I couldn’t think of a more catchy line to grab your attention!
Yesterday was a very special day for Muslims (at least in my country and other countries with almost the same time zone). Why? It was Eid!!! You may have heard of people wishing “Eid Mubarak” to Muslims at least once in your life. What does Eid Mubarak mean? ‘Eid’ means celebration, and ‘Mubarak’ means blessed. So basically, blessed celebration!
Did I actually begin my oppressed life? Haha! No, not at all. That’s not the way I’ll put it. It might be the way many other people put it though.
Why? Well, people tend to be very judgmental. Today I’m going to talk about the hijab – a.k.a (very wrongly) the symbol of oppression.
What is the hijab? Hijab is an Arabic word meaning barrier or partition. In Islam, however, it has a broader meaning. It is the principle of modesty and includes behavior as well as dress for both males and females. The most visible form of hijab is the head covering that many Muslim women wear.
Now why did the title say I began my ‘oppressed’ life? Yesterday, I started wearing the hijab.
For many people, the hijab may seem compulsory because many Muslim women wear it. In Islam, we are asked to cover ourselves and dress modestly. This is interpreted in different ways.
I was raised by a family (and extended family) of non-hijabis. My mum and my sister don’t wear it, and neither did I. Recently though I came to understand the reason behind it, and I believed wearing it will strengthen my relationship with God.
It wasn’t an easy decision. Actually it was an easy decision, but it wasn’t easy to start wearing it. I would keep postponing it, I’ll wear it on my 18th birthday, I’ll wear it after my exams, that sort of thing.
In a ladies sermon during fasting, we were told that “You shouldn’t be the same person who started fasting by the time you celebrate Eid (festival after fasting). You should try to change and be better.” That’s when I decided that I was going to start wearing the hijab from Eid. I told my parents of my intention to start wearing the hijab. I did a wardrobe change. That was it. Now I am an official hijabi, and I’m never going to look back in regret.
I do understand that maybe some Muslim girls out there might not have the freedom of wearing or not wearing the hijab like I did, but most of the hijabis I know all wore it out of their own choice. It makes us feel closer to God, it makes us feel empowered, it makes us feel beautiful inside and out, it makes us feel proud and confident to show the entire world that we are proud of being Muslims.
If a nun who covers her hair does it to devote herself to her religion, why is a Muslim who does the same oppressed?
PS – I was planning on posting this yesterday, but I was very busy with the festival.
PPS – Are you a proud hijabi? Want to share your hijab story with us and inspire girls who want to wear the hijab? Here’s your chance. Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org.