More than the Average Question

14

our-lives

Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh to all our sisters and brothers. And welcome, dear readers, to the launch of “I Got It Covered,” the personal website about hijab and the women who wear it.

Here at I Got It Covered (IGIC for short), we hope to address questions you might have or get about hijab — like the common, “Aren’t you hot in that?” We’ve heard it so often it’s crystallized into the quintessential question of the summer day. Never mind that it will be sweltering hot outside, or that the people asking will have sweat pouring down their own faces; we hear it again and again, with a mix of pity and curiosity and incredulity, whereas lingering, unasked questions, lie behind the surface one.

And personal experiences with hijab do go beyond average questions and pieces of cloth covering our heads. The hijab shapes experiences and identities for millions of Muslim women everywhere, and we’re working to bring some of these stories to you!

Consider for example, the following accounts. The names of our heroes may have been changed, but the incidents are true. And you might even be able to relate to them:

— At sixteen years old, Sarrah was modestly covered in her jilbab and hijab. Although Sarrah was in high school, it wasn’t her first time visiting the university’s library. She walked up the paved sidewalk leading to the doors of the library, and noticed a group of rowdy university students, cigarettes held loosely between their fingers. Minding her own business, she continued up the path, getting closer to the double doors, when foamy spit was hurled her way. Sarrah blinked. She looked down at the large wet spot in front of her feet, and then glanced up at the laughing students. Wincing, Sarrah began walking again, thoughts of patience washing over her rising anger. The crowd was behind her now, but she picked up the last remarks of one of the students. “Hey man. That wasn’t cool.”

— Aisha and her mother were in a department store, wearing hijab as always. They wore their head scarves comfortably, and in a city with so many Muslims, without much incident. Sure, they didn’t particularly like the occasional stares or the increased attention, but it really was a small inconvenience, and they understood why people looked. And so, down the fabric isle they walked, looking at materials, when a young girl came up to them. “What are those?” she asked, pointing to their heads. Aisha and her mother glanced at each other, but before they could answer, the girl went on, “Do you wear them for your religion?” They smiled and said “Yes.” “Well,” said the girl, “I think they’re beautiful.” And then she walked away.

— Before Huda made her decision, she fought an internal struggle. She already wore a head scarf and covered everything but her hands and face, but she wanted more. She wanted to cover more modestly, to stay away from bright colors, to maybe even wear the niqab. By the end of her debate with herself, she decided niqab wasn’t possible for the moment, and she would have to settle for something less. She didn’t realize how the darker colors and flowing gowns she chose to wear would mark her as different. And instead of a few stares every now and then when she went out, she constantly felt people’s eyes picking at her, looking, wondering, asking without words. In the first few weeks after her decision, she realized she had never felt more isolated from the society she lived in. She had also never felt so close to Allah, and the sweetness of faith made them some of the best weeks of her life.

Once again, welcome to I Got it Covered: the place where these strong yet silenced voices are heard loud and clear. The place where religion and reality tie together. The place where you will learn,

“Yes, it’s hot.
Yes it’s hard.
Yes it’s different.
But I love wearing it!”

Why? Find out and share your own stories here. Whether you wear hijab or not, make yourself at home. Relax, as you read and discover some very interesting Muslim sisters, all living in the same 21st century.

Yours,
The IGIC Staff

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