World Hijab Day
Hijab is actually the Arabic word literally meaning, ‘to cover’ or a ‘barrier’, and a word that you’ll sometimes see used to refer to the head-coverings worn by Muslim women. Of course, it’s worth considering that the style of the adornment varies according to different cultures, different regions and the preferences of the women wearing them.
However, the hijab has become focal attention in some parts of the world, by the Muslim and the Non-Muslim worlds alike, and sometimes not the good kind. It’s a concept that’s often misunderstood or not understood at all by some people and this becomes unacceptable when it contributes to bullying, discrimination or any forms of abuse. This is why the 1st February celebrates and raises attention about the hijab on World Hijab Day because it’s an opportunity to understand the misunderstood.
First of all, let’s get this straight - I don’t wear the hijab ‘to preserve my beauty from the gazes of strange men’. To be honest, I couldn’t care less about what a man thinks I should wear. I wear it for me - it's personal. You could say I’m quite selfish. I wear it to manage which parts I choose to display in public and which parts I choose to keep private.
But the hijab is more than what you see me wearing on my head, it’s an embodiment of my devotion to my faith and a part of my identity that I like to wear proudly. It makes me feel confident to live my life authentically whilst also serving as a reminder of my connection with God. I feel proud to wear my hijab, in a society where sometimes you wish to just blend in anonymously because it’s a constant reminder of my values that I hold so dearly.
It’s also worth mentioning that my experiences are not, necessarily, shared by all Muslim women. Everyone’s relationship with hijab is different. It’s okay to admit that sometimes it’s a struggle - to wish you didn’t stick out like a sore thumb and just blend in like a chameleon. Especially in situations where you’re treated differently just because people assume that they know you based off their own stereotypes or negative perceptions. But I pull through it, as I always come back to my ‘why’ - why it’s important to me.
On top of all that, there’s no point in denying that wearing a hijab is not a choice for some women out there in the world, as it is for me. Such women are restricted by their societal, cultural and political values and are forced to adorn the hijab and this is not something I, nor my religion, stand for.