To Hijab or not to Hijab

To hijab or not to hijab. That is the question.

Confession – despite the title of my blog, I do not wear hijab.

But I am absolutely fascinated by it. I know in the west that women wearing hijab receive a lot a looks and glances but I am extreme. I am sure there must be several restraining orders against me as I stare at these women all the time.

I look to see what kind of scarf they are wearing, how they wear it, how they pin it, and how it works with their clothes. And it took me a while to figure out why some women looked a bit StarTrek-ish with an elongated head underneath their hijab. This not a criticism! I wish I had that much hair – I can barely make a pony tail with mine. ๐Ÿ™‚

I think the hijab is absolutely beautiful, though I still struggle with the notion of whether it is really required or if it is cultural. Do I have to wear hijab to be Muslim?

A fellow blogger gave me some great advice about making sure I stay who I am as I continue this journey – which was a huge comfort… and a relief. But there is a part of me would like to start wearing a hijab tomorrow whether it is required or not, simply as a visible statement that I am a proud Muslimah!

So what is stopping me?

Well, there is the fact that I am still in the Islamic closet. And wearing hijab is a pretty ‘out’ statement.

But even when I am ready to be out, my other concern is that as beautiful as I view the hijab and the women who wear it, I am fairly certain I will look like an old woman named Olga. There is no need to tell me that modesty is more important than vanity, and that it is what is inside that counts.

So, how to tackle this?

I have read enough to know that just like finding the right haircut, I need to find the right style of wearing the hijab that suits my features. I have a very long face and a high forehead. I’ve researched this on-line, including YouTube videos, but I have not quite figured out what I am doing yet.

My experiment will be when I vacation in Dubai this summer. I plan to wear hijab everyday no matter what I look like – just to see how it feels – to explore if wearing hijab feels right. And I am hoping I can find some women in the shops who can help me figure out the best way to wear it. But if you have suggestions or tips, please let me know!

For those who do wear hijab, why did you choose to wear it? For those who don’t, why not?

16 responses

  1. Assalamalaikom Sis! This is my first time coming to your blog..So, hello! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I think every hijaabi goes through different phases of wearing their hijaab. I remember the way I wore hijaab before made me look 10 years older but over time, I have made changes to it and I look at least my age now hehe. So maybe you might look like Olga today but I believe you will eventually find your own style and look fantastic. Most importantly, you should feel comfortable in it ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for why I wear hijaab, I am convinced by evidences from Qur’an and the Prophetic Traditions that not only it is a command from Him, but also to honour us women. Truth is, even as a born Muslim, it was a long journey before I eventually started wearing it. I used to wear hijaab for a while then take it off and was convinced that it is not an important part of the religion. But after doing my own readings and research, it became much clearer to me.

    I think it’s especially important that every Muslimah study Qur’an and Prophetic Traditions to have a better understanding on hijaab. I live in a country whereby some Muslimahs unfortunately wear hijaab due to fashion trend or simply to assimilate in the society. I remember my Professor who taught me Islamic Jurisprudence, he posed this question to the sisters who wear hijaab in my class – Show me the evidence in the Qur’an and Sunnah about wearing hijaab! Some of us struggled to answer the question because hijaab has become so common that it has become cultural when in fact, it is from Islam. Some grew up wearing it so they don’t question the reason why they wear it in the first place.

    So sis, the question you asked about whether to wear hijaab or not.. just my advice that perhaps you can start doing some research.. take your time, there’s no rush. When you are fully convinced by it, insha’Allah it is easier to keep it on even when you face hardships with it ๐Ÿ™‚

    Allah knows best ๐Ÿ™‚

    Umm Khaleel

    • Thank you for visiting! And thank you for the advice and support. I will read more… and experiment with how to wear hijab. ๐Ÿ™‚ It really means a lot to hear your perspective. I will definitely post something about my vacation where I will wear hijab. I am very excited!

  2. Salams sis. I loved your post. And I laughed so hard about your thoughts on looking like an old woman named Olga. I totally understand what you mean. Not to put down any women who are elderly and named Olga ๐Ÿ˜‰ but anyhow, I totally get you. I struggle with hijab and what does it mean. And like I’ve said before, many people will have many different opinions. I wear it somedays and then other days I fail. I recently turned to an Islamic teacher about this subject. Because I was struggling a bit as to whether the ‘scarf’ itself is a religious symbol that us Muslim women must embrace or if there can be multiple ways just as our cultures, ethnicities, ect are multi-faceted. His advice lifted so much stress.

    He raised the point that so long as we are practicing the modesty in which our Lord asks us to, it doesn’t matter if it’s with a hat, a beanie, ect. Because the scarf in itself is not a religious symbol in Islam, as surprisingly as that may sound.

    And he referenced Ibn Taymiyah an Islamic scholar from centuries ago. Ibn Taymiyah wrote:

    “If the Muslim lives in a non-Muslim country, regardless of whether or not that country is hostile with the Muslim countries, he will not be obligated to make himself appear different than them. This is on account of the difficulties that doing so can pose. Indeed, it might become preferable or even obligatory for him to conform to their outward standards of appearance if there is a benefit for the faith in doing so like inviting them to Islam, or preventing hardship for the Muslims, or for realizing any other wholesome intention.โ€ [Iqtidรขโ€™ al-Sirรขt al-Mustaqรฎm (176)]”

    Of course that doesn’t mean we can turn to miniskirts ect ๐Ÿ˜‰ it was just comforting for me to hear as I was already going through some of my own struggles and feelings of guilt on my ‘off’ days, and also my confusion about the ‘scarf’ itself. And his advice really brought some peace. He had said that the point is not to try to look so different than the society you’re in because it can bring unnecessary conflicts and hardship on the individual.

    In majority Muslim societies, women will practice hijab in a way that helps them blend in and navigate in society without a lot of attention and hardship. So it makes sense that in minority Muslim societies, one shouldn’t feel they must be totally different than the non-Muslim people. For that will potentially cause some burdens that can be avoided.

    Some may disagree with this and this isn’t to raise any debate. It is WONDERFUL if you are excited to present your Muslim identity to society some day inshaAllah!! I think it is fun that you are going to Dubai and going to get some advice over there! Can’t wait to hear more! Just enjoy yourself. Explore. Experiment. And if you ever get to a point that you feel this is just too much. Then take a step back. I’ll end this now, as I am taking so much of your comment space!!

    May Allah guide you and bless you in your journey and inshaAllah us women can gain some inspiration in your journey. ameen

    Allah knows best.

    • Wa alaikum assalam. Again – your insights and comments are so helpful and encouraging! I will definitely blog about my experiments with hijab and embracing my inner Olga! I hope I can find a teacher such as yours – Insha Allah. And I hope we can all help each other. Thank you!

      • Thank you sister. Looking forward to it inshaAllah! I received my help from http://www.newmuslimacademy.com , it’s a free online school to help out converts into easing their way into our faith. And this is where I learned my information from. May Allah continue to guide us all closer to Him. As For Bob Othman’s suggestion. I don’t agree to close your doors to women who don’t wear hijab. For that might mean you are turning your back on a fellow sister who may find inspiration from you! But just my opinion.

      • -my mistake, Mr. Othman was just saying not to seek advice from non-hijabis. I suppose that is a different case than not spending time with them at all. My apologies.

  3. My dear respected sister, first and foremost, i know a girl named Olga and she is so pretty ๐Ÿ™‚
    On whether to wear the hijab or not, the sole truth is you MUST if you are a Muslim. Anything else, for whatever reason, would definitely mean that you have committed a sin. But being a new revert do offer you a certain flexibility within a certain time frame though I’d never recommend not wearing a hijab.
    My only advise is to make a lot of du’a to Allah SWT to provide you with the courage and a strength of iman to ease your journey. Be within the circle of fellow hijabis and do not seek advise from a non-hijabi.
    Allah knows best.

  4. Assalamualaikum sister,

    Thank you for visiting my blog for it has allowed me to stumble upon yours:) i applaud you on your move forward and am psyched to read on your journeys!

  5. Salams, first of all I have to say that I know a lovely Muslim convert called Olga who is anything but an ‘old lady’! ๐Ÿ™‚ As for hijab, there’s a lot of undue weight placed on this piece of cloth. I heard one shaykh advise us not to let it become a veil between ourselves and God, meaning keep it in perspective amongst the grand scheme of things. I’d recommend reading both the pro- and anti-hijab gumf out there, as whichever decision you make be assured you’ll be expected to defend it! The best book I ever read on the subject was ‘Rethinking Muslim Women & the Veil’ by Katherine Bullock, a Canadian revert.
    If you do decide to hijab-up, then experiment ’til you find a style or two that’s ‘you’. Here are some useful hijab & style inspirations:
    http://www.aquila-style.com/hijabfashionista/
    http://www.aquila-style.com/fashionbeauty/fuss-free-hijabs/
    http://www.pearl-daisy.com/videogallery.php
    http://www.hijabstyle.co.uk/
    http://www.maysaa.com/shop/scarves.html

    • You are the second person who has mentioned knowing a Muslim named Olga and that she is lovely. ๐Ÿ™‚ I must change my terminology. ๐Ÿ˜‰

      I am so excited to explore all your suggestions. Thank you!

  6. Salamualaikum sister ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reading your blog is really delightful as I went through the same experience. Coming from a free hair hey day era before, I was a bit sceptical the moment i put on my hijjab, but Allah has put the ease on it and Hamdulillah I’m still a hijjabista ๐Ÿ™‚
    It gives a different beautiful feel but it does come with a lot of hardship. Just a word of advice, do it for Allah’s sake and He will definitely help you with it.
    And as you mentioned you’re visiting Dubai, do visit Al Huda Sisters when you’re there- you will meet a melting pot of cultures coming from sisters from all over the world sharing one mission- to find love from Alllah, hijjab or non hijjab, all are welcome!
    You will find more than what you’re looking for ๐Ÿ™‚
    Go slow, put your trust in Allah and He will guide you when you’re ready.

    Below is the link :
    http://alhudasisters.wordpress.com

    Hope you will enjoy Dubai ๐Ÿ™‚
    Really wish can meet you there but I’m off for vacation…But yeah have a visit there, you will meet so many sisters having the same thoughts !

    xx,
    aisha abdullah

    • Hi Aisha. Thank you for the information and support. I was already home by the time I read this but I plan to go back for sure. I am making lots of du’a on this topic. It is definitely helping. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you had a great vacation!

  7. Assalam Alikum to all, well i personally like if Muslim women wear hijab, as it is more lovely in the eye of Allah, because Allah has ordered both Muslim men and women to dress modestly. May Allah guide all all Ameen.

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