Hijab: the bold and the beautiful

The hijab debate is one that will NEVER get old and as usual, it was a hot topic between the ladies at a gathering I recently attended. I sat there and listened to someone complain non-stop about how inappropriate coloured scarves were in this day and age. Colours “like yellow, and red and like, bright green – how is that even hijab? People might as well just take it off and not bother giving us all a bad image.”

I was wearing the most beautiful yellow scarf that day, with large camel coloured polka dots. It cheered me up to no end, especially since I always dread Mondays and needed to inject colour into my wardrobe before I lost the plot.

My response to her is this (and no, I didn’t bother even saying anything because there are closed minds that you just don’t waste energy on any longer) –

We live in an age where we are judged on every little thing and our choice in wearing the scarf is constantly brought to the table to suggest we are oppressed, depressed and overdressed. I reject this; and though I do not give a damn what others think, I am entitled to wear what I please. Furthermore, if wearing colours suggests that I am ‘loose or setting a bad example,’ or that I am giving Islam a bad name, then I believe that we have misunderstood the whole purpose behind observing hijab.

Hijab was brought about to elevate the status of women, freeing them from the shackles of stereotypes of how a woman should look. As a young girl who had just put on the scarf, it struck me that I became somewhat of a mystery to those around me (although, I did have to endure my head teacher telling me that we had central heating in school and won’t need to cover my head to stay warm). The colours allow me to express my love of colours and to match them with my mood, or in this case, to change my Monday blues into something a little more vibrant.

Regardless of how you wear your scarf, the colour or the size of it, (although I genuinely dislike the voluminous look that so many people have going on) you are a flag bearer of the religion you follow. A wise man once told me that though women are often compared to Sayeda Zainab (as), we are effectively manifestations of the valour of Abbas (as); he was the flag bearer of true Islam in the battle of Karbala. He was brave to stand up for the truth, as we are when we wear our scarves. He challenged those who did not want Islam to be strengthened, as we do when we embrace it and make it the heart of our identity. He became the walking, talking symbol of the religion, as we are when we stand with our heads raised high in our scarves.

This didn’t start off as a celebratory hijab post – actually, it started off as a rant – but it ended up as one. It was a chance to celebrate the bold and beautiful reclamation of the small cloth that is literally the fabric of our identity.