Am I oppressed? Wearing hijab

About 2 weeks ago, I made the decision to start wearing hijab and by hijab I mean covering my hair with a scarf. It has been something on my mind for a while, years in fact, but I have just not been brave enough to do it.

I was close to it a few times, but then my parents would have a go about me not wearing it….. And I had vowed to myself I would never let them bully me into anything again after the way I was married.  Now that I am married and have children, they cannot tell me how to live my life; it was my battle and it is between me and Allah (swt) if I wear it or not.

I know that was not a good excuse, that I didn’t want my parents to think they had ‘won’, I wasn’t doing it for them anyway, but I guess I was just looking for an excuse not to.

My hubby had made it clear that he would like me to wear it, he mentioned it once when we got married and then left it to me. He again mentioned it after his hajj but did not force me in any way. He knows the more you try to force me into doing something the less likely I am to do it. I don’t take well to being told what to do.

The thing is I am not the most fashion conscious out there. I don’t wear make up and I always dress conservatively too, never have my arms showing and always wear loose clothes. I don’t style my hair; it is just dragged into a ponytail every morning for the school run….more often than not it is a complete frizzy mess especially if I have just washed it. So it was not about me feeling less attractive if I started wearing it.

I guess I was just scared of the reaction I would get, having heard of fellow muslims experiencing abuse and even having it pulled off. (If someone does that to me I am likely to turn round and punch them one).

The looks, including looks of contempt.

The fear in peoples eyes that seems to associate scarfs and muslims with terrorists.

That feeling of being looked down upon for wearing a scarf, some even think you are uneducated.

The looks of pity from people who think you are oppressed by the menfolk and are being forced to wear it.

Yes some women are forced to wear it…I won’t deny that, but I believe that in the majority of cases, women wear it because they want to, because they are proud to be seen in it and making it clear they are muslim. And most importantly they are fulfilling part of their faith.

“O Prophet, tell your wives and daughters and the believing women to draw their outer garments around them (when they go out or are among men). That is better in order that they may be known (to be Muslims) and not annoyed…” (Qur’an 33:59)

“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; and that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands…” (Qur’an 24:30-31)

Although I have only been wearing it for 2 weeks it does feel like I have been wearing it for longer. I got a few curious looks from mums on the school run and at toddlers group but noone said anything except one friend who kindly said ‘I like your new look!’

I have sadly seen a couple of attitude changes. There is a post office I pop into now and then and the man at the counter is usually quite friendly; he barely said 2 words to me when I went in with my hijab on. I am hoping he was just having a bad day.

I have also had one incident when a man blatantly stared at me and didn’t stop at a zebra crossing.

If anything, these incidences make me more determined to wear it.

The people that matter are happy that  I am wearing it. So happy that they have given me free items when popping into a shop to  build up my hijab collection and I have mentioned I have just started wearing it.

I am Muslim.

And I am proud to be Muslim.

Why do people feel threatened by the fact that someone wants to cover their hair anyway? (If anything it keeps your head nice and warm in winter!)


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  • I am sorry to read you have noticed some negative change in attitudes since making the decision to wear the hijab. I think your post is important as it shares the fact that it is mostly through personal choice that women wear the hijab, as this is often misrepresented, and it is through proper understanding and respect of each others cultures that the negative attitudes will change.

  • Well done you for following your own course and coming to your own decision that was right for you. When I was still in London a friend of mine suddenly started wearing a hijab for reasons similar to yours. When I asked her about it she was really touched that I had noticed and seemed to care. Years later she is still wearing it and she said it was because I encouraged her and didn’t judge. I am sure she gives me far too much credit but we should all walk our own walk.

  • I am Catholic but am currently wearing a head scarf on my head every day now (a pashmina wrapped around). I can’t bear not to wear it and luckily I get admiring glances, especially when I am with my best friend, who wears her Hijab.
    I wore a turban for years when I taught Kundalini Yoga for 6 years so I feel quite at home covering my head.
    Good on you for doing what feels right – I should blog about it too 🙂
    Liska xx
    Liska @NewMumOnline recently posted…Getting Married? Planning a Hen Weekend? Then this blog post is for YOU!My Profile

  • I love Ruth’s line in the comments above about all walking our own walk. People should generally be more accepting of others – I see people heavily tattooed being looked at differently on the street to. Why do people crave for everyone to look the same? What a boring place the world would be if we did. Sorry to hear you have had a few negative looks -but I love how they make you stronger x

  • IM sorry you have faced any negative reaction to wearing your hijab
    I would pay no attention, its your decision and in the very least you don’t have to worry about a bad hair day 😉

  • It makes me sad that you’ve noticed a change – it’s 2014 and we should all be free to be whoever we want to be. Some people are just small minded and I think you should be proud that you are being who you want to be.

  • So sorry to hear that people have been ignorant and acting differently towards you for wearing your hijab. I think you should do what makes you happy as if you feel you want to wear it you should. It’s not like you go around pointing out at Christians wearing a cross round their neck. I’m pleased for you that you waited until you wanted to wear it rather than any external pressures you might have faced x

  • I find it unbelievable that in this day and age, people are so ignorant around religion and customs. I think the reasons you give for wearing it are excellent ones. No one else should tell you what to do in any religion (I think) as you say, it’s between you and Allah. Good for you!

  • I am sorry to hear you have had negative comments about wearing a hijab. I personally think they are beautiful and what a great way of disguising a bad hair day :0)

  • Well done on such a huuge step. I think the best wearers of hijab are those that make the step by themselves and aren’t pushed into it. There’s never any point forcing someone to wear it if they want to because, well, what are they actually achieving? But when you put it on yourself for the intention of being closer to Allah swt then that is something that’s come from inside, to reflect and change and its such a big thing. Xx

  • You have to do what feels right for you in this life, and from the sound of it, you’ve found the right path. Just ignore everyone else. And is that last pic on your blog of your hijab? It’s absolutely beautiful if so!

  • Good for you missus! You’re totally right, it needs to be something YOU want to do, not be pushed into doing. So sad to hear people’s attitudes have changed, but really admire your attitude and strength 🙂

  • Congrats on being there. I am sure it’s not a small achievement to start wearing hijab and walk around the people who would stare at new look. But I love your determination… May He help you continue on that, Aameen! 🙂

    Regarding the people- I guess no point in blaming them, it’s all media hyped stories and many of them have less access to the truth!!!
    MumLee recently posted…10 things…My Profile

  • And yes, many people think that all women are forced on to wearing head scarf. Though there are woman who are forced to many are there chosen it as well.

  • Well done Foz. May God ease the difficulties you might encounter and bring peace to you in this beautiful decision you take.
    I think people are afraid because they don’t understand or don’t want to understand. I’ll take the exemple I have in front of me – my mum. She can’t stand the veil. She tries to be nice with women who wear it, but it implies doing a great effort. She thinks people are going backward in doing so. I am trying my best to explain her that wearing the veil is an act of faith, a free choice for many women. But she refuses to believe me.
    I just hope mentallities could change. But I think it will take time.
    All the best.

  • As long as it’s your choice then it’s not oppression – so do as you feel is right for you. In the area I live you’d never get stared at, ( I don’t think anyway) as there are a LOT of Muslim ladies (and of course men) in the area.

    I have no problem with the hijab, however I find myself a bit uneasy when speaking to ladies who have their faces covered as facial expression plays a HUGE part in an “in person” conversation. (as opposed to a hone conversation) I work in a GP surgery so find myself in this situation quite frequently.
    LadyBanana recently posted…Recently Read – The Son In Law by Charity NormanMy Profile

  • You are incredibly strong and I applaud you for choosing your own path. You are not the first I’ve heard to suffer from these negative reactions, which is a real shame. The key thing is to do what is important for your heart.

  • I admire your decision. In my husband’s family very few women wear hijab, and he never insisted on me wearing it myself (although he sometimes tells me how nice I look in a headscarf ;)). I feel like I’m getting there, slowly, but then I guess I keep losing my courage and start worrying that it will cause people to talk, especially at work. And I know I shouldn’t really worry about that.

    And there are so many misconceptions about the hijab and “oppression” – I got into casual conversation with the older man I was working with the other day, and he tried to discourage me from even thinking about putting hijab on, as he believes (like many others) that headscarf is a symbol of male domination.

    I’m kinda thinking to use my Pakistan trip and the long break from work as a chance to consider it properly. In sha Allah.