was more of a school uniform for me because my first primary school was an islamic primary school Irsyad in Pahang, so it was an on and off thing for me. Later, it was in my primary school in Wales that I came up to my mom and asked ‘can i not wear the hijab, for just one day? only one day!!’ . Because that was the first time I felt alienated amongst other little girls with ribbons and flowers on their hair.


Back in the days, even parents were giving the eyeballs seeing me with a scarf drape around my head. No, really. Honestly, I can still recall, they were utterly shocked seeing a girl with a scarf covering the hair. I took it at that time, there weren’t that many Muslims wearing the hijab. Plus it was a primary school, so it’s pretty much a new thing to the school. BUT. I carried on swimming lessons and out to PE (physical exercise) with shorts abiding the school rules.


Friends asked why do i have a diaper on my head (dont get me started on names they called me..diaper-head was pretty common..oh..and towel-head..). I was barely 8 years old when I moved to Wales, so my answers to them changes according to the season: In winter, I would tell them that the scarf kept me warm; in summer, because the sun would damage my hair; it gets better in autumn and spring since it always rain, yep you guessed I pretty much have my own excuses to wear the ‘diaper’ on my head. That was a very long time ago, when people barely know about Islam in the west in comparison to now.


After 9/11, it was different. I was in college by then. The view from the West changes towards Muslims around the world. The following week after 9/11, I got stares even from my close friends.


It was a hard time for me. For us, hijabis. For the brothers, it was different, they were not being discriminated like us sisters. Our hijabs gave us sisters, the identity as Muslims. Wearing a hijab was not easy especially when you were constantly being stared at as if you’re some kinda cancer to the community all year round. Thankfully the college held an anti-racial campaign to support us, especially practicing Muslims survives the psychological impact from 9/11.


As a teenager, who worked part-time as a domestic assistant at an elderly home that time, again, my answer changes when the elders in the home asked me why I wear my hijab. Not being able to come up with a good constructive answer, I answered according to their level of understanding. Most of the time, I still found more and more excuses to tell them why I wear the hijab: rain, snow etc. And I have wondered throughout my life, what is the best answer to give to everybody. The answer which does not only relevant to those with religion (ie those who believe in God), but also to my friends and colleagues who are agnostics, who are always sceptical about the existence of God. Just one simple answer, that can be used to answer at any case.


It was later in Moscow that I started knowing the essence of hijab. The answer is ‘unity’. And I found this answer when I was swimming with my friends in a nearby in-door pool at a leisure center. Yes, swimming. Before going off into the pool, there are rows of showers (without curtains), for people to have a quick rinse. Normally, people shower with their swimming suit on before going off into the pool. The trickiest part was to shower AFTER you swim. Mind you, it is always the hardest part. Apparently everybody showers without any type garment on. And they were not shy about it. Hmm, and I found this very strange, and personally very very offensive. Up until one day, we swam with an old lady, a granny even (a very active granny rather,very sportive for a granny hehe). And with old people, especially women, they are concern about how their aging is projected to their skin. As much as people look deep into one person irregardless of age, we can’t help but also look at their physical appearance. At least that’s how I felt growing up in the west, where everybody is judged based on their appearance. So during the regular showering post-swimming, I feel that she is rather uncomfortable with her appearance. If I may say, most of the elderly wear modest swimming attire rather than showing off more of their skin. This old lady apparently really like how we dressed whilst swimming. And it made me realize that,the essence of hijab is being uniformly united.



This is the best answer for me so far. Islam does not segregate people based on their physical features and appearance. Islam is adil, justified. I would quote from the below post by our writer acabeire “So what is Adil? Adil is putting the right things in the right place.” By incorporating uniformity (ie all Muslim women must cover their aurah), Allah swt has created a sense of equality amongst us, women. We are not judged by our physical appearance, but based on the things we do and contribute as part of the community. Islam define a woman’s beauty not by accounting the action of exhibiting a half exposed body, or the fascination that the opposite sex has for her, rather it is by her modesty, piety and moral conduct.


In Islam a woman feels a great sense of security and enjoys a high status of honour and dignity within her home and out. THAT is a woman’s real worth.


So my simplest answer is: unity; as hijab ties muslim women spiritually and emotionally. We have a sense of belonging even without knowing one another =)







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