“What keeps you firm in wearing the Hijab/Niqab despite the increasing rise of Islamophobia and Western standards of beauty?”
Recently, there has been a mixed response to Hijab (head covering) and Niqab (additional face covering), with a rise in discrimination and violence towards sisters who cover for the sake of Allah, and a stigma attached to how “beautiful” they really are in the West. Alongside a more positive approach which can be noted i.e. Hijabis in the Olympics, designer brands catering for Muslim women, and even Muslim women being represented in the media. Whilst there will always be good and bad, what does this fluctuation in responses mean for Muslim women who cover for religious means? When we cover, we become ambassadors of Islam for the sake of Allah, it represents our liberation and becomes empowering, it can help us mentally, spiritually and physically. We asked sisters “What keeps you firm in wearing the Hijab/Niqab despite the increasing rise of Islamophobia and Western standards of beauty?” and here’s what they said:
Firm on the truth!
“Knowing that the believers will be tested, and that this is a test to keep us firm on the Haqq.”
Keeps me happy!
“Before I wore Hijab, I was overweight and totally depressed about the way I looked. I wanted to change for the sake of society and its standards, I wanted to fit in and be noticed. I lost a drastic amount of weight in a year and took my body through traumatic ordeals. After I put on Hijab I was still bullied because I was now overweight and noticeably Muslim – my depression and bulimia plunged into an overwhelming darkness. I got to a point where I was too tired of going out because all I did was focus on what people would think of me and how I was a disgrace to Islam.
After reflection on Ahadith, it made me think about how not only does wearing the Hijab and Niqab maintain my modesty, it reminds me of what is my purpose and what is important. People’s opinions and new trends no longer mattered to me, measuring my waist and weighing myself every day was no longer needed because I realised the Hijab not only protects me from unwanted gazes and opinions, it protects me from my own negative thoughts. What keeps me firm is knowing that I don’t need to be noticed, I am quite happy being forgotten about in the background because I don’t get consumed into what is temporary. Whilst we maybe in the spotlight in the media, it is for the wrong reasons and I am firm in representing the right reasons.”
“It keeps me firm because it observes my modesty and it’s a protection from worldly evils which is what islamophobia and western beauty standards are”
My firmness in my belief in Islam; as a way of life which answers all my questions in life and even death. The Niqab is my obedience to Allah SWT and something which is not new, in fact the Prophet Muhammad’s (Sallallahu Alyhiwasallam) wives wore it and even the Sahabiyyah and women in Madinah; so it is an honour to wear the same clothes that they wore and we’re honoured by.
The Niqab, for me, and many of my sisters is not a statement of oppression or feminism; it is in fact the total opposite where I can be in my comfort zone and not be influenced or pressured by a society which pushes image obsession. When somebody (man or woman) speaks to me, they are speaking to me as a woman who believes in Allah SWT and not about how I look physically, but rather, by my intellect and thoughts. This is something that the east and west find strange as they are used to women being known by their looks, features and body; I am in no pressure to fit into what society dictates to me on a daily basis of how I should look today and tomorrow. My Niqab is my identity, my pride and my honour.” #ShahinasVlogs
My duty as a Muslimah….
“It keeps me firm because it reminds me on a daily basis of my duty as a muslimah. It corrects me when I go wrong and risk my hayaa. I wear it because I would like others to know I’m muslim and hope that I would be able to reflect a positive image of women in Islam.”
It empowers me…
“The hijab empowers me in the sense that I am not conforming to what others what to see from me, but rather I have chosen to dress in my own unique way. Rather than pleasing others, I am pleasing my creator. And that is something that motivates me to keep wearing the hijab proudly. It makes me feel beautiful and comfortable – I think it is important to feel comfortable in what you are wearing & to whole-heartedly agree to what it stands for.”
So we can see from the above that there are Muslim women who are proud to wear the Hijab and the Niqab and aren’t in any way ‘oppressed’ as per the misconceptions that has too often veiled the truth (excuse the pun!).
Before we take things blindly from the media, let us do our own research and hear from those who wear the Hijab and the Niqab. And please do not discourage someone from wearing these just because you may not like it, nor have the knowledge pertaining to it.