Hijab - The enmity within

Wardah grew up in Pakistan, a country with a population of approximately 180 million, majority of them Muslims. However, apart from a maulvi saab who would come over to their place to teach few verses from the Quran, Wardah knew nothing. Islam was practiced in this part of the world as a mere tradition, a set of rituals who no one ever questioned but practiced anyway since it was what the masses were doing and conformity is essential for survival. she had no real access to authentic Islamic knowledge, not until she came to Canada.
It was here in a lecture hall in Canada at Mcmaster University, Hamiton, ON, Wardah came to realize she knows nothing about her faith. That was both realization and a turning point. Her curiosity grew and she wanted to learn more about her deen, a way of life she has been practicing but she realized she doesn’t really appreciate the true essence of it. Her parents were initially skeptical of Wardah’s newly found interest in her faith but their tolerance for her religiosity reached its peak when she decided to wear the hijab, headscarf that is essential part of Islam. Soon her family decided to sit down and have a talk with her to find out the ‘root of radicalization’. There were lots of discussions and convincing arguments back and forth but to her parents, they were turning out to be futile since Wardah was convinced about taking the headscarf. it left her parents a bit anxious and Wardah perplexed.Why wouldn’t her parents want her to wear a hijab? She loved it dearly, it made her feel more confident and ironically, even more beautiful as a woman!

Soon enough, she found out why. After graduating, Wardah decided at the age of 20 something that she would love to find someone to spend her life with. This is when the true picture of people’s attitude and perception about hijab unfolded. to her surprise, people viciously and passionately hate hijabis and these are Muslims we are talking about here. these are people who pray five times a day, fast long hours in Ramadan and long to go to Mecca to perform Hajj, but when it comes to their daughters wearing a hijab or their sons marrying hijabis, the asnwer is no! it left Wardah in a bit of dismay but more than that, even more shocked and confused about the realities of Muslims today. Once again, the talks of ‘hijab being a problem’ re surfaced within her family and once again, people tried convincing her to just take the hijab off. She didn’t..and she prayed that things get easier for her, but more importantly, she wondered..she wondered why hijab, which is a commandment from Allah (SWT) and a way to preserve a woman’s modesty looked down upon within the Muslims?
The answer to this question is obviously not as black and white and a bit complicated. It is a reality that people perceive hijab as backward and it mainly stems from people’s wrong perception. Often times, we read a story of dad beating his daughter to death because she refused to wear the headscarf or a girl with headscarf who tells her story of how she was forced to wear it. Now i am not going to sit here and blame media solely as a propagator of false information. The truth is, it does happen in in Muslim world amongst the illiterate, extreme fanatics and it is a sad reality which needs to be addressed. However, this is only one side of the picture and for people to taken this side and paint all the hijabis the same way is far-fetched and wrong. The truth is there are many women  out there who have voluntarily taken on their hijabs despite opposition from their families and friends. They do it because they have come to realize how beautiful their faith it and I’m sure they want you to know as well.

Undoubtedly, this revelation came to us as complete guidance and there is a lot of wisdom in its commandments. realize that sometimes we fail to appreciate the beauty of its commandments because we are mere humans and our vision is very limited and shortsighted. Unfortunately, sometime this leads us to deny a command of Allah (SWT) just because our intellects cannot grasp it. We base our opinions on our experiences, whereas Allah (SWT) is All Knowing and Wise. Allah (SWT) has commanded us to wear hijab to preserve our modesty and to prevent evil. Hijab literally means ‘to block or prevent something’ and hijab is made obligatory upon Muslims to prevent temptations and indecency. it prevents any human to objectify other human being and appreciate them for their intellect, reasoning and their talents. It liberates a woman in a way that they are not enslaved by their desire to please others, but instead, can focus their energies on something more productive. You will always find someone who feels suffocated by hijab because they were forced to wear it and I pray that they realized the wisdom behind it. But for those who keep focusing on the negative of it, have you ever asked a hijabi walking down the street why she wears her hijab? How does it make her feel? you will find that she loves her hijab because in her hijab, she found freedom, she found liberation from her own desires. She loves her hijab because she realized how perfect this deen is and how beautiful its commands are that has preserved the modesty, dignity and rights of a woman. instead of displaying her beauty to seek acceptance from others, she is a woman who wants to be heard, who wants to be respected and more importantly, wants to be accepted by you for who is she and decisions she has made. my humble request to all those who criticise hijab, open up your heart and try to understand the essence of this command of Allah (SWT). Seek and you’ll find and i’m sure you’ll realize how beautiful hijab is

{And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (must ordinarily) appear thereof; that they should draw veils over their bosoms and not display their beauty except to their husbands, their fathers, their husbands’ fathers, their sons...} (An-Nur 24:31).

{O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women that they should cast their outer garments over their persons [when abroad]; that is most convenient, that they should be known [as such] and not molested. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful} (Al-Ahzab 33:59).