Thursday, April 21, 2011

NPR's Lifting the Veil

As salaam alaikum,

Today was one of those days that I woke up and felt like screaming. The stress of moving compounded with my feeling lonely just got to me last night and I cried. My roommate tried to cheer me up, but it was to no avail, really. I just felt like a loser...I had 10 heavy boxes of books and binders from medical school and I as packing all alone.

As you may be able to tell, it's been a rough couple of months. Good things are happening in terms of school and my career, but my personal life right now is a little bit of a bust...a spiritual bust. I'm spiritually balanced in terms of my chosen career path, but in terms of my personal life...I don't know what to do.

But anyway, a couple of my friends posted this on facebook, and I really liked it. As someone who did hijab and then ceased, a lot of what these sisters are saying resonates with me.

NPR's Lifting the Veil

I agree with one of my facebook friends that they should have also included a feature on women who chose to wear it and why, talking about the challenges that they face and what motivates them to keep on wearing the scarf.

But at the same time, I say power to these sisters. May Allah (swt) guide us all along the moderate path, whatever that means to each of us individually.


  1. Thanks for this.

    I actually like the piece the way it is, as most of the women are not like, oh I was oppressed.

    I am actually tired of the trite "I wear hijab and I am not oppressed pieces," mainly because they don't say anything new.

    The nuance with these women was refreshing. probably not appropriate for all of NPR's audience, although in the end people believe whatever they want to believe, despite what the truth may actually be.

  2. I give the girl who refused to wear hijab for the piece kudos for being consistent and not just following orders. I completely disagree with her that girls who were hijab are expected not to have outgoing personalities. I think many of us do...

  3. @gazelle: It was a great feature, I liked it! I think that, in a similar way, women who wear hijab could talk about the real challenges that they face, because I know many women who face a lot of the same challenges that these women who removed it faced and came up with their own independent and personal reasons for keeping the khimar on. I think that piece would be more challenging to compose, but it would be an interesting counterpoint if women came forward with more than, "Well, it's obligatory." At least I'd be interested to hear that as well...

    @thegarden: Yes, at least three of the women did not wear hijab for the piece. I think what she said, though, is a sign of inconsistency and poor instruction on women's manners in Islam. When I was becoming more practicing, I did a lot of reading on my own because...well, you know my whole story with Michigan's MSA. So I did read a lot about how women should not raise their voices...a lot of "seen but not heard" type of things about women's mannerisms. I did not believe in that, however, and tried to maintain my personality while I wore khimar. So that's probably the version of hijab she was taught, which is unfortunate.

  4. You're absolutely right. Aisha (radyah Allahu 3anha) was a very assertive woman. Thank God for that because she was one of our precious scholars and almost like one of our de facto leaders of the Ummah. Am I correct in recalling that the rightly guided caliphs would consult with her? Not only do I not believe in the whole expectation that hijab and passive behavior go hand in hand, I think it serves no purpose (excessive passivity). In every culture, I'm sure their are men who would love women to be passive but there are a good number who also appreciate and encourage women to take reigning roles.