I started wearing the hijab back in 2013. I remember the lead up. I’d be sick out of my mind studying, and stand in front of a mirror and try many different hijab tutorials on YouTube, with any pins and scarves I could find in my house. Through the many un-creditable women, I found my confidence in a style that (I thought) suited me. As soon as the school year was over, I was going to do it.
Ramadan came around and I did it. And Allhamdulilah, I never really looked back.
I’ve reflected for months on why I never had any qualms about the hijab even when times are tough for us Muslims out here. I feel like I prepared adequately. My mother was wearing it. As the oldest daughter, surely I’d start wearing it?
Once I made the intention to wear it as soon as I got to uni, it kind of became a self fulfilling prophecy. Your intention matters.
It was just a physical manifestation of the concept of hijab. I was a hijabi by nature. It’s mannerisms, it’s the way you talk, the way you act. This was the final confirmation of that concept, however. It’s a mandatory part of the Faith. There’s ideologies that don’t consider a physical headcover as part of it. This little gem is why I fully subscribe to a hijab – it’s in our texts and our physical manifestation of Islam, the sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him). (disclaimer; didn’t come on here to say what’s what, but this is why I choose to subscribe to hijab. not a scholar either, surprise!)
I don’t have any horrible stories with it. One test with it, but once that part was cut, it was fine. Just your regular uneducated comments. Nothing awful. Except for my original style, now THAT was awful. And I’ve met a lot of my closest friends in that time. Nice one lads, hope y’all had a great laugh. Anyway.
Uni was surrounded by Muslims. Working life, well, wasn’t surrounded as much. Especially not hijab-wearing Muslim women. For most patients I meet, I get the sense I’m the first hijabi to open their mouth in front of them. I am an ”other”. It’s a different experience, for sure, but definitely not a bad one – and one I can’t wait to keep having. I’ve had colourful conversations with many people on the diverse being I am. Am I a broken record? Yes. Am I sick of it? Not quite yet.
What I am sick of – five years on, I am not just a hijabi. I am a marketable consumer. The modest-wear industry is booming. From Nike to D&G to Marks & Spencers, everyone is trying to sweep hijabis into their stores to join the throes of people circulating consumerism instead of the Kaaba in Makkah. Now our very own hijabi ”influencers” have joined the race of capitalism, trying to compete with the Big Companies.
There’s small companies run by Muslim women who are being accepted into the Big Companies. That’s a huge win. Diversity in our stores is an incredible thing. It helps normalise women who do wear a hijab every day. Seeing hijabis in film and TV is also a good thing. Kids should grow up and not be shocked by a hijab, sure, they’ve seen one already in the newest movie (provided it passes The Riz Test).
We’re walking a fine line. Our faith is being lost in the fabric of money and inclusion. Our influencer friends showed us that. Faith is dispensable. The money to be made of hijabis; not so much. Hijabis are being recognised as a powerful and underserved segment of the market. Muslim women have been filling the gaps in for years, getting our abayas and burkinis sorted from small businesses. It won’t be long before there’ll be a YouTube ad with your favourite influencer trying to sell you a Prada hijab.
I refuse to become a demographic. I will always stay as an ”other”.
Categories: moslems back at it again