There is something about placing a hijab around my face that is strikingly empowering. Empowerment itself is much defined for women by the aspect of gaining confidence, strength, and control over oneself. It is the reclamation of one’s rights, rights that extend beyond the law and apply to humanity as a whole. As a hijabi, my empowerment rose from having control over what parts of my body I wished to expose to those that view me, it rose from being able to decide that modesty is a principle that I wanted to live my life by, it rose from gaining confidence in my personality as an individual aspect outside of my appearance. But never did my empowerment as a hijabi compel me to disempower those who chose to live life by different rituals, different attire, or different spiritual preferences.
Yet here I stand, a woman battling three mental disorders at the moment, a woman who wakes up most days uncertain if stability is plausible, if the negatives of living outweigh the positives of not living. I proceed through each and every day trying my best to manage the comprehensive list of flaws I see in myself, in society, and in others in a nonjudgmental, unbiased manner, yet all I receive are unfathomable commentary from individuals holding traditional, conservative mindsets.
I am a woman, a woman of faith, a woman who loves God dearly, and a woman who would die for Islam. But at the same time, I am a woman who has decided to take a break from my spiritual and religious side for the time being. And this, this phase as it may be called, this hiatus that I am taking from my commitment to the hijab, is alright. This is not wrong, this is not disgraceful, this is not sacrilegious, or blasphemous or degrading of Islam, or a woman’s sense of self in any way.
Empowerment is about control, confidence, and strength, yet there seems to be this extra condition written in fine print that many people seem to be able to read. That condition excludes women who stray away from faith, diverge into what may be considered superficial, or materialistic, or even morally trivial. But the truth is, that condition is a load of bullshit.
…This hiatus that I am taking from my commitment to the hijab, is alright.
I am a woman who has made a decision a few weeks ago to stop wearing the hijab for the time being because I do not feel like I am in a place right now where I can handle that commitment. I feel unready, lost, confused, and overall I am struggling to make it to the end of each day. My faith is at a low, and my focus on spirituality and religion is also currently at a low.
I believe that I am making the right decision for me by removing my hijab temporarily, and exploring different aspects of myself, working on self-healing, and learning different things about who I am. I do not feel guilty in any way, and I feel that God is understanding of the circumstances and where my head’s at. I am in tune with my decisions and feel empowered by the fact that I could take control and do as I wish for myself and by myself.
But despite this happiness and contentment I feel with my current decision, and the wave that I am riding through right now, it is overwhelming how much judgment and criticism I have received from people who are witnessing a supposedly dramatic change in me.
I have heard many exclaim that to wear hijab once, and then to take it of is a graver sin than to not wear it at all. And whether or not that is true is insignificant to me entirely. I have always felt that the behavior and choices of a woman who wears a hijab seems to be the largest topic of conversation, the area from which conservative individuals derive their entertainment. But the truth is, it is simply not OK to be doing that for a variety of reasons.
For myself, I know that this decision is one that I am confident about because my time away from faith is allowing me to reframe and refocus my life and reevaluate it. I am finding clarity in my time away and the reason it is possible to start finding answers in because it was a decision I made on my own, and a choice I carried out on my own.
…My time away from faith is allowing me to reframe and refocus my life…
I know that to people on social media, I may look as though I am going through another “rebellious” phase. It may seem that I am being a badass, but truth is my role as a badass comes from my overall empowerment, with or without hijab.