When you go out on a cold day, you put on your jacket; Sometimes gloves and a hat and a scarf too.
When I go out, I cover up just like that-
The way you put on your jacket.
I cover myself and I cover the clothes I’m wearing.
I know some find it odd. I know some think it’s foreign culture. I know some think I must be oppressed and suppressed.
Some even think they should “save” me. A man cursed at my husband once because… he must have forced me.
I like to call it hijab, which means “covering” or “partition” in Arabic.
I went without it for twenty three years.
I’ve been there.
I was a girl fresh out of college.
I would have started sooner if I hadn’t feared what my friends would say; If I hadn’t feared people a little too much.
The day I finally did it, I ran into work past everyone- looking down. I ran right into the break room and hesitated before I revealed myself- no longer revealed.
Why? Why do we wear hijab?
The Quran makes it very clear and simple: “so that you will be recognized and so that you will not be annoyed” (Quran 33:59)
Hijab is partially a statement, partially a protection. The implications of both aspects are very, very rich.
It is one of my favorite directives given in Islam.
When I go out, I am recognized as a Muslim: Someone who puts their Creator first; I’m not someone who’s interested in flirting, or showing off my body, or competing for attention.
When I go out, I do not get harassed or gawked at from top to bottom. I don’t get whistled at or called baby by men I don’t know.
Women don’t compare their curves to mine. They don’t get jealous and neither do I.
If my body is not like a supermodel’s that’s ok, I don’t have to feel inadequate. The people who care about me think I’m beautiful the way I am. Why should I worry about anyone else?
I’m not forced to be a runner in the race to wear the latest and greatest fashion.
My outer appearance is not a display of beauty but of the fact I have more important things on my mind.
Hijab has given me the freedom to move through the world with dignity and respect I had not known before it.
It is truly liberating.
I hardly ever have nightmares, but when I do they almost always involve me being out somewhere in a public place- and realizing I’m not wearing hijab.