By nature, I have always been (or would at least like to believe so) very conservative and conscious of my actions. Even when I was younger, I would wear the hijab here and there – but my parents did not want me to commit to it until I was older and mature enough to make the decision.
As many others Muslim women would probably agree, a big misconception is that we as females are forced to wear the hijab. Or that we are oppressed. Or even worse, that our religion oppresses females! I am by no means denying the fact that there are parents out there that force their daughters to wear the hijab or that oppression is a huge problem in many parts of the world — but religion doesn’t dictate oppression. An uneducated and ignorant being does.
I chose to wear the hijab at the beginning of the eighth grade. I chose to do so because I feel like it gives me a sense of protection. It shows others I have respect for myself, and therefore I am respected by others.
More than anything else, it’s a reminder for no one other than me. It’s a reminder to myself that my actions are held accountable and stand for something greater. It’s a reminder to me about modesty and to exemplify modesty everyday – not just in looks, but in all aspects of life. It is a reminder for myself to never judge a book by it’s cover. Judging someone based on their looks can be, and quite frequently is, very deceiving. It reminds you look beneath the skin and be attracted to someone based on their personality and their character.
As it turns out, I had just started wearing the hijab days before 9/11 happened. Of course, the thought “why now?” went through my head. Several people in the extended family insisted I should stop wearing the hijab for the sake of my safety. I proudly live in a diverse area, however, and was lucky enough to never encounter any problems. Do I know that many others weren’t as lucky? Of course. With the support of my parents, if anything, it made me a stronger person. It was a test by He, and I knew He would pull me through it. That if anything was meant to happen, it would happen whether I wore the hijab or not. Yes, others would have the hijab to blame. But I knew better.
Had I not started to wear the hijab when I did, would I still have done so in the aftermath of 9/11? It was just another reminder to me, that indeed, everything happens for a reason. I never liked “what if” questions anyways.