The Secret Life of An American Hijabi

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Hipster Muslims Made for Jannah. (photo credit America Muslim Memes)

Hipster Muslims Made for Jannah. (photo credit America Muslim Memes)

#SecretLifeofAnAmericanHijabi Is a work of fiction-it is not based on any Real Life persons only Real Life problems. Also beside the catchy title THIS IS NOT BASED ON THE TV SERIES.

“Is your hijab so big because it’s full of secrets?”

Secrets? You could say that, but you know what they say about a girl and secrets. You’re telling her and her best friend.  So consider yourself my new bffle because I’m about to share a whole lot of secrets.

First things first though, let’s clear up the air. As a hijabi with years of scarf wearing, long sleeve hunting, loose shirt abiding experience, I’m not about to sugar coat anything. But let’s start with the basics: The questions everyone asks…all the time.

1. Do you shower with that thing on?

That thing is called a scarf. It’s really quite an innocent piece of clothing, but when you hop in the shower it transforms into a head soaking-ultra head warmer that also massages, shampoos and conditions my Rapunzel like hair-NOT. This is wonderful question and if every hijabi got a penny for each and every time she was asked this she’d probably be able to pay off her medical/grad school loans-Not kidding. But this question really makes me question whether common sense has actually somehow been lifted from our communities. Honestly! Like, I’m glad we have so much technology to do our work but when we’re starting to put common sense on hold it might just be a problem. And if you really can’t reason this one out, ask yourself this, why do you need to know my personal showering habits? It’s creepy.

2. Are you bald?

Maybe I am. Maybe I’m not. But the fact that my hair keeps popping out around the side of my face and you-being the wonderful person you are-keeps pointing it out, might just mean I do have some kind of hair type thing on my head. I’ve had awesome friends who theorized that I might be hiding a wild side beneath my quiet demeanor and modest dress wear; a mohawk or some kind of special buzz cut and I honestly didn’t want to let them down, but the truth is….

3. Do you guys date?

Nope. Moving on…

4. Who made you wear that?

Well right now I’m wearing Burberry-I’m highly inspired by Emma Watson’s fashion style and yesterday-oh wait, you’re not talking about my coat.

I chose to wear hijab. I choose to dress modestly. I choose to follow my religion.

I know, you’re like ‘whaaat? I thought they forced you to wear that. Aren’t the men of your kind oppressive and you can’t do anything-and that is the symbol of anti-women rights that dominates every aspect of your sad, restrictive life!’

Slow down there righteously angry person! (Also, for those of you who think the above sounds outrageous, you’d be surprised at what I’ve heard). I usually respond to this with a sad sigh for humanity, but not today friends, today I will address the question. First of all, after all these years can someone-anyone-please define who “they” are? I always get this from people, ‘what will they say if you take it off? What will they do?’ But to this day no one has ever told me who “they” are, and while being moderately curious, I could care less. These anonymous groups, whoever they are, sound awful. And ladies, I’ll let you in on a secret: any man who wants to have an oppressive, backwards attitude towards women will find any means to do it. Sure, men can use modesty to oppress women, but they can (and usually do) use immodesty to oppress as well. . Why else would the makeup, plastic surgery, and weight loss industries be such huge successes?

Second: There’s this craftily painted horrid misconception about Muslim men. (Thank you media! Owe you one!) When you see a long beard on a middle-eastern/Asian man you think ‘EVIL!SCARY!FREEDOMHATER!” but when you see Dumbledore and think “Awe, Harry’s wise, old mentor.” See the problem? Muslim men adorn beards for many of the same reason Muslim women adorn the hijab. They’re not scary or frightening because of the way that they look. You know what this reminds me of? That old saying, “Don’t judge a book by its’ cover.” Now, let’s all take a deep breath and try that?

5. Why don’t you just do what you want?

Right, okay good. Now we’re getting somewhere. Hijab is what I want to do and here’s why. I want to be okay with who I am physically but that doesn’t define who I am or what I can do. I don’t want society to tell me how to dress. I don’t even want me to tell me how to dress (goodness knows how much I’ve erred in the realm of personal fashion-lets all please forget when colorful tweed was totally in). In Islam, women dress in accordance to God. Covered, modest. But this doesn’t mean their voices are muted. Rather, women are an honored and integral part of society. And man is not equal to her in creation, rather they are complimentary in strengths and weaknesses, but they are equal in front of God with their deeds based on faith and sincerity. This is what fuels my choice. This is why I choose hijab.

8. Do you know what freedom is?

You guys, here’s the thing (particularly to the girl who literally grabbed my shoulders in the locker room in junior high and shouted this at me). Every time you see someone wearing hijab or practicing their religion in public (whatever that might be) go and thank them. They’re protecting your first amendment, your personal rights. Each day someone tells them what they should or should not be doing as a “real American” and each time they respond by showing everyone that a real American has the freedom to choose.

Until next time,

Your secrets are safe with me.

Xx A

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