I have worn Hijab all my life.
Well. Not ALL my life 🙂
I started wearing it for fun when I was 10 or 11.
I admired how it looked on my mother, my aunties, my older cousins.
In the same way a little girl wants to put on make – up and high heels, because she cannot wait to be all grown up and dress like her mother or big sister.
I also wanted to wear Hijab sooo badly.
In fact I used to steal my mother’s Hijabs. And wear them in my room, looking at the mirror and making cute faces. 🙂
My mother would tell me not to wear it because I was still too young. In fact, many times, she would make me go back to my room to take off the stolen Hijab or abaya (Islamic outer dress) I would stomp off to my room muttering in disgust. Lol. Other times, she would just shake her head and indulge me.
I have loved Hijab for as long as I can remember.
I love how beautiful it is.
How the woman just shines with …an inner glow of …righteousness. Noor.
Headscarves can be black. Or white. Or multi-coloured. They can be little triangles, or strips of long cloth, or even massive swathes of fabric. Cotton, or silk, or satin. Polka dots, leopard print, plain black.
They can be called: Shela, Ilhaaf, Duppata, Scarf, Hijab, Voile.
So many names. So many varieties.
All with the same message.
I have ALWAYS been proud to be a Muslim woman.
Even post 9-11. Or 7-7. I kept my Hijab on.
1 week post 7-7, in London, I walked with my Hijab-covered head held high.
And so did many other women.
Every day, we put on a little triangle or square piece of cloth on our heads, and head out into the world.
To do Jihad.
Jihad in Islam means to fight, yes. But not necessarily to fight with another person.
The battle between you and your conscience is also Jihad.
In fact, it is the biggest jihad. The toughest jihad. A Jihad that we have to do every day.
For Muslim women, one of the biggest Jihad is, the Jihad of the Headscarf.
We ignore the looks.
And the sneers.
And the cold shoulders.
The people on the bus who will not sit next to you.
The extra security checks on flights.
The co-workers, and class mates who keep away from you. Who exclude you from events/friend groups because they fear you and do not understand you.
The shuffling in an elevator, as people try to keep as physically distant from you as possible.
The sympathetic looks from kind old ladies.
Somehow, those sting more than the evil stares.
Please, dear world.
I am not oppressed.
I am Hijabi. And Proud.
This little piece of cloth on my head.
It means I serve my God.
It means I preserve my chastity.
It means I value myself. I am worth more than my looks.
It means my religion considers my intellect and personality worthy. More valuable than transient beauty.
It means I am proud.
Proud to be Muslim.
So this post is dedicated to all the Hijab wearing Jihadists out there.
Every day, you walk out of your house, and face the world with your shoulders back, and your stride purposeful.
Allah sees you.
I see you.