I wore a hijab for decades then one day I stopped
I wore a hijab for decades then one day I stopped
“I don’t find wearing hijab restrictive: I teach at university, I go on TV, I go swimming, I used to go roller-blading – a ’90s activity – I go travelling, I’ve gone scuba diving at the Barrier Reef a couple of times. So the only thing I think holds me back is people’s negative stereotypes and assuming what I am, or can or can’t do, or [how I] feel about things. The whole point about hijab is it was meant to facilitate mobility in society.”
Ramadan Musings – 15 things I learned from fasting Ramadan
Currently we are in the holy month of Ramadan.
Before I was Muslim I never knew when Ramadan happened, let alone what it was all about. At the completion of my first Ramadan in the hot Aussie summer of 98/99, I joyfully wrote of list of about 30 amazing things I gained from that month. I don’t know what ever happened to it, it was hand scrawled on a loose sheet of A4 and contained things like “learned to cook”, but almost 2 decades later the list continues to grow.
In case you are unaware (as I once most certainly was), Ramadan is the 9th month on the lunar calendar. It begins with the sighting of a new crescent moon, and falls approximately 10 days earlier each Gregorian calendar year – so it moves through the seasons. During this month – of 29 or 30 days (dependent on the sighting of the next crescent), put simply – Muslims don’t EAT or DRINK a single thing from just before the dawn till the sun has set. No, not even water.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg. A key that opens a door. And whilst the spiritual and heavenly benefits are extolled greatly within the Islamic scripture, here I share my own experience.
So what is Ramadan really?
It is a month of deep reflection – detatch from the material world, contemplate the grand, the great, the eternal
It is a month of struggle, of striving, of self discipline as we endure mild and temporary discomforts, a mere glimpse of what it’s like for the less fortunate of our world
It is a month of hope – change is possible, anything is possible, knowing God presides over all things
It is a month of blessings – where we witness for ourselves internal and external amazements and bounties
It is a month of charity – of genuine empathy and giving, giving, giving
It is a month of worship – where we stand in prayer at night, humbling ourselves before the All Mighty, acknowledging our great need of Him, in awe of His Greatness
It is a month of forgiveness – forgiving others, overlooking their faults, that the Lord of The Worlds may overlook our own
It is a month of cleansing – a chance to detox from our physical addictions and gain control over those desires which drag us down
It is a month of patience – of learning to wait quietly without complaint till you can have what you want
It is a month of deep gratitude – even just for being one who partakes in this epic month of blessings, even for a simple glass of water
It is a month of healing – without the task of constant digesting the body can divert its resources to healing and restoring itself where needed
It is a month of connection – with 1.6 Billion other people who are doing the same thing, following in the footsteps of the Prophets, and those who believed before us
It is a month spirituality – rejuvenating the soul, deepening ones belief, strengthening ones connection to The Creator of the Universe
It is a month of peace – where the heart and the soul finds deep contentment, stillness, just being, just worshipping, just reflecting, just connecting, to God
It’s a month of striving – to try to become a better version of yourself.
It is so more than a month of just ‘fasting’.
May it’s fragrance gently brush by you,
May it’s sweet dust fall on your weary shoulders,
May it’s bounty enrich your life,
May it’s contentment touch your heart,
May it’s peace reach your soul.
Love & Peace.
Why does the whole world buy into what Muslim women wear? Why does hijab bother so many Non Muslims?
Why is covering considered a prison like oppression, and full flesh exposure considered the height of liberty and freedom?
Isn’t advocating against hijab an oppression of our freedom of choice?
Hypothetically – what if the whole female population on earth decided to dress modestly? Who would that affect? Would the heavy weight fashion designers be demanding we undress or would they design modest clothing for us?
A lot of good points raised in this article.
Recently I came across a meme on Instagram against hijab and it’s wearers which was meanly made and posted on the page of a somewhat prominent local hijabi.
“We wear the hijab because we create lust in men. We must not excite their arousal” it emblazoned over a picture of the lady and 3 other hijabis. A clearly nasty dig at Islam, Hijab and Muslim Women.
In the absence of a unisex title, I will call it’s maker Mr Meme-er, though it may well be a Miss or Mrs.
I have some questions for Mr Meme-er.
Obviously you don’t wear a hijab, but why do you care if other people do? What’s it to you? No ones asking you to wear one are they? Why are you so irate over a square meter of flimsy fabric?
Mr Meme-er, must our lives, dress code and realities all be the same? Is the only acceptable way of life in this world an identikit version of your own? And if so, what makes your ideals superior to that of other peoples? Is it simple because they are YOURS?
Humanity – wide and varied are its beliefs, culture, food and dress. Jeans & T-Shirts. Flip flops or skyscraper heels. Grey wool business suit or pink and orange sari. Bikini or Burqini.
Unlike The Quran – Mr Meme-er does not seem to advocate freedom of choice.
Mr Meme-er, you need to chill. You must be very hot under that collar.
With the completion of Ramadan last week, I’ve listed 10 things I’ve gained from fasting this year. I hope you enjoy my little insights!
1. We are stronger than we think we are – one cannot only go day after day without food and drink (during the daylight hours) for an entire month but you can actually thrive and have energy under these circumstances
2. We need much less than we think we need
3. Ramadan can be very productive – I have done most of my year end procedures at work (accounting) on an empty stomach. Without coffee breaks, lunch breaks and the subsequent toilet breaks, one can plough through the day’s tasks
4. Whilst most days in Ramadan are mostly about patience – having to wait to have what you want – some days ARE tough. Somedays you just are really tired and really hungry. And you just have to get through it.
5. Naps are awesome. (But I’ve always known that).
6. Cooking and food preparation CAN be very pleasurable! (I do like cooking in Ramadan)
7. Getting up before sunrise to have breakfast is not really that difficult but I will never love it
8. In a society based on instant gratification, the regular feeling of an empty stomach is almost profound
9. Prayer is one of life’s essentials. I just don’t know how atheists do it.
10. Ramadan is a bit of a marathon, with highs and lows. Even though it can be tough, I am grateful for it & would hate to miss out on it. As we know, days turn into weeks, weeks into months, months into years and our life whizzes by. How good to have a pause button, a reset button, a stop and think and pray and contemplate button. Alhamdullillah (Thanks be to God).
Whoever you are, wherever you are, no matter what you believe, I wish you all much peace, blessings and happiness in your life 💙 I pray that every human on this earth has at least food, shelter and love 💗
How to stay cool in the Aussie summer in hijab!
With the mercury set to hit 40C (104F) in Sydney today, and 42C out west, where most Sydney hijabi’s live, and seeing the title of this blog pertains to temperature, its only right to include tips on keeping cool in hijab. Don’t miss Number 5 – my secret weapon against the heat.
1. The Maxi Dress
Fortunately its not just the 70s that love these things. Earlier this century Maxis made a comeback and due to their supreme coolness and comfort I am pretty sure they are here to stay. Long, loose, flowing, breezy. You can’t beat them for staying cool and covered. Spaghetti straps are especially good. I love this Chloe Trapeze Maxi in INK from Sportsgirl, its very light weight, completely opaque.
2. Cotton wide leg or harem pants
Keeping cool and modest, underneath your maxi go for light weight loose cotton pants. Cotton absorbs sweat, prevents possible chaffing and maintains total coverage. Fortunately harem pants are everywhere at the moment. SES Fashions were doing really light harem pants in a multitude of colours for around $10 not so long ago (which we all know is in fact a long time in the fashion world). Wide leg pants not so easy to find at the moment (unless you go for some PJ pants lol) but if you’re handy with a sewing machine you can whip them up in half an hour. Whilst you will find pants in a wide range of fabrics, I really do recommend sticking with 100% light weight cotton.
3. Light Cotton Shirt or Cardigan
Stick with the 3 L’s when choosing your sleeved garment – Long, Loose, Lightweight. Tempt and Valley Girl in Australia usually have cotton shirts in a multitude of colours, or try this batwing style from Glassons.com
4. Chiffon or Soft Polyester Hijab
Hijabs in chiffon are barely there, or you could choose soft polyester as shown below in this one from Hijab House. (I don’t recommend tying it in a big bow around your neck though, go for more straight forward pinning).
5. The Wet Headband
This is it folks. Be cooler than non-hijabis on the hottest of hot days. Simply dunk your headband under a nice cold tap, ring out most of the water and put on before heading out into the sunshine. The great thing about this is thats it portable – that is – you can refresh (re-wet) your headband on the go, just pop into any ladies room whilst out and about.
I’m not sure how this goes with pre-sewn headbands or caps, but I work this tip with headband strips which I make myself because I find caps and pre made headbands too loose.
DIY Headband strips – All you need is a piece of fabric and pair of scissors.
Buy stretch poly cotton off the the roll. You only need 20cm for 2 headbands. (Most shops will sell you this and it will only cost a dollar or two).
Try Spotlight, Lincraft, or that charming little Asian shop in Chester Hill on Waldron Road down near the corner of Campbell Hill Road. (The lady always gives Salams, and she’s not Muslims, God bless her!)
Taking your 0.2 metres of fabric, fold in half length ways then cut. Now you have 2 strip headbands. No sewing required. With these homemade strips you can control the tightness of the head band around you head. The wetted knot on the back of your neck will also deliver continual coolness!
6. A breath of Fresh Air
This is a tip for every girl, hijab or no hijab. Keep this handy Lush toner water in your handbag and spritz your face for ‘a breath of fresh air’. Divinely refreshing and lightly fragranced with aloe, rosemary and rose.
7. The Coolness of Iman
Let us not forget the coolness of faith (Iman) that comes with being Muslim. Inner peace through submission to the Creator of the universe and all that exists, daily prayer, giving all your worries and griefs to God helps keep you cool as a cucumber on any day.
Have a great day no matter what you wear! Peace.
From time to time I discuss what life is like being a hijabi with non-Muslim women. That got me thinking and I started working on a BuzzFeed post. Here’s a sneak peak of my list of positives –
(no matter what you wear)