World Hijab Day

I started wearing hijab when I was 15 years old.

I didn’t wear it to be modest or to cover my body. I didn’t wear it to make a statement or to please Allah.

I wore it because I thought it was the thing to do.

When I first started wearing hijab at the age of 15, I had no idea what I was doing. I did it because a few of my friends wore it and because my dad had mentioned a few times that it would be good for me to wear it. He didn’t force me, but made a casual suggestion.

I started wearing it with no idea of the obligations or responsibilities behind it. I started it wearing it with no idea of the political implications behind it. I started wearing it with no idea of the way I would be treated because of it.

When I first started wearing hijab at the age of 15, I expected some shock from people who knew me. I wasn’t exceptionally religious, didn’t pray very often, fasted only during Ramadan, wore short sleeves and showed my hair. What I didn’t expect was members of my family to be shocked, and to go as far as discourage me from wearing it. I was told that I was being an extremist, that I was taking things too far, that I would be bullied and called a terrorist. What I didn’t expect was that parts of the world would shortly ban the hijab, would go so far as to prevent the women from wearing it to have jobs, get an education, or appear in public. What I didn’t expect was people to treat me drastically differently, to ask me where I was from, and if I was related to Sadam Hussein.

What I didn’t expect was for it to change my life.

After wearing hijab, I learned more about my faith, about the religion of Islam, a religion that preaches peace and love for all of humanity. I became closer to Allah.

After wearing hijab, I discovered the beauty of hijab, the way it protects me and my body, and gives me freedom to be who I want to be. I became more modest.

After wearing hijab, I realised that I am worth more than what I put on my body, that it’s what’s inside of me that matters most. I became more confident.

I wear hijab because it’s┬ámy choice. I wear hijab to show the world that it can’t dictate what I wear or define who I am. I wear hijab because it was prescribed for me by God. I wear hijab because I want to decide what I reveal and what I keep hidden.

I wear hijab because it frees me.

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