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Why do you wear that? (Hijab)

On a previous post titled Funny, this comment was left:

Anonymous said... myhijab, whats ur usual response to the question?
May 10, 2008 9:28 AM

If you have read 'Funny' you will know that that question is concerned with why I wear my hijab, often asked by strangers anywhere, at anytime.

I just want to say thank you to anonymous for giving me a reason to blog this morning!

First of all, my answer is more indepth when different people ask the question. If I am shopping and someone decides to ask me why I wear the hijab, obviously my answer is going to be quick and to the point as I don't have 15 minutes to discuss with them why I, personally, wear the hijab.

If the person asking the question is a complete stranger, I tell them it is because I am a modest Muslim woman, and if I want to follow my religion faithfully and correctly, then I should wear the hijab. I tell them that it is a very personal decision.

If the person asking is someone I have known for a short time (ie work) then I usually say that it is the next natural step for me. I tell them that my religion is a very big part of my life. I tell them that God has told Muslim women to guard their modesty, and I feel that hijab helps me guard my modesty. Also that it works for me in many aspects of my life: I have more respect from people in general and the hijab helps me remember who I am, that life is short and that my Creator put me on this earth and can take me away from it at any given moment; only He knows when. My hijab is also something people can ask me about, hopefully an avenue for seeing that Muslims and the hijab are not a threat to anything or anybody.

Just yesterday I was asked by a relative why I wear the hijab. Ultimately, it is all of the above, but more. Studying the Holy Quran, I know that it does not explicitely say that women should cover their heads with fabric, but it is implied. Sure I could go into the argument that this is therefore proof that Muslim women are not obliged to wear the hijab, but I won't. Not because I can't, but because it does not sit well with me. I would rather argue that it may not be mandated by Islam, but that I would rather wear the hijab, just in case that it is mandated. Err on the side of caution, if you will.

The hijab does not bring me hardship. On the contrary. Because of my hijab I have been confronted by many people and issues I may not have been confronted with had I not worn hijab. I have learned a great deal about myself. I have learned that people are just
afraid for themselves, rather than afraid of me. I have learned that it is not about people accepting us as Muslims in their society, but that as Muslims we should not expect to be accepted. The media has painted a horrid picture of what Islam and Muslims are, and if I were a non-Muslim, I would not like the Muslims portrayed by the media also. The Muslims in the media show a people who are after blood and will not settle until the world is Muslim, even if by force.

I know, as do many of you, that this is not true. However, the hijab for me has helped me open up dialogue with people who may think this way. In the first instance they look at me with disgust, decide to say "Why do you wear
that?", and end up walking away having heard a Muslim woman able to string two words together, having not preached to them but explained herself the best way that she can. They may walk away feeling pity, rather than hatred for me (as has been expressed a couple of times) for whatever reason, but in my opinon, pity is the lesser of the two evils.

I think that
had God said, believing women should cover their heads, there would be good reason for it. Covering my head means that I endeavour to cover my arms, my chest, my neck, and my legs, as for me hijab is not complete unless these areas are also covered. It means I am ready to pray at any given moment, not having to worry about carrying around with me prayer clothes. It means I get more 'Salam Alaikum' from people who would not have recognised me as a Muslim had it not been for my hijab. It means that I am recognised as a Muslim in any society, helping me grow within my identity as a Muslim woman.

Hijab also means that I can speak openly about my beliefs in my religion without being judged. Let me explain this. I have always had something to say about Islam. Being a Muslim has always meant something major to me in my life. I always end up in discussions about God and Muslims and Islam. And unfortunately, there are many people out there who believe that you cannot be a 'true' Muslim woman if you do not wear the hijab. Her word holds no weight in a discussion about Islam, for the uncovered woman can't really know anything about Islam, can she? (please do note the sarcasm).

So after having worn hijab for a long while now, I have realised that what I say about Islam is actually accepted and taken into consideration. I am no longer that uncovered girl who thinks she knows things about Islam, I am that covered mu'mina (believer) who has studied and has come to some weighty considerations. Thus, although I did not originally wear the hijab to be heard, I have found hijab to be a valuable tool in just that, I am heard. And that means very much to me.

In the end, the argument of whether hijab is an obligation or not, is not an issue for me. At least I know that if it were, I am doing the right thing, and if it wern't, I am still doing the right thing. I am following my religion the way that I see fit, as religion is very personal, made up of personal endeavours, not done for anyone other than my God.

So, when Allah (swt) said that women should guard their modesty, for me it means with hijab.

That is why I wear my hijab. Posted by MyHijab at
9:22 AM 

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