You’re Muslim? But you don’t wear the hijab? This question isn’t something profoundly new to me. In fact, it baffles me sometimes that a religion with immense history and beautiful depth is merely tagged to whether there’s a piece of cloth covering your hair. Understandably, the hijab symbolises modesty and faith, while the absence of it seems to sadly translate to a lack of Iman.
I personally believe that everyone struggles differently and our individual battles should not be used against us for the sake of passing callous judgments. People and society tend to criticise very superficially, plausibly in a bid to make themselves feel better. They fail to recognise and acknowledge the fact that Islam and Iman are intangible.
The Quran mentioned: “O you who have believed, let not a people ridicule [another] people; perhaps they may be better than them. And do not insult one another and do not call each other by [offensive] nicknames. Wretched is the name of disobedience after [one’s] faith.” [49:11]
Critics will argue that donning the hijab is part of a commandment that cannot be neglected. I’m not denying this. In fact, I acknowledge it and I look up to Muslim women who proudly wear the hijab. But does it make me any less of a Muslim if I don’t wear one? It’s counterproductive to look down on someone in that aspect when the religion encourages positive reaffirmations through the subtlest words of advice.
The hijab is more than just a scarf you wrap around you, it’s a lifestyle. There’s a lot of responsibility to undertake when you wear the hijab for you are a reflection of what Islam stands for. In my opinion, the hijab is an extremely personal act of devotion that is very delicate and something that should be kept very private.
The bigger issue at hand is how brothers and sisters of one ummah should take greater care in encouraging each other whilst remaining respectful and kind. There should be a proper way of educating and teaching, instead of simply degrading one based on surface-level assumptions.
I am a proud Muslim because I love my religion dearly. Islam was never intended to make our lives in this world difficult – it acts as a solid foundation to ensure we don’t steer off the righteous path. Islam reminds me that this world is transient and that I should look at the bigger picture and focus my attention on things that really matter.
I acknowledge that I’m still a work in progress, but every day I tell myself that I’m given another chance to learn and practise. When I reach a certain pivotal point in my life and when I’m ready to embrace the hijab, I feel like I will do so with greater humility.
I have also been extremely grateful as I was brought up with very understanding parents who constantly remind me about the beauty of Islam and its messages. My parents never imposed the hijab on me and continue to make dua that I will don it one day.
My mother who recently completed her Hijrah (transition) now wears the hijab so beautifully and that inspires me to follow her footsteps. I still remember her words to me: ”Don’t do it for anyone else, do it for Him and because of your love for Him. It’s not a fashion statement, it’s a huge responsibility.”
To those who are still struggling with the notion of wearing the hijab, just focus on you and your intentions. The world’s opinions are secondary when it comes to your relationship with Him. We’re all a work in progress. After all, we’re simply human.