By Ayesha Noor
I went shopping on a hot June afternoon. I wore a cool beige outer garment over my Jeans and top and complimented it with a blue cotton headscarf. As I left one store a sales woman offered me her product. I respectfully refused, but her next question forced me to stop and listen.
“Why would you wear so many things and cover your head,on such a hot day?”
I replied, “because I revere Mary mother of Jesus, and would like to dress like her. She was ridiculed, insulted, and accused of unchaste behavior, but maintained her identity, her dignity, and attire.”
She seemed startled yet happy at my answer.
“That makes a lot of sense,” she smiled.
In a recent piece, Asra Nomani and Hala Arafa’s state, “As Muslim women, we actually ask you not to wear the hijab in the name of interfaith solidarity.” They go on to argue that Islam actually does not endorse Hijab.
Such a claim is meritless.
While Nomani and Arafa are right that Hijab does not precisely mean head covering, but instead “curtain,” “separation,” or “hiding,” they’re mistaken to claim Islam does not prescribe Muslim women to dress like Mary Mother of Jesus. An unbiased study of these meanings demonstrates that in fact, “Hijab” is much more than a mere headscarf. It has a deeper meaning of modesty which is portrayed with head covering and loose clothing. Hijab is only a modern way of referring to head covering, and there is nothing wrong with it. South Asian Muslims refer to it as Purdah. Others refer to it as Tarha. I don’t call my headscarf a Hijab either. It’s my dupatta in the summer, or shawl in the winter. Hijab is my overall modest dress code and my behaviour where I do not mix with men unnecessarily.