Salaams (Peace) all;
A recent NPR piece explored the topic of why some Muslim Women choose not to wear the hijab or traditional head cover. The piece explores the issue with profiles of 12 Muslim women who do not wear the hijab. Of course Muslim men who are often the strongest proponents of hijab were immediately ready to take on this issue and explain why Muslimahs don’t cover. On http://www.Ummah1.com a recent post about this topic, listed responses from several men and only 1 woman. I myself responded not to the NPR piece but to the lack of input into the discourse from Muslim women themselves. What follows below is the text of my response:
I always find it interesting when Muslim MEN get together to discuss the reasons why some sisters choose not to wear hijab. I am equally amused when White Americans get together to discuss issues in the Black community. Because it is hard to really understand the complexity of an issue if it is not YOUR issue. Sure we are all Muslims but only half of us have to deal with this decision. And this decision is not easy. It does not cover you, it exposes you! Because it draws the attention of every eye. You are often treated differently and the job market discriminates. I consider any Muslim woman who leaves her house in hijab the same as a Muslim who has left taking on Jihad. Because you never know what you might have to face that day. Even with your kufi and beard it is NOT the same. I know of an obviously pregnant Muslimah who was standing at a bus stop and had a group of guys slow down their car and throw a can of coke on her and scream for her to go back to where she came from. I have had this shouted at me and my children as I walked them to the park! I have had a potential employer tell me the only reason for not hiring me was my hijab, and ask if I would consider taking it off while at work. So my brothers you can’t understand and you can’t answer this question. And as for the brother who says it is not worn in the Imam Warith Deen community, (the largest community of African American Muslims),that is a false stereotype. Some wear it and some don’t, the same as with any other community! Some wear it in non-traditional ways, as do women from many other cultures! We have to get past this idea that the Arab way is the ONLY way. We also have to get past the idea that a woman’s piety can be judged by her head cover. I know Muslimahs who don’t cover but are extremely pious and I know some that do cover and also commit sins you would think no Muslimah would EVER do. But they wear their hijabs, everyday. And while we’re at it, maybe we should just stop judging people period! Allah is the Judge, because He is the only one who knows the secrets of actions done openly and privately.