World Hijab Day: What Hijab Means to Me
“Hijab, to me, serves as a special little reminder that my body is my own and not for capital consumption.”
World Hijab Day, founded by Nazma Khan in 2013, takes place every year on February 1st in more than 140 different countries around the world. With the aim of spreading awareness about the meaning of hijab as well as exploring the reasons why so many Muslim women choose to wear the physical hijab, World Hijab Day has become a global phenomenon. Bringing together women and men from all different backgrounds and religions in the hope of understanding and celebrating our differences, for this year’s World Hijab Day, we asked Muslim women what the hijab means to them, and about both the struggles and love that goes into wearing their hijab proudly.
To learn more about World Hijab Day and how to participate, click here!
“Although putting on the hijab at 22 was extremely difficult as it was a complete change in lifestyle, forward 5 years and I’ve been able to experience the greater wisdom behind it. Hijab, to me, means a complete liberation from any societal pressures and expectations regarding arbitrary standards of Eurocentric beauty. Hijab has helped me focus less on my exterior, aesthetic self and focus more so on developing my spirituality and character in my journey towards reaching closeness to God. Hijab, to me, serves as a special little reminder (especially amid a society obsessed with female objectification and nudity) that my body is my own and not for capital consumption. Most of all, hijab helps me remember that my purpose here on earth is beyond just reaching physical perfection through endless makeup tutorials and fashion. I’ve been put here to perfect my soul and reach my absolute human potential, and hijab has allowed me to focus on that entirely.”
“To me, hijab means feeling protected, and not having to be judged or feeling like you have to try to fit in with a fashion trend. It just makes it easier to be you. Plus, the headscarf keeps my head warm and I can have as many bad hair days as I like and it’s no one’s business!”
“My hijab holds both symbolic and personal meaning to it, where it serves as a way to portray my inner and outer modesty while also enabling me to represent my religion. Standing up for peace for me is a huge part of being a believer. Therefore in this age and time, I wear it as a way to represent what my religion truly stands for, which is for peace and equality and not terrorism and oppression.”
“I currently don’t wear hijab in the conventional sense, but I still believe strongly in wearing modest clothing and behaving in a modest, Islamic way when dealing with others around you. To be honest, I’ve thought about wearing the hijab many times. I feel it brings a sense of freedom… free from other’s judgments, comments, and unnecessary looks. It provides a level of respect and would constantly remind me of Whom I am doing this for… not for me or the world, but solely for Allah. That doesn’t mean wearing a hijab makes one a better person than those who don’t wear it. But I do feel, when done correctly and for the right reason, that some who wear it do get a different level of respect and have a sense of calm around them.”
“I was raised in a culture and family where hijab was the norm, and so I feel like I didn’t truly understand and appreciate hijab until I was older, and until I was independent enough to be able to take it off if I wanted to. But I now realize how much I love my hijab, and how much I love being identified as being Muslim because of my scarf. My hijab is part of who I am as a person, and I am so thankful that I live in a society where I am given the choice of being able to wear it or not. It is, after all, an expression of choice.”
“Hijab to me is the personification of all the morals of Islam I hold dear: humbleness, respectfulness, empathy, and love. Hijab to me is also not just the headscarf or long sleeves and skirts, it is more than that to me. It is the ability to put aside fears and doubts and proudly proclaim your religion.”
“While it’s easy to talk about how women love wearing their hijab, I think its just as important to also talk about how hard it really is to wear hijab… to wear it and truly believe in it. Every struggle I go through, every doubt I have, is just another part of my struggle to become a better Muslim and I’m thankful that my hijab teaches me that every single day of my life. I think it’s important to recognize that the true beauty of hijab isn’t just in its convenience, but in its struggles as well.”
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For me, the reasoning behind why people wear hijab really are endless… with almost 1.8 billion Muslims, that means there are literally 1.8 billion opinions on why someone would choose to wear hijab. What I believe though, is that at the end of the day, hijab simply represents one’s love for God. Putting aside notions of modesty, cultural influences, and religious upbringing (all of which are important, by the way), I think one of the most important aspects of why hijab is so beautiful is that it is a manifestation of the love and devotion one has in their spiritual journey towards serving God.
There is no meaning behind hijab if there is no love for God, and my own journey with God has been almost simultaneous with my journey with hijab. I’m able to be proud of my love and devotion to God with my hijab, and I think that’s one of the main reasons why I love wearing my hijab so much.