1) We are oppressed.
This is a classic one. It is either we are thrown into the “husband-forced” group, or the “forced-by-daddy” one. Very rarely the, “Wow! Congratulations for carrying out your own choice!” batch. Most of us wear the Hijab with utmost pride and complete conviction that it is the best for us.
2) We are saints.
Just because we wear the Hijab does not mean we do not have any flaws. Nor are we free of committing any sins, because veiled or not, we are all mere humans. Our Hijab is an outward manifestation of our Ibadah (worship) to Allah but it is not a physical representation of our perfection. Far, far, far from it.
3) We are terrorists.
At the other end of the spectrum, we are also sadly labeled as terrorists. Although our Hijab symbolises us as Muslims, we do not represent (or support, for that matter) any organisations or groups that uses Islam to their own advantage. The Hijab expresses our faith, not our political standings.
4) We do not know how to have fun.
People have a hard time believing that Hijabis do (or even know how to) have fun, but we certainly do. Maybe our definition of “fun” is just different as we certainly do not constitute late-night partying or other activities of similar nature to “fun” but we do get together and have a good time! My all-girls weekly Halaqah sessions are always filled with laughter and a good dose of hilarious story-sharing while some of the funniest girls I know wears the Hijab. The truth is, we do have fun. Just not with everyone looking!
5) We are weak
Have you seen an auntie with her floral triangle-hijab carrying dozens of bags filled with groceries walking briskly around your neighbourhood? Or have you met a Hijabi who treks jungles or rides a sleek and powerful motorbike? How about a Hijabi horse-rider? Or maybe a Hijabi lady who is a Vice-Principal of a school, or a doctor, or a lawyer? Because if you have not, email me, I will introduce you to some of these amazing women.
6) We are conservative, close-minded people.
We cover our hair, not our minds. Hijabis are readers, intellectuals, researchers, volunteers, speakers and writers too. We always strive to keep a balance between practising our faith and maintaining a steady grip on the happenings of this world.
7) We dislike all Non-Hijabis.
People assume that there is a tension between Hijabis and Non Hijabis whenever these two groups collide. What utter nonsense. My closest friends are non-Muslims and I know many sisters who have strong bonds with Non-Hijabis. We are not an exclusive clique or a sorority, and we certainly do not use Hijab as a friendship criteria.
8) We are always sweating or hot.
We get this a thousand times: “Arent you hot under that thing?” Or in Singapore, “YOU NOT HOT AH?” Anyways, obviously if it is Summer or if the weather is 35 degrees Celsius and up and it is humid, we are. Even non-Hijabis would be too. But the mind is a powerful organ and whenever we remember that we are doing this for Allah and that Hell is a million times hotter, we usually do not sweat it too much!
9) We have smelly hair.
No, we do not have smelly hair!
10) We are bald.
Seriously? How do people come up with these things???