How could it be that the only place I want to be left alone, is the place where people talk to me the most? It is rare that people strike up a conversation with me waiting at the doctor’s office, standing in line at the supermarket, waiting outside my daughter’s school… I am mostly avoided. I see it in people’s eyes or I rather don’t, because people even avoid eye contact. I would love to think that it is not because of a piece of cloth on my head called hijab.
But I keep going back to the Jacuzzi experience and contemplate.
At the gym we frequent, the Jacuzzi is situated in the women’s locker room. So I go there to relax and unwind after a good workout. Since it is privately positioned, I can remove my veil and slip into my swim wear. I become like most people. I blend in. So people find it easier to approach me. Even though while I am sitting in that Jacuzzi, I can’t stop thinking I am still the very same veiled person, the one who believes in modesty, I still have the same set of ideas and convictions. I am still a Muslim and fully committed to my religion. Nothing is different except the way I am dressed.
What makes us different? What makes each and every one of us different? Is it our appearance? Our faces? Our skin color? Our ideas? Beliefs? What makes us free? Is it what we have been told to do? Or not to do?
Personally, I think freedom is liberating yourself from any obligations except the ones that you yourself consider valid, with all respect to civil and legal ethics, of course. That is what I stand for with my hijab. I have an obligation towards the one that created me and no one else. Islam commands women to cover their hair and dress modestly and behave in a respectful manner.
This helps protect their identity and shed more light on their personalities and intellect. It will also preserve society from corruption and families from dismantlement. Muslim women choose to wear the hijab. Yes, we choose to do so. It gives us peace. Peace within and peace around us, at home, at work, or wherever we are.
Who could have thought a piece of cloth can do all this? Try taking a scarf today and wrap it round your head. What do you see? This time, perhaps you will see the world from a different perspective.