Inspired by blogging extraordinaire Wood Turtle,  I would like to write about my hijab experiences.  It’s something I’ve been meaning to do but haven’t because it’s such an enormous subject!  Here goes, piece by piece.

Several years ago my husband and I attended a lecture; I was totally psyched up for this and couldn’t wait to get there.   The lecture was   about  giving appropriate naseehah (advice) and such.  The scholar covered all the basics about Islam- and during the Q&A session at the conclusion, someone submitted a question asking if hijab was fard (mandatory) or sunnah (recommended); and the scholar replied “yes it is fard, even though some of you are not wearing it properly“.

While his tone seemed harmless and did not carry even a note of superiority,  I found his unsolicited comment to be inflammatory.  Was it necessary to chastise the women in the audience and to  make us feel self-conscious?  I can only speak for myself, but I can’t help but think anyone not wearing a traditional abaya and khimar felt awkward.    Is that the focus?  What we look like on the outside (ironically)?  My husband looked at me immediately (from the men’s section), because he knew the words would strike a chord within me.  I was so utterly disappointed and felt completely deflated.   I came to lift my heart and elevate my soul, but left feeling judged and outside the fold of what is considered acceptable.  For those of you who are curious, you’re probably wondering what I was wearing since I was so sensitive :  a long, lose tunic to the knees (opaque long-sleeved shirt underneath) loose denim trousers and a simple hijab that covered my head and neck.  Oh yes, and sandals.  My definition of modest- but yet at that precise moment I felt that I had been stripped of my dignity and might as well have been sitting there completely naked.   I wondered if other women there dressed like myself felt inspired by this to cover more, or if they were just as disgusted as I was.

Hijab is a sensitive subject, and is often overlooked as an emotional decision, even by other women.   While I cannot speak for others, I can honestly say it took enormous courage for me to put it on, and although I have reached a more of a comfort zone, I don’t see myself wearing an abaya or jilbab.  I suppose if I was ready for that, I wouldn’t have any hesitation; but I do.  Major hesitations.  Honestly, I have no desire to increase my endeavors in this area of practice.    I could expand on this in another post.

I often find myself going back and forth in my mind about the purpose of hijab, why I put it on, if I would ever consider taking it off, is it really ‘working’ for me,  common misconceptions, God consciousness, my religious obligations and so on and so forth.  It gets exhausting.

So there- that’s about all I have time for tonight.  Inshallah my next post will be more focused.

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