I Am More Than a Hijab

My hijab does not define my career path, and it definitely doesn’t restrict me from having a career. It doesn’t determine who my family is or my views about marriage. It doesn’t tell you anything about my culture, my traditions, or my background. I am more than a hijab.

Tell me, does my hijab reveal my name? My favorite food or book? Where I live, my age, or salary?

Does it tell you I like to write? Go to college? Study journalism? Took a class about the Old Testament, Western religions, Eastern religions, and sports?

Does it tell you the language I speak most fluently is English, and I was born and raised in the United States? Does it tell you I love the Knicks and am slowly growing to love soccer?

Does it tell you I shop at Macy’s and worked there, love mall pretzels and frozen yogurt, and enjoy free WiFi?

Does it?

No.

My dad didn’t force me to wear hijab. Force is not a word in my vocabulary or his, nor is it a concept in my religion, for God Almighty says, “La ikraaha fi ad-Deen.”

So stop defining me by my hijab.

Don’t get me wrong–I love the piece of cloth on my head and what it actually represents, but know the only thing it tells you about me is I’m Muslim, Alhamdulillah. And with that identity, comes another whole world of stereotypes and assumptions.

Please, ask. I can’t read your mind, but I’d love for you to know who I really am. And I’d love to know who you really are too, because there’s more to you than blonde/brown/black/red/rainbow hair just like there’s more to me than a scarf.

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6 thoughts on “I Am More Than a Hijab

  1. Lovely…we really can’t tell who a person is just by their cloth…for ex, many times people are scared of me b/c I often wear black. But once you really know me you find out that I’m not really a scary person :)

    But in my case i also feel that hijab is more than me. Hijab is supposed to teach us much more than dressing modestly outwards. It’s supposed to teach us about inner beauty, about not passing judgments, about being humble, about being completely obedient to God alone and so much more. It’s a powerful symbol and a praised act of worship and I feel it’s so much greater than me.. …these are just some of my thoughts :)

    • You’re not scary! :)

      And yes, I feel like hijab represents something much greater than our individual selves. It’s a Divine decree, and there’s more wisdom and benefit behind it than we could ever imagine. (And I don’t simply mean the cloth, but like you mentioned, the way we act as well.)

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