Sunday, December 4

Hijabis Are Human Too

"I always find it surprising when I go to these things and see a girl in a hijab standing on a chair waving her hands at the artist on stage" a friend was telling us last night at dinner. We were discussing the next day's "Global Peace" event and exchanging past experiences of similar things.

"Why? I think it's great. What's the problem?" I asked.

"Well, you know, you see a girl in hijab and assume she's modest. And then she goes acting in a way that doesn't befit the hijab... It's wrong."

"But a girl wearing hijab is normal too right? The fact that she doesn't let the hijab define her should be applauded, not criticised. Erm. Right? And you shouldn't really be assuming anything about anyone, let alone a girl with a hijab..."

At this point I got shouted down by the rest of the table, which at that time consisted of another guy and two girls (who happened to be wearing hijabs at the time).

Ok, now I know that it might be a bit of an unconventional stance, this one of mine above. I dunno, maybe I know what it's like to have people assume things about your character and lifestyle based on a narrow view of how "religious" you appear - I've had comments thrown at me in the past regarding how I am able to, say, reconcile the fact that I pray with the company I keep.

Sounds crazy, right? And yet we're willing to do the same for a girl in a hijab at a concert. The fact that we interrupted a freely mixed dinner to pray Esha salaat shows how hypocritical the comments made above were. Sure, it's better for a girl not to go crazy at a concert; I have no disagreement with that. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily worse for a girl to wear a hijab while doing so.

One of the things that puzzles me often is how some people claim that they don't pray, or don't wear the hijab, or haven't been on Hajj because they're "not religious enough". For me, it's a bit of a circular argument. You don't practise enough to practise? If you think you're leading an incorrect lifestyle (and I'm not saying anyone is), then surely that's a reason to add, however slowly, elements to that lifestyle that would correct it, even if that's just a bit?

We should stop seeing girls with hijabs (or guys with beards, or any other prejudice we keep) "going wild" and instead see someone going wild while also wearing a hijab. The difference is subtle, but it's there. I mean, surely the fact that she's wearing a hijab at all is a good thing?