opinion

A Muslim blogger discusses the beauty and difficulty of wearing a hijab.

Hijab, turban, veil, headscarf, khimar, towel head, that bed sheet wrapped around her face, that thingy thing? THIS for me and all other Muslimah Queens worldwide is our CROWN. Yaasss, you heard right! It’s much more beautiful, more powerful, more valuable and worth more than any Crown a princess could come across. Just like a rose blooming and blossoming on a beautiful summer’s day.

For those who are unaware, hijab is not only about covering our hair; it is also involves the way we dress, the manner in how we choose to conduct ourselves in our daily lives and much more. However today I am talking in relation to hijab that involves Muslim women covering their hair.

For me like many others, not only is wearing our scarf to please Allah, to protect and hide our beauty, it is also a reminder. Hijab is our identity, our scarf shows everyone no matter where we are in public, that YES I am Muslim and proud. It’s a reminder to us while wearing our scarf to not only dress a certain way, but a reminder that we must act a certain way and not let our ego or negativity get the better of us.

I think us hijabis can all agree that two of the most commonly asked questions we are sick of hearing are: “Why do you wear that on your head, you’re covering your beautiful hair?” and “Don’t you feel hot wearing that on your head?”. Honestly, no, we don’t feel hot wearing our hijab. I myself know this for sure! I remember recently before putting my scarf back on those horrible days where I had spent TIMEEEE styling my hair, having it down and when the weather was super hot I would get sweaty and my hair would stick to the back of my neck.

Now I can tie all my hair in a bu, drape my scarf over my hair while that cool breeze touches my neck; OH SO MUCH more comfortable! Plus NO BAD HAIR DAYS. HOLLLAAAAA!

Yes, I admit hijab is not easy; it’s a constant test from Allah, a constant struggle for many of us in life, but Allah knows this, he sees this and we will be rewarded in the hereafter (God willing.) However, now that I have committed to wearing my hijab full time and, God willing, ’til my time has come, I cannot explain how beautiful I feel wearing it. The empowerment I feel, the strength, the sincerity, the beauty, it just means so much more to me than the struggle of any negative opinions of others.

Natasha. Image: supplied.
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Knowing the purpose of why I’m wearing my scarf and most importantly that it was my choice, you can’t tell me otherwise - I ain’t hearing it. Needless to say, wearing hijab often reminds me of the days I would change my hair colour constantly; because wearing hijab is the same in the sense that you don’t have to always wear the same style every day of your life. There are hundreds of different styles to tie your scarf, there are so many different materials to choose from to wear, and the COLOURS - don’t get me started!

Moving on from there, before I get carried away and start filming scarf tutorial videos, I want this to be known and read carefully by those who think we are forced to wear our scarf. Muslim women are obligated to wear hijab to please Allah and to protect our beauty by living and dressing modestly. However hijab is a choice; we are not forced to wear it, so PLEASE stop saying or thinking that we are oppressed, because we certainly aren’t.

Wearing hijab does not limit our aspirations nor does it limit our success in life. Look at Ibtihaj Muhammad, a well-known African American fencer who not only wears hijab but was also the first Muslim American woman to wear hijab while competing in the Olympics. Or Nura Afia a Muslim beauty blogger and makeup artist who last year became COVERGIRL’s first Muslim ambassador.

Or Halima Aden, a Somali refugee who resides in America and is the first hijab-wearing model signed by IMG Models and who also got to walk the runway at last year’s New York Fashion Week for Kanye West’s Season 5 Yeezy Collection. Muslim women are indeed making big waves on an international scale.

Image: supplied.

Not only are these women an inspiration for myself and other Muslim women worldwide, but it reminds me that no one can stop us from doing what we want to do, for striving for bigger and great things that God has planned for us. Whenever I’m reading negativity in the news, I just think of what Muslim women have accomplished not only globally but also in the Perth community as well. It truly humbles me knowing that through work that I do and through my business that I also contribute to help changing people's perception of Muslims and I also help give back to the Perth Muslim community.

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Being a Muslim woman in Australia, of course, is very challenging at times, more for certain Muslim women than others. But it is also very rewarding. Those Australians who don’t like Muslims in general don’t care whether you’re a revert or a born Muslim, nor whether you were born and raised in Australia.

To them, Muslims are all from Arab countries and that’s where we all must go and live our lives. LOL. There are many Muslim women in Australia that are scared to walk the streets alone; scared they will be attacked or have their hijab pulled off. You may be reading this and thinking, 'OK Natasha, I think you are over-exaggerating', but truly this is the case. Simply Google "attacks on Muslim women in Australia/America", and you will read some extreme cases.

Dr Susan Carland speaks to Mamamia about how hijab fits into feminism. (Post continues below.)

Alhamdulilah, I have only experienced one racist attack, and believe me it was one to remember and one I wasn’t expecting at all. Long story short, it involved an ignorant bum who kicked my left side fender on my car while yelling, “Go back to your f****ng country”. Yeah, a racist and most likely high off his face.

I’m quite used to the stares now that I get from non-Muslims, as it’s not always the case that they are staring for negative reasons. There’s numerous times I have been out and about and have had non-Muslim women compliment me on my outfit, the way in which I tie my scarf and how much they wish they could pull off dressing covered and wearing a scarf just because they are in awe and admiration of my appearance. It’s very touching and it makes me smile knowing that there are people out there who admire Muslim women and their choice of clothing, who admire how much we stand up for our faith, whether it’s via social media debates or in person.

At the end of the day, I pray that the non Muslims who dislike and feel hatred towards Muslims one day learn to keep an open mind and take the time to actually get to know us. You will actually find it amusing at HOW MUCH we actually have in common with one another.

And I’m not talking about how we also enjoy going to the cinemas and eating popcorn, or our love for some good food, nor even our love for travelling and seeing the world. This assumption of “all Muslims are bad people all Muslims are the same” REALLY needs to STOP!

You cannot justify the actions of a minority and base it on an entire mass of people whom belong to the second-fastest growing religion. Never have I ever felt like I have had to hide being a Muslim in Australia, and I pray that never changes.

I am proud to call myself an Australian Muslim and may we all strive to be the best of people we can be, regardless of the hurdles we must overcome.

Natasha Toffa is a 27-year-old Australian Anglo-Indian plus size fashionista and a 4 year Muslim convert. She is the founder of the Women’s Unity Movement and a Fashion & Social Change Blogger. She founded the Women's Unity Movement in April 2017. The aim of the fun and elegant events she hosts is to promote unity, female empowerment and to encourage women of different backgrounds, races, religious groups to mix and get to know another. She showcases her incredible fashion looks on her Instagram account. 

This post originally appeared on Natasha's blog, Women's Unity Movement. It has been published here with full permission.

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