Taking off my hijab?

Sorry, that was kinda clickbait. I wrote this post a couple of weeks ago, and watching Dina Tokio’s video reminded me that I need to post it. Get some popcorn, because this is gonna be long.

No, I’m not taking it off. I admit, though, that it’s just getting harder every single day and I have no Muslim friends to whom I can turn. SO I’m doing what I do best.

In a few months, I will have reached 3 years wearing the hijab. And honestly, no matter what I say to defend it, I don’t enjoy it. I really don’t. I feel like I’ve lost who I am. That is the truth, and I feel so conflicted. Trying to practice and walking around looking very Muslim is so difficult when you have nobody in your life doing the same thing, and especially when how Muslim you look doesn’t match how Muslim you are. I don’t speak to anybody who wears hijab, I don’t speak to anybody who is overtly religious. I’m not overtly religious, either. If I could, I would take it off, and considering I’m still fairly new to it (2.5 years as opposed to the women who have been wearing it since they were pre-teens), I don’t think it’d be that big of a deal – I don’t feel attached to it yet. But of course, I’d be wrong. Because I’d be judged left right and centre – not even by other women who wear it. I’d be judged by men and girls who don’t wear it. Women in hijab are unfairly branded as ambassadors for the religion, so we must uphold the respect whilst men and non-hijab-wearing girls fuck about and do whatever they want. “But nobody knows I’m Muslim”.

I have, however, stopped wearing the abaya. And I have my reasons.

I have spoken previously about how frustrated I am with the non-hijabi women who criticise us for how we dress and then say ‘ok but I’d rather not wear hijab than wear it incorrectly’. I used to think the same thing, and for the same reason that these girls say it. They feel personally attacked by women who are courageous enough to wear the hijab in a Western country: they feel inadequate in their religion, so much so, that they must tear down the people who are trying,  in order to bring them to their level. I have learnt to just feel sorry for these girls rather than desiring to take a machete to their head, because you can’t guide an arrogant person. As I’ve grown older, I don’t get mad when I see a girl in a hijab and skinny jeans. I silently praise her for still wearing it. I do, however, get pissed off at the girls, hijab or not, fully covered or not, who behave disgustingly in the streets and act like hoodrats. Wearing hijab is an obligation, and has come to be a very difficult one in this political climate. I’ve come to accept that the ‘turban’ hijab is still better than nothing. I have also come to fully appreciate that a happy, kind and honest Muslim woman who doesn’t wear hijab and doesn’t comment on other girls who do wear it is much better (in my eyes) than a Muslim woman who is vulgar, rude and immodest whilst wearing hijab. You know, the kind that are loud and have fights on the street.

If I stopped wearing hijab, I wouldn’t comment on anybody except those who slander the Muslim women who try to live life whilst following their religion. It’s hard. We have it harder than Muslim men, that’s a fact. Women in hijab will bear the brunt of the “terrorist” men you see on the news. If I took it off, I would know that I am weaker than the women who could continue wearing it, regardless of how ‘properly’ they do so. But it’s becoming impossible to stay safe, to stay happy and respected.

The biggest issue is men. Fucking idiot Muslim men who feel the need to police and attack women in hijab. I don’t care that you have a ‘Muslim beard’. You do NOT look as ‘Muslim’ as a woman who wears a hijab, let alone a hijab and an abaya. It is so hard. Not to mention inconvenient. I hate having to make sure my scarf is on properly before I go out, sometimes I just don’t go anywhere because I don’t want to wear it. Because I can’t just throw on my sweatpants with a hijab, because I would be happy to go makeup-free if I didn’t wear hijab, but I despise that my face is the focus in my scarf. I hate people focusing on any part of me, especially my face. The biggest issue I have? I hate wearing an underscarf and having my hair pulling on my scalp all day. It is actually fucking painful. God doesn’t want me to harm or deform my body by plucking my eyebrows or getting tattoos, so why should I be subject to this pain? I could cut my hair, but Muslim men say that God says I should beautify myself for my husband, and according to their doctrine, men like beautiful hair, hence why we should cover it. Everything sounds like it is for men, I’m going against everything I once believed in and admitting that. Nothing makes sense to me, I am losing my mind and men are bullshit. I’m not a misandrist, I just hate our own. I hate that we don’t have female interpretations of the Quran and hadith.

I hate the men who say that Islam protects us. Yes, it does. It holds us to such high levels and demands so much respect for us. I don’t for a second believe that Islam is bad for women. Islam is perfect, Muslims are not. Muslim men are deeply flawed. Yeah. Heaven lies at the feet of your mother. What’s mine is mine, what’s yours is ours. Men must protect us. But the issue with that is that I’m not a fucking snowflake. I’m not fragile, I’m not something that needs to be protected. I listen to heavy metal and I have made myself bleed just because I like to see blood and I wanted a scar. I have never needed a man to do anything for me. I want to be a Muslim woman just to be a Muslim woman.

Also, with regards to abaya, let me remind you. The statements decreeing that women must cover their hair and body must be interpreted in this context. It is clear that the hair needs to be covered, fine. But in terms of dressing modestly, in the time of the Prophet (pbuh), women dressed modestly anyway (compared to today), so in relation to this, the abaya was MORE modest. An abaya in Europe, where the majority of women don’t dress ‘modestly’ is unnecessary. It surpasses ‘modesty’ and ventures into danger; it is possible to live normally whilst dressing modestly by the standards of the land in which you live. But it seems like unless a woman completely disappears behind a sheet, men are unhappy. Men are always unhappy unless you are constantly fulfilling their wishes.

It makes no sense to live as if every single country is the same. And the day someone cares about my ‘modesty’ more than my safety and wellbeing, is the day I fucking throw someone off a bridge and say fuck off. If a man ever makes me wear an abaya despite it being a risk to my safety and making me feel uncomfortable, he is disgusting and should move to an Islamic country where it’s perfectly fine and normal for women to cover even their faces. That’s how I feel, anyway. When in Rome, retain your faith whilst doing as the Romans. It’s not impossible. If you ever confide in your husband and tell him you want to take off the abaya or the hijab (it’s such a difficult thing to admit), and he responds with anger and that ‘so you want to show yourself off to other men’ I swear to God divorce that fucking bitch. Take the children away from him. Take everything away from him. Let him wallow in misery and buy a blow up doll he can lock in a cupboard.

I feel restricted in the abaya. I wish I could say I don’t care, but I need a job and I need to prosper in order to live the life that I want. I want to be happy in my faith, not miserable. I don’t enjoy wearing the hijab, but I make the best of what I have, and I do it because I have to. I especially don’t enjoy wearing the abaya. I don’t feel like I’m sinning by taking it off: the worst feeling is feeling trapped. I only wore the abaya because I felt pressured into it. I honestly didn’t think about what I was doing, I was just at a bad place and I felt like the only way my life could move forward was if I started wearing it. So I did. I didn’t hate wearing it – I enjoyed wearing it at times. But generally, I didn’t like it.

I despise feeling trapped. But also, if I decided to take off my hijab, that’s nobody’s business. Fortunately, Ramadan is just around the corner so we’ll see if anything improves.


4 thoughts on “Taking off my hijab?

  1. elainedanforth says:

    Hi K,
    I’m glad you used a “clickbait” title, because it helped me choose quickly which piece to start with.
    Thank you for sharing your experience and feelings around this timely subject. I am guessing there are other women who feel as you do about the hijab and all the social consequences of wearing or not wearing it, and of wearing it correctly or not.

    Thank you also for visiting and following my blog. I appreciate that.

    I hope you will continue to find way to continue to be true to yourself, and that it won’t always be so difficult for you.

    And when you mentioned doing what you do best (writing, I’m thinking), I agree that you are an excellent writer. I think we writers can use our craft very constructively to work through and share our personal challenges, and it looks to me like you have done a very good job of that here.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kamal Gujral says:

    What you wear should be about you and the person you are, not about what other people (Muslim or non-Muslim think of you). Don’t let other people’s opinions define you!

    If you want to wear the hijab as part of YOUR interpretation of Islam, then that’s great, wear it, enjoy it……but don’t wear it just because you’re worried about what other people will say/think. In fact, don’t worry about what they say/think at all – so long as you’re not harming anyone, you have the right to live your life the way you please. And practise Islam (or not) in the way that seems right to you.

    (I’m a non-Muslim BTW).


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