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What to expect when becoming a Hijabi in the West
I felt shy and scared to embrace my religion after converting. It was easy to hide my religion from friends and family, until I started to wear hijab. To other it’s now obvious the religion I practice.
Until I started wearing hijab in 2015, I didn’t understand oppression either. Not oppression by a man, by God, BUT oppression by Western Society. For a few months, after wearing it I felt discouraged to put it on everyday because of what people would say or if someone would harm me for wearing it. Regardless, I knew I was wearing it for myself. I’m still wearing it for me. I am finally at the point where I am confident in my religion and with the hijab I wear.
So, what can you do to feel empowered or at least confident in your own scarf?
Know Why You Wear the Hijab
I personally did not wear the hijab until I knew exactly what the religion said about it and I felt confident in the idea of wearing the hijab.
Buy Some Under Scarves and Pins
When I first wore hijab, it was a disaster. I didn’t have anyone to show me how to wrap my hijab. I just watched a few hijab tutorials and prayed for the best. I used bobby pins and a ponytail to keep my hair from going wild underneath. That did not work but I didn’t lose hope. I just got used to the way it felt. I also used to use several stick pins to keep my hijab in place over my under-scarf.
Do not make it as hard on yourself as I did. The easiest thing to do is just get a scarf, safety pin it at the neck, and wrap it around your head or neck.
Know Frequently Asked Questions About Islam
When you wear hijab you are now a obvious face of Islam. Your hijab make you a visible Muslim. You are walking Dawah (actively encouraging others to better their aspect of life with religion). Be prepared to get asked more Questions about Islam, Jihad, Hijab, Bacon, etc. So, study about on some questions that non-Muslims might typically ask you. Then try to how to answer those frequently asked questions.
Know Your Rights in The West
In the United States constitution, it blatantly states that us as Americans, have freedom of religion. We wear hijab for our own religious reasons. No one can legally make you take it off. If they do that is a hate crime and against the law. Don’t be afraid to call the police if need be or you can always contact the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), to report any hate crimes that may happen to you.
If people can dress practically naked in this country and other parts of the world, and it’s legal for them, you can dress as modest as you would like too.
Empowering to Wear Hijab
I often think to myself that I am not seen as a sex object. I am looked at as a woman who is confident and doesn’t care what society thinks.
Once I started wearing hijab in college, it was easier for me to make friends and people wanted to be friends with me. I am talking about non-Muslims too. I think it was because we already got past a barrier of people understanding me. People were curious to ask me questions and saw me as a strong individual.
Try Not to Walk Alone, Especially at Night
I have heard horror stories of women getting attacked or yelled at while wearing hijab. I wear a stocking cap if I need to go out at night by myself. Always make sure you are always carrying pepper spray or some other form of protection. Remember, we also have the right to bear arms in the United States.
Social Media is Your Best Friend
Be happy to post about your life as a Muslim woman. Be proud. Also, if someone’s being a racist to you in public. Pull out your smart phone, record them, then post it on social media.
Social Media Can Also Be Your Biggest Enemy:
If you spend all day looking at pictures of women in hijab, covered in makeup, it will make you insecure. To be honest, this is why I do not follow any beauty bloggers or models, non-muslim or Muslim.
Know What to Say When Asked About Wearing Hijab
I always say, I am wearing the hijab for me. My hijab and what I wear is between me and God alone. Try not to bring the topic of hijab up.
What tell Non-Muslims about why I wear the wear the hijab:
I am dressing like the virgin Mary (PBUH) (Yes, Muslims believe in the virgin birth of Jesus. Muslims believe in Jesus too.) I refer to Mary, to Christians especially, because she is the mother of Jesus (PBUH) and she is never depicted without a veil.
I also have said I dress modest for the same reason Nuns do. They are shocked to hear these statements. They often still do not see the irony in this situation.
What I tell Muslims about why I wear the Hijab:
Hijab is a heated debate among non-muslims and Muslims. So, my advice is to not bring up this subject around a Muslim unless a Muslim asks why you wear the hijab. Even then, you do not need to tell them. It is between you and God.
I state these are the verses as to why I wear the hijab:
“And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what must ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons, their husbands’ sons, their brothers, or their brothers’ sons or their sisters’ sons, or their women or the servants whom their right hands possess, or male servants free of physical needs, or small children who have no sense of the shame of sex, and that they should not strike their feet in order to draw attention to their hidden ornaments. And O you Believers, turn you all together towards Allah, that you may attain Bliss.” (Quran 24:31).
“O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks all over their bodies, That will be better, that they should be known (as free respectable women) so as not to be annoyed. And Allah is Ever Forgiving, Most Merciful” (Quran 33:59).
This is how I see it from my own interpretation. I want to point out, there are many interpretations to these verses. I interpret from these verses (there are hadiths that have lead me to my conclusion as well) that I should and want to wear a veil and dress modestly.
Being Hijabi Does Not Make You Better
I do not think I am better than or think less of anyone because I wear the hijab and they do not. No woman who wears the hijab should think they are better than anyone. Same goes for hijabis. I do not think that you are better because you wear the hijab. I don’t base the goodness or merit of a person by how they dress. I judge the goodness of a person by how they act towards me or others.