Rafed English

What do Muslim Women Really Think About Hijab?

“I can feel the extra respect coming my way. People take me more seriously, and I feel protected and confident when I step out.” Dr. Mrs. N.Z. Vakil, M.D.

“In the modern society of today, a woman has always been looked upon as just another sexual object for the men. Why should one display one’s beauty for unwanted eyes to feast upon? The Hijab protects a woman’s honor and doesn’t arouse unwanted passion from the opposite sex. I feel if the women were to universally adopt the Islamic code of dressing, the rate of incidences of teasing, molestation, rape, etc. would be negligible. Wearing the hijab gives me more confidence in myself as a woman and it doesn’t obstruct me in any way in my profession.” Mrs. Salva I Rasool, Graphic Designer.

“I am a convert to Islam and so I can compare the experiences of life with and without Islamic Modest Dress. I am well aware of the attitude in Western society that hijab is repressive or hinders the freedom of a woman. My experience with hijab and my study of Islam allows me to understand that this is not the case. Non-Muslim people may sometimes stare, but in hijab I am always treated with respect. I have never had trouble getting or maintaining a job, I no longer face unwanted advances or lewd comments from the opposite sex, and I feel more dignified than without hijab. I realize now I can be accepted and interact with others as my true self once my appearance is not allowed to be the controlling factor. Even in bad neighborhoods, men that are normally lewd just step out of my way. The overall concept in Islamic Dress of maintaining proper respect and my experience that it does indeed increase respectful interaction creates an added sense of security when I go out in public. Knowing what hijab gives me, I would never go back to living without it. I go out in public as a recognized Muslim woman – a reminder to myself and all who see me that I seek to live in a manner which is decent and pure. I am one who seeks to obey God in all matters. People know this of nuns when they see them, and they know the same of me. Even if they cannot understand my reasons for a style of dress that is unusual here in the United States, they express admiration for someone who isn’t afraid to live by her principles.” Mrs. Diana Beatty, Teacher.

“I found I liked wearing the hijab. Actually, 'like' is not the right word, because it isn't positive enough. I loved it. For the first time in my life as an American woman, I felt that my body finally belonged to me. I felt as though I finally had what I can only describe, for lack of a better phrase, as the integrity of my own bodily privacy.I found that I was treated very well, much more respectfully, and I noted a definite tendency on the part of men, especially young men, to leave me alone and give me a wide berth. The way this manifested itself most powerfully was the degree to which I found I was no longer followed by men's eyes.The hijab gave me a message, not even so much 'not available,' although I think that is a part of it, but something stronger…” A non-Muslim American participant in the post-September 11th Scarves for Solidarity Campaign, as quoted in a letter to the San Francisco Chronicle, May 9, 2002.

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