Secret Life of An American Hijabi: Hijab is HARD!


15976_10151831016292214_1590305172_nI know the title is pretty blunt, but don’t worry it’s not misleading. It’s very true, and this post is here to validate your concerns. I have noticed in the recent years that there has been an increase in a societal-community push toward urging Muslimahs to wear hijab—unfortunately too many people are too confused about what that might mean to them or how their life might change because of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my hijab-it has impacted my life in so many ways and changed me even more so, I have had countless experiences that are irreplaceable and I love encouraging people to share their own, but for some reason many girls today think that if they’re having difficulties with hijab or their identity while wearing hijab that they’re “doing it wrong” or that they’re “not good enough” or “not worthy”
So, I’m here to clear up the air-for sisters AND brothers. Hijab is HARD! It’s not easy, gals.
Note: I am not saying hijab is not WORTH it, oh my Allah-definitely not saying that, but it is just that…the price of hijab is big but it IS worth it. I’ve received too many questions from friends and anonymously on this blog about “I want to take off my hijab” subject, so, here it is being brought out into the open to address. You will at some point/moment/time/second struggle with your hijab. ESPECIALLY if you live in a country that does not observe hijab and don’t be surprised if and when you do! It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, it doesn’t mean you should take off your hijab, it means the price of you wearing hijab is WORTH more which means the reward will be even greater. But once again without further ado….10 reasons hijab is HARD! (in no particular order—this isn’t Buzzfeed ya’ll.)

1. Shopping. The struggle is real, I mean it’s hard enough to go shopping in the first place—after you check all the magazines telling you how you dress your “apple” or “pear” shaped figure or whatever, but now you have to take whatever you know about fashion and convert it, or what I like to say: “hijabify” it.
Hijabifying is as hard as translating Latin to English. So here’s an example: You walk into Forever 21 (a clothing shop in the US) and find this oh so fancy dress. It’s the perfect teal for the spring/summer weather. So you try on the dress and realize you need “sleeves” to cover your arms and think of this blue-ish shirt that you have that you can wear underneath your dress, but then you realize it’s the wrong shade.
Then you realize that the dress is a little short so you need pants to wear and once you get those you realize that the pants are a bit tight so you get these super loose pants and just end up looking baggy. Finally when you actually try on the dress and realize it’s too tight so you opt to add a duster or long sweater to the look and when you put it all together it looks nothing like what you had in mind when decided to wear it in the first place. After going through this lengthy process you realize the end result is not worth it and walk out of the store empty-handed.

2. Non Muslim People ask you strange questions… about “where you’re originally from” and you say funny things like “Chicago” or “New York” and they’re like “No, where are you really from?”

3. Muslim People ask you weird questions: People all of sudden believe that you have adopted this ‘holier than thou’ attitude, which is ridiculous. Like once at my undergrad university a guy literally turned around in his random argument with someone else in our English class and was like, “HIJABI, is this haraaam?”
Needless to say, I didn’t bother responding. First off, if you’re addressing someone by his or her clothing-then who do you think you are, Mr. Unwashed-T-shirt-from-last-night? And second, wearing hijab doesn’t make you a paradigm of fiqh and ultimate judge between halal (lawful) and haram(unlawful). It is an act of worship that you undergo to become closer to God.

4. You have to prove your human one too many times. This happens way too frequently. As if people have the hardest time grasping the idea that we do normal everyday things too like play sports, watch movies, or even go shoe shopping!
There was one conversation I remember in particular from when I was shopping with my dad at a hardware store at 16 years old. This middle aged lady dressed head to toe in a purple jumpsuit had come up to me and said, “I can’t believe your kind wear jeans, I’ve never seen your kind wear jeans!” Acting normal completely blows their minds! And this isn’t everybody, most people have common sense enough to realize it, but there are some people like ‘purple-jumpsuit-lady’ who think being Muslim means that you’re not human. Rather we’re all human FIRST then we CHOOSE what we believe and what become. Oh yeah and I cannot stand jeans, team pajamas all the way! -___-

5. Sometimes people refuse to treat you as human and that feeling sucks. I don’t really know if I can explain this, if you’ve ever been treated this way you’ll know and you’ll never forget it, and its awful and makes you feel like you have to take a shower after interacting with such a legit hater. But these people are never worth your time or your thoughts or even this paragraph.

6. You’re being watched…all the time. Of course the NSA has your facebook and twitter/tumblr/instagram account down and wired but people are watching you constantly. I call this the celebrity effect. People literally cannot stop staring at you or turning to look at you and when they do ignore you, it’s quite nice. Enough with the pictures everyone—Kanye West is going to be jealous! Not going to lie this isn’t always bad, sometimes people just come up to you and say the nicest things, like “Wow, I love the color of your scarf” and you’re like, unwarranted compliment from a total stranger—score!

7. But you’ll never get compliments on your hair. No one will ever consider you a Cover girl, because you covered, girl. No one will ever know that your hair has got the perfect volume today or the perfect flip-unless you send a picture to your gal pals. And sometimes, when you’re trying out a bold outfit and your hair just brings it all together to give you the look-you can’t do that either. And when you ARE wearing a bold outfit along with your hijab, it’s all like super bold and everyone’s like Oh my god that’s pretty bold-you need to tone it down! But you know we never listen.

8. People can’t tell your age and think you’re much older or younger than you are. At 14 years old, a lady told me to “watch my son” aka by BROTHER who is only 4 years younger than me. Scarves really mess with people’s perception of time, but I suppose it could have some fun uses too. I kid. It’s not fun being called a mom, I’m sure any girl who ISNT a mum can agree.

9. A universe of hidden cowards seems to creep out the woodwork and shout random slurs whilst hiding behind whatever they’re hiding behind. I’ve heard so many slurs, particularly things like “terrorist” and “go back to your country” among others, the fun thing is they seemed to be spewed by an army of hater ghosts because as soon as you turn around to identify the hater-spewer-like there’s no one there! Or their very good at NOT making eye contact. Hater ghosts don’t ruin your day, they just make you wonder about the well being of the spirit world. But hey at least you don’t have to worry about humanity, right?

10. People think you have insight on why things go wrong in the world. This stems from ignorance but when people ask you things like “Why are women abused in Muslim countries and why do people throw acid on them” uh, news flash buddy women are abused here in this country too, this is related to aggressors need for power and not the scarf I wear on my head. It’s like asking a German-half Jew, “So, why would someone single out a race and you decide to scapegoat them and result in mass killings? I mean I’m not saying you would know because you really fit that ‘hitler’ profile” you get what I mean, it’s irritating beyond belief and wrong. You can’t blame someone you don’t know about something you don’t understand. End of story.

So what’s the summary here?? Hijab is HARD…but oh so WORTH IT! Because at the end of the day its’ not about what you’re doing but who you’re doing it for, and if you’re doing it for God. You better believe My Lord is proud ☺.

Until next time,

Your secrets are safe with me.

Xx A


6 responses »

  1. SubhanAllah sister. Love the way you can use humour with your struggle. We all have the same struggle but i try to remember that if it was easy, the reward would not be as great.

    • JazakAllah khair for taking the time to read the article. The struggle is definitely there and May Allah SWT reward you for any and all your difficulties. I think that it sometimes helps to poke a bit for fun at the difficulties, makes them less difficult and more tolerable 🙂

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