I’ve been wearing the hijab for about 8 years now, and during this time, I’ve been asked all sorts of questions, questions I thought were too stupid to ask anyone, but as the saying goes, ‘there is no such thing as a stupid question’. So if you’ve ever been curious on why we Muslim women wear the hijab, let me answer the 10 most common questions that a hijabi is asked at least once in her lifetime. Of course, these are my personal thoughts and answers on these questions and NO they are not the same for every hijabi out there amongst a religion of 1.6 billion people. However, hopefully through the end of these FAQs, you might grasp a better understanding of the hijab. This will also save you from a number of exasperated eye rolls when you ask other fellow hijabis any of the following questions.
- Are you Arab or Arabic ?
No, I’m Part Pakistani and Part Filipino and I live in Dubai, which is part of the Arabian Peninsula but I’m not Arab.
Also, Arabic is actually a language. For those that appreciate numbers, Arab countries only make up 20% of Muslims. In fact Indonesia ranks as the country which has the highest Muslim population. And just incase you’re not too sure about your geography, it’s in South Asia.
2. Are you married to an Arab ?
No, I’m not, but even if I was, I wouldn’t be compelled to wear the hijab on the basis of where my husband is from. Would you ?
3. Do you all speak Arabic ?
Arabic is the native language of the Qur’aan and although I’ve been taught to read and write it while growing up, unfortunately I don’t speak it. I wish I did though, who wouldn’t want to be ‘trilingual’ ?
4. Are you forced to wear it ? ( this should’ve been ranked as question #1, but I thought it was important to go through questions based on popularity as opposed to the most obviously asked questions)
Actually, it’s a decision I made about 8 years ago, completely on my own. It was a decision based on a lot of soul searching and at the time I needed more meaning and depth in my life. I questioned my existence and my purpose particularly when I survived a death defying car crash. Of course, I didn’t have to almost die to wear the hijab. But I felt trapped in the lifestyle that I was leading at the time. I decided that only by wearing a hijab would I truly be able to make a 360° change that was needed in my life, and I have. I have managed to cut out a lot of clutter in my life. I detoxed my relationships and over time, I found my life to be a lot freer from constantly trying to please those around me. I shifted my focus from a more materialistic lifestyle to a more sustainable relationship with my Creator and it has brought me more peace and calmness than I could’ve ever imagined.
5. Do you feel hot wearing that ?
When you live in Dubai, its predominantly a whooping 40°C/104°F on a good day. It’s safe to say that everyone feels hot here, with or without the hijab.
6. Do you sleep with the hijab on ?
I’ll give you the same answer if someone asked me if I slept with a bra on. NO.
7. Do you wash your hair ?
Last time I checked, people have showers even though they walk around clothed for the most part. You cover your bodies with some form of clothing, does that stop you from washing it because it’s not exposed ? Think people, think ! And yes, I do wash my hair, I’m currently stuck on these Macadamia Argan Oil Shampoos, and yes, I always condition afterwards.
8. Do you have actual hair underneath the ‘heejab’?
It’s actually pronounced hij-aab, and I believe I already answered that on Question #7.
9. Are you oppressed ?
Truthfully, sometimes I do feel oppressed. My 2 and a half year old toddler has managed to make me question my sanity and actions as a logical and rational adult, but I’m sure most parents have felt the same at one time or the other. (Tell me I’m not the only one).
10. I’m confused. Why do some wear the hijab and some don’t ? And why do some women wear it half way down their heads ?
In a nutshell, free will. God, Allah, has given us free will from the time we were created. There are tenets of our faith that have been clearly established and modesty is a form of submission between myself and my Creator. No one can make me wear it, neither can anyone force me to take it off. Me putting on the hijab clearly pronounces what my religion is.
Why some people choose not to wear it or wearing it half way down, is between them and the level of their relationship with their Creator. I am not here to judge what other people do or how they do certain things. There are too many things about myself that I need to work on spiritually than to be preoccupied with the affairs of others. I can only try to be the best version of myself to my family, loved ones, friends and those around me.
Understand that this cloth on my head, represents what my religion is and who my God is. I try to do justice with this piece of cloth wrapped around my head but it does not make me sinless or void of imperfections. Whether I choose to wear the hijab or if I choose not to, I am still a Muslim woman.
Tell me what you’re favorite questions have been or if you’ve been asked anything worth of an ‘eye roller’ !
Also, for those that would like to know more about the hijab, this is an open platform and I will gladly answer all your questions. You can also shoot me an email on [email protected]