Following on from my forced marriage series, I got the idea of doing a series on hijab after I posted a picture of Bee on my FB with a scarf draped over her and received comments that we were brainwashing our children. So I wanted to do a series of posts to show what hijab means to us, that we are not all forced to wear it; nor are we oppressed by wearing it.
I am pleased to be able to share this wonderful post by Umm Yusra as the first post in this series. She has shared her hijab story and eloquently explained what hijab means to us.
“… Let them draw their head-coverings (khumur) over their necks and bosoms (juyub). And let them not display their charms to any but their husbands…” (Nur:31)
The hijab: a controversial piece of fabric that almost everyone has a viewpoint on, yet millions of Muslim women around the world wear it with a commitment that is unmatched.
This is a brief story of how I came to wear the hijab and what it means to me.
I was 11 when I first started wearing the hijab. I have no idea why I did, because my mum didn’t and neither did anyone else I actually knew at the time. But I liked the idea and wore it to school.
Throughout the 5 years in secondary school I wore it on and off but mostly on. There was no real Islamic reasoning behind my hijab therefore it didn’t matter to me when it came off. (Astaghfir’Allah)
Then at the age of 16 I got more interested in Islam and decided that it was something I needed to wear all the time. My conviction for the hijab became stronger when I went to university. It became a part of me. I didn’t think twice about it being on my head despite the many anti-hijab stories the media threw at us.
And I think the most important thing to note about the hijab is that, yes, many women may wear it because it defines them, gives them identity, differentiates them for being a Muslim woman, makes them feel like they have a choice. But what makes the hijab a hijab is that it is a direct command from Allah (see Quranic verse at top). And for a Muslim, a command from Allah is not to be taken lightly.
Just like we Muslims pray five times a day, just like we earn halal money and eat halal food, all because Allah has commanded us to do so, we too wear the hijab for the same reasons.
By following the rules Allah has set for us we define our commitment to Him. We find extreme comfort in pleasing Him. We go to many lengths to do this; because our ultimate purpose in this life is to worship Him in the way He has told us to. And for this reason alone, no matter how bright the sun shines and no matter how much our heads hurt, not an inch of our hijab moves because we know that it will count for us on the Day when Allah will bring us to account for each and every action in this world.
In regards to the many nightmare stories that exist about how the hijab devalues a woman, how it is used to keep her out of sight, out of society, how it is forced upon the Muslim woman; it’s very important to note that without understanding the correct teachings of Islam, both Muslims and non-Muslims alike won’t be able to understand the reasoning behind the hijab or anything else Muslims do. It’s very easy and even shallow to look at the hijab and see it as a sign of oppression, when you don’t want to respect a person for choosing to worship the Creator.
We live in a world where the sexualisation and objectification of women has become so normal that we don’t even notice it, and I think because the purpose of the hijab doesn’t meet the criteria set by todays ‘improved’ society, people think it’s ok to point fingers at it.
It’s not OK! Because by pointing fingers at the hijab, I feel my dedication to my religion is not being taken seriously. And as a Muslim woman I feel myself having to constantly justify why I wear it and somehow fit it into what is acceptable by people who oppose it. So, no! I won’t try and make justifications for the hijab on the basis of freedom of choice or independent ideas, I’m justifying it on the basis that I love to worship my Creator and therefore choose to wear it.
So don’t look at the hijab as a form of restriction on women, look at the woman herself. And imagine how brave, how sincere and how convinced she is in hijab that it doesn’t bother her to be odd in this society, where looks are everything. She is able to escape the expectations the world throws at women to look a certain way and instead she finds joy in doing something that aids her to be a content slave of Allah.
By Umm Yusra from www.gildeddunya.wordpress.com