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As a Muslim Woman Who Doesn’t Wear a Hijab…

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UWindsor chapter.

I pride myself on a lot of things regarding my life; I believe I’m a good writer, a kind person, a caring cat mom, a good sister and daughter. But the thing about myself that I feel the most proud of is being a Muslim. 

I don’t think I should call myself a “good Muslim” because I don’t think that’s up to me to say; I can say that I do my best to be a good Muslim. I think I do, anyway. It took me a long time to get to this point, though. I feel that I can now accept the person that I am and the Muslim I turned out to be, while also understanding that there’s always room for improvement. 

It’s no secret that Muslims face a lot of struggles from the world. I’m not necessarily here to talk about that; I want to discuss my own personal struggles as a Muslim and how I overcame them. I’m not talking about discrimination from society, or Islamophobia , or anything like that.

I’m talking about judgements that I faced from fellow Muslims. 

I am, by no means, perfect; there is no perfect Muslim out there. Muslims are human, and humans are imperfect creatures. So it really bugs me when my brothers and sisters of Islam judge me when I don’t take on the appearance of a “good Muslim woman”. 

What do I mean by that?

I don’t wear the hijab. 

You see, when I was in elementary school, I went to an all-Muslim school for a few years. It was required of the female students to have their hijabs on at all times, starting from grade four. Apparently, the school thought it would be a good idea to force girls to wear hijabs all the time to encourage them to become hijabis. Otherwise, we’d be terrible Muslims. 

Au contraire.

This notion has and always will bother me, because wearing or not wearing the hijab does not determine what kind of Muslim a woman is. The hijab is a representative of humility and modesty, which I have gone into more detail in my article here. But the misconception about wearing hijabs making you a good Muslim has been projected on me a lot growing up.

The teachers at my school would always scold me whenever my hair was showing out of my hijab. At the time, I had very long and thick hair that went pretty much everywhere, so it was difficult for me to hide. Every time they scolded me (in front of other students, might I add), I felt embarrassed and ashamed of myself. The girls in my classroom who became hijabis have not always been very warm to me, and I have the distinct feeling that it’s due to the fact that I don’t wear the hijab constantly. The Sheikh (a male leader in the Muslim community) at my school, though he never said anything to me directly, had always made a point to Muslim women and their obligation to wear the hijab.

It used to freak me out. Did this mean I was a bad Muslim for not wearing the hijab? Was God angry with me? 

I have to tell you, I am very lucky to have the parents that I have. My mom and dad taught me a lot of things about Islam; they also taught me this: if you’re not ready to wear the hijab, it’s okay. 

Let’s put it this way: if you’re not ready to be in a serious and committed relationship, would you pursue one? Probably not. Whether or not you’re ready for a serious relationship is up to you. Wearing the hijab on a daily basis, 24/7, is a big commitment. It’s something a Muslim woman needs to feel ready for. It’s up to her. When the Qur’an mentions wearing hijab, God is addressing women. Not men. That school had no right to force it on me or the other girls who were not ready; they didn’t encourage me or make me want to wear it, they did the opposite. 

There have been rare occasions when I’d run into the Sheikh from my old school; we’d make polite conversation, but I always felt disapproval from him. But I’m no longer allowing it to bother me. It’s not up to him. Whether or not I wear the hijab is not his or anyone else’s business. And it’s certainly nobody’s right to determine whether or not I’m a good Muslim. That’s between me and God. 

It has been a struggle as a non-hijabi Muslim woman throughout the years. But I’m proud of the way I turned out. I’m proud that my faith is strong, and I refuse to let anyone take that away from me.

Nawal Jasey is the Writing Director at the Her Campus UWindsor Chapter. She is responsible for scheduling writers for article postings as well as writing articles herself. Prior to this, she was part of the writing team as a simple writer. Her content normally depicts entertainment, life experiences, and personal cultural and/or religious topics. Nawal attends the University of Windsor as a senior undergraduate under the English program, where she mainly studies different branches of English literature including Victorian, Renaissance, Restoration, and more. Furthermore, she studies creative writing to pursue her dream of becoming an author. She attends several reading events hosted by different authors to help inspire her creative writing. She has independently published a fiction fantasy novel and continues to write more stories for the future. In her free time, Nawal loves to read and write fiction and epic fantasy novels. She would rather shop for books than for clothes any day. She is an anime and manga lover and considers herself a massive and proud nerd. She enjoys baking and playing the piano (not at all professionally) while cuddling her adorable kitty named Sabo.