I was born without wearing hijab, but I learned through my sisters that having red hair could be like wearing a hot charcoal on your head.
They heard everything from Zora the Red Head to Carrot.
I had no clue what was the matter with all the people.
All I heard at home was that my hair wasn’t as beautiful as the fiery mane of my sisters.
Plus, my grandparents looked down on my white Cinderella train.
That let me all confused and perplexed, but I shrugged it all off.
Then came the time I started to wear my own hijab. And sure enough it was enough to stop the catcalls, to avoid being squeezed in elevators, and to walk alone on the sidewalk.
It didn’t get my grandparents to look upon me with more compassion.
However, the hot charcoal was passed on to me.
My Muslim sisters admired the way I held my head with pride.
I belonged to their family circle.
The hot charcoal warmed up my head and my heart.
Never mind if other people didn’t really understand. I didn’t understand everything myself anyway.
Then came the time I had to wear my head cover all on my own. I had to own it. I had to be worthy of it.
I had to prove I deserved it as if you deserve your hair color or your religion.
I put all my energy in heating up the charcoal on my head.
I learned that for some people their skin color was a hot charcoal.
For some people, their accent was a hot charcoal.
For others, it was the matter of what hot charcoal they would wear for the day. Having an accent, plus wearing a dark skin, and a hijab over it was similar to wearing three veils on top of the other. Some veils were harder, heavier to wear than others.
I wondered how someone could tolerate the heat.
Finally, I let the hot charcoal cool down.
I let the person underneath emerge.
I gave myself time to breathe.
I put myself first. People could see charcoal on my head, or a beautiful cloth, or nothing at all. Their choice. Not mine.
And that’s what the hijab means to me. It means nothing except a sacred vow.
It’s just part of me. I’m not part of it.
Read more hijab stories below:
- Sharmeen Kidwai, What Happened When I Put A Scarf On
- Mona M Ismaeil, What Does The Hijab Mean To Me
- Ramsha Rose, My Hijab Story – Tag | World Hijab Day
- Zainab Farrukh, World Hijab Day Understand psychological implications for women who face hijab prejudice
- Madhiya Qureshi, World Hijab Day & Giveaway
- Abidha Basheer, Hijab doesn’t make us different, live and let live! – World Hijab Day
- Aminat O OdunEwu-Seesa, World Hijab Day – Amazing Stories
- Humaira Ahmed, World Hijab Day – My Hijab Story
- Diah Dwi Arti, The Freedom To Wear Hijab For Muslim Women
- Rasdah Ahmeed World Hijab Day - Celebrating Muslimahs
- Aminat OdunEwu -Seese That Thing On Your Head
- Maheen Nusrat World Hijab Day-2018- My Story