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A few days ago – the 27th of Ramadan, to be exact – marked my 10-year hijab-iversary. Over the past decade, I have contemplated and re-contemplated hijab through Islamic, political, and feminist discourse.
It never ceases to amaze me how controversial a piece of fabric can be, and how much attention it continues to receive (within Muslim populated countries and within Western countries).
Wearing hijab over the years has only become more difficult. I have had to renew my intention almost daily in the past year, especially while dealing with immense pressure, stress, and "Islamophobia" (for lack of better word).
My intentions have certainly changed since I began this life journey. I began wearing hijab as a choice, essentially to belong in the "older girls" category in my community and to look like my sisters whom I admired (and continue to admire) so much. With maturity and education, I later changed my intention in order to wear hijab solely for Allah (swt).
Yet, since the personal is consistently political – as feminist theorists have indicated – wearing the hijab is undeniably a political statement. However, when I see individuals and institutions attempt to portray hijab in narratives that deviate from the purpose set forth by God in the Quran, I would like to scream at them for misrepresenting me and my faith.
This is what I would like to shout:
I do not wear hijab for a man in my life.
Muslim men and women are equally responsible for being modest, and hijab is not an Islamic symbol of modesty.
I do not wear hijab to symbolize the modesty of Muslim women.
I do not wear hijab to protect my beautiful diamond / pearl / candy wrapped / (insert metaphorical object here) self.
I do not wear hijab to protect myself from sexual assault.
I am not more beloved to God than someone who does not wear hijab.
I am not a radical Muslim.
I wear hijab because I chose to wear it on the 27th of Ramadan ten years ago, and I do not wear hijab for anyone but God.
Nusaiba Mubarak is currently pursuing a graduate degree in Sociology at Georgia State University. She is an activist in her community and promotes dialogue to clear misconceptions about Islam. Nusaiba is involved in organizing and participating in projects to raise awareness on topics such as Muslims in America, Muslim contributions to society, and Muslim women. Nusaiba was born and raised in Panama City, FL and moved to Atlanta, GA in 2012, where she currently lives with her husband and cat.
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