Saturday, February 9, 2013

Going Hijabi

Still need practice lol

Hijab (n., Arabic) "a screen or curtain". A veil that covers the head which is particularly worn by Muslim women beyond the age of puberty in the presence of non-related adult males.

 Before y'all start tossing potatoes, I'd like to remind you that I'm a Roman Catholic on paper and my attempt at wearing a hijab is my attempt at understanding- at least in this specific aspect of the Muslim community- and supporting Muslim women who veil themselves by choice. These are women who make the choice of taking the veil, knowing that most likely that they'll be discriminated for it (or at least frowned upon), especially since the 9/11 attacks generated a lot of controversy and a lot of countries attempted to restrict the wearing of hijabs in public.

Turban- more than a headwrap than a hijab, since it doesn't cover the neck.

  Granted, I may not probably feel the weight of discrimination since I don't wear a a hijab full time. But I also know how it feels to be judged for my "moral" choices.

Note: I just realized now how odd it is that I don't have Muslim girlfriends- or at least ones who wear the hijab. Was it because I subconsciously avoided them or I just happened not to have an opportunity to meet one? 0_0 After all, according to CIA Factbook, Muslims make up 5% of the Philippine population.

  I began to do some research about the origins and the purpose of the hijab  whilst practicing to wear one (and failing spectacularly at a dozen tries, btw). After all, it'll be totally hawkward if I don the veil and then not knowing how to fully explain to people my purpose for doing so.

  With the help of Wikipedia and other sites, my search has turned up some fascinating facts, anecdotes, and arguments dedicated to this particular veiling alone (or maybe I'm terribly fascinated because nobody really tells me about these things):

*Hijab means "a screen or curtain" in Arabic and referred to the partition that male Muslim believers talk behind in when communicating with the wives of the Prophet Muhammad.

*According to Muslim scholar Reza, "the veil was neither compulsory nor widely adopted until generations after Muhammad's death, when a large body of male scriptural and legal scholars began using their religious and political authority to regain the dominance they had lost as a result of the Prophet's egalitarian reforms."

*The hijab was originally the responsibility of the men (when talking to the Prophet's wives).

*According to Muslim Scholars, the hijab was solely meant for Muhammad's wives as a way to distinguish themselves in public so they wouldn't be harassed.

*The Qur'an stresses modesty but does not specifically require women to cover their heads or faces.

*Veiling did not originate with the advent of Islam. So this is where we go waaaay back in history when civilizations were formed, specifically in Byzantine and Mesopotamian societies. Elite women during that era (including the Persian and Greek empires), wearing a veil was a sign of respectability and high status.

*The Qur'an also instructs men to dress modestly.

  If you have free time,  can read the rest of the fun facts here.

The Muslim woman is wearing a niqab.

 One of the things I find appealing about the whole hijab thing is that in this era, there is an idea that wearing a veil is a form of gender oppression. Even though the hyper-sexualization  women is just as oppressive. However, this is a tricky argument since both viewpoints are socially constructed. I came across this brilliant blog post by a Muslim girl named Sara, who helped enlighten me about what it means to wear a hijab by choice and the treatment of women.

Here is an excerpt:
Women should not be compared to objects. It is that simple. I am sure the author of the above story did not intend any harm, and hoped to encourage more Muslim women to wear the hijab. However, it is not empowering in the least to be compared to candy that is thrown to a dirty floor, only one of which are picked up. We are not meant for appraisal by others or intended for “consumption” (i.e the pleasure of others), and analogies like this harm more than help in a world where women are treated like possessions.

  I love my hair and as much as I consider it a crowning glory, but I also find that having the choice to reveal my beauty only to loved ones or to a special someone just as empowering. And who says hijabs can't be fashionable? You obviously haven't searched through Tumblr for hijabis and hijab trends. There was one time I was at the LRT and there were these Muslim women inside. I was staring at  them not because I pity them but because OMG their headscarves were just safjkdsfhsdfjkhds beautiful like I CAN'T EVEN.

Here are some videos by dinatokio on how to wear headscarves as hijabs and turbans. Check out her Youtube channel for more tutorials on various ways to wear them. Note: You'll need scarves. And pins.

So right now, I think I'll carve in some time in my free schedule to do more research about Islam culture in general and maybe start reading the Qur'an.

  I'm more gravitating to the turban look because of the weather conditions here. Hopefully I can find headscarves that use thinner and lighter fabrics

Josyn, I'm looking at you.

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