Friday, 9 September 2016

My faith is constantly questioned because I don’t wear hijab
There are some words that are hard to forget, words like, “Every strand of hair that I see on your head is a sin.”
There seems to be an implicit hierarchy in the American Muslim society and its time that it is acknowledged and addressed. For some women it appears as though wearing the hijab serves as a prerequisite within the Muslim community to be treated as a dignified woman in Islam. As an unveiled woman, not wearing the hijab should not be interpreted as an act of defiance against the tenets of Islam. Rather, it is a product of my environmental and ideological circumstances.
This piece is not targeted toward the strong and beautiful women who have made the choice to wear the hijab. This is simply to bring a humble perspective from a sister who does not. In my experiences, I feel that as an unveiled woman, my faith is constantly under suspicion. Growing up in a town where I was one of three Muslim families in a 35 mile radius, I had little exposure to the “culture” of Islam before college. Upon my observations and experiences, it appears that it has become easier for some to raise their finger and voice towards an non-hijabi woman than it is to raise that same voice or finger toward themselves and question, “Where do I think I fall short?”
There are some words that are hard to forget, words like, “Do you…pray. It’s just that you aren’t a hijabi so I wasn’t sure.”
The essence of the hijab is to symbolize haya (modesty) and one way to do that is through being mindful of the clothes that drape you. However, haya also blankets various concepts such as humility, self-respect, honor, and shyness that seem to be overlooked. These are not peripheral aspects of haya, but rather integral elements that need to be given as much attentive concern as clothing. Disciplining of the tongue, actions, and intentions are also components, that may not be aesthetic, but are just as discernable.
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