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A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab - Islam for Muslims - Nairaland

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A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by emofine2(f): 6:58pm On Jun 27, 2012
Today I decided to wear the hijab for the duration of my outdoor activities. I considered it an interesting trial to undertake for various reasons.

It was mainly a social experiment to register the reception that my hijab may arouse and also to experience first hand how life feels like under a hijab - empowering or oppressive?

I've been previously mistaken for a Muslim quite a number of times - whether that's just wishful thinking on the parts of my quizzers or maybe an assumption based on my nationality or for some other reasons I thus thought it be ironic (but it's surely not a prescience).

However my biggest reason in conducting this social experiment is because I've been noticing a rather interesting and ironic phenomenon here in western Europe. I live in the UK and it has been noted that many female Europeans that convert to Islam assume the hijab.

Many Muslimahs wear the Hijab which of course is not unusual although some debates concerning the Hijab or Burka still occur. Some argue that the hijab is a symbol of women oppression although many Muslimahs maintain that the wearing of the Hijab and other similar clothing of item that pertains to Islam is strictly of their own choosing and their prerogative. Though some counter this and claim that in a Muslim dominated society often there is no choice granted to the female...

Well the UK is not a Muslim dominated society even though it has a significant Muslim population and women here are allowed to exercise their rights...I highlight this not to patronize but to draw attention to what seems to be an irony of sorts that female converts from seemingly "liberal" countries with no immediate Islamic background often choose to assume what is deemed as a symbol of women oppression.

I had wondered and considered for a long time what inspired these new converts to wear the hijab although of course piety may form the primary reason but I did think to examine the countries these converts hail from and perhaps determine other factors from there.

Did the portrayal of women from these countries play a part in making them choose to wear the hijab? ...(In wearing the hijab she has to some extent on the surface stripped through some superficiality of society and has refused to become objectified and in such context may feel empowered)... Or does making perhaps what may be seen as unpopular choices of our own make one feel "empowered"?

But is this extreme considering that from the other side of the fence some consider the hijab to be objectifying and an imprisonment of women? Or is this just a misinterpretation of cultures?


***

Well under the hijab I didn't feel too different but I did act differently although I must admit I did a shoddy job in wrapping my hijab embarassed.
Of course I was met with positive reception from other fellow hijabi Muslimahs and they even greeted me in Arabic - although I didn't know what to say back so just smiled like an id[i]i[/i]o[i]t[/i] embarassed grin

However I did notice a couple of stares from both a man and a lady ...and I was left wondering if they saw me as an embodiment of oppression because that's how I translated their stares. (Whilst generally women do not want to be judged solely based on their appearance the irony is that wearing a hijab would put me under instant judgment anyway).

As I was walking in my hijab I asked myself some questions and some of those were if I indeed felt more modest, more feminine, more respected and empowered. I considered all these questions briefly and whilst I can understand why another female may not want to be subject to lewd attention and her sexuality cheapened I had thought and concluded that one's modesty and perhaps even piety can still be maintained in any other attire even if it doesn't shroud every inch of a woman's body.
Sometimes I felt conscious of my hijab but at rare moments I kinda felt comfortable...

Well that's just a non-Muslimah's experience under the hijab smiley.
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by tbaba1234: 8:16pm On Jun 27, 2012
^With a little arabic, you would have been thrust into the intergalactic world of hijabi sisterhood.... Total strangers meet each other and within a train/bus trip, they discuss about... well, 'whatever women talk about'.

Once you get over the self-conscious stage, it becomes easier. And you can be generally confident that when you have a discussion with a man, he doesn'thave one eye, where he shouldn't.

This hijab is a form of identity as much as it is an act of obedience, worship and modesty. And yes, someone can be 'modest' without a head scarf but a muslim allows modesty to be defined by the creator.

So did you actually wear the hijab or make a hijab attempt?... grin . The hijab is not limited to just the head scarf. It is the total package. Baba ali puts it in a funny way:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4jQi0Gjy3M
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by Fulaman198(m): 9:38pm On Jun 27, 2012
Oh my gosh emofine you are just too funny o
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 8:47am On Jun 28, 2012
emofine is this your personal account or that of another lady?
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by emofine2(f): 9:50am On Jun 28, 2012
tbaba1234: ^With a little arabic, you would have been thrust into the intergalactic world of hijabi sisterhood.... Total strangers meet each other and within a train/bus trip, they discuss about... well, 'whatever women talk about'.

grin...what is the usual Arabic greeting(s) and response?

This hijab is a form of identity as much as it is an act of obedience, worship and modesty. And yes, someone can be 'modest' without a head scarf but a muslim allows modesty to be defined by the creator.

Before I undertook my social experiment I watched a clip about a lady who was born and brought up in Britain (but I believe her parents to be Muslim immigrants) chose to wear the burka even to the shock of her family members. She said it was a form of "identity" to her and that she wanted to be assessed and appreciated for her mind and not her appearance...and for some women it’s actually a kind of sort of challenge against their society’s portrayal of women as s[i]e[/i]xu[i]a[/i]l objects (according to a few comments I’ve read from European female converts). However I did watch some other clips and read some accounts with contrasting views on the subject.

So did you actually wear the hijab or make a hijab attempt?... grin . The hijab is not limited to just the head scarf.

Lol I watched like 5 videos instructing one on how to tie a hijab but I was pretty dismal still so I just improvised instead but I was kinda embarrassed because I had pins sticking out one side of my hijab in my desperate attempt in trying to keep my scarf flat (it looked like stitches embarassed). However it wasn't only my hair and neck I covered I covered my whole body.

I looked similar to this: (except my dress was black and not at all shimmery plus my scarf was orange)



It is the total package. Baba ali puts it in a funny way:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F4jQi0Gjy3M

As regards to the video I had thought about women in the habit vs the hijab before...but I guess some believe that nuns weren’t forced to wear the habit because as permanently single women they are not obliged to men in terms of their clothing at least or maybe it’s perhaps cultural misinterpretation or even cultural bias undecided although I kinda see the point the guy was trying to make.
Funny video nevertheless...but I guess I lose some points because I had my earrings on display tongue
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by emofine2(f): 9:57am On Jun 28, 2012
Fulaman198: Oh my gosh emofine you are just too funny o

shocked Are you laughing with me or at me? grin


maclatunji: emofine is this your personal account or that of another lady?

Haba...I thought I made it obvious that it was my personal account smiley
Strictly 1st person.
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by tbaba1234: 10:15am On Jun 28, 2012
emöfine2:
grin...what is the usual Arabic greeting(s) and response?

The usual greeting is: Assalam aleikum (Peace be upon you)
You reply : Wa aleikum salam (And upon you be peace)

They might follow up with: How are you doing
You reply: Alhamdulilah (All thanks and praise to Allah)

Check out this video by dawah addict (peter), It covers all the frequent words and how they are used


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl38ZKUSC0k
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 10:53am On Jun 28, 2012
emöfine2:

shocked Are you laughing with me or at me? grin




Haba...I thought I made it obvious that it was my personal account smiley
Strictly 1st person.

Just making sure. Now, you don't expect to master any concept in a single day but I must commend, applaud, praise (you get the picture) your willingness to try out the hijab in public- it takes an exceptional non-Muslim woman to try that experiment out.

You said: "As I was walking in my hijab I asked myself some questions and some of those were if I indeed felt more modest, more feminine, more respected and empowered. I considered all these questions briefly and whilst I can understand why another female may not want to be subject to lewd attention and her sexuality cheapened I had thought and concluded that one's modesty and perhaps even piety can still be maintained in any other attire even if it doesn't shroud every inch of a woman's body."

The bolded is quite true, but it still does not negate the fact that Men are more likely to act inappropriately towards a woman without hijab than a woman with one. Nuns too use Hijab and it is uncommon to hear them talk of sexual harassment when compared to their non-hijab wearing counterparts.

Hijab is meant to guard your honour as a lady from most men,there may be a few mad ones that might want to assault or molest a woman in hijab, but it is extremely rare.

1 Like

Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by Nobody: 12:24pm On Jun 28, 2012
Modified
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by Nobody: 12:35pm On Jun 28, 2012
Muslim women that wear hijabs are very friendly towards other hijab wearers. You might get handshakes and hugs and even be stopped for brief chats by hijabites if you appear to be one of them.
Sadly, there are still people who harass hijab wearers with insultive words or mockery. Most people I know that wear hijab told me of some embarassing experiences they've had with Islamophobes.

Emofine do you live in Nigeria?
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 12:55pm On Jun 28, 2012
fellis: Muslim women that wear hijabs are very friendly towards other hijab wearers. You might get handshakes and hugs and even be stopped for brief chats by hijabites if you appear to be one of them.
Sadly, there are still people who harass hijab wearers with insultive words or mockery. Most people I know that wear hijab told me of some embarassing experiences they've had with Islamophobes.

Emofine do you live in Nigeria?

No she doesn't. grin
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by emofine2(f): 1:03pm On Jun 28, 2012
fellis: Muslim women that wear hijabs are very friendly towards other hijab wearers. You might get handshakes and hugs and even be stopped for brief chats by hijabites if you appear to be one of them.
Sadly, there are still people who harass hijab wearers with insultive words or mockery. Most people I know that wear hijab told me of some embarassing experiences they've had with Islamophobes.

Emofine do you live in Nigeria?

I live in the UK but if I lived in Nigeria is that the reception that I will most likely get from other hijabi Muslims or are you describing all hijabis in general regardless of location?
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by emofine2(f): 1:08pm On Jun 28, 2012
maclatunji:

Just making sure. Now, you don't expect to master any concept in a single day but I must commend, applaud, praise (you get the picture) your willingness to try out the hijab in public- it takes an exceptional non-Muslim woman to try that experiment out.

You said: "As I was walking in my hijab I asked myself some questions and some of those were if I indeed felt more modest, more feminine, more respected and empowered. I considered all these questions briefly and whilst I can understand why another female may not want to be subject to lewd attention and her sexuality cheapened I had thought and concluded that one's modesty and perhaps even piety can still be maintained in any other attire even if it doesn't shroud every inch of a woman's body."

The bolded is quite true, but it still does not negate the fact that Men are more likely to act inappropriately towards a woman without hijab than a woman with one. Nuns too use Hijab and it is uncommon to hear them talk of sexual harassment when compared to their non-hijab wearing counterparts.

Hijab is meant to guard your honour as a lady from most men,there may be a few mad ones that might want to assault or molest a woman in hijab, but it is extremely rare.

Thanks for the compliment but I think that just highlights the extent of my curiosity grin

However nuns are secluded for the most part...by the way in the West women used to wear hair bonnets in the past...would you describe that as a sort of hijab?
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by emofine2(f): 1:11pm On Jun 28, 2012
Thanks for the link and offering those pleasantries tbaba....I was sort of worried that Muslims will notice the discrepancies in my hijab and may even be offended or confront me about it.
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 1:14pm On Jun 28, 2012
emöfine2:

Thanks for the compliment but I think that just highlights the extent of my curiosity grin

However nuns are secluded for the most part...by the way in the West women used to wear hair bonnets in the past...would you describe that as a sort of hijab?

Absolutely, I find 19th Century Victorian culture very much aligned with Islam in many regards.
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 1:19pm On Jun 28, 2012
This is what I and emofine are talking about.

Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by Nobody: 1:29pm On Jun 28, 2012
emöfine2:

I live in the UK but if I lived in Nigeria is that the reception that I will most likely get from other hijabi Muslims or are you describing all hijabis in general regardless of location?

Depending on what part of Nigeria you live, the reception you get from others can vary from warm to hostile to indifferent.
I live in a southern state of Nigeria where there are very few Muslims and I think as a result of this, the few Muslim women that come across each other on the streets are usually very happy to meet so they receive each other warmly.

When I tried the hijab before I was warmly received, the cases of hostility were only reported to me by others.
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 1:44pm On Jun 28, 2012
fellis:

Depending on what part of Nigeria you live, the reception you get from others can vary from warm to hostile to indifferent.
I live in a southern state of Nigeria where there are very few Muslims and I think as a result of this, the few Muslim women that come across each other on the streets are usually very happy to meet so they receive each other warmly.

When I tried the hijab before I was warmly received, the cases of hostility were only reported to me by others.

For the record, you are not a man?
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by Nobody: 1:46pm On Jun 28, 2012
shocked
maclatunji!!!
Why would you have thought I was a man?
My posts look manly or what?
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by emofine2(f): 1:47pm On Jun 28, 2012
maclatunji:

Absolutely, I find 19th Century Victorian culture very much aligned with Islam in many regards.

And I think that's why some people regard Islam as stuck within a particular period because most likely those who assess Islam and have come to such conclusions are from relatively evolved societies...if you get what I'm saying...

fellis:

Depending on what part of Nigeria you live, the reception you get from others can vary from warm to hostile to indifferent.
I live in a southern state of Nigeria where there are very few Muslims and I think as a result of this, the few Muslim women that come across each other on the streets are usually very happy to meet so they receive each other warmly.

When I tried the hijab before I was warmly received, the cases of hostility were only reported to me by others.

Oh I never knew you were female...I assumed you were male lol...so you can teach me how to wear the hijab properly grin (j/k)
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 1:57pm On Jun 28, 2012
emöfine2:

And I think that's why some people regard Islam as stuck within a particular period because most likely those who assess Islam and have come to such conclusions are from relatively evolved societies...if you get what I'm saying...

Funny that you say that because I was going to say that I believe the western world reached its peak in terms of social evolution in the 19th century and a little bit of the 20th Century say before World War I. It has been on a downward spiral since. The law of diminishing returns has caught-up with the west.
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by tpia5: 2:28pm On Jun 28, 2012
fellis: shocked
maclatunji!!!
Why would you have thought I was a man?
My posts look manly or what?

Wow, so you're female? I'd never have guessed.

Maclatunji, this is good news for you- get to shacking.
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 2:35pm On Jun 28, 2012
tpia@:


Wow, so you're female? I'd never have guessed.

Maclatunji, this is good news for you- get to shacking.

Huh!
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 2:36pm On Jun 28, 2012
fellis: shocked
maclatunji!!!
Why would you have thought I was a man?
My posts look manly or what?

"Fellis" sounds manly. My bad.
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by Nobody: 3:03pm On Jun 28, 2012
maclatunji:

"Fellis" sounds manly. My bad.
It's all good cool
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by Cheers01: 4:25pm On Jun 28, 2012
I am sorry that I have nothing to add to this topic as I am not a woman or a muslim.

However, It's funny how Maclatunji AKA the Big Boss MACdaddy ignores other recent threads and rushes to this one to post.

Lol....the MACdaddy must love feminine topics, he was also active at the Houri thread.


MACdaddy the ladies man.




Oh, and just to stay on topic, my muslim girlfriend hated the hijab. tongue
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 4:57pm On Jun 28, 2012
Cheers01: I am sorry that I have nothing to add to this topic as I am not a woman or a muslim.

However, It's funny how Maclatunji AKA the Big Boss MACdaddy ignores other recent threads and rushes to this one to post.

Lol....the MACdaddy must love feminine topics, he was also active at the Houri thread.


MACdaddy the ladies man.




Oh, and just to stay on topic, my muslim girlfriend hated the hijab. tongue

LOL, Ladies here are much more circumspect and don't go spewing hate (ok, most of them). So you guys can continue to create your confrontational threads. They will be treated as they ought to be.

1 Like

Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by Cheers01: 5:03pm On Jun 28, 2012
maclatunji:

LOL, Ladies here are much more circumspect and don't go spewing hate (ok, most of them). So you guys can continue to create your confrontational threads. They will be treated as they ought to be.



Hate? Show me evidence of hate from me. There is a distinction between hate and criticism.


I love it how you accuse with no facts or evidence, like a boss. MACdaddy the BAWS
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by LagosShia: 5:15pm On Jun 28, 2012
@emofine

very inspiring post.i must commend your willingness to break barriers.

if i may ask,which part of Nigeria are you from? and are you considering Islam?
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by tbaba1234: 6:25pm On Jun 28, 2012
emöfine2: Thanks for the link and offering those pleasantries tbaba....I was sort of worried that Muslims will notice the discrepancies in my hijab and may even be offended or confront me about it.

Muslims don't even wear hijab properly; Don't worry about that. you can just say, this is your first time wearing the hijab... that is usually followed up with rib crushing hugs... you have been warned...

Do not say 'social experiment' though, that might get some offended.. say you studying Islam or something along those lines... that could even get you a phone number grin

By the way, i like the style you chose...
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by emofine2(f): 6:43pm On Jun 28, 2012
maclatunji:

Funny that you say that because I was going to say that I believe the western world reached its peak in terms of social evolution in the 19th century and a little bit of the 20th Century say before World War I. It has been on a downward spiral since. The law of diminishing returns has caught-up with the west.

Let me clarify...when I said “evolved” I meant changing as opposed to being stagnant...if not much has changed from a particular period to current time some people may not regard that as progress because modern ideas do creep in and affect how we may view the past...you dig? and even if there was a glorious time in the past it doesn't necessarily follow that it may suit a particular period especially a modern one...

Cheers01: Oh, and just to stay on topic, my muslim girlfriend hated the hijab. tongue

Lol was this before or after she met you?grin tongue...(just kidding tongue)

LagosShia: @emofine

very inspiring post.i must commend your willingness to break barriers.

if i may ask,which part of Nigeria are you from? and are you considering Islam?

I’m from Delta state but born in Nasarawa but I’m not considering adopting any religion.

tbaba1234:

Muslims don't even wear hijab properly; Don't worry about that. you can just say, this is your first time wearing the hijab... that is usually followed up with rib crushing hugs... you have been warned...

Do not say 'social experiment' though, that might get some offended.. say you studying Islam or something along those lines... that could even get you a phone number grin

By the way, i like the style you chose...

Lol @ rib crushing hug grin

Ha I wasn’t even prepared to reveal that I was a non-muslim let alone that it was a social experiment haba...I didn’t want them to think I was taking the mick.
Yeah some Hijabs are pretty fashionable - but that wasn't my motivation.
Re: A Non-muslimah's Experience Under The Hijab by maclatunji: 7:05pm On Jun 28, 2012
@emofine, it makes little or no difference. Change is self-evident but rules and principles can guide those changes over time.

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