To answer a few questions I’ve been asked my whole life, the “thing” on my head is called a hijab. No, I am not bald, no I don’t wear it in the shower, no I don’t sleep with it on and finally, no, I am not being forced to wear it.
I have committed to the hijab for 10 years now but it was never something that I thought I would actually commit to wearing. At a young age my feelings on the hijab were clear to myself as well as my parents.
I was naive to the meaning of it and I didn’t want to wear it for the simple reason of not wanting to cover my hair.
When I started wearing the hijab, I didn’t fully understand it. It was something other female members of my family wore so I did as well.
I was introduced and exposed to it by my family, but to stay dedicated to it was my personal choice.
As I grew older and learned more about my hijab and about the strong women who wore it and who played important roles in Islam such as Lady Fatima, daughter of the Prophet Muhammad and Lady Zainab, granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. I began to feel more attached to it. My hijab makes me feel closer to my faith and to God.
It allows me to demystify the stigma that surrounds Muslims, specifically women.
I find empowerment through the lack of sexualization from my own body and reject any objectification. In today’s world ‘modesty’ is looked as outdated or primitive. However, Islam’s point of view of modesty is meant to empower. To me modesty is a feminist tool of self-respect and demanding respect from others.
Think of it as, I only show you what I want to show you.
The literal meaning of the hijab is to cover or conceal. It isn’t a requirement in Islam, meaning is it isn’t one of the five pillars.
A lot of countries who force hijab on their women usually do it for cultural or political purposes and not for religious purposes. To force anything upon anyone in Islam is prohibited.
Because I live in Canada, I am able to do what I’m actually supposed to, which is make my own decision about wearing the hijab.
In wearing my hijab, I don’t only represent myself, but I represent my entire religion — a lot of pressure, right?
I become an immediate spokesperson or encyclopedia for Islam when I walk into a room. But I’m okay with that. You would know a police officer or a doctor by their uniform, and you would know my religion by my hijab.
I always think to myself that I may be the first or only Muslim/hijabi someone has ever met and so I try to make a good impression immediately to crush any misconceptions or assumptions some might have after taking one glance at me.
The truth of the matter is, I love wearing the hijab.
Because wearing a hijab contributes to my character and how I carry myself, my values, my self-respect and respect for others. It is up to me, as it should be for everyone, to decide what I do or don’t do with my body.
I may not love the rare “give me back my towel” comments, or those hot summer days where I can’t be bothered to have something wrapped around my head and I may not love the uncomfortable stares I get sometimes.
I may not love it every single moment of every day but it’s something I can’t imagine not having in my life.