“Hijabi” vs. “Non-Hijabi”

I’m sorry, but why does this even matter?

All my life, I have always heard this constant battle being spoken among religious gatherings, classrooms, and social hangouts. The distinction between hijabis (those who wear the headscarf) and non-hijabis (those who do not) was always brought up and viewed as a topic of discussion. Why though, was what I wanted to know. Why did women (and even worse, men who knew nothing about the hijab in the first place) feel the need to debate if hijabis were “better” than non-hijabis? What right did they have to sip coffee, cross their legs, and nod in agreement to those that bashed out non-hijabi women? Was it because they felt they were better? Wiser? More religious? Could one piece of cloth really give that much power?

I remember once it went to the point when people would actually consider “not allowing girls showing their hair” on a poster representing the religion of Islam. I found myself disgusted, despite being a woman who covered. The religion of Islam did not consist of women and men completely identical and clones of one another. There were men with beards, men without beards, women with hijabs, women without hijabs. There were people with different personalities, different tastes, opinions, beliefs, values, and morals. You couldn’t just blur the lines of actual people and present a single body of “religion”. It just didn’t work that way. And it shouldn’t ever have to.

Because the truth is, the hijab is not a measure of a woman’s religiousness or piety. A woman could choose not to cover and be higher in God’s eyes. That is not up to another human being. Because what do we all know anyway? How do I, for example, know that the girl praying next to me in prayer does not get up every night while I am sleeping? The answer is that I don’t.

Therefore, it is not up to me to stand on the side just because I have wrapped and pinned a cloth to my head and point across the room to the girls who have let their hair down. One person has no right to judge another. This ideology does not change given a hijabi woman and a non-hijabi woman. The same rules apply.

And you know what? None of it should matter anyway. The acts of another Muslim or Muslimah is none of our business. The choice of a hijabi or a non-hijabi, likewise, should not be a topic we feel needs to be discussed. That connection exists between a woman and God, not a woman and the entire Muslim population. Our deeds are our own, and we alone are responsible for them.

Remember, hijab is not a certificate to heaven. Rather, it is our actions that will take us anywhere. So the next time you feel the need to declare the wrongdoing of another Muslim, think twice. We all sin differently. May God forgive all of us and give us the guidance to walk on the right path. Ameen.