Hijab is a perennial hot topic in Muslim circles. Ironically it is mostly discussed and debated by those that have the least vested interest in women’s modesty, namely men, or non-Muslims.

I’m here to say my piece. My thoughts. My beliefs. I will not have the media, non-Muslims or random Muslim men speaking on my behalf.

Is hijab mandated in the Quran?

Regarding whether hijab head coverings are optional or mandated in Quran, I honestly don’t know. I am not a native Arabic speaker and so rely on translations by others. Any translation may have an element of interpretation.

There are numerous circumstances in Quran where head covering is clearly required e.g. when praying or reciting Quran.

The passages regarding wearing hijab outside the home all the time are less clear. It all hinges on translation of words like ‘cover”hijab’ and ‘khumar/ khimar’ being translated as interchangeable in the 7/8 verses in the Quran mentioning modest dressing. Hijab is mentioned in Quran at 7;46, 17;45, 19;17, 38;32, 41;5, 42; 51 , 33;53 and 17;45. Some people interpret as head cover, others as loose clothing, not head covering. I honestly don’t know as I’m not a native Arabic speaker.

Why do I wear hijab?

I wear hijab to curb my own vanity. Not for anyone else but to remind myself that beauty, attention and compliments are not important in my life. It is so easy to fall into the trap of seeking validation from others and to let outsiders’ opinions shape your own self-worth. I liked being complimented on my hair, which was often dyed bold or striking colours or in interesting new styles. I started looking for compliments after each hair colour refresh, or at each wedding or party.

That wasn’t healthy. I caught myself doing it. I was also getting more male attention. That was flattering but an unwelcome distraction. I was focusing on trying to create and maintain stability for my children. Romantic relationships could come later.

So to remind myself that I needed to focus on myself and not other peoples opinions of me, I knew that wearing hijab would be a good step. I put it off for a while. I fell into the trap of liking the attention again. So I decided to stop relying on other peoples’ compliments.

How? I effectively went cold turkey. I just started wearing hijab one day. Then the next. And the next. And I’ve worn it daily outside my home ever since.

Do not silence women by speaking for them

I wear hijab to curb my own vanity. Other hijabis have their reasons for wearing khimar/ hijab/ head covering. Don’t assume we’re all the same, and certainly do not assume that they are wearing it because they are being forced to or told to by a man.

If you want to know why a woman is wearing a headscarf, respectfully ask her if she is comfortable sharing her story. Hear her speak for herself. If she chooses to keep her reasons private, please respect that.

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