...From FB of Maryam Amir
A sister who had been practicing self harm reached out to me. Some of her community members knew about what she was going through after she confided in them but she felt she received little support.
She attempted suicide. She was hospitalized. People knew about it. She received little help from those who could have been there for her.
She wore hijab but in the hospital, they would not allow her to wear it out of fear she could use it as a tool for self harm.
She had been struggling with her faith for some time and when she was released she decided that even though she believed hijab is an obligation, she couldn’t continue to wear it for the time being.
And now all of a sudden, she felt like so many in the community wanted to get involved. Now they reached out and asked what had happened with her hijab, did she lose her Eman? The community was so ready to be there to support her when they were worried about her struggle with HIJAB. Where what about when she was struggling with her LIFE?
You may say that it’s easy for us to discuss hijab and we may not know how to approach topics of mental health or depression or self harm or suicide. But what does that say about us as a community? What does that say about what we prioritize? We know how to police women’s choices when it comes to dress, but as a greater community, we often have no idea how to protect a person’s life.
There are some exemplary Muslim communities who do not reflect this reality and provide necessary services, such as counseling and support groups which focus on nurturing friendships and classes which are healing in spirituality. But there are too many narratives like this one.
Obviously this post is not intended to encourage removing hijab or to minimize the obligation and importance of it. It’s unfortunate I have to even state that knowing that some may demonize even posting about this issue as belittling the importance of hijab.
It’s to point out that if we are a community who is more concerned about someone’s dress than someone’s life, we need to evaluate our understanding of Islam. To send the message that a woman’s spiritual or life worth equates to the clothing she wears is traumatic, it is toxic, and it can cause a person to question their very faith itself.
This sister didn’t need a community to tell her to cover her hair again. She needed a community who would be there for her as she slowly pieced her life, her heart and her faith back together again.