Thursday, September 4, 2008

On Hijab.

"So...if I see your hair does that mean I have to marry you?"
"Do you shower with that on?"
"Were you born with it?"
"Can you only wear black?"
"Aren't you hot in that thing?"
"Do you sleep in that?"
These are a few of the many many questions my friends and I have been asked in reference to my hijab/scarf, the piece of cloth I wear on my head.

And then I get the more serious comments like:
"F***ing Mozlems"
Luckily, I don't get too much of those, which is why I couldn't list more than two. I've heard that others have been called "towel head", too. People are so creative.
I was going to do an informative piece on hijab and everything but I decided not to. This blog is about sharing experiences so I thought I'd write about my thoughts on hijab instead. If you would like to know more about hijab or Islam in general in terms of facts and proof in the Qur'an and stuff, you can always leave a comment here or in any post or you can click on some of the links provided at the end of this post.

I love wearing a scarf. It gives me a sense of identity. I'm not known by my looks, but how I am as an individual {This is not a memorized line, by the way. I know I've heard this one before and you may have, too. But I really honestly feel that this is true}. Conversations with people are more on a personal level, in my opinion.
I started wearing hijab when I was 11 years and 8 months old. There's no reason why I specifically remember how long. I just do. I went to an Islamic school so maybe that had something to do with m decision to wear it early. My parents never forced me to wear it. Ever. My parents are practicing Muslims so I guess the Islamic environment from school and home made my decision easy. I learned at an early age that hijab gives you respect. When I was 9 years old there was this boy who really bothered me and would follow me all around school. I found out he liked me..and I told the teacher! haha {I was nine, okay?} Oh, and btw, I didn't like him back so the love story ends here. So anyways, one day I get this short haircut I don't really like. I think to myself: what better way to cover up my short hair than to wear a scarf? So the same day I started wearing the scarf to school was the same day StalkerBoy left me alone. Coincidence? I think not. Needless to say, I started wearing a scarf to school from that day on. One: StalkerBoy forgot about me in a second and two: I felt guilty using the hijab to cover up a bad haircut so I left it on at school.

Hijab is not just a piece of cloth on your head: it's a whole package. Hijab literally means "to cover/shelter/screen/protect". It refers to modesty. Modesty isn't just about covering your head; it's about how you dress, talk, walk, interact with people. Everything about you should reflect modesty. Oh, yeah, I also think that hijab is obligatory. Well, I don't think it, it is. There are enough sources in the Qur'an and Hadith {examples/sayings of the Prophet Muhammad Peace and blessings be upon him} that tell women to cover. But there is no compulsion in religion, so one should not be forced to wear it. It's a requirement, but in the end it's up to you to wear it or not.

Perks of wearing Hijab
- I get to represent my religion.
- Bad hair day or bad hair cut? No problem! Don't have time to brush your hair? Slip on a hijab and everyone will be none the wiser
- It can be a fun accessory. ;)
- Random and non-random boys don't check me out. Except maybe in India, but they check out anything that breathes over here. yuck!

"Cons" of wearing hijab
- You stand out. But this can be a good thing, a better opportunity to give people info about Islam when they ask you why you cover.
- It gets hot sometimes. I'm fine in the heat, but some find it hard to cope with. Most people get adjusted. Luckily there's AC everywhere these days. I find that I'm equally hot with or without the hijab in summer. Not that I've gone out without my hijab since I was twelve. But at home and stuff. I see no difference.
- I really don't have any cons about wearing a scarf.

I'm very proud to represent my religion. Being covered up isn't being backwards. It's about respecting yourself. I wear hijab and the only people worth seeing my hair are select people in my life. Hair is a sign of beauty for women, and that beauty shouldn't be displayed for everyone to see. And let's face it, women are way better looking than men any day. We're so much more prettier. :D So I wouldn't want some random guy checking me out. He has no right to look at me in a disrespectful way and I shouldn't give him a reason to.

Sure I like to do my hair and dress up. I love getting compliments. {You know you do, too!} But I don't think that the compliments I get when/if I went out without my scarf are worth it if it means a bunch of random people can see them, too. I'm special, you see. And so are you. We all are. And the only people who should be able to see your beauty are special people. :D

I realize that I've focused on hijab* as a means for protecting myself from others' eyes. But that is the main point of hijab for me. I feel like guys stare too much and I feel that it is really disrespectful to be eyed at like a piece of meat. Wearing the veil demands respect from others and demands that I act in a way that gives me the respect that I deserve. Women all over the world have always been and always will be viewed as sex objects. By covering myself I protect myself from being looked at in that way. I would much rather be perceived as "poor oppressed mozlem" woman {of which I am NOT. Islam has liberated women and given them so many more rights thank you very much, God, btw...future blog post!} than a sex object.

Hijab links in case you're interested:
Wikipedia - general info
Sunnipath - Why hijab?
* by hijab here I mean modesty in appearance, actions, words, etc.


Constructive Attitude said...

I've also heard ppl refer to us hijabis as rag heads.

I'm glad you shared your personal experiences on hijab. I think if people are interested in learning about the hijab then they can find resources anywhere. But by sharing your/our own experiences they're able to see our thoughts/feelings/emotions also.

Great post!!

(btw, i had a stalkerboy too in kindergarten that told me he liked me, and I did you one better, I told my dad..seriously of ALL ppl to tell..LOL)

Just A Spoonful of Sarcasm said...

Interesting post! Never knew anything about them.
Every time my son sees a lady with a scarf on her head he runs up to them and says "I love your beautiful scarf!"
There's a lady that works at an Ikea that we visit occassionally that wears it and I think he has a secret crush on her b/c he always talks about her and her beautiful scarf with sparkles on it.
Ahhh Kids!

Artistic Logic said...

awww @ the comment above ^.....
hehe another good one is "when you shower....does that come off?" i got that one a few times donno if you mentioned it lol...
i liked the post a lot and ze pic is really famous, it was used on fox 2 news for the story about hijabi women not being allowed to sit in view of the cameras at the detroit convention for obama ... because they didn't look the part or something .....or i might be twisting the story
great one =)

Artistic Logic said...

awww @ the comment above ^.....
hehe another good one is "when you shower....does that come off?" i got that one a few times donno if you mentioned it lol...
i liked the post a lot and ze pic is really famous, it was used on fox 2 news for the story about hijabi women not being allowed to sit in view of the cameras at the detroit convention for obama ... because they didn't look the part or something .....or i might be twisting the story
great one =)

Artistic Logic said...

vell i donno why it posted my comment twice... sorries =\

provoking invoking said...

heh. its sad that a lot of women i meet that don't understand hijab are always bringing it up- "you work hard to keep your body in shape; why not show it off?" and others that i work with are always urging me to just take it off. it seems recently i have more issues with women not understanding it than men. the men that ask me about it seem to see the wisdom right away. shows me how much of a confused state women are in.. particularly with the blurred notion of 'feminism' and whatnot.

of course, i do get good comments from women too =)

Chuckle said...

i liked this.

your stalker boy story reminded me of a kid that liked me in kindergarten. he told me that he loved my sweater which had pink hearts on it...and that was the last time i wore it. random story but i had to share.

Chuckle said...

another random thought...

the lady in the picture looks like eva longoria. really. i think it's the nose.

Mrs. Cullen said...


supreem said...

lol. it really is scary the amount of damage people will do because of hijab and being muslim. But nevertheless, we have to deal with it. I mean, i've had my car keyed, tires slashed, hijab ripped off, and literally drinks thrown in my face. So, when people take hijab so lightly I get soo angry.

your post was amazing. :) and I hope that just like hijabi's get tons of harrassment, they don't ever stereotype/profile anyone, even if its in their heads.


......Love said...


1.) Do you have ears under there?
2.) Can you still breathe?
3.) Do your parents know your wearing that
4.) Are you all bald?
5.) Are you really a girl?
6.) do you need a green card?

Shoot me. The ignorance is overwhelming.

Falling Up said...

CA: thanks. And I can't believe I forgot raghead!! Haha you told your dad! But then again you were 5. :D

Just a poonful of sarcasm: ROFL. How cute!!

AL: I didn't know the story behind the pic {I'm in India, okay?}. I just thought it was really pretty and better than my zebra print one. haha.

Proviking: I guess everyone has different experiences. The rude comments I get are mostly from men. And I always get complimented by random women. *shrugs*

Chuckle: haha. I didn't think so many of our love stories would start at such a young age.

Mrs Cullen: haaayyyy

Supreem: oh wow. That's some crazy stuff you went through. Mad props to you for still wearing the hijab. You deserve a standing ovation. InshaAllah I am as strong as you so when I do eventually deal with it, I can with my head held up high.

love: haha. Seriously. Some people can get really obnoxious. And I lost your URL and have been looking for you and am so glad you commented! I gotta bookmark your page.

Kate said...

This is such a great post. I am sorry that you received racism for wearing a hijab. I teach girls that wear these and it gives me a better understanding of what they might be feeling about them!