Being a young muslim woman today, we are faced with our fair share of challenges. Both internally and through external factors, what with all the talk of hijab and niqab bans and discrimination based on hijab in the workplace. I thought this post would be a valuable addition to the conversation and to say in my own words, what my hijab means to me. Often in conversations about muslim women, we are somehow left out of the process and incorrect assumptions are made about us. Surely, nobody except us, hijab wearing women know what it feels like. Thus it is important for us to share our unique and valid experiences, when and where we can.
So, to elaborate: I didn’t always wear the hijab / headscarf. I was about 15 when I made the decision to wear a hijab full time. It had been on my mind for a while and finally during a school holiday, I made my mind up and started practicing how to wrap it and which ‘style’ suited me. Now every new hijabi knows the struggles of finding a way which is both comfortable and easy to fit in to the everyday schedule. You don’t want to be in a flustered state every morning, pins all over the place! Anyway, I want to emphasise that this wasn’t a move that was forced upon me, it was entirely my choice and my family supported me fully. I think this is a key thing to understand, the hijab, the true meaning of it is based on a womans’ choice and freedom. It isn’t a tool of oppression, the way it is constantly portrayed in the media. If you have any questions, ask a muslim, I guarantee that we’ll be friendly and be fully willing to answer any queries! I for one, love when people ask me about aspects of my faith, instead of making hasty judgements. Don’t be scared to ask, it’s all about spreading education and demystifying things.
When wearing my hijab, I feel safe, I feel free and I feel 100% like me. It is now part of my identity, and I would never want to go out without it on. Even contemplating the idea is strange. Once I wore my hijab, I felt less anxious and also less concerned with my appearance. Islam encourages taking care of oneself, don’t get me wrong but I find myself focusing on more important things than how I look. I never used to go out without eyeliner on and my hair straightened every single day, that used to be a LOT of pressure. Now I feel comfortable going out without any makeup and I think my hijab has helped in the process of loving my natural face. It means a lot to me, after all, hijab isn’t just a piece of fabric which you put on your head. It is the way you speak to people, the way you conduct yourself and your overall character. Hijab transcends the physical and is something you work towards bettering. I know I am by no means perfect and there is still a lot I could improve on but it is a gradual process and we can change for the better day by day.
I hope you guys enjoyed this post. I have some more life / personal posts in the works, so let me know what other topics you’d like me to touch upon.
Until next time, Rumaanah x