Hijaab- A Responsibility

6 Jun

After reading a post by a sister on Me and My Hijaab, one thing she said resonated with me “…Yet there are women who wear the hijab and who do not, in any way, shape or form act the way a Muslimah should, and at the same time I know of Muslimahs who behave much more admirably who do not wear the hijab. So does wearing the hijab make you a ‘better’ Muslimah than the ones who do not? Surely actions speak louder than words. “ I remember feeling like this before I wore the hijaab. And it made me contemplate how do I portray myself as a Muslim woman who wears the hijaab now? How do Muslims and non- Muslims view me?

You see, the hijaab is far from just a piece of cloth that’s sits on my head. It is an honour, a responsibility. It is an action that needs to be backed up with good character, good manners and kindness. I am in no way saying that you have to have these traits in order to wear the hijaab. What I am saying is that when we do wear the hijaab, we owe it that much respect that we should try to adhere to Islam. Otherwise we’d be letting everything that the hijaab stands for down. When we adopt good character and adherence to Islam with the hijaab on, naturally this will stick with us when we take it off, and certainly vice versa. For many Muslim women who start wearing the hijaab, and are serious about it, they start changing almost immediately. I believe that when you make the effort, Allah gives you strength and motivation to become better. Of course it is possible to have the traits of a good Muslim without wearing the hijaab, but the hijaab completes a Muslim woman, and shows the world that she is completely committed to her faith.

It is my responsibility as a hijaab wearing woman to portray myself in the right way, firstly for the sake of God, and then for the sake of those who look at me: the sisters who are contemplating wearing the hijaab, the non-Muslims I am in contact with everyday. I have to show that the hijaab benefits me, that it adds to and encourages my good character, that it earns me honour and respect. I have to feel love for it in my heart in the hope that it will transpire through me and make others yearn to feel that love too. Your hijaab is a symbol of your faith, it is you saying that you obey the command of your Lord. It is you saying that you are trying to be a better person. And yes, it defines you as a Muslim woman.

I remember when I first started University as a non hijaab wearing woman, I attended the Fresher’s Fair and hovered around the Islamic Society table. In all honesty, the sisters intimidated me. I thought that if I went up to them, they would immediately judge me. This was a fault of my own, and not the sisters. But at the same time, no-one from the Islamic Society approached me. Fast forward to my second year, and I am working at the Fresher’s Fair with my hijaab on. A sister approaches me asking me to sign up for the Islamic Society. Was it the hijaab? While the Jewish and Hindu societies were signing up anyone and everyone, I felt that the Islamic Society were just signing up muslimahs who covered their head. As I became more involved with the society, I noticed the lack of non “hijaabis”. Rather I would see sisters who didn’t wear hijaab come into the prayer room, cover, pray, uncover, then leave. This was despite the fact the all of the sisters involved in the Islamic Society were lovely. But something was stopping these non hijaab wearing sisters from spending time with us. Did we intimidate them? Did they feel like they would be judged? Did they feel like they would have nothing in common with us? I certainly felt the latter before I started practicing, which resulted in all of my friends in my first year of uni being non-Muslims. When I started to befriend more sisters later on, I found that many of our journeys were similar.

My questions are: do we fail to include our sisters who don’t cover? Are we doing absolutely everything we can to include them? I fear that the answer, for me anyway, is no. Have I forgotten that I didn’t pop out of the womb wearing hijaab? Have I forgotten how I felt when I didn’t wear it? Have I forgotten my own struggle? Yes, yes and yes. May Allah remind me of myself, so that I can help other sisters who need it.

We will all answer for our own deeds.  Hijaab does not equate piety, and people should not let the bad character of other ‘hijaabis’ put them off wearing it. Sisters who don’t wear the hijaab should not blame others for not wearing it, of course, as none of us are perfect. But when you don’t wear the hijaab, you do tend to think “I know people who don’t cover their head that act better than those who do”. This is the frame of mind you are in, I thought the same thing before I started wearing it. Now I see that I was trying to convince myself that not wearing the hijaab was “ok” for the meantime. Nevertheless, we need to remember that this is what many people think, thus sisters that do wear the hijaab have a responsibility to show what it means to wear it, and how it changes us, in order to inspire those trying to wear it. Of course, our intention when wearing the hijaab should be firstly for Allah, to obey His command. But I also think it should be to portray Islam is the right way, to show that we are Muslim women who love our faith, love modesty and love our brothers and sisters in Islam, and humanity. The hijaab should inspire everyone who sees it. People should think “Wow- look how proud and happy she is to be covering up- she doesn’t seem oppressed at all. Her smile shows her freedom”.

Most sisters- including those who don’t wear it- know that the hijaab is obligatory. So sometimes I think we need to have more empathy, and less condemnation.

And Allah knows best.

~ Zara ‘ZAS’

Read more about Zara here

Click here to read the post I mentioned at the beginning.


4 Responses to “Hijaab- A Responsibility”

  1. Black Muslimah June 6, 2011 at 1:54 am #

    “What I am saying is that when we do wear the hijaab, we owe it that much respect that we should try to adhere to Islam. Otherwise we’d be letting everything that the hijaab stands for down.”

    Wow, this is so on point. I know that we all falter, as we are complicated human beings but I do try to remind myself constantly that whether I want to be or not, I am an example for other hijabi’s/muslimah’s. I’m constantly checking my behavior and language (though I have my moments). It’s important that we always remind ourselves of this.

    Good post sis! ASA

  2. Sheila.N June 6, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    You Know I Was Going To Write Something On This But I Just Had To Put My Pen DOWN. Masha’Allah. This Is The Truth, Hijab Is Not Limited To The Khimar On Our Heads or Our Over garments. We Have To Uphold Certain Mannerisms.
    Masha’Allah Z x

    • Me and My Hijab Admin June 6, 2011 at 11:18 pm #

      Thanks ukhti- I think you should still write the piece you were thinking of. Much love sweety xx

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