Category Hijab

“These were the dirtiest looks I have ever received in my life…It was like I was not even a human.”

I have embraced Islam but have never worn hijab. Recently, I have done two different studies. I wore hijab two different college campuses in a 30 mile area. One of the campuses is a four year campus and is larger with a higher Muslim population, and Muslim women who wear hijab, while the two year campus I attended has only few Muslims but none wear hijab.

I walked into the two year campus and none of the staff or students asked why I was wearing it. The only talk I heard about my hijab was through these girls who were whispering about my choice of dress. These were the dirtiest looks I have ever received in my life and the most horrible things I have ever heard. It was like I was not even a human. I sat there in the library and pretended I was studying but I was just there to listen to do they had to say. Also, people were hiding from me, as if I had something on my face. I was no different on the inside but the only difference what I wore on my head. When I went to the four-year campus, nobody stared or treated me differently. I spoke to my friend about it, and she said she has grown immune to ill treatment and does not even notice it anymore.

People need to stop judging and see for themselves why a woman chooses to wear hijab. It is her choice and her right.

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“A friend challenged me. One week–cover yourself.”

Initially I retaliated on wearing a hijab. It felt like a lot of work for nothing. I hardly wear makeup so I thought that a hijab would be just as redundant.Then one day a friend challenged me. It was part of our truth or dare. One week – cover yourself.

Challenge Accepted.

Day one – I went shopping for scarf at a nearby mall. My budget was small so I grab two shawls and one headband. That afternoon I attended class and of course late as usual. The moment I entered class, the room got quiet – even the lecturer. I sat down and my friend tapped me on the shoulder. She said, “at least you kept your promise.”

Day two – The hijab makes me feel really quiet and kind. I no longer curse or scream like a hooligan. I feel peaceful. Today I went jogging and it got quite hot at first. After a few rounds, I ignored the fact I had a hijab on me. It felt like a part of me now.

Day three – Everyone is asking whether I am legit. In campus, 90% of the girls wear hijab. Girls in class started to give me tips on wearing different kinds of scarves. I felt closer to the people I would otherwise ignore.

Day four – My hijab is all in the wash. I have nothing to wear. My roomate hands me her hijab and says I can have it. She is glad that I am trying to wear a hijab. For the first time in my life , my prayers felt calm. I felt closer to God. It creeps me out at first.

Day five – Getting ready to go on a cruise with family to Thailand with family. Contemplating as to whether to take off the hijab or not. I took it off , walked out of the room, ran back in and put it on again. I felt naked.

Day six – Everyone on the beach is in strings and bikini. I am under layers of clothes. I feel modest and don’t mind being out of place. Nobody bothers me about my hijab. It feels hot so I constantly lift my hijab to let air in when no one is looking.

Day seven – I call up my mother to tell her that I am adopting the hijab. She says alright but is not too keen about it, she fears that people in my campus are pressuring me. I assure her none of that is true.

Today its been two weeks and I feel like the hijab has become a part of me. I believe that for me to continue to wear the hijab, I must have a more solid purpose than just fulfilling a challenge. Today me and my hijab are figuring out the answer.

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“My mother came over to visit me for the first time since I converted. We were to go shopping; she was startlingly uncertain as to whether to go with me or not because she was concerned for our safety as well as what people think of the way I was dressed. She would not even walk next to me at first, which was really hurtful.”

Assalamu Alaikum,

I am a recent convert to Islam. I am an American and where I live in the United States I have had the great privledge of watching and observing many Muslims and how they interact with one another and the community as a whole. First, let me start by saying that I was a Buddhist for many years and a free-spirited one at that.My mother came over to visit me for the first time since I converted. We were to go shopping; she was startlingly uncertain as to whether to go with me or not because she was concerned for our safety as well as what people think of the way I was dressed. She would not even walk next to me at first, which was really hurtful.

When we got to the mall, an American man had headed out, but he had stopped and looked at us and immediately turned around, went back to the doors, and waited for us to come while he held the door open for us. My mother asked me what that was about. I told her that he was just being a gentleman, and my mother said that kind of stuff didn’t happen to her.

My family asked me, “Well, couldn’t you just stay Buddhist?” Some family members want nothing to do with me; I have completely lost contact with some nieces and nephews.

Never would I have thought that I would come into a religion that was thought commonly to repress women and take away their free right to think and become the empowered beings that I believed so srtongly that they should be . Through deep contemplation and observation the views that I held to be so true became shattered. What I began to see in front of me was a thing of absolute beauty and wonder. How with the interaction of the women in Islam were being held with the utmost of care; as one would take care of a precious flower or jewel.That realization: that the very freedom that I had been striving for, for myself, as well as for my sisters in humanity was staring me right in the face.

For the most part, it has been a positive experience as I carry myself as an empowered woman of faith. Great respect comes with that. 

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“I wanted to do crazy things, and the hijab made people see me as a certain type of person–a person who didn’t do crazy things, a person who was quiet and modest and shy, a person who was different in all the ways I didn’t want to be different.”

I started wearing hijab as a very small kid, following the example of my mother. She never forced me; I wanted to because I wanted to be like her.

Once when I was a small kid by myself on the playground, a woman was talking to me and encouraging to take off my scarf and let the sun touch my hair and be comfortable and free. She kept pushing and I felt this rebellious, superior feeling towards her. I recognized her as dangerous, a type of human devil, and I felt proud of the way I kept stubbornly refusing her. I’ve never forgotten her or the things she said or the way I felt about the situation. Maybe it’d be nice to let the sun touch and the wind play in my hair, but this was a matter of ideals, not of feeling nice.

Later, as I grew older and I began to feel the pressure of society, I started to resent the lack of freedom offered to me by the hijab.It wasn’t that I wanted to be the same as everyone else, because I’ve always had a sense of being different and happy with my difference.

It was that I wanted to do crazy things, and the hijab made people see me as a certain type of person – a person who didn’t do crazy things, a person who was quiet and modest and shy, a person who was different in all the ways I didn’t want to be different. I resented the way that the hijab inadvertently made me feel as if I had to fit a certain mold prescribed by the ignorance of society. Even then, the crazy things I wanted to do would not be right to do because I was a representation of Islam. The fact that I wore hijab made me a representative whether or not I wanted to be.

At this time I did not identify religiously with the hijab, in fact, I had been drifting away from religion for a long time because I had philosophical questions about the faith that nobody around me was able to answer to my satisfaction. However, I continued wearing hijab and aside from a few random thoughts, I never seriously entertained the idea of wanting to remove it. It was as if it was another article of clothing, and without it, I would feel naked in front of society. I actually went through a phase where I wore the headscarf constantly, even in the house, except when showering and sleeping. However, my personal hijab – the modesty of my other clothes – suffered. I would wear tight pants and shirts and not really be overly concerned. Sometimes I would wear makeup, but only because my father said he thought I looked unhealthy and when I wore makeup he didn’t make those comments. Of course, my level of modesty was higher than the norm. I wouldn’t wear tank tops or anything.

By the grace and mercy of Allah, when I was an adult, I went through a spiritual time and spent time reading the Qur’an and learning my religion for myself in a way that answered all my questions. Then I slowly began to correct my hijab, but nobody else’s comments ever helped me on this, even when they were critical. A person has their own journey and the only One who can truly guide them is God.

The most important thing about hijab is that it is a religious imperative. However, another important factor is the reactions of others. When I am in proper hijab, men don’t see me as a “possibility.” People watch their language around me. They recognize me as religious… and they also recognize me as different. Many people assume I’m stupider than I am in academia because the fad these days is to consider it intelligent to be an atheist. People think I’m oppressed, and some people think I hate them for being American or for being Jewish or Christian. I can’t disprove all their theories every day, but I try to act when I can in a way that will represent true Islam, because even when you’re tired or upset, when you wear the hijab you are a representative of Islam and it is a struggle for the sake of Allah.

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I Practice Both: I am a Mormon and a Muslim

When I was 11 or 12, I became curious about God. Did he really exist? If so, why did he permit such evil and suffering? How could I please him? Owing to the situation I was in, I would not experience a strong desire to know God until my late 20’s. Constant beatings and abuse would make God seem not real, though from time to time people would give me books about their God, but mostly there was nothing in the way they related to others that drew me to their life. In America, you can be any religion you like, or none at all. It was easy to see that everyone thought theirs was the best. Which was the best, or was there a best? So, I was 27, and we had a 5 year old girl, and a 7 year old boy. It was clear that we were not being good parents and we knew this. I still remember one night standing on our porch and watching the sun set. “Is this all there is? How do I know to do the right thing? I need help.”

It was only a few days when I borrowed a Christian book called, “The Late Great Planet Earth” and I spent the next two weekends reading it and the several Bibles that we had around the house. I had no idea at all how they got there. By Saturday night of the second week end I was convinced that God existed, that I had sinned, needed his help, and I should study the life of Jesus Christ. I was Christian for 32 years, and worked very hard to be a better person, more pleasing to God, and learned that in Western belief, Jesus Christ through his death on the cross was the savior of Man. Still, it bothered me how much some extremist Christians said bad things about other people; the list is endless. Wait! Was it not that God told us to love him and love each other? How could we do this and say hateful things about others? (I would later learn about Surah 49, but not for years) Then came the 9/11 attack. After the attack, I became more afraid of my own government. The Media and my work became too much and I became very sick. I sinned and my family, my church, my friends and my job all threw me out. At this time, I was alone and the much talked about Christian forgiveness and repentance was absent. I was done with Christians. So, I looked for a religion that worshipped only God (Allah SWT) and no other. I still believed in Jesus the Christ but he is a servant of God. In doing research on the Internet, it was easy to find information on Islam, and soon I was saying Shahadda. Even though I am now Mormon, the Shahadda is still true for me. Allah SWT used Rasoolallah to guide me to the Mormons. I am both. I now believe in Muhammad PBUH as a prophet of Allah SWT, but not the last one. In my opinion, the Mormons do more to try to be pleasing to Allah SWT and love others more than any religion in my experience. And the love for Allah SWT and the love for others that we show is the only way to measure anyone. That down through the ages many have used various excuses to make wars is bogus and haram. My experience in Islam was hard and taught me much. For a Western woman who does not speak Arabic it can be really hard. I often felt frozen out by other Muslims. And then there was an issue I will not speak of that caused certain Muslims to doubt me. To them I say, Allah SWT knows your heart and what you do. I committed no offenses. Thankfully those who were hateful were few, and we run into them where ever we go, Muslim or not. As a Muslim woman, the prayers to Allah SWT were meaningful, though I had to look them up on Youtube many times to get the translation for what they were saying before I understood. I tried to learn Arabic but it is so hard for woman alone. Observing halal is pretty hard where I live because there is not large Muslim population so the Halal meat comes in from somewhere else, and is frozen and thawed many times, and smells rancid. I do the best I can.

The observance of Hijab is more than just a head scarf. It is about our inner meekness and the way we relate to others and Allah SWT.

Still my experience in Islam was mostly good. The Saudi style of beliefs about Isa PBUH grew to feel oppressive because I felt that both West and Middle East were misunderstanding each other and the reality of our beliefs was very close. The conflict about whether Jesus was crucified or not is a real disagreement. But surely not worth hating each other over. It was the fact that Muslims are often hateful to each other to the point of killing each other and the women and children eventually drove me to practice Islam in a very limited way.  The Mormons have been uncommonly nice to me and I fully endorse their beliefs. Still I never turn my back on the good things I learned in Islam, and will never leave those things, Inshallah. In the practice of Mormonism, many good things and healings from old hatreds have occurred, and in a way that makes me know that Allah SWT is acting in my life.  There is no more hatefulness.

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After I Started Wearing Hijab, a Family Friend Asked Me, “When did you Stop Being American?”

I agreed to marry my good friend April 7, 2013. He was a Muslim and I a very devout Christian. As a Christian, I felt an obligation to research my soon-to-be husband’s religion to understand the differences between our faiths. I figured that it would be best to know what kind of conflicts could arise between us in respect to our religions.

My research started online. I came across a website where they had lots of resources and provided me with a free Quran. I looked at sites that were both for and against Islam; I would also pray for God to show me only truth. The more I researched I figured out what I really believed was more in sync with Islam. I was finally convinced that I was really a Muslim and took shahada.

I would say the majority of my friends and family accepted my conversion to Islam. My mom is accepting but she thinks many of the practices are ‘weird.’ She doesn’t understand why I choose to eat specific halal meat and not the stuff at the grocery store.

There are three main reasons I choose to wear hijab. The first is to please Allah/God. In both the bible and Qu’ran it states that a woman should veil herself. So I feel it is commanded by Allah

…to cover my head and to preserve my modesty. While I have only been wearing hijab for a very short time I do feel a closer connection with Allah/God and I feel more confident about myself.

The second reason I wear hijab is to identify myself as a muslim. By covering my head I am making a statement to those around me that I am muslim and that my religious beliefs follow Islam. Personally I have noticed that many people in my neighborhoods have a lot of curiousity about what exactly Islam is because their experience has been only what the media has portrayed. As a student at a local community college it provides an appropriate setting to ask questions. Numerous students and staff have approached me with questions.

I have had a few people give fairly strong adverse reactions. Such as a long time family friend ask “when did I stop being American” that was probably the most hurtful thing I have heard from anyone.The number of positive responses and actions I have experience have far exceeded the bad. I have had people apologize for swearing in front of me once the see me. Men are quick to open doors for me. So all in all I feel my experience of wearing hijab has been very rewarding and I have no regrets about this decision.

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