As a Muslim, I have never thought that a hijabi Muslim sister is better than me, or more pious. And I have wished that these feelings be reciprocated. However, this has not always been the case. Many a time, during my childhood and teenage years, growing up with young Muslim girls, I was told what I was doing was wrong, and that they hope Allah yahdeek: loosely translated as may God guide you (to the right path). There was no discussion, debate or even room to allow me to defend myself. Instead, I was prayed for.
The most basic regulations within Islam lay in the main foundations of the five pillars: these are the testimony to the faith, to fast Ramadan, give to charity, pray five times a day and journey to Mecca at least once in one’s lifetime. Yet, the outer image of a Muslim has become more a concern than the inner intentions and acts of the Muslim woman. I think to myself often, if the headscarf instigates these women to pray, fast and genuinely help them in their path of faith, then I am all for it.
Yet what about those who feel the headscarf has done half their duty for them? It’s like having a padlock but no key: you may be wearing the headscarf, but it hasn’t unlocked your intention to follow Islam in its most basic form.