5 Myths about Hijab
I’ve been wearing hijab now since I was a sophomore in college, 24 years ago. This was well before rectangle hijabs, hijab tutorials, stylish hijabs, or even colored or designed hijabs. Back then, our hijabs were triangle, black or white, and usually made of a really soft material edged with several inches of lace. There were just a handful of us, usually the only one in the school or among a few on campus.
Even after all these years, or maybe because of all these years, nothing makes me cringe like a discussion about hijab, whether it's led by Muslim women or Fox News commentators. It’s such a non-issue, or at least it should be. I think that hijab is just such an easy target that that is what it has become. Like I told a masjid leader after a Friday khutbah, regarding whether or not Muslims can wish others a “Merry Christmas,”, our community has much bigger issues to be worrying about. We should be talking about mental health awareness, how to help our children build a strong identity, or how to become more involved in our local communities.
Maybe if everyone understood these myths about hijab, we could start shifting the conversation:
1. Girls who wear hijab think they’re better than others. No, they don’t. And if they do, it’s not the hijab’s problem; it’s the woman’s.
2. Girls who wear hijab are very religious. Not necessarily. Wearing hijab is just another step towards submission. It’s not the ultimate step. Some Muslims stop eating non-dhabiha meat in order to be closer to Allah. Some Muslims fast every Monday. Some Muslims decide to dress modestly. Hijab is not greater or less than any of these steps.
3. Girls who wear hijab don’t care about their hair. Holy moly, SO wrong! One of the reasons deciding to wear hijab is so difficult is that women who wear hijab love taking care of and styling their hair as much as any woman.
4. Hijab is oppressive. So stupid! This one’s so old and has been beaten to death and proven wrong on so many fronts that, thankfully, I don’t have to explain.
5. It’s okay to call women who wear hijab “hijabi”. No need for unnecessary labels. The word “hijabi” is hideous! Why are women labeled (even by other Muslims) by this one action? We don’t call girls “honesti” or “good leaderi” or “good to her parentsi” A hijab does not define a woman, so we really need to drop this categorizing label.
Alright, so now that we understand this, let’s focus on developing our communities!