I dislike it when people say things to me like, “You’re so lucky you wear a hijab, you don’t have to worry about bad hair days,” or “Wearing a hijab must save you a lot of time,” or “You have it so easy!” I mean, I’ve never walked in your shoes, but based off my experiences P.H. (pre-hijab!) I’m fairly certain that covering my hair with what is widely-regarded as a religious symbol gets far more scrutiny than walking around with frizzy hair. Not only that, but the assumption that wearing a scarf means it must be a mess under there shows a very fundamental social misunderstanding of what the hijab stands for.
First of all, let’s get one thing straight – wearing a hijab does very little to save time. If the average non-hijab-wearing person knew the effort it takes to wrap, pin, unpin, rewrap, get the folds right, make sure that annoying strand of baby hair isn’t showing, wrap and pin it one more time without stabbing yourself in the scalp, they’d second guess who really had it easier. And that’s not to say that we don’t spend even more time on the locks that the scarf is hiding. In fact, since we choose not to display our physical beauty in public, we probably spend even more time glitzing ourselves up in private. You best believe that when we get home and can finally take that scarf off, it’s goin’ down.
Islam encourages that women beautify and adorn themselves to satisfy their own esteem, and also advises that women be modest in displaying that beauty. Islam came at a time when women were treated as a piece of furniture, only valued for what their appearance could offer and very little else. The covering of hair, like in all Abrahamic religions, was asked of mankind as a device against this dehumanization.
We “hijabis” take great pride in our appearance – for ourselves. Wearing the hijab teaches us that we don’t have to satisfy other people’s perception of physical beauty. We wear the hijab to liberate ourselves from society’s demands and free ourselves from being reduced solely to our looks. We compel people to see us for our intelligence, our impeccable senses of humor, our magnetic personalities, rather than how we chose to style our hair that day.
That’s where we get down to the real sentiment of the hijab. The whole point is that it shifts the focus from the outer beauty to the inner beauty. When we stop having to cater to other people’s superficial judgments, we can focus on cultivating our souls and our goodness as human beings.
So, in a sense, the hijab does save me time. It saves me time from worrying about what other people think, it saves me time from contemplating how I can live up to the images I see on TV and in magazines, and it saves me time from tearing myself down physically so I can build myself up spiritually. Good hair day or not, the hijab reminds me that my worth as a woman is always invaluable.
MashAllah!! As a non-hijabi (hopefully soon-to-be hijabi inshAllah), this piece is so inspiring and well-said. Gives me even more incentive to wear a hijab, what a beautiful way of framing it!
MaahAllah! that was really beautiful. You remind me why I really wear the hijab!:-D
All good points. I’m always impressed when logical support is given for doing something instead of saying, “‘Insert religious document here’ says so.” With so many benefits it would make sense for men to wear them too. But then, I wouldn’t be able to see their gorgeous hair.
As a non-Muslim observer of hijabis, I must say – nonsense! Well, not really nonsense, but I disagree. First, men – in general at least, at least in my experience, speaking for myself, at least – are not all that interested in a woman’s scalp hair. We don’t harp over it. Women do, men do not. Secondly, in my experience of observing hijabis, I have noticed that a hijab tends to beautify the woman who wears it. In other words, a hijab tends to be self defeating. In a sense, the hijab may be viewed as a uniquely Muslim piece of lingerie, and as with all pieces of lingerie, a man who views a beautiful woman wearing it wants her to remove it, as a prelude to more substantial matters, of course. In sum, I must admit that I’m a big fan of the donning of the hijab in public; I wish more women would do so.
Schvach, i don’t think it was made clear in this article, but the hijab isn’t simply covering your hair. The hijab is the full covering of the body (excluding face, hands, feet) and is a practical way of avoiding being molested, for example, let’s say there’s two equally beautiful twin sisters walking down a street, one is wearing the full hijab, and the other is walking around in a mini skirt and tight top – who is more likely to get teased and unwanted attention from males? obviously the one not wearing the hijab.. The hijab is also compulsory on men! although it is slightly different for them (they must cover from the navel to the knee at least). Also, i’d like to point out that the hijab, for both genders, isn’t simply what you wear. There is also the hijab of the mouth for example (so controlling what you say – being kind and not rude and nasty) and others… and all of this then finally makes up the full hijab 🙂 But i think it’s great that you’re expressing your views, it’s always great to hear others opinions 🙂
Amina: I’m familiar with all these points. To my understanding, all the aspects of hijab are components of the general principle of ‘haya’. BTW, I think your assumption of twin sisters, hijab vs non-hijab is off; regrettably, hijabis get ridiculed, scoffed, and generally ‘dissed’ all too often (it should never happen at all). Also, have a look at this: http://americanbedu.com/2011/12/30/wordless-friday/
Finally, thank you for your reply. My comment was meant in a humorous, yet sincere way. I do appreciate women who present themselves in public clad in hijab – half exposed tattooed breasts look absurd! I really wish more women would wear, and comport themselves, in hijab.
“The hijab is the full covering of the body (excluding face, hands, feet) and is a practical way of avoiding being molested.”
If what you say is true, then countries where the hijab is worn must have the lowest rates of violence against women in the world. Let’s take a look at some facts: http://www.trust.org/trustlaw/news/trustlaw-poll-afghanistan-is-most-dangerous-country-for-women and http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Muslim_Statistics_(Women)
I don’t think it’s working.
I think the chances of being sexually attacked in countries where the hijab is worn by a majority of the female population is so much higher than those where the women wear something else is because other factors are involved. Greater factors are 1) Whether rape, sexual harassment, marital rape, underage sex, etc. is a crime in that country and if it is the level of conviction and punishment as opposed to something that is easily gotten away with because it is not reported, not punished or the victim is honor killed/blamed instead of the perpetrator 2) How old the men are before they get married/date/cohabit in a committed relationship (how sexually repressed the male population is), and 3) Convenience. Do the people in the society help women who call for help, or ignore it. Is it safe for a rapist because society is more afraid of him than of Good Samaritan laws–if they even exist. Does the woman’s family or friends help keep her safe, or ask the rapist to move in or marry her afterwards to make it all more convenient for him to continue the abuse.
As a women I wouldn’t want to ever go to any country where the hijab is being worn by a majority of the population. I’d feel unsafe, no matter what I wore.
Makes me wonder if maybe the ideology behind the hijab might be a factor? I think you should have the freedom to wear whatever you want to, wear a hijab or don’t. But to say it is more “moral” to do one thing over another…that implies that the woman who wears less clothing is bad, like she deserves to be treated badly. The truth is nothing she does or says justifies mistreating her.
Hijab doesn’t affect the rate of crimes against women because crimes against women have nothing to do with what the woman is or isn’t wearing. Crimes against women are the fault of the men who perpetrate them – such men will assault any woman. It is about the power for them, not the attractiveness of the women. To imply otherwise blames the victim and is disgustingly sexist. Rape is a problem in both societies where hijab is part of the culture, and societies where it is not – such as America. Even though American women may not be forced to marry their rapists, they are forced to appear like “sluts” who “asked for it.” The problem is not hijab. It is the patriarchal, misogynistic cultures we live in.
Some really interesting points – thanks for sharing! Hope you had a lovely Eid saritaagerman.blogspot.it
This was an excellent article. I love to hear perspectives straight from people who actually wear the hijab
Alhamdulillah your word piece encouraging & inspiring for wearing hijab. Hijab is not for style it’s adherence to ALLAH. http://bestreviewzon.com/best-hijab/
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