“The brainchild of this movement is a New York resident, Nazma Khan, who came up with the idea as a means to foster religious tolerance and understanding by inviting women (non-Hijabi Muslims/non-Muslims) to experience the hijab for one day.
For many people, the hijab is a symbol of oppression and segregation. By opening up new pathways to understanding, Nazma hopes to counteract some of the controversies surrounding why Muslim women choose to wear the hijab.”
I am not a Muslim, nor am I terribly educated in the practices or beliefs of the Muslim faith. But I have recently been introduced to the World Hijab Day facebook group and I have been reading many of the firsthand accounts of women across the world about their belief and the choice to wear hijab.
In case you didn’t know, it is a choice. While some women, particularly in Afghan militaristic dominated areas, are forced to wear hijab in fear of male dominance, many Muslim women choose to wear a hijab to demonstrate their obedience to Allah (God), and show respect for their body which they view as sacred.
“When a Muslim woman covers her hair, chest and body, she is sending a silent message that she respects her body and like a pearl in the ocean, she covers it with her beautiful shell (Hijab). No one has the right to observe, gawk at and judge a Muslim woman by the highlights in her hair or curves on her body. Instead they judge her for what is in her mind, her character, and her goals and ambitions. Hijab is prevention from being accosted by ignorant minds who only judge a woman by the clothes she wears and the skin she shows. A woman’s body as you know is sacred and this is why Islam encourages women to strive to cover and protect it.”
-World Hijab Day
I too come from a religion where we view the body as sacred. I too wear a covering which helps me reverence my body and keep my dress, thoughts and actions modest. That is why the idea of a hijab really isn’t that hard for me to understand.
It is rather perplexing that our modern society where most people, at least in business if not in personal life, value honesty, integrity, knowledge, good judgment and conviction, yet there is a tendency to ridicule religious devoutists because they are constantly striving to embody these religion taught characteristics. It is time that we start to value people who are devout in their faith and value their devotion to their God and the good characteristics that most world religions strive to teach their followers.
That is why I am choosing to participate in World Hijab Day, February 1, 2015. I want to show support and tolerance for these women who are choosing to show their devotion in outward demonstration. It is often felt that women in the LDS (Mormon) faith, which I practice, are discriminated against, or forced to be submissive and unequal to their male counterparts. But I am sick of people pitying me or thinking me uneducated, brainwashed or unaware for CHOOSING to be part of religion that I find all of life’s answers in, that I find joy and fulfillment in, simply because I cannot hold some of the religious merits a man can. So I stand in support of my Muslim sisters, and their value on modesty and religious devotion.
I will be wearing a headscarf/hijab to my Sunday services, because WHD falls on a Sunday this year. I will probably remove it for parts of our sacrament meeting but I do not feel that is should be distracting or held in poor view in any way. If a woman feels more modest and comfortable covered up then it is hear right to do so. I hope that I can come to understand how hijabi Muslim women feel every day in their head covering. I hope that I can help others see that it is not something that these women need to be ashamed of. I hope that I can be an ambassador of tolerance, peace and love.
Al-ḥamdu lillāh “thanks be to God”
How to wear a hijab:
Start with a large scarf or hemmed piece of fabric, I had a black one, but you can choose any scarf with any color or design. fold the scarf over about 3/4 of the way to half.
Use a safety pin to pin the scarf evenly around your face.
Take the left side of your scarf and wrap towards your right side over your head, use a straight pin to pin it in place.
Do the same with the right, and waa laa, you have a hijab head scarf.
And have no fear while wearing your scraf and when you take it off you are still the same wonderful woman you have always been.