Sunday, January 5, 2014

Wearing the Hijab

You know how when you don't know much about something, you tend to misunderstand it? All of us have friends who wear the hijab. It is one of the most common things we see everyday because Malaysia is such multi-cultural country. However, we sometimes get caught up in ourselves, we forget to open our minds to our neighbours - of different race and religion - and just learn each other's practices and cultures.

On the first day of the New Year, I began 2014 with an assignment that was an eye-opener for me. Not so much that the assignment that was new to me but the perspective it gave me. I was assigned to cover a court case at the Syariah Court (Islamic court) which requires ladies to cover up from head to toe. As non-Muslims, it is also important for us to cover up when going to the Court as the hair is considered an aurat - body parts that needs to be concealed, i.e. hair, legs, shape of body, neck etc. This is not required when covering normal courts but it is a must when going to the Syariah Court. I have no qualms about putting on a tudung as I've done so a few times before when I was studying in Brunei. Also as a sign of respect for the religion, I did not mind putting on the hijab that morning and also cos I need to cover that case right?

The night before, my colleague advised me to bring along a shawl to the court otherwise I wouldn't be allowed in unless you rent a scarf at the court. So I brought along my shawl to the Court and asked some of my Muslim colleagues from other papers for help to put on the tudung in the car park. It took 2 people to help me put on the tudung, it was no easy task and being unfamiliar with it, I stood there like a mannequin and looked like this..

Don't. Laugh.

I sent this picture to my colleague Farhaan and he said that I looked like a taliban wtf. I know la cos it was not adjusted properly when we took this photo haha. After a few adjustments, I looked saner..



To be honest, I have always wondered how/why some Muslim women choose/have to wear the hijab. This was due to my lack of knowledge about the matter, of course. I have been in numerous discussions about the topic yet I still don't really get it. So I've always shrugged it off as something that a non-Muslim like me would never understand. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to be disrespectful or diss the practice but I feel that most people shun some things or question certain things because of their lack of knowledge about the subject, like me.

I didn't expect to feel anything different when I wore the hijab that day. But strangely, it made me feel comfortable. Ya, I was sweating profusely on my neck because of the heat and everyone else was teasing me about it but somehow, I felt at ease with myself. I mean I am always at ease with myself and confident in my own skin, but wearing the headscarf made me feel a new type of serenity, if that makes sense.

I also felt that it was no easy task to put on a headscarf that day let alone every single morning. Then there's the different styles and fabric choices to match the different outfits for different occasions. I have a newfound admiration and awe for women who chose to commit themselves to this practice. Kudos to you! There are two bloggers that come to mind who I feel who pull off the hijab look perfectly:

Jezmine from Old Blossom Box.


Vivy Yusof of
photos from their respective blogs

These two women, whom I've been following on Instagram and their respective blogs, are prime examples that one can have fun with bright colours, prints and fabrics when dressing up hijab style. Especially Vivy Yusof. To me, she is the personification of class and someone who looks even more elegant in her shawls, if that's possible!

This experience got me thinking.. I felt that maybe I sort of understand why some women choose to wear the hijab. Maybe it is something beautiful that women choose to cover themselves up. Maybe it is something beautiful to want to keep parts of themselves secret, only for the eyes of certain people. Like I said, you know how sometimes you don't understand something until you've done it?  I guess this was it. I think I understand why some women do it.

Before you jump to any conclusions, it is not like I suddenly want to switch to wearing hijab lah, it's just that though it was only for a few hours, I felt that the experience was enlightening and eye-opening. It changed my perspective. Wearing the hijab is a beautiful thing, at times more beautiful than a woman without a headscarf. Tudung-wearing women are such a common sight here, we don't even think much about it. But the experience was fresh and insightful, not unlike the time I wore the saree for the first time two years ago.

I hope that I don't come across as disrespectful with this blog post.. I guess at the end of the day, what I'm trying to say is, I might be a non-Muslim but I've come to see that wearing the hijab is actually a beautiful thing and I admire women who commit themselves to that. You have my newfound respect! :)

1 comment:

Queen N said...

<3 this post! It brings a different kind of perspective on wearing the headscarf - from a non Muslim. I'm glad that you felt serene when donning it too like a lot of us do!