11 Jun

Since the age of 12, Hijab was a major part of my life. Some days, I didn’t mind it – but other days, it was an issue for me. Like most teenage girls, I wanted to be fashionable, stylish and wear whatever I wanted. The Hijab did not work in my favour. In truth, I sometimes felt restricted. But then again, I was a child who could not yet fully understand the benefits of the veil.

At school, I would often gladly remove my Hijab and rebel against what I’d been taught – that the beauty of my hair should never be exposed to strangers. My friends would admire my Hijab-less look, and it brought me a lot of attention, many stares and compliments. But you know what was odd? This new attention bothered me. I started to realise that, actually, I didn’t like any of it… it didn’t feel right. In a strange way, when people looked at me without my Hijab, I felt violated. I felt exposed.

One afternoon, I went to see my art teacher about some work while she was teaching the older students. I watched them work on their art pieces, absorbed in thought. But something caught my eye: a clay model of a Hijabi, which was slowly being wrapped in a vibrant green veil, adorned by the cut-out words, “My body is my business.”

I looked down at my own Hijab. “I guess”, I thought to myself, “Hijab is a safeguard. For me.” That image, those words ran through my mind for days. Inspired me to see a new light, and made me eager to learn more about the garment that I now realised protected me. At that point, I noticed that my personal Hijab struggle was mainly because nobody had really explained the truth about it to me, it was always felt like a rule – when in fact, it was a favour from Allah. The Muslimah should be protected, like an oyster protects its pearl.

It took me a while to grasp the concept of Hijab. It was a challenge because as a young girl, body image and confidence is crucial. But here, I learnt another vital point. Hijab is the epitome of elegance and class. Our individual identities are not shunned away by it, but instead they are enhanced.

Through experimenting with colours, shades, wrapping methods, accessories, I learnt that the Hijab is nothing short of an art form. The way you wear it will be your own personal statement, your own style choice – while earning the respect of those around you. When you see the confidence and the self-respect of a Muslimah, you can’t help but admire her strength and her courage to do well for herself while pleasing Allah. And unmatched is her determination to accept nothing less.

~ Zahra.S


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