Just Another Post by Woman in Hijab

There are everyday struggles of  Hijabi Women that only they can understand. They is always a lot of noise in media for the word ‘Hijab’ and  it remains a debatable topic not only outside but within the muslim community itself. I as a Hijabi feel more accepted in my non Muslim friends or environment than among the Muslim ones I have met lately online and this is really bothering me. Where the heck are we going as a Muslim society ?  Recently someone shared some Videos about successful Hijabi Entrepreneur and  with the following comments ( in one of the social media groups of Muslim Women Achievers)

‘ I find these Hijabi Women very shallow and pretentious ‘

‘I have a problem with word Modesty that they use every time  ‘

I wouldn’t give a damn had it been any x ,y sharing it but the very fact that it is coming from  educated muslim women who have successful professional careers and making a mark in various fields. Probably the real sense of education hasn’t reached them yet if they cannot have inclusivity of all muslim women and cannot respect others . The worse happens when these women get the chance to speak for the rest of the community .  They just end up making more confusion for the rest of the world. I certainly dont feel part of that ‘Educated Muslim group’  anymore , neither I feel welcomed , it is doing more harm to me than good when I read such messages being shared and empathized.  I dont see any room for discussion either, because their nose is kept somewhere too high and probably you are lying down somewhere to be saying anything to them or be of any worth to be listened to .

However  it is more hurting  to realize it is the mirror of our society with in our own  community. If there is no acceptance and tolerance with in , How can I complain about the the outside world ?  Well, this was my experience and probably sounds more a rant but I had to pen it somewhere before it gets too much on my nerves I really wish yours to be better than mine.

For those who make such comments , I want to tell them that as a Hijabi  I am not wearing it because I want to show off my religion. I just feel it is the right thing to do for me, and I am not saying that you are wrong for not doing it. If I feel the tangible aspect of my modesty comes with my Hijab along with my behavior and actions ,  it doesn’t imply you are not modest if you dont wear one. What I feel and do is for me alone, so just let me be myself.  Please dont assume things and create a strong opinion  against it. Shallowness or depth is also seen by the judgement or opinions that you give about others. Why dont you just talk to next Hijabi woman you meet, instead of keeping prejudiced views.  We all need to come together and accept each other  first before asking the world to stop judging us. There are so many issues to be worked upon than just fighting over Hijab or not talking to someone or working with someone who wears a Hijab or Niqab.

I am so thankful to all my readers for your continuous support on my blog ! Happy Blogging !

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What Hijab Means to me, HASHTAG #Hijabtome

Recently Huffington Post have asked Muslim women to tell to the world what Hijab means to them. A call out to all Hijabis to use this Hashtag and tell everyone what Hijab means to you! You can circulate your post on all social Networks using Hashtag #Hijabtome with brief description along with your picture.

So here is mine would love reading yours!

Hijab to me is a symbol of pride for being a Muslim woman. In the times where Islam is misrepresented by ISIS and Islamophobia is growing, I hold my Dear Hijab to me to tell to the world I am not ashamed of being a Muslim. People still categorize my recent change in dress up as backward and my question to them is still the same how can somebody’s choice of clothes be forward or backward! It is a choice like any other choice and I have the freedom to choose! I have chosen mine and you have chosen yours. Cannot be that by wearing different clothes we can still walk on the same path of peace, harmony and mutual respect? You didn’t read my mind, you didn’t see my heart! So please don’t judge me with the clothes I wear and neither should I do to you.

Personally choosing Hijab was a decision to focus more on my inner self rather my outer appearance. It’s been a year almost and I feel I have grown as a person, I have read more and applied some in my life and strive to continue in my life’s journey with Hijab Insha’Allah! Leaving gradually the hollow customs and social traditions to a more meaning life .There have always been conflicts between my inner and outer self and I feel it will remain till I die but I feel more alive to be driven by my soul rather a body driving a soul.

More and more women are opting for Hijab to make a collective effort to eradicate Islamophobia that all Muslims are not terrorists or dangerous. We are as peace loving as you do and we hate terrorism more than you do. People are dying in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan and they are all Muslims who are killed by supposedly Muslims, my heart doesn’t allow me to identify them as fellow Muslims,  they are just Terrorists who have no humanity left in them. Muslims are suffering from both ends. We do not deserve a global hatred, we need to get understood for the biggest problem of this century.

My post too is a way to convey my thoughts to all my readers for raising Hijab Awareness. I hope more and more people understand it. Please do not judge a book by its cover! Nor do all books with similar cover are same!

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Thoughts of a Hijabi on the Beach

Last weekend we had  nice sunny weather in Belgium, and we thought to make the most of it, We planned a day trip to Ostend, a Belgian city on coastline of North Sea.

Would like to share some of my beach moments as Hijabi may be fellow Hijabis can commiserate with me:

  • You look so ‘not for the beach’ with your full body covering including your head when everyone around is scarcely dressed! People look at you with a shock as if they really see what they see! Sorry to embarrass you guys! I too need to see beach sometimes 😉
  • You sense the feelings in your neighbours’ frowns and stares  until they give whatever blah-blah look and go back to their sun-tanning lying on the back pose.
  • Your eyes constantly searching for fellow Hijabis.
  •  After some time you will find few hijabi birds flocking around bringing their mat/sheets closer to yours, frequently exchanging the empathizing glance and smiles.
  • The wind making it difficult for the hijab to be in place and you are struggling to pull it back all the time and if you have kept your sandwich outside for few minutes it already tastes sand, you reach out to your water bottle and it is warm already.

Once you start looking at the sea and hear the sound of big joyous waves, the mesh of thoughts inside your brain gets dissolved and washed away. The sea makes an instant connection with you irrespective of who you are and what you are wearing. I tried reading a book for some time but sun was too strong to be overlooked. I decided to walk down the shore the cold water providing me relief and chill at the same time. I looked around the beach with my scanner eyes: kids playing in water, laughing and running. Few little ladies were busy making their sand castles and so engrossed in their work. There were some elderly couples walking hand in hand and contemplating life. I stood there watching the sea waves arriving and departing, thoughtless and contented.

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( a child playing with waves , Belgian Coast , Ostend  8 May 2016 )

so while I was finishing off my post and it was time to choose a  category I came across an already existing category  ‘Hijab Awareness’ and indeed the idea behind post was creating awareness for Hijab.I used  a comic sense in my post but behind the light jokes lies crude reality that people still don’t know much about Hijab and if they know they do not have very good thoughts about it, few  people I crossed on the beach gave me weird looks. I might be out of place according to them  or a criminal for fashion police but it’s my choice just like they have theirs , why should  there be a set of rules defined of how  one be dressed according to a place/occasion. One should  wear whatever according  to his/her comfort level , likeness and not out of social pressure  to fit in .We need to have acceptance and tolerance of each other’s beliefs ,culture and life’s choices.

Stereotyping Muslim Woman

The girls in small towns( Okay big towns as well, I am a small towner, I always think with that frame of mind 🙂 )  have grown up with the idea of a free woman as being portrayed on media.Now after becoming that free woman which includes   having a job , monthly paychecks  and our independence too and as we go up the ladder of our lives ,we are discovering our roots, our essentials and things that we need to do as muslim women, many girls are now choosing Hijab as their choice.

There is always a misconception about muslim women regarding their freedom, The women of world is one side, and the muslim women on other side. They are seen as backward,’oppressed’ and uneducated. People around you are surprised to see you working or studying whether you wear a Hijab or not?, they  sometimes ask questions as if you are coming from a cave just because you are muslim.

We are living in society where people are educated, working, they have their opinions about life and world. They even voice their support and express solidarity with beliefs they do not conform with but the perception about women in Hijab is still not changing .

I wish to live in a world where they actually believe in what they say, about women equality ,respect of choice and decision.

Well right now I think I live in a world where even women look down upon another women whether it is for her beauty,skin color or something on her head 😉

Is the Woman in Hijab oppressed? Who is a free woman ?

Women in Hijab are often considered to be oppressed, backward , coming from third world .Some  people think of them as too conservative,are even suspicious of them as  if they belong to radical Islamist  and some pity them over being oppressed.

Many muslim women do not choose to  wear a  Hijab because they do not want to be stereotyped, otherwise given a choice they will wear it.

Different people have their own stereotype about Hijab, but most common thought  is oppression , How can  covering one’s hair or body makes he/she oppressed ?  or How can exposing your body make you liberated ?

I do not deny that there are some men forcing women to wear Burqa/Niqab , and forcing some one to do something outside his own will is oppression, but here the oppressor is not  niqab or hijab , the suppressor is lack of awareness of Islam, lack of education,male domination among those males who only learnt to look muslims from outside but never knew how a true muslim should behave.

The women today  who are choosing to wear hijab  are educated , working and having a normal social life , so there is no point of being oppressed.  The respect of their choice should be in similar way as of any other woman who chose to wear shorts or  red hair or blue hair , or go bald and still be recognized as bold ?, Is a Woman with Hijab not bold ?  She is still putting it even  after all the stereotypes, and  facing the questioning doubtful  eyes of people .

It is strange how we think today, we are talking about gender equality , women’s rights, we are even accepting same-sex marriages but not a woman in Hijab.

Short clothes or long clothes it is entirely her choice, there should not be an opinion about a person based on what he/she choose to wear .

There are women who are oppressed in every society , we need to work on root causes, wearing or not wearing certain clothes cannot make you liberated from  those evils .

We are all prisoners of our own mentality, until we do not fix it , we can not experience true freedom!

In my opinion the urban working women  is more oppressed than rural ones , her oppression is more on inside , She wears best clothes, work in best companies , she earns well , she has everything to say from outside that she is independent and free .

But is she really free ?

A lot of young women are going through depression,anxiety ,stress  mainly because of issues at home and pressure at work. She is dependent on her husband or his parents for everything, She cannot cook what she wants, cannot sleep when she wants, what she earns also does not belong to her anymore ! Some of in-laws allow them to wear western wear just to show off to people how open-minded they are.

Is this ,what she has worked hard for /striven for in her life? She prefer to stay mum to keep up her image of free woman .

Do you still  think she is a liberated woman  if you think a woman in hijab is not ?

We can never be truly liberated until we work together to remove these social evils from our lives!  I  hope the  generation of tomorrow will have real  free women , the responsibility lies on all of us, to make sure that we teach our sons  to respect women and how we will(future mother in-laws) treat their wives!

P.S : There are always nice exceptions and I am proud of such men and parents who give freedom to their daughter in-laws equally like their own daughters.

I am only raising awareness about Hijab and  concern over hidden issues in our society than the ones which are visible on outside world.

Why I never wore a Hijab so far?

As Everyone has a story , I too have my story ,it may not be an exciting one but I am sure it will of some use if  you are thinking of wearing Hijab in future. May be you also have the same mindset that I once had and you can relate to it,

Best is to give you a background about myself that could be explain why I didn’t wear Hijab so far:

I am an Indian , born and raised as Muslim , often people who are born with Islam are the ones to take it more lightly as everything becomes more of a tradition for us rather than valuing its real worth.

Let me give you a walk through of  a Muslim atmosphere that I have grown up with, around myself,  of  two type basically , one which is strictly religious wearing Burqa , long beards , telling people about  Haraam/Halal,going to study in Madarsas  and the other category  called themselves as modern Muslims without any Niqab or Burqa ,their kids going to English Medium Schools . the two of them hardly mix with each other, As more and more Muslims do not want to be associated with stereotype and fanatics, they are choosing to be Modern Muslims  so even if the mothers were wearing the Burqa ,the kids were being raised in catholic schools/English mediums to be prepared for this life and of-course to become so called modern muslims.

So inspite of being born in muslim family, raised as a muslim  by parents who are praying five times a day,whose mother wears a Niqab , I never wore a hijab in my life,because the concept of Hijab didn’t exist , I do not know what it is, there was only one thing the Burqa or Niqab,  which for me was a symbol of ignorance and being fundamentalist as people around me perceive it and I have absorbed this theory too well, I rejected it and nobody forced it on me .

Years passed , I finished my High school , then my Engineering , started working , enjoying my life ,during all these years I have been doing  my salah/prayers not 5 times but 2 times minimum, and reading Quran without knowing much the meaning  , observing fasts in Ramadan ,and taking care of Haraam/Halal things that a muslim should do, so according to me, we are good modern muslims who are doing the required obligations except that we do not wear Burqa or conservative clothing because looks don’t matter to Allah as he sees our Niyah and our hearts.

I first saw women in Hijab in my travel to France and Belgium that was first time I traveled abroad , they were not wearing a burqa/niqab but a scarf on their head covering their hair, I thought to myself why? We just cover our hair when we pray salah, so why are they doing it? Is it a tradition?, as they were from Morocco mostly. The questions went away from my mind once these women were out of sight  from road or metros. I also found muslim women  not wearing any Hijab ,in fact not following any rules, some were even drinking alcohol , these were two different kind of muslims I was observing first time in my life, For me both were  beyond my understanding so I decided to draw my own line between them, a non hijabi but adhering to the dos and don’ts of Islam.

Although I know by then that Hijab was a mandatory part of a muslim woman’s dress  after researching hours on internet to  find one site that says it is not mandatory , but  much to my disappointment  I couldn’t  find, that also didn’t dwindle my spirits, I said to myself so what ? Hijab isn’t my thing.

Later when I came back to India after few years, the awareness of Islamic knowledge had reached far levels, I was often asked  to wear Hijab in India , at times while walking in park, women in niqab will come to me and tell me about deen and how should i wear hijab. In.In the beginning I was feeling offended as none has right to judge my clothes or tell me what to wear ,they should mind their own business and let me live.For me ,religion is a personal thing and  not to show off in public.  What matters  most is  inside my heart, to be nice from inside, what is it in clothes or hair ?

so I  shrugged off all such invitations.

Why am I writing this blog?

I think this blog is a tribute to all my fellow bloggers whom I have been reading all these years , getting inspired  from them ,staying motivated , sharing  feelings  with them about my doubts ,confusions ,my worries , and feeling  content when discovering  that I am not the only one going through it alone .

This blog is about my journey to Hijab, my dilemmas, my thoughts , what I have faced  or still facing as I am new to it,

I think I owe to tell  this to  everyone who is struggling inside her mind to start on this journey, may be this could help you to overcome your fears or doubts which are stopping you or in better words delaying you to start your journey.I am not a scholar to give you insights,there are thousands of sites to get knowledge about the topic. I am  just  here to share my story , to hear your story , to lighten your burden , who knows you will join the caravan soon and we are then the fellow travelers !

Remembering this from Rumi,(AS)

“Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshiper, lover of leaving. It doesn’t matter. Ours is not a caravan of despair. come, even if  you have broken your vows a thousand times. Come, yet again , come , come.”

Keep trying even if you have failed thousand times , we are all here to help each other.
I will be sharing my experiences  in different posts  to avoid  getting your  interest lost or keeping you hanging over something too long to read. Happy Reading 🙂