To hijab or not to hijab

July 10, 2020

I see a lot of hijabis express their struggle about wearing hijab in muslim minority countries. And I get it. Hijab can be an act of resistance in the face of political oppression. A way to assert ones identity unapologetically. With this logic, I think skull caps too should be embraced and worn fiercely. But we only see them on fridays as a way for men to show who's doing the devotion thing better.

We make women the representatives of Islam and men are free to look as secular as they want with negligible repercussions. But God forbid a woman does not want to wear the muslim stamp around her face- blaringly announcing her faith. It doesnt matter even if her faith is deep within herself and not wrapped around her face. Muslim woman not wearing hijab is ridiculed, hurled with abuses, threatened, boycotted, scorned at as if she's the devil herself. Particularly the hijabi women who take offense at this.

In such situations (which is all the time), hijab isnt really a choice. It's also a performance for others to judge how religious you are. A performance to gain the ticket of social acceptability in the name of upholding the honor and respect of family. And a performance such that people feel rewarded for covering themselves, hiding behind the veil, speaking softly or not speaking at all, trying to be invisible- that's a proper eureka moment for muslims. When their women are nothing but their garments. Muslim women will take this oppression as their eureka moment - as a high and mighty person to be able to be invisible and uphold the patriarchy. An achievement to truly live with taking as little space as possible. And do it with such convictions that anybody who doesnt conform to this so called choice is seen as they are personally attacking them.

" But when she says she feels liberated from hijab and now can be her authentic self. Or worse, if she implies or states that hijab isnt obligatory or isnt good, imagine how that makes the rest of us feel" Dr. Rand from World Hijab Day on a woman who removes her hijab publicly. This sentiment isnt unique to her or this case. Muslims feel betrayed by others actions. As if their faith is dependent upon others. As if the 'sins' of others will determine their place in jannat.

This is one of the biggest flaws with Islam - the herd mentality. Why cant your faith be yours alone, without it translating to the influence and action of/ from/ to others.

Why do muslims want to dictate the terms of faith for everyone and feel high and mighty about it. If this life is a test and only some will get the answers right to win the ticket to jannat, why not focus on your own answersheet instead of on others around you. Why call them out for being wrong and "doing wrong by you"? When it is going to be to each their own at the end of the day anyway, why does it itch so many people about what others are doing with their life?

Communities in general and muslim community in particular must focus on self reflection rather than dictate how others chose to live their lives.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Exmuslims of India or any other agency, organization, employer or company. Assumptions made in the blog are not reflective of the position of any entity other than the author(s) – and, since we are critically-thinking human beings, these views are always subject to change, revision, and rethinking at any time. Please do not hold us to them in perpetuity.

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