لم أجد الراحة بحياتي إلّا بعد خلع الحجاب
In a few days, it will be one year since I removed the hijab, I go back in my memories to the day I announced on Facebook that I took it off, at the time I was subject to several criticisms that I am still enduring alas to a lesser extent.
There are those who told me that I will not find peace of mind and safety in my life again, and there are those who told me that I will regret this decision, and I will go back to wearing the hijab, and one person said to me: What if God takes your soul while you are in this state? Not to mention my father, who still treats me as if I changed religion, the fact is, I was not surprised by all this. In Egypt, the hijab was pushed through supposedly moderate religious discourse, presented by a clean shaven well-dressed young preacher named Amr Khaled; He convinced many young women, looking back, it is a discourse characterized by sectarian discrimination and hate speech. In his taped sermons, he used to question: "What is the difference between you and a Christian woman? How do we differentiate between a Muslim woman and a Christian woman?"
Why do we need to differentiate between people from different religions?
How does it benefit anyone when you can identify the religion of girls on the streets?
What about men? Why not bother to identify their religion on the streets?
Did Islam demand we distinguish between Muslims and Christians? Did God take away my safety and peace of mind when I removed the Hijab? Of course not, I did not find peace in my life until after I took off the hijab.
I am against restricting the freedom of women’s bodies, the imposition of the hijab by patriarchy, associating a woman’s relationship with God to the hijab, ignoring an unveiled woman’s successes, against associating #hijab with morality.
The first time I went out without a #hijab was one of the most beautiful moments, some would think this is an exaggeration on my part, but honestly, I did not find peace in life until I was satisfied with my outward appearance, I regained my confidence.
Did Islam demand we distinguish between Muslims and Christians? Did God take away my safety and peace of mind when I removed the hijab? Of course not, I did not find peace in life until after removing my #hijab.
The first time I went out to the street without a veil was one of the most beautiful moments of my life, some would think that this is an exaggeration on my part but honestly I did not find peace in my life until I was completely satisfied with my outward appearance, I regained my confidence, I began wearing things I loved And I change my haircut periodically and this changes my mood dramatically, anyone who convinces you that external appearance does not matter is a and the most important thing is only the inner self is a liar the inner self is as important as your external appearance. And this is what they do, they limit a woman’s relationship to God to external appearances in the form of a piece of cloth. When I devoted time to volunteer work when I was veiled, there was an unveiled girl on our team and she loved to do philanthropic work, she was constantly confronted with a lot of comments like “What’s the point of what you are doing if you are not veiled?” This would enrage me, they stripped away the girl’s love for good deeds and her close relationship to God and her kindness and they only saw a God who would accept nothing from her unless she was wearing this piece of cloth! What kind of rationale is that?
A year has passed and I did not regret a single moment of my decision to remove my hijab, quite the contrary, I feel that this is me, this is natural, instinctive, this is normal, I used to feel as if the hijab was an intruder on my body, hindering me, impeding me, preventing the child inside me from find joy in trying beautiful hairstyles, from locks of my hair flying in the wind, from touching it outside my home. They would tell me “One day you will be married and adorn yourself for your husband” as if I was this man’s possession and that he needed to come to unlock my body and my hair. I felt there was something illogical in this from childhood, I was so sure of owning my body, that this body was mine alone!
Now I am 100 percent satisfied with my body in its current form. If God decides to seize my soul at this moment, the last thing I will think of is the hijab if I think about it at all.
I remembered a friend of mine who decided to take off the hijab on the day she decided to end her life, she wanted to give over her soul to God in the form that she found ease in and loved.
Of course, there is nothing absolute in life, but I do not think that I will go back to wearing the hijab ever again in my life, especially since I went through this experience, and I fought a great deal with my family and society, until I was able to get rid of the lock that they put on my body.
We were constantly told that "The hijab is chastity'' I don't really know what chastity has to do with my hair? Is my hair the centre of lust? And if the answer is yes, then what about prostitutes who disguise themselves with hijab and niqab? What about men who have a strong sexual desire for veiled women? Is the solution to cover the hair? So, I'm going to cover my hair but I can provoke a man with my lips, with my eyes, with the movements of my body. Is this hijab going to hinder me? I am not responsible in the first place for those who will experience lust upon seeing my hair, that is a person who needs treatment and to overcome his repression away from me.
There are those who say that I deviated from the righteous path and turned to atheism. They don’t realize that to level this accusation at me is to render themselves, atheists. Do you diminish God in all His majesty to a piece of cloth that I buy from the market? Is faith in God bought and sold in stores? Is faith in God something you can wear? Is belief in God that cheap and easy? They have more than diminished the dignity of believing in God.
The truth is that I am not interested in the existing struggle over the hypothesis of whether or not the Hijab is an essential tenet of faith and this could be why I have been accused of atheism more than once. My mind tells me this is the right thing, my heart tells me it has found peace this way, and my soul tells me “Your God does not care about locks of hair, be a good woman within because God peers into your heart.” Despite that, I have researched whether the hijab and niqab are tenets of faith out of curiosity and I have not found a single answer that is satisfying to me. The hijab was imposed on women over the course of history in different ways at the heart of which is always that a woman does not own her body, they have placed a veil between women and their bodies before they placed a hijab on their bodies.
I am not totally against the hijab, I am against restricting the freedom of women’s bodies, I am against the imposition of the hijab by force or by the patriarchy, against reducing a woman’s relationship to God to the hijab, against ignoring a woman’s successes and asking where is her hijab? Against associating the hijab with morality and chastity, against equating a non-veiled woman with a Christian- as if it were an insult! Even if it were in jest. But I have no problem with the hijab or hijabis, on the contrary, my mother is veiled and my friends are veiled and I have all the love, reverence and respect for them.