“Why do you cover your hair/head?” “Are you under going therapy?” “Are you a Muslim?”
Others who are unaware of Islamic hijab (veil/covering) Muslim women wear as a symbol of modesty and morality always express their curiosities when they see me wearing one.
It was not a big surprise to me when I heard the social predicaments of some sisters in wearing head cover at the World Hijab Day at the event sponsored by the UP IIS last February. Albeit, as a hijabi I can manage myself not to be maltreated or underestimated by other people.
I started using headscarf when I got married out of my own volition. Why do I cover my head/hair in the first place? With due respect to the Islamic Law, I do not love headscarf nor I am afraid of being punished if I do not wear one.
Aside from the comfort I derived from covering, I used headscarf not for rewards lest I veil my heart not my head. To seek the pleasure of my Lord is the only reason why I cover, for He was the One who commanded me to do so. Therefore, I cover my head only for His Sake.
When non-Muslims asked me why I use headscarf, I would sometimes answer them that I follow the footsteps of mother Mary (Mariam). They would sometimes give me a stare of disbelief.
I wonder why others are not maltreating the non-Muslims who wear head covers. Although, this is not about being a Muslim or a non-Muslim but respecting every sister whether she wears head cover or not.
It breaks my heart to see other hijabis when they cannot gain the respect they deserve just because of a piece of cloth worn on their hair.
There are some who cannot even defend themselves when they are sometimes harassed, generalised, underestimated, marginalized or even condemned for the faults of other Muslims.
And as hijabis we cannot also wrap meters of fabric from our heads to toes all day long and commit crime; engage in illegal business that will affect the whole community; or act dishonestly in return for personal gain. Wickedness can never be hidden behind our beautiful head covers!
Headscarves may only protect us from rain shower, dust or sunlight; we cannot be sure if it can save our spirits. God scans our hearts not our beautiful expensive glittering head covers!
A piece of cloth worn on the head does not sum up our religiousness or piousness. And without wearing it does not also shows an evidence of evilness or ungraciousness on our part.
There is no coercion in covering the hair but to dress in modesty to avoid indecency and protect oneself from evil eyes, which is the best conduct. May the All-Merciful guide us all.
Wearing head covers to other sisters is merely to express their spiritual conviction. Others who start to cover their hair maybe wanted a change and simply restore their faith. While others want to embrace a new life and a new hope, maybe others want to use it for the sake of art!
Whatever intention one has, it must come from her heart because the heart never lies.
But “Lift the veil that obscures the heart and there you will find what you are looking for.” says Kabir.