My Hijab (non) Story

They say when you are stuck for things to write about, write about what you know. That is gonna be the premise for this random post. I need to write because writing is like therapy for me, but sometimes thinking about what to write can be a pain.

Sometimes I think, ‘ooh, this would be a good idea for a post,’ and then you find that no one really responded to it (see last post for reference) but oh well. Writing is therapy and I write for myself first and foremost, then you guys. Because Justin Bieber told me to love myself and I take good advice on board, always.

Now that that is out of the way, let’s get this halal* show on the road.

I am assuming that you all know what a hijab is. If not here goes some wisdom, sharpen your pencils and get ready to take down some notes. Hijab is the Arabic word for barrier or partition. It does not literally mean headscarf, thought that is what we have now become accustomed to calling the headscarf.

There are 101 million debates with regards to how and when and why you should wear the hijab etc, and everyone tries to impose their ideology on others. My theory, and I stress that this is MY theory that I acquired from my reading and research on this topic, is that the purpose of the hijab is to protect your modesty.

This is how I practice hijab; I wear a headscarf that covers my hair and chest area. I went through a phase of wearing an Abaya; a long black billowing dress that covers a multitude of sins God bless it. However now, I wear loose, long clothing with my headscarf instead.

I don’t wear see-through clothes or tight clothes. I wear baggy stuff that has my mother accusing me of looking like a bin bag because she is a charming lady. I wear jeans which is another debate altogether, but I wear long tops with it; up to the knees. I don’t show any hair when I wear the scarf, so no peek-aboo fringes etc. I don’t wear the hijab in a turban style because this exposes the neck and I don’t see this as hijab personally.

…but I don’t bash people who do show fringes or wear tight clothes with the hijab etc. You know why? Coz the haram police recruit like 10,000 members on a daily basis that do this everyday anyway, they don’t need one more member, because everyone is going through a secret battle and they don’t need more judgement added to their mountain of stress, because I am not God, only his opinion counts really, as far as I am concerned. And honestly, everyone is a grown up and they know deep down what the right thing is to do, they don’t need to be told. That said if anyone comes to me for hijab advice, I would initially check they were not brain dead, before imparting what little I know.

Anyway, here’s my non story.

I moved to the UK when I turned 12. This is the age most girls wear the scarf back home so I knew I wanted to wear it then. However, I went to a school where I was 1 out of 5 “brown” faces in the entire school. To cut a long story short, I saw racism at a very young age and my God was it ugly. Given that teenagers are also basically Satan’s minions,  I was petrified of being targeted for bullying and so delayed my scarf wearing until “things calmed down.” My parents, also worried for my safety, supported this decision.

Soon 9/11 happened and things basically went from bad to worse, though there were more ‘brown’ faces at my school now including girls who wore the scarf, I saw many-a-hijab being pulled and many-a-girl being called Bin Laden’s offspring. I remember a hijabi skiving P.E. once, something EVERYONE did at some point in life coz P.E. sucked ass, and this girl literally said; I love how she gets to miss P.E. every week coz of that tea towel on her head.

So much hatred- it made me feel physically sick.

Honestly though, at this point I was delaying wearing the scarf because for four years of high school, all anyone  saw was me and my lion’s mane; my hair, so, seeing me with a ‘tea towel’ on my head, was going to induce some comments that could potentially damage my non-existent self esteem.  My supportive parents were becoming a little antsy at this point as well, you know why? Because the Asian community excels at talking about things that don’t concern it, like how ‘your 16 year old daughter is not wearing hijab still!’

Anyway, I wore the scarf at long last when I went to college, it was a new phase and not everyone from high school was gonna be there and this gave me the boost I needed to wear it. Honestly, it felt good. I was a late hijabi but I was embraced by the hijabi community like one of their own, by that I mean they always lent me pins when I lost mine #sisterhood.

I see all these inspirational videos on the internet about hijabis, like the BuzzFeed one I linked saying things like; I am a hijabi but I do this and that and there is more to me than the hijab etc. And it’s cool, I guess, I mean do I make an extra effort to smile at you on the bus, even when I am in a bad mood, because I need you to believe that I am not what they say I am on the news? Sure. It’s sad, but I do it for the greater good.

But honestly, here’s my I am a hijabi list and it sure as hell won’t change your life or inspire you but if it makes you laugh, then my work here is done.

I am a hijabi and;

  • I wish I made the most out of my hair when I wasn’t a hijabi- hair straighteners were not really a thing when I was growing up and I feel robbed.
  • You would honestly have to bribe the crap out of me before I tell you how often I brush / wash my hair. Let’s leave it at that.
  • I watch all these hijab tutorials on YouTube and think I am so gonna do this and end up looking like a nun when I do ultimately reverting back  to the style I have worn since I was 16!
  • I honestly thank the lord for the extra sleep I get in the morning thanks to wearing the headscarf (and not wearing make up) but don’t worry, I am pretty I promise #Mashallah.
  • I take the hijab seriously; as in if I am having a bad hijab day, I will drive home at lunch and wear another one because it will bug the crap out of me otherwise.
  • My mum and I play this game where she hides all my black scarves because ‘they don’t suit you!!’ and I go out and buy some more.
  •  My favourite thing to do is make a hijab out of any fabric I like so neck scarves in H & M have made their way onto my head many a time.
  • Once, I had my scarf pulled by someone who did not know better (not all the way off but still) and honest to God, my main concern was that my hair was not straightened and really did look like a pissed off lion’s mane. Naturally, when it all sunk in, I did worry about all the other connotations of having your scarf pulled; dignity, honour, etc.

So there you have it, my Hijab non story.

*this is a play on words, not a fatwa halalifying the consumptions of road, do not eat the road because I said so please.

***

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25 comments

  1. A very honest post, love it ❤️ why and how you wear the hijab is always a very personal thing so no one gets to judge/comment on it!
    I grew up in Pakistan and as a kid I didn’t really know any hijabi girls but when I went to college a lot of girls I knew started doing hijab or niqab and they were always the nicest and friendliest of the bunch! I started doing hijab after I graduated and was working, but my family freaked out so much by the idea that I stopped about 2yrs afterwards 😓 I really do want to do it again, I just feel like it’s the right thing for me, but let’s see…

  2. Hahahaha hiiii Tam, it’s been a while since I commented on one of your posts!

    I started using the hijab full time in end 2010, when I was 16, and literally all I wore were black hijabs & my mum had to hide them/purposely not wash them so I was forced into wearing non-black ones 😢 Felt so luminous when I’m not in black.

    And also YES to the watching hijab tutorials point omg hahahaha I end up wearing my usual style bc any other style looks too messy/incomplete on me. Familiar is good man, we don’t need new hijab styles to ~spice up~ our lives 💁🏻

  3. I’m sorry you saw such racism at your school – “Bin Laden’s offspring”, that’s just horrific. It makes me feel so ashamed. You take such a light-hearted approach to it though and I really enjoyed this post.
    Hope you’re well xx

    1. Aw thank you. My theory is; if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry so you might as well laugh it off and whilst it was hard to take it this lightly at the time, adult me is doing a much better job at coping- thanks for reading 😀

  4. Nice to know your Hijab non story 🙂 thought we all have one to start with at some point, I start it quite late, just last year and your post reminded of my initial Hijab struggle on youtube I followed so many Hijabi bloggers to know how to wear a Hijab and to tell you..I recently wore a infinity C&A neck scarf as my hijab 😉

  5. Haha, you are hilarious! Love it. I feel like I could have written this post! I recently wrote my own non-hijab story, but I resonate with many of your reasons. I too went through a phase of hijab where I only wore skits. I’m back to wearing pants again and try to make sure I wear lose shirts when I wear pants. But yeah, I don’t do turban-style either for the same reason. I’m actually very “tried and true” with my hijab. I don’t see it as a fashion accessory. I don’t know, I feel like I’m going on and on and nothing I’m saying makes sense! 🙂

  6. This post made me laugh immensely. Bullying, racism, prejudice, etc. etc. sucks balls. I’m sorry you had to go through that, but I’m glad you shared your non-story ;)!

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