World Hijab Day 1st of February

Scrolling through social media I saw many posts of Hijabi women posting about their Hijab . It brought back old memories when I first wore my Hijab almost 6 years back, perhaps time to revisit my old posts and dig reasons why I chose to wear one , so I did that today.

There is no doubt I have come a long away from the meek girl who was so conscious and anxious , wearing it for the first time to a confident person in her own skin and hijab. It has become a part of me and it has been with me on my journey since then, sometimes I dont notice its presence but like a silent confidante it has been with me since long.

My wearing of Hijab was rooted in two things : religious beliefs and second was my rebellion to people who were giving me an exemption from their cliché stereo typical abominable muslim before I wore Hijab .

My continuation has taught me so many things. I consider Hijab as part of overall modesty and simplicity in life as offered and advised in the religion Islam. I am not really personally willing to box women under categories of Hijabi , Niqabi, Jilbabi, burqa clad or none . Whatever way you dress modesty should reflect in your words, actions , thoughts and way of life.

There is no need to point guns at women who observe or dont observe Hijab. Stop luring them into wearing one by showing them pictures of covered candy or uncovered dirty candy with flies sticking on it. Stop glorifying hijab unnecessarily and putting down others who dont. The nearness to Allah swt is not only ascertain by choice of somebody’s clothes, there is so much more to it . Let each woman go on her own journey of Islam physically , mentally, spiritually at her own pace . Let her choose her own study and learning curves. Let her align her own baatin( inner) and her zaahir ( outward). Tell her about modesty instead and let her choose for herself. The definition of modesty is also so relative depending on era , time period and place we are living in.

For me my life is balancing the two aspects , my outer being with my inner being. Hijab has been a guiding force to keep my distractions in check. I am much more spiritual than I was religious . I could feel my inner expanding and engulfing my being when I put down my head in sujood , when I feel the peace of the light covering me . What a joy it is. Let every woman feel it.

My Hijab is still a resistance to people who dictates women’s choice of clothing, or bash them for their choice or make a standard to determine who is Beautiful , acceptable or what is norm.

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.