I didn't think I'd wear the headscarf again after high school. I wore my hair pulled back, but sometimes wore it down. I kept the usual modest dress I'd grown up with. No leg. No cleavage. No shoulders. I wore short sleeve t-shirts and jeans usually. Then after I got married, my husband brought up the idea that I could wear the headscarf in a family portrait. Hmmm...?
Then we started discussing why I should wear it and why I don't. I told him why I didn't want to wear it. Mostly, I didn't want any attention. And plus, is it really THAT important in Islam? What's the big deal?
Well, after daily and nightly thinking and learning, I had to declare that yes, according to Islam...wearing the headscarf is the way to go. "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty......And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty; that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what ordinarily appear thereof; that they should draw their veils over their bosoms...." (Quran 24:30,31). And Shia Muslims follow the interpretations of Muslim scholars who clearly states women should only show their faces and hands: "In the present time, the context of hijab is the modest covering of a Muslim woman. A woman should not show her beauty or adornments except what appears by uncontrolled factors such as the wind blowing her clothes, and the head covers should be drawn so as to cover the hair, the neck and the bosom. Islam has no fixed standard as to the style of dress or type of clothing that Muslims must wear. (www.sistani.org)."
But then I still thought...hmmm...how do they REALLY know what God wants? Does God really care if I cover my hair with a scarf? Then there's the question of why not just do it? I mean, Muslims do it. Islam is my religion. I love it. I admire it. I believe in it. So why not just wear the scarf? Nothing really convinced me to do it though. But the other night I saw a program on PBS.
THE MUSLIM AMERICANS segment of AMERICA AT A CROSSROADS series explored the diversity of Muslims in America, "contrasting life for Muslims here in the United States compared to Muslims in Britain and Europe." It was probably the first time I realized that as an American citizen, it's my right to practice my own religion...and it's my right to do it without being worried...and it made me feel confident. And it made me feel secure. Living in America and being an American citizen is in many ways a priveledge, including the freedom of religious practice. And I was being more "American" by doing it my own way. What do those terrorists know about being able to do it their own way and have their own place in a country? They don't. So why should I be afraid of being associated with them? And so what if I might experience more prejudice and racism? Other people have to live with that everyday. I should not worry; I should do. Just do it.
So then that night it just hit me that I should try wearing the scarf again. I had been thinking about not only hijab (headscarf) but of other issues regarding my personality and lifestyle and social network and friendships, etc. And I had a discussion with my dear hubby about listening to music (which I won't get into here) that sort of set in motion several thoughts...and perhaps one of those thoughts had to do with me having something to prove. But I'll leave it as vague as that. So all these thoughts led to where I am now. Let's see where my thoughts will lead me next.