Why do you do it?

I just wanted to share something with my readers. It’s Umm Ali’s take on the hijab. She answers so many questions in this post. Its not all “fact and reasoning” but its also not all “personal opinion”. I’ve read a lot of posts on this topic namely, Veiling Marginality by the strong voice of Muslim Hedonist, Shabana’s piece and Sunni Sister breaking her own rule.

She’s crystalised so much of what I go through every time someone poses the question “Why do you wear it” in this section:

They always ask at the most inopportune moments. It catches me off guard and no matter how many times I’ve prepared an answer I have to come up with a new one for every person. Why, they way to know, do I dress the way I do? Why do I have to wear hijab?

Most Muslim women I know have developed some pat answer to these questions. Much like hijab, the answer has certain requirements that must be fulfilled before we are pleased with it. It must be short enough to disentangle us from the conversation quickly so that we can finish whatever activity it was that was interrupted by the curious. It must be definitive enough that it doesn’t inspire more questions. It must be mannerable and presented with confidence so that it leaves people with a good impression of Islam. We know they think we are oppressed, we feel that we need to prove otherwise, but quickly ’cause we’ve got shopping and daydreaming to do.

Thank you Umm Ali for crystalising a lot of my feelings. Particularly appreciate the bit about the hijab not being a sure fire way of combatting those leering kebab shop owner eyes. *shudder*

I happen to believe that hijab has been way overrated as a tool for curbing lust. Men like women. Men like fat women. Men like thin women. Men like brown women, black women, white women, pinkish women, tall women and short women, round tummies and flat, mini skirts and sweat shirts, niqabis, hijabis, jilbabis. They like them big ole childbearin’ hips and those barely there pubescent ones. Men like women.

Don’t be shy, read more.


3 thoughts on “Why do you do it?

  1. Salaamat ya Maryam,
    this is such a hot, sticky topic…and i never know how to deal with it. I have been through both sides of the “coin” (hijabi and non and hijabi again) and i know enuff now to quietly accept whatever a woman chooses to do with her own body/dress/etc.

    sigh…who wouldda known something so seemingly Innocuous could yield so much dissent?

  2. W’salam Maliha, and welcome to my blog 🙂

    The hijab, well, its so obvious isnt it? Its just so so obvious. I mean that thing around your head, WHAT is it all about. Then, when you start talking to people and your personality shines through, or if you’re a confident person, it really throws others off. I can’t recall the number of times people approached me expecting a meek little lamb, only to find, a wolf in sheeps clothing 😀

    A good friend of mine once told me that I look like an angel, but all such notions are dispelled soon as I open my mouth. hehehehe, I’m sure she meant well.

    Happy to have you on board Maliha, keep visiting.

  3. “I can’t recall the number of times people approached me expecting a meek little lamb, only to find, a wolf in sheeps clothing.”

    Hehe. Well, the clothing must have ingrained this notion in people’s mind. But frankly, I don’t think it’s the clothes that count. It’s the person that wears the clothing.

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