The hijab. Something so spoke about but known very little of by the majority. At the beginning of each and every day, I wear the hijab as a religious obligation and as a reminder of my faith and my duty to inform those who know very little about it or of its significance. But the issue regarding the hijab is one that has been in the air for quite a while, whether that may be showing the hijab in a positive or negative spotlight—most likely the latter. Of course, the media and other outside sources just add gas to an already blazing fire by eloquently reciting the age-old statement of the hijab being a tool of oppression used against the women of Islam by their male counterparts, which I’m here to say is completely and utterly false.
You sir have played a vital role in my life, not in a good way but nonetheless a role of some sort. You made me look at this issue of others not fully being aware of the way they speak about hijab more highlighted to the point where essentially I’m at a breaking point. You may think you know everything there is about the hijab, you know watching FOX news and all, but I hate to break it to you that you most likely know quite literally 0.00001% about the hijab, with a little rounding put into that percentage, you’re welcome. Let me give you a bit of background on the hijab.
The meaning of hijab itself is not the head scarf that is covering the head rather it means covering one’s outwardly appearance to show modesty and chastity for both males and females. So you see the hijab doesn’t discriminate against a particular gender. Moreover, there are many Muslim women who choose not to wear the hijab out of personal reasons which disproves this other notion that Muslim men are the ones who are forcing women to wear the hijab. Also, this notion that just because a country has a majority of Muslim people living in it, making it a Muslim majority, does not mean every single action they do reflects the teachings of Islam. For example, in Saudi Arabia one of the laws that came down that caused a bit of uproar in a lot of news outlets was that women were not allowed to drive. Now, this is where an idea called culture comes into play, but since many people cannot distinguish between what is culture and what is Islam they decide to put everything under the umbrella of Islam. So let’s rewind a bit, women not being allowed in drive in Saudi Arabia is because of a cultural reason, not an Islamic reason, sorry this may be a bit groundbreaking for you, you can take a deep breath if you aren’t digesting this well yet.
So, back to the problem at hand, now that you know a bit about the hijab let me break something down for you that you may not have known when you were asking about the hijab to me. Firstly, I get it, you don’t know a million correct facts about the hijab at the drop of a hat, I don’t blame you, but when you come to ask me a question don’t act like I know nothing when in fact I’m the one who’s wearing the hijab. Secondly, if you’re going to ask something you don’t know about be respectful, I’m sure you’ve been taught respect right? I mean if you expect me to give you an answer worth listening to, an answer with depth and clarity, then I expect some level of respect even if you may not agree with the teachings of my religion. It is my religion not yours so please next time don’t start bombarding me with your statements of “The hijab is so ugly!”, “I don’t understand why you women would wear that!” and not to forget when you said, “No man would ever want to look at you in that!”. Thirdly, I find it quite funny when you say how Islam oppresses women because they aren’t able to express themselves when you probably live up to some misogynistic view where women to you are supposed to be seen as a viewing pleasure and as a sexual object without a brain for herself, so yeah I think I’ll pass thanks. In case any of those ideas that I stated above were a bit too hard for you to understand here is a convenient list for you to use next time you have a question about the hijab or anything else that seems pretty personal to someone:
Assess the way you’re going to approach the person
o Don’t just start talking to them if they seem busy or if they don’t feel comfortable talking to you
How are you going to ask the question?
o Don’t condescend and don’t be arrogant, ask a question in a respectful manner especially if it’s on a touchy topic like the hijab
o Don’t start interrupting the person while they’re trying to explain and start inputting all the ideas you think is right. Listen to the entire answer the give and proceed to ask questions if you were unclear about something they said.
o I mean if they took the time to answer your questions thoughtfully I believe they do deserve some sort of thanks right?
So hopefully after you followed these steps on knowing how to ask a person the correct way on topics such as the hijab and now are more aware of the intricacies of learning about the hijab you won’t be so quick to spout random “alternative facts” about the hijab to a Hijabi. Take notes, read this list again if you forget sometimes and pass it on to your friends, they might need it more than you do.