10 Jan 2017

Why Do I Wear Hijab?

When I started wearing hijab, I used to get a lot of weird questions. Once in my boarding school, a girl suddenly asked, 'Are you having a bad hair day?' For a minute, I did not understand what she meant. I said Nope. She then continued, 'Ohh, so you have lice then?' My mom checks for that all the time and that was so annoying. I laughed and replied, 'Huh, I doubt that.' She did not stop there. 'Er, is it very cold for you?' I wondered when was it so cold in my locality? I was like, 'Why would you ask that?' Only then she pointed my long flowing headscarf and asked, 'Then why do you wear that on your head?'

That was during my school days and the questions haven't stopped yet. Whenever I meet new people, believe me, I am faced with plenty of ‘curious’ questions. Mostly, the conversation starter is my dress code. 'What are you wearing? Do you wear it all the time, even when you sleep? Are you wearing it by force? Don't you feel oppressed? Why do you have to wear it when women are liberated today?’

I am today's woman too. I go out. I enjoy movies. I love shopping. I read books. I gobble cakes. I worry about my weight, yet I don't follow my diet. I am a girl who wants to make a difference as much as you do. Once on a train journey to my hometown, I met an Australian couple. It was quite an interesting rendezvous with them. They were also keen to know about my headscarf. The headscarf, called the Hijab, is a sign of modesty. Hijab doesn't mean simply wearing the black burqa but there is more to it. The word Hijab is the Arabic word, which means to conceal. In Holy Quran, God asks men and women to observe their modesty for their own benefits. Not only it is intended to cover the hair but the body, mind and soul.

Having grown up in a Muslim household, many things were just handed over to me. And being raised in such a community, I never questioned them. Naturally it becomes my way of life. I am comfortable with what I was given and the hijab was one of them. I literally grew up in it. My dress code gives me freedom and comfort. Covering my head has never been a challenge for me because it has always been a part of my wardrobe. It is as normal as choosing a skirt and a top. Now that, hijab becomes a fashion statement too.



In Hijab, I am identified as a woman who practices Islam. I take pride knowing that many of you can identify me as a Muslim as soon as you see me, simply by the way I dress. Even non muslims greet me with ‘Assalamu Alaikum!’. Besides that, Hijab saves me from the society’s expectation on objectification of what women should look like. My hijab has freed me from such unnecessary expectations and gives me the power to say out loud - I am much more than what you physically see.

Hijab keeps me liberated. On a funny note, yeah, I don't even have to worry about my messy hair when I am in hurry. True that I worry less about my hair-do and makeup. But that doesn't mean I put no effort to make myself presentable. We women naturally like to be beautiful. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when the appearance is put above all the other characteristic that women possess. My hijab reminds me as an individual who wants to be recognized based on personality and not by looks.

Nowadays, wearing minimal has become a part of women's liberation. I too have my own definition for liberty and self respect. If your choice is to wear sleeveless and stilettos, why can’t I choose to be in my scarf? When I am in hijab, I feel so much more in control. I do care about my appearance and love to dress up, but then I have the freedom to choose how much of myself I reveal to the public. I’m glad I stopped seeing myself through others' gaze but through the love of God who values both men and women equally for their good deeds and not for their beauty.

Well, to answer all the questions. No, I don’t have lice and I don’t wear it when I sleep. And yeah, sometimes I do have my bad hair days and sometimes hijab helps me when the weather is cool. But contrary to the popular belief, Hijab is neither an oppression nor inferiority. In fact, it implies power to women.

Hijab is my choice. It becomes my identity. I am not forced to stay in the veil but I choose to wear it, as an expression of my beliefs and my appearance to what's written in the Quran about feminine, modesty and humility.

In hijab, honestly, I feel blessed.

18 comments:

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    1. Good to see you here Surbhi. Keep visiting :)

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  2. I am so happy to read this while you open your thoughts to the Judgemental world out there. Its a great post Meera.

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    1. It's all about our perception. I'm glad you liked it, Upasna :)

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  3. when I see a girl in Hijab my 'respect' for women increased, I remember an American video where three girls show the difference in public stare with & without hijab - that video tells all

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    1. True, after all, hijab implies modesty and respect. Thanks for the read Cifar. :)

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  4. More power to you girl! Clothes some how define a person....in one Mumbai discotheque women with saris weren't allowed in because they weren't cool and hip enough......I as a Hindu women often get stared at because I don't wear traditional clothes all the time.....I remember once as a girl being stared at in a swimming pool because I was the only one wearing a swimming costume. All the other girls wore a skirt and a blouse!

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    1. Yes, clothes define a person and its for our comfort. While tradition is a combination of attitude and attire. Hope the modern world realize it. Thanks Sunita. :)

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  5. I have moved from barely there to a fully covered Hijabian, can't still say I am 100%. I don't wear the Niqab, my abaya is long, but I don't cover my leg with socks and I don't cover my hands with gloves. Like you said, it is totally liberating - you don't have to worry about the latest clothes, the latest makeup, the best of perfumes, you can just be yourself and be content with it, Alhamdulillah, so much of space to think of better things! :)

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    1. Even I don't wear Niqab. I cover my head and wear loose clothing. Be it abaya or loose clothes. Alhamdulillah, we have the choice to stay modest as well as in comfort. And true, hijab gives us so much space to think of better things. Well said, Rafeeda. :)

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  6. Good for you. Genuinely.
    How do you fee about Islamic countries where women are given no choice in the matter, whichever way they feel happy and comfortable in themselves?

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    1. Being content is the best way to live, Chris. I believe the women in Islamic countries are humble enough to accept their laws as their way of life and feel free within, as a follower of Islam. Because from dress code to other matters, Islam is practical and it is not difficult to follow.
      Hope to see you more often here in my blog, Chris. :)

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  7. I think, I can't be comfortable in a hijab simply because I am not raised that way. And, nor will I be comfortable in a micro-mini skirt for that matter, again because I am not raised that way!
    I DO cover my head in temples, in front of octogenarian family members who gets peace to see a 'covered head bahu',to show respect and for many other reasons.. bottom-line is one should wear what one feels comfortable in. Wearing a hijab is ten times better than wearing minimal clothing and feeling awkward.Great post, Meera! Kudos! :) :)

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    1. Sometimes we have to do it to please our elders but then clothes are meant for our comfort. Well said, Kokila :)

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  8. Thank you for that wonderful and eloquent explanation, Meera. I too have been curious to know why some women choose to wear a hijab, but have always been too shy to ask anyone. However, I never thought it was because a woman that wears it had lice, messy hair or anything silly like that. I figured it was worn for religious reasons and wanted to know the meaning behind it. You've explained it very well.

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    1. lol those silly questions were during my school days. I'm glad my post answered your curiosity. It's always a pleasure to see you here, Vasthi. Do visit often :)

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