By Nurul Fairuz (Singapore)
I started wearing my hijab last Ramadan and by far it has been the most liberating thing I’ve ever done in my life. I have been on both sides of the coin. As a woman who was born & raised in a “modern” metropolis like Singapore, religion was always a choice. When I’d gotten old enough to think for myself, I pushed myself away from Islam and God so fiercely that I had then completely lost my way.
I had dressed the way most women dressed in this city. I thought I looked awesome before, because of the ideals of fashion and what I foolishly called “freedom”. If you got it, flaunt it; they said. I always fooled myself into thinking that I wasn’t dressing for men, I was dressing for me. Society tricks you like that. It tells you to flaunt that booty, show them legs, push those girls out because that is “freedom” and that shows your strong femininity. After a while, I realized that I really wasn’t dressing for me. Because if I really was dressing for ME, then I’d be making sure that I looked like that ALL THE TIME. Women don’t realize that they are being pressured to look good and show flesh to fit into society just to be taken as “equals”. After a while, I found it sad that women still needed to be sexualized and think that it actually makes them “equal to men” in freedom.
When I took that huge step to wear the hijab, I had returned to the path of Allah SWT for about 6 months then. I felt like by putting it on, I now had a responsibility. A responsibility to represent Islam the right way. To present Islam as the religion it is and not the religion the world think it is.
When you do something for Allah SWT, Allah will make things so easy for you. I started to notice people speaking to me with a little more respect. No more cat calls or wolf whistles or leering. It was rather empowering…liberating.
But I needed to remember and to constantly remind myself that the hijab should not just be seen as a cloth I put on my head. It is a symbol of modesty, that it is not just about my attire; it extends to my whole demeanor. I don’t and have never thought that a woman’s faith to her one true God was attributed to her dressing, but I realize now the joy and the true freedom the hijab gives me. The hijab protects us more than anything else and I’m much happier wearing it than I was when I wasn’t.
World hijab day is excellent idea because most women in hijab these days are committed to it. We love it and we do it for Allah SWT. It is a commitment to our faith, to our creator, our cherisher, our Lord, our Rabb. Nobody is oppressing us and the world needs to see that we do not need “rescuing” or “freeing”. That’s why this cause is fantastic and I support it a 100% because it will help non-Muslim women see how exactly we feel behind this veil that we choose to wear and Muslim women to realize that this cloth is not merely a cloth; that it means so much more to us and hopefully that will push them towards bettering themselves, in shaa Allah (if God wills).