National Hijab Day-Feb. 1

Wearing the scarf holds special meaning to observants


The hijab. A head covering, a symbol of faith, an expression of modesty, a devotion to religion. To millions of Muslim women around the world, the hijab means and represents something different. While the concept of the hijab is foreign most students, those who wear them have a strong, brute attachment to it.
As women from different backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities begin to be pulled together, the hijab becomes less than just a piece of fabric, but rather, a symbol of strength. And there was no better time for this connection to be shown, than on World Hijab Day. On Feb. 1, women around the world participated in celebrations, spending time with family and friends, posting on social media, and reminiscing on the journey they have been through while wearing a hijab.
The unity that became present on this day through the diaspora only went to show how significant, the seemingly simple, wearing a hijab can be. The hijab is worn by millions of Muslim women across the globe for a few central reasons, but it represents a diverse list of values. It is important to note that the wearing of the hijab is a choice for every Muslim woman.
While the Quran, the Islamic Holy book, orders women to cover themselves, it is also stated for compulsory, or forcing women to wear the hijab is forbidden. Women who make the conscious decision to wear the hijab, develop a strong connection and deeply rooted attachment to it.
Muslim women wear the hijab primarily to show devotion to their faith, no matter where they are living in the world.
“To me, wearing the hijab means representing my faith and what it stands for,” senior Khadijah Khaliq said. “It also is a huge part of my life because it brings me closer to Islam.”
But while women are most commonly seen wearing what the common perception of a hijab is, many are unaware that the hijab is prescribed upon both men and women in the Quran.
To understand the practice, an understanding of what the hijab means is helpful. The hijab is most directly translated from Arabic to “cover” or “barrier.” This means something different for men and women, but each of the two have their own guidelines in Islam about the modesty that they should observe.
Many women wearing the hijab, feel it is a blessing, and something that has presented them with many opportunities in life. This is largely because in many parts of the world, the freedom to wear the hijab is restricted. Over the past few decades, numerous attempts have been made by the French senate to get the hijab completely banned, even in public spaces. And while a total ban hasn’t been achieved, the banning of face coverings, and hijabs in universities and private schools, has already begun.
“One of the most annoying stereotypes is that the hijab restricts women’s freedom. It’s more about modesty than restrictions and getting closer to your faith through wearing it,” Khaliq said.
Unfortunately, the ironic stereotype results in the liberty for many Muslim women to express their religion being stripped from them.
This irony led to women around the world to advocate for their “sisters” in Islam, their right to freedom of religion, and to women appreciating the freedoms they have to wear the hijab, wherever they want.
The experience and idea of wearing a hijab in today’s society is not all negative and restrictive, because while many do not understand the meaning of the hijab, Muslim women embrace this representation of their religion, and take pride in wearing it.
“The best part about wearing a hijab is meeting complete strangers who have hijabs, and automatically having an understanding with them.” said Khaliq.
For many Muslim women, the hijab is something they have grown to love and appreciate, and many can’t imagine their lives without it.
“A lot of times in public I’ll see a hijab and we’ll just greet each other because of the mutual understanding that we are a part of one community,” Khaliq said.
The connection that the diaspora of Muslim women are able to share is clearly one of the most unique experiences of wearing a hijab.
The hijab. More than a head covering, but a declaration. World Hijab Day honors the millions of Muslim women who make the choice to wear the hijab that means so much to them, even in a world that doesn’t always treat them with respect, or see them for who they are. Women wearing a hijab, are not only a Muslim woman, but a symbol of bravery, strength, and devotion.