I bet after seeing the title of this one you are thinking this is going to be a very “prescriptive” piece…oh here she goes, now she is going to tell us that all Muslim women absolutely have to wear hijab and if not they are going to hell.
Well, no, I’m not. While I do believe that hijab is 100% obligatory in Islam, I also believe that it is a deeply personal choice for every woman and forcing women to wear anything (be it covering them or uncovering them) is not OK. And honestly these days wearing hijab does not guarantee the wearer to be a good person-some of the nicest women I have ever met don’t wear hijab, and some of the most awful, uncomfortable interactions I have ever had have been with sisters who are beautifully covered.
Back to the idea of covering being a deeply personal choice, though, I would like to share with you all today (and when I say today I mean “today three months ago” because I wrote this ages ago but just got around to hitting publish….) choice that I am facing.
For some time now, I have been walking around seeing women covered in full face veils, interacting with fully veiled sisters online, and for some reason, I have been feeling very drawn (dare I even say “called”) to it.
One reason is that I feel like covering my face is the logical next step on my hijab journey (I have written about the hijab journey here, and my personal story here). I already wear loose skirts and blouses or loose abayas and maxi dresses, and I often wear a cardigan or kimono for further coverage. I cover my feet, and I wear my scarf so I get a lot of coverage in the front and back. So a face veil seems like the direction to be headed from here.
Another (not so good) reason that I am feeling so drawn to it is that I find many women who wear the face veil to be super beautiful and, stereotypically, mysterious.
What is holding me back then? The first and biggest con on my list is that I feel that wearing a full face veil would really distract from what I am trying to do in the world. My passion is showing people that I am an American, I am a woman, I enjoy my life and do all sorts of totally normal things, and I am also a hijab wearing Muslimah. I am also trying to move into the world of helping newer converts.
The thing about a face veil is, it will put up a barrier between me and the very people I am trying to reach. Random people are not going to come up to me on the street and ask me about Islam anymore, they are going to assume I am “one of them,” I am scary, I am unapproachable. This will also put difficulty in interacting with new converts; I have noticed that even other Muslim women tend to stay away from women in veils because they view them as inaccessible and even stand-offish (not necessarily true at all!). Which I certainly don’t want to be.
Plus, the fear of assault in this political climate is very real.
And back on the superficial side, I love colour. Especially pastel. I feel absolutely lovely when I am wearing a dusty rose coloured scarf and a cute little heart charm on my bracelet. And I do not believe in the slightest that you have to wear black in order to be modest. As long as it is loose, decent fabric and you can’t see through it, I see no issue with pink, mint, lavender, blue, yellow, or any other colour.
Maybe this just means I would have to sew my own face veils to match my mint green kimono and my butter-yellow applique-d scarf…
I just recently had some great advice from a friend: take it slow, think it over, and the right decision will come to you just like it did with hijab, so keep a look out for a follow up post in the near future!