When people talk about women taking off the hijab, they are sometimes a bit harsh on them. The patriarchal society can have a severe view about this, and can also be dismissive about the personal decisions of an individual. But I will speak my mind here: the hijab was imposed on me when I was a child, and that’s why I decided to take it off.
I got many hate messages and negative comments when I talked about removing the hijab. They accused me of blasphemy — despite the fact that everyone has the intrinsic freedom to make their own decisions, even when it comes to religious issues. Everyone is judging you because of a scarf on your head, but the real question is why did I remove it?
Did I wear this hijab to please my religion which urges every Muslim woman to do so, or did I want to please my family? Why did my mother scream at me whenever she saw hair coming out of the scarf and why did she threaten me with going to hell if I didn’t wear the hijab?
My mother used to tell me that Muslim women should wear the hijab when they reach puberty. But then, I would watch TV and see Arab actresses showing their beautiful hair and, as a child, I would ask: “Did all these women not reach puberty yet?”
When I turned 18, I moved to a different country to complete my university studies. I then decided to confront my mother and tell her that I didn’t want to keep wearing the hijab. I was at an age that allowed me to make my own decisions, but she said to me that day: “Lord, you will answer me,” and I said, “God willing, God will help me.”
I do not hide from you the fact that I still do not understand the concept of wearing the hijab and covering one’s hair. And to this day, I do not understand why girls put that cloth on their heads. Do they really know why they are doing so, or are they just doing it because their mothers did this before them?
Translated from Arabic by Joyce Hussein Mansour