Back to Hijab

I think it’s been awhile since I’ve contemplated on something so complicated and personal. In my heart I know I avoid a lot of things because I just don’t feel like I have the strength to tackle it right now. So I flee and hide, buying time till I feel like I can.

My hijab was my identity, I was by all definition the Secret Hijabi. With all that happened some how I slipped and the part of me which I loved the most disappeared to the background, and as shameful as it is to say, I forgot. I forgot how happy I was to wear my hijab, how amazingly safe I felt when I adorned it and how connected I felt to Allah.

In all honestly my relationship with Allah has been strained. I have been negligent. I think I need to admit this to be able to return to who I was. I think it’s easy for me to say I’m not allowed to wear my hijab and live life, it’s not comfortable but it’s easy. But the point is the old me wouldn’t take that. The old me became the Secret Hijabi in order to fight it. While I can’t get back the same furious passion I had, I can remember what it feels like.

Taking off my hijab was one of the most painful things I did. Not being me ever since then has been difficult. Sadly, every time I think I want to fight the fear within me builds and I just keep remembering all the issues it will cause, and so I silence myself. At the end of the day the only person keeping myself from fighting back is myself. I just can’t seem to muster enough courage and some how I’m too ashamed to ask Allah for the strength as well.

I became the Secret Hijabi because I couldn’t wear hijab in the first place. Not much has changed now, just the constraints have increase.  It doesn’t mean I can’t fight it.

So I think this is it.

It’s been way too long since I haven’t been myself. It’s been a long 2 years filled with a lot of sadness. I think I am ready to fight once more. I think,

I am ready to be hated and judged for being myself.

I am ready to be put on a spot light, being a Sinhalese Hijabi.

I am ready to be seen as a mindless women following her Husband’s will.

I am ready to defend my Husband against their claims of being an extremist for my choices.

I am ready for the stares, the whispers, the confused looks.

I am by all means ready to be myself once more so that I may be able to face my Lord with no shame.

It is time.

Ya Allah please let me back in…


Respect the Niqab

This is somewhat a sensitive topic but it’s an observation I have made. I don’t mean to offend anyone but just to bring this to their attention. I love my hijab and niqab sisters irrespective of where they are from or what they do. If you are a sister, you are a sister.

I merely wonder why when hijab is compromised we all shout “It’s our freedom to wear what we want” and yet criticize women wearing niqab ourselves. It might be an unspoken  thing and I’m sorry if I’m bringing it out into the open. I’m just trying to highlight the irony and hypocrisy that we ourselves create with such comments.

I’ve heard things like “Oh I don’t know why she has to cover like that” and “How does she eat with that thing on?”. I’ve also heard “It’s so funny how she’s eating one bite at a time” and “How is she planning to drink that with that thing on?”. These are things I have heard from brothers and sisters, not from those who don’t understand hijab or niqab. I get that there might be some disagreement on the necessity of wearing a niqab but in our shout to give women the right to wear what they want, do we not owe them some courtesy?

I’m not here to argue about if it’s right or if it’s not needed. Simply, I don’t know. I have gotten many varying answers from sisters who I have questioned, I mere pray that Allah (SWT) guides me to what is right. And I pray that my Husband will be alright with whatever choice I decide to make, Insha’Allah.

I include the latter because I personally know brothers who do not like women who wear the niqab. I’ve heard “My wife doesn’t have to wear it” or “No my wife won’t wear it”. What if she wants to?

If we react to someone who calls the hijab a hood and laughs at it should we not react to what is being said about a niqab? Further shouldn’t we ourselves as Muslims refrain from making such hurtful comments and stares? We obviously don’t like it when someone insults our hijab and stares at us. We obviously don’t like it if our sisters, mothers and aunts were laughed at by someone else for wearing a hijab. Then why do we do this? Why do we stare and make judgements on niqab sisters?

Personally I hate it when a brother or sister criticizes someone for wearing niqab. It’s their choice and it’s our duty to support them, not make their lives harder. I know women in Sri Lanka don’t have the most inviting attitude towards other sisters, but I would gladly step in front of a sister who needs to adjust her niqab, so that she doesn’t have to reveal herself. For that matter I would gladly help a sister tuck her stray hairs back into her hijab. I make no distinction, I respect both.

I don’t know if I’m the only one, but I feel angry when someone says something about a sister who has chosen to wear niqab. I honestly feel like slapping them and telling them to shut up and eat their own food.

Maybe it’s time we practised what we preach and supported ALL our sisters. Maybe it’s time we stopped making ironic hypocritical statements. Maybe it’s time we changed and understood that niqab sisters go through a lot of difficulty to do something they feel helps them get closer to Allah (SWT). If we can respect a woman who adorns a hijab, we should give the same respect to a woman who adorns a niqab.

I don’t pretend to be perfect. As you can see I have said “We”. There was a time I couldn’t understand niqabs. But Masha’Allah, Allah never let me insult it or act rudely to it. I am however guilty of staring and I am really sorry for that. I only did it because it was so unusual for me. I know better now. I don’t stare any more, and if I do it’s only to exchange a smile with the sister.


Why Hijab?

This has become such a common question, especially because I’m a revert. Everyone, including fellow Muslims ask me “What made you wear Hijab?”. So after being asked it so many times I’ve mastered the answer!

I DO NOT wear hijab because my father/husband/brother or any other relative in my family asked me to.

I DO NOT wear hijab to fit in.

I DO NOT wear hijab because I am oppressed.

I wear Hijab because I want to and honestly I really (I can not stress this enough!) like it. My hijab (and I’m referring to my head cover now) is one of my favorite accessories now. And sure it does cause me some trouble in terms of people asking me questions, people looking at me funny, people judging me, etc. But I really don’t care! And I fail to understand why it’s such a big deal. If I were to wear a Bikini and walk down the street I would get the same treatment (well maybe a little more drama coz it is South Asia). So am I oppressed and forced to wear a Bikini? Isn’t me wearing a head cover and covering my own body the same thing? Why am I allowed to uncover my body but not allowed to cover it up? I just simply don’t understand it.

Alahmdulillah the country I live in is quite tolerant. It’s multicultural and it’s normal to see Hijabs all over the place. So the issues I have to deal with are less. But I can see that the way your treated is different. I don’t get guys whistling and hooting at me anymore. I don’t feel watched by gangs of men every time I go out. I don’t feel people giving me a head to toe scan when I walk in to a room. I definitely see people respecting me, almost a little scared of me (not in a bad way). I feel safe.

Before walking in to a market full of men, I would get looks, whistles, people would sing, and talk loudly as to get my attention. But now Alhamdullilah, even I was amazed when I walk they actually move aside and give me room. They actually lower their gaze seeing me.

I wear Hijab because I feel like it and Alhamdulillah it has been amazing. I hate not being able to wear it some times, especially with my family. But I try to wear it as much as possible. Mashallah I don’t have anyone to ask me to cover my body. I do it for myself because I control what others see of me. I make sure I’m not an object of lust. I make sure I am judged on my abilities and not my skin, waist, hips, legs, cleavage, or whatever else people look at.

It’s done wonders for my self esteem as well. I used to constantly feel a little self conscious, now I don’t. I’m a lot more confident.

I’m not allowed to cover my hair with my family, so I wear my Hijab once I leave home. Probably a couple of people see me without my head covered but I don’t let it bring me down. My theory is, Allah (SWT) has given me this opportunity and strength to wear it, and as long as I can prevent AT LEAST even one non maharm from seeing my hair I WILL wear my Hijab.

Inshallah in the future I will be able to wear Hijab as much as I want and when ever I want. Till then I manage with what I have.