The Years of Being Covered

by Amalia

Just like any Muslims around the world, Ramadan is an important month for me. Not only does the month of Ramadan mark the time in which the Qur’an was first revealed, but it was also the month when I decided, for the first time ever, to don a headscarf or a hijab. It was a stepping stone that changed my life forever. It was an oath I made to Allah SWT and for the next 11 years, it has given me an amazing journey that I never regretted.

I gave a detailed account on my other blog on how and why I finally decided to wear a hijab. To put it simply, a hijab for me is an act of obedient to Allah SWT. That is the only primary reason why I wear it until this very day. All other reasons, e.g. protection and identity, are secondary.

But I cannot deny the fact that the hijab is my identity. It defines me about who I am. A Muslim. There is no god but Allah SWT and Muhammad SAW is the Messenger of God. This is the very identity that has led to questions, judgments, abandons, sympathies, curiosities, or even stares. But this is also the identity that has changed perceptions and broken stereotypes. This is the identity that forced me to defend what I believe in, more than my nationality. More than anything else.

Hijab is also about modesty. Or Haya in Arabic. It is about being modest outwardly and inwardly. It is not only about the covering of the hair or your whole body. It is about how you act and present yourself. This is by far the hardest thing to achieve. I do not think I am modest inside out. There are many aspects I have to sort out. There are many things I have to fix. I do not even think that I can represent any respected hijabi sisters out there. I am far below that.

Indeed, I am not a perfect Muslim. I am not and never claimed to be religious. I do not and will never preach you why you do not pray. Or why you do not fast. Because there are still flaws inside me that I need to fix. Before I can correct somebody else, I have to make sure that I am free of those flaws. I have to be judgmental and critical about myself. That is what hijab has taught me all this time.

Hijab is my choice. It is my freedom. No one and nothing in this world can ever change that. Not even Islamophobia. Taking away my freedom to wear a hijab is a clear and definite sign of oppression. Period.