It has been two years since I wrote the first chapter and then, I was actually very
messed up. Yet, I still stand by many of my opinions and what I wrote. Of course
now I have the sense to proofread what I post. This time I thought I should write about
hijab or as some people may call it "those towel things they wear on their heads". And
yes, I have had people refer to my scarf as a towel. So I hope to explain a little bit about
the head scarf which we call hijab, and to help others understand it a little better. I guess
before when I wrote the first chapter I was in a private school, isolated, and now I've had
to deal with people that couldn't recite the 5 pillars of Islam in nearly a second.
I cannot tell you all the funny situations and conversations that I have had because
of the scarf. I guess that's one benefit of a headscarf, you are always entertained. A walk
in downtown is not complete without frightful stares, or perhaps someone running away.
I have had people ask if I was bald, if I ever take it off, and my personal favorite, if I
shower with it on. So lets just get a couple of things straight before getting into the
logistics of why a scarf is worn. First of all, hijab is not only covering your hair. Hijab is
a complete dress code. Girls that practice hijab may only have their face, hands, and
perhaps feet (controversial, I know) showing. However if perhaps by accident someone
else shows, then it is okay. I won't go home and get beaten up for my dad because my
hair tie came loose and a lock escaped. By the way, I have had someone ask me that.
Secondly, hijab is practiced with men who are not exceptions. The exceptions are fathers,
brothers, husbands, uncles, grandfathers, nephews, and sons. It is permissible to not
practice hijab in front of these people and other women. Finally, hijab cannot be forced
on someone. It is true that to practice Islam you must practice hijab just like you pray or
go to the mosque, but no one can force you to. Sadly, some are forced but those people
that force them think they are doing good, while they are only hurting themselves. My
parents never forced me. I decided to start hijab by myself and without them guilting me
into it. So now that we have some basics out of the way, let's get to the controversial stuff
that you are really here to read.
A Muslim woman is oppressed. She must wear clothes that keep her from doing
what she wants. We must liberate her from the force her father and husband use. All are
sentiments of people that do not understand hijab. How can you say that we are
oppressed? What does it mean not to be oppressed? Is it to wear micro micro minis so
men are distracted from the tasks at hand? Is it to flaunt her beauty to get what she wants?
Or is it to spend hours picking an outfit rather than preparing a speech or presentation?
When women are in hijab, they force others to think about their personality and their
intelligence rather than the size they wear or how shiny their hair is. Their beauty is
hidden, like the diamond you only bring out for special occasions. So go ahead and say I
am oppressed, but know that I am truly free for people to judge me by my character and
not by how I look.
Now you are saying why this 'burden' of hijab is only placed on women? You
must take into account however that in Islam, men and women are equal but separate.
While a woman wears the hijab and men don't, she has the option of not going to Friday
prayer while men must. You also must take into consideration today's standard for men
versus women. While many boast of an equal status, I beg to differ. Just think of the
corporate world. While men wear slacks and shapeless coats, business women run around
in short skirts baring their legs and sometimes even cleavage revealing tops. Need
another example? Just look at any jeans sold at any store. Men's jeans are generally
baggy, while it is nearly impossible to find jeans for women that aren't low rise, hip
hugging, and skin tight without jumping a size or two. It just goes to show you that
standards are different, as they are in Islam.
And now you are saying that we shouldn't always believe the worst of human
nature. I agree. However, I would rather be safe than sorry. The fact of the matter remains
that human nature does not always have the best intention inside. If you still believe in
good human nature than just think of the first thought that you think, as a male, as a
woman clad in a mini skirt and tight top walks by in a sultry way. Honestly you can tell
me that you think "wow, she must be very intelligent"? And ladies, can you tell me that
when you see a lifeguard with nice abs and you think "He must be nice with kids"? The
truth hurts and it may not be pretty but that's why they call it the truth. Human nature is
not good, so why feed it? Why place a gun in front of a child? For example, public
restrooms are always segregated by men and women. No one complains and no one
minds because I wouldn't want to be in a stall next to a man about to do my business. I
have no idea what he is thinking and if he might jump me as soon as I leave the stall. So
why take the chance? Why make a bathroom for both men and women?
I really am not trying to offend anyone or anyone's opinion. I am simply
qualifying my opinion. This piece was not meant to convert anyone or to make anyone
confused, it was simply meant to help people understand what hijab is and why Muslims
practice it. Oh and just to be clear, the stories I have shared of my funny encounters while
wearing the scarf was in no way making fun of people. It is just meant to show how much
people do not know about hijab. In fact I have never taken offense to the comments
because I know the people who asked were only curious and did not know what they
heard was so wrong. I only took offense to the one about my father beating me because
frankly, anyone would be angry if someone accused your father of beating you. I want to
thank you for reading and lets hope my next chapter won't take me 2 years.
P.S. Thank you to everyone that reviewed, your reviews helped so much and your
support was overwhelming. To be honest I was ready to be flamed, several times but your
understanding and intellectual comments have inspired me to believe in humanity. Just
kidding, but really, some people can be very rude so all of your thoughts and feelings
mean a lot.
P.S.S. for those interested, here is a link to a youtube blog kind of thing of a
Muslim man who speaks about a lot of topics popular with young muslims at the time.
He makes me laugh out loud, and that is a feat. Some of you who aren't muslim may find
his jokes over your heads, but you might like it anyways.