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 !

Does your wearing Hijab or Jilbab guarantees you will not be eve- teased ?

Does your  wearing Hijab or Jilbab guarantees you will not be eve- teased ?  Unfortunately, It doesn’t ! There are many times this argument has been given over modesty of women where her covering up is directly linked to the response and behavior of eve teasers and molesters . A covered woman implies I am not open for harassment then what does  a women in shorts implies ? Is she is quite open to it ?  I don’t think any woman would like that. There is no guarantee if you wear Burqa or Hijab that nobody will stare at you, or harass you or pass lewd comments or might even try to touch you inappropriately on  public transports  especially if you live in third world countries. We are often so engrossed in thinking how a woman’s behavior and dress should be that we forget how  behavior of men should be ! Who is going to moral coach these men to  behave with women and respect them, irrespective of what women wear and  look like. Why our scholars not talk about it more often, than they do for pious women . If by wearing Hijab  I have done my part for modesty, then where is your part Brother or my not doing Hijab gives you a right to not do your part ?

There are pictures on internet floating in support of Hijab where there is a comparison of Hijabi and a non Hijabi  by showing an  open candy surrounded by flies  and a  wrapped candy safe and sound like a Hijabi in her Hijab , I mean really ? What are you reducing us to ? mere candies ! This is what you think of woman as? and it’s a pity seeing women supporting it. Are you wearing your Hijab because you feel you are fulfilling a command of Allah or you think it makes you holier than the other women and you can assume them as lower and less worthy than you , if that is the case , it is time for a Reality Check sisters. This  holier than thou attitude is like a pest and eating all your efforts and goodness. We have to let it go, we are wearing Hijab because we want to, because Allah asked us to. Us doing something and other’s not doing it  doesn’t make us any better . Even when you read Quran , Allah always mentions things as This is better for you  and you might now know or harmful for you that you do not know. He nevers says ,I will love you less and you are now less holy than others. We might be doing something more worrisome than wearing or not wearing Hijab  and we might even not know about it . Time to self introspect and improve .

Time to stand up for all women respect and dignity irrespective of her choice of clothes. It is time for men to start behaving than pointing fingers on women . If you say a woman in less clothes provokes you , what argument you have to misbehave with a woman in Hijab or full covered clothes, you don’t like what she has put on her head or that loose garment around her body, you have to admit it is your pervert nature and it needs to be cured.

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.

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.

Hijab :My Choice

When you go to new city , how curious you are about everything, noticing every little details of place, taking pictures of everything, I feel the same as a new Hijabi , noticing behavior of everyone around me ,reactions of people,their thoughts, their concerns.  Outsiders do not matter to me ,but yes ,my family and friends surely matters,

After a conversation with a close friend about my Hijab today ,her concern  was over my not so attractive look which hides my beautiful hair, Why did I do this, Did someone asked me to do it , what was the need for it, if it’s temporary  ? Her concern was so genuine, like always ,her selfless care and concern has always kept a special place in my heart, where ever we are ,we have always been connected by our hearts.

I told her that  it is absolutely my choice and I like it, I didn’t give her much reasoning and she never asked for it but that made me think of something about us ,all of us,something so deeply set in our subconsciousness.We have all become so materialistic in all these years that we never realize it,it has become a part of us,of our lives,we find pleasures in looking good so much,that some of us will not even dare to step outside without makeup! what for??

To impress others, if yes what will we get out of it?

To be accepted by others? Will some else’s idea of how you should look matter to us, I think in that case I have rejected their idea of how should I look ?  Are we not enforcing society upon us to tell us how we should dress up to be more acceptable, to be more liked  just because of our looks and not our capabilities , is it right ?

Why beauty  now a days is all about show off? We are all Hippocrates, saying beauty is skin deep, but do we actually believe in it?

Glamour has taken so much place in our lives, that for true beauty of  a person,his  heart , his soul,nobody cares!  How a person think, how nice he/she is,  his behavior, his nature , intelligence and intellect, all  have been shadowed by this idea  of glamour!  Men are rejecting women because they want to marry  tall women, skinny, or  fair women , if not  then definitely she should be rich enough  It is also true vice versa, I know best of the people I have met in my life, well-educated ,intellectual, though not glamorous enough, and not yet married!! Why , may be they didn’t jump into this race of glamour, they just love being simple souls. For them, I would say they will definitely find a person who will admire their true beauty.

Isn’t it the time to check our parameters to judge a person’s beauty ? We need to stop somewhere, and think!! Not everyone can run in this race ,they have other races in life to win for,to die for!

Hijab is my first step to loosen my neck from this grip of materialism, and a step forward to focus more and reflect on my inside,.

My Hijab Diary-First Week

I thought about writing my first week experiences as this is the most crucial week, full of reactions,responses and your own capabilities to absorb them. Luckily I started my Hijab with my new project , they were new people who never saw me before except few of them, so if  someone is seeing you first time,  there is hardly any point of surprises if you are with your Hijab or not, except that you are too nervous within your own self.

The next task was updating my profile pictures on facebook,whatsapp,gmail etc any social network that I was using, .I started with whatsapp , moving on to my facebook. I had different reactions  from people, though I have anticipated  it already but being a girl ,too sensitive and conscious makes you even more nervous.

I didn’t know that some girls were wearing Hijab as a fashion statement, they were taking it on and off as they want, so some of the reactions were “Is it just like that ? ” “Hijab fever”,”what is this look” . I am not condemning  anyone here, I know they are normal reactions but just to know the psyche behind such responses that too coming from muslims , Interesting thing  to share with you , My father still thinks that my profile picture is selfie taken after I prayed so I have the scarf on my head, he said to me ‘ Haan Mullani lag rahi ho dp mei’ ( You are looking like a religious teacher in your profile pic), It was so funny ! but the concept of Hijab is still not very clear to him yet , so how can I complain about the rest ?

Some were sending  me messages  to ask ,what is that I am wearing or what is it about my new look, I answered their curiosity and told them, It is called Hijab.I understood that they don’t know because it is not so common to wear a Hijab in India.

One of my friend blocked me from her Facebook and Watsapp without saying anything, I suspect it is because of Islamophobia and dissociating yourself from practicing muslims, forgot to mention she was a muslim :-), Don’t worry she is not from India .

Some of other reactions were a bit sarcastic – ‘Are you working in Syria, Is Belgium Islamic State,’ faced with my confrontation , they said, they were just trying to be funny.

One of  my Indian colleague was so concerned that what has happened to me, Why I started to wear it, his endless questions, ‘Dont you feel hot, How will you go gym with this?  , n many more ‘.He is still shocked though it is going to be a month now.

I am only mentioning these ones just to prepare your mind for these reactions, Though I had received  many comments that said I look better with my Hijab, thanks to ones with their encouraging words.

Don’t be disheartened or sad with reactions of people, they will soon get used to it, don’t let the noise of outside world disturb your inner peace,You need to know that you are not doing anything wrong so why to fuss over things which are right. We live in a materialistic world where women is more of an object of display, we have been so mechanised by the system  that everything that doesn’t fit to our frame of reference is seen awkwardly ,it is obvious that you will get all kind of  reactions. Be patient, people who love you, especially your friends , it will not matter to them, they will accept you the way you are!

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.