More than just a Headscarf

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Guest writer TryingtomakeaDifference reminds us to keep the essence of the hijab into focus.


Hijab – It is an idea I have grown up with. It was not the result of a life-changing event or a sudden religious epiphany. I started covering my hair (on and off at the beginning) when I was about ten years old. Before you jump to any conclusions – let me make it clear that my parents did not force me into it. But it wasn’t until much later that I actually started wearing the ‘Hijab’ – until I learnt that true Hijab was more than a piece of cloth that covered your hair.

I always liked the idea of wearing hijab when I was younger- it made me feel special though I couldn’t really put a finger on why that was. Hijab was not something I dived into headfirst; I waded into it step by step. And by wading into it I don’t mean I put it on piece by piece – rather I mean I learned to appreciate the value of it day by day as I got a little older and just a tad bit wiser!

I learnt over the years that Hijab is not just a headscarf, long sleeves, and a garmet that flows to my ankles. I learnt that hijab is a way of life. It is the way you walk down the street. It is the tone of your voice when talking to members of the opposite sex. It is the places you hang out in after school and the friends you have around you all the time. Simply put – It is the way you carry yourself. A scarf on your head cannot simply define who you are. You can wrap a pashmina around your head but still be a flirt. You can wear long sleeves but still l look at all the wrong thngs. You can be covered from head to toe and still not be in a state of Hijab (and yes, here I refer to Hijab as a state you are in, not just an object wrapped around your head). However, the way you carry yourself can define the person you are. The way you walk can show modesty. The way you talk can earn you respect. The places you hang out in can show your values. And the friends you have can be a reflection of who you are.

When you think of Hijab the right way – It does not seem constraining or opressive. Rather, you will realize that it is a shield that is handed to you so you can better protect yourself – not a weapon of cruelty used to unnecessarily torture you.

The next time you walk down the street in your Hijab, remember that it is about more than just your headscarf. Remember that Allah wants you to be protected. Allah wants you to be protected because you are special – very, very special! For who would go through all the effort to protect something that was worthless in the first place?

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