Category Archives: Secret Life of an American Hijabi

Secret Life of An American Hijabi: Hijab is HARD!

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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

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