Welcome to my blog!

This blog is an honest look at what life is like for this particular American convert to Islam. We're taught in Islam to cover our sins, to not air them, for fear of lessening the severity of sinning. In this blog, I may relate past indiscretions from time to time. This isn't to make light of them, but in the interest of educating Muslims and non-Muslims alike as to the realities of life as an American convert, I present my mistakes honestly. I make no excuses for them, nor do I claim that they were okay to make. I am not perfect, and I make no pretenses as to that. If others can learn from my past, know that Islam, and religion in general, is open for people no matter what mistakes they've made, then I will gladly air my sins when needed.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

To the one I love: Back off my hijab.

I love you.  You are amazing.  You are intelligent, you are funny, you are inquisitive, you are strong, you are sassy, you are beautiful.  You are one of my favourite people, and I love telling others how much I love you.  I love, have always loved, and will always love, that you are a part of my life.

But I need you to back off my hijab.  I need you to stop asking why I wear it, because I've explained it to you several times.  I need you to not insinuate anymore that women who cover their heads because they believe that God wants them to haven't yet come into the 21st century (Catholics, Muslims, Jews, anyone).  The idea that I'm somehow stuck in the 7th century simply because I, and I alone, choose to not show anything but my face and hands to men who aren't related to me is insulting, rude, and, depending on how you're phrasing it, hurtful.

Love (because I do love you), my intelligence, strength, sense of humour, and strength don't diminish every time I put my hijab on.  My IQ doesn't diminish point by point with every layer that goes around my head.  The tightness of my hijab doesn't squeeze out my individuality, nor my sense of self, nor my self-esteem --- though sometimes it can make hearing and/or breathing a bit difficult, depending on the thickness of the material and how badly I've wrapped and pinned it.  Also, I'm just deaf sometimes.

Precious (because you are precious to me), I don't claim that wearing hijab is right for every single woman.  I don't claim that wearing hijab is right for every single Muslim woman.  All I claim is that wearing hijab is right for me, that I adore wearing it, that I believe that God wants me to wear it, and that this is a religious duty, a sacred duty, that I joyfully carry out.  I love that my hijab makes me more aware of who I am, of my actions, of God.  I love that my hijab helps to inspire me to be the best person I can be, to be the better person in confrontations.  I love that it symbolises my Muslimness, that it symbolises Islam --- even when I'd prefer that people stopped expecting me to be an expert in All Things Islam simply because I'm a walking beacon of Islam when I have my hijab on.

Love, I never stopped being me after I converted.  I still go to karaoke every once in a while, time, energy, and money permitting.  I still love having my hair admired.  And even though I've been rabidly anti-marriage and anti-sex in the past, I've been learning a lot about myself, and my views have been changing.  Do I need to keep you up-to-date on all my views?  No, I'm certainly not obligated to.  But I do realise that when I come to a conclusion that's a complete turn-around from my previous position on a subject, that some forewarning would be appreciated, and for not giving anyone that, I'm sorry.

Dearest, being agnostic simply means not knowing.  Gnostic, as in knowledge,  and a, as in atypicalWithout knowledge.  You are currently without knowledge as to whether or not there is divinity in our lives, in the universe, and that's perfectly fine.  I love that you're not blindly following what you've been raised with, that you're seeking knowledge for yourself --- that's a very Islamic thing to do, by the way.  But, as an agnostic, you can't tell me that my beliefs are wrong, that how I express my beliefs are wrong, because you don't know that.  You can question all you like --- please, question everything.  But question respectfully.  Don't assume that a bit of cloth on my head means that tomorrow I'll be riding around on a camel --- even though that would be awesome and I'd totally do it, because it's a camel, and camels are awesome like that.  Please have faith that religion hasn't made me stupid, or dependent on men, or a fanatic.  Please believe me when I say that wearing a hijab doesn't make me any less modern than a woman who doesn't wear hijab.

Is wearing hijab normal in the US?  No, sweety, it isn't.  But there's no law against it, and when have I ever done something that was "normal" in regards to my clothing choices?  Hijab is, though, normal for a lot of Muslim women to wear, and I am a Muslim woman.  Orthodox Jewish women cover their hair, either with kerchiefs or wigs.  Nuns cover their hair.  Mennonites cover their hair.  Far more woman than you might think cover their hair out of piety, and we're college graduates, CEOs, business owners, heads of state, wives, mothers, sisters, truck drivers ... My point is, love, that wearing hijab symbolises my faith, and nothing more.  Well, it also covers bad hair days.  I see a practical benefit to it, in that I'm hit on far less often when I'm wearing it (and yes, I'm still against strangers, or anyone, flirting with me), and that I'm given a different type of respect when I'm out and about.  But that doesn't mean that I won't jump into a pool, or play soccer, or go roller-skating, simply because my hair's covered.

So please, my dearest, darling sibling, parent, friend, blood relation ... please be more respectful of my hijab, my beliefs, my choices.  I don't ask you to adopt or approve of any of them.  I simply ask you to respect them, and to respect me.

And remember, I love you.

Love always,
Someone who loves you very much


  1. At some point you and I should find some time to have a wonderfuly deep convorsation about religon. I would love to know what you believe as a person of a diferent religon. Know that I feel pride for you to be doing what is right for you no matter what.

    I miss you a lot and hope to know you well again some day.

    ~The girl once known as Beth~

  2. A lovely post mashallah..you just said what all of us who wearing hijab would like to say..xx

  3. salaam sister!
    i love this post. for a long time i have been trying to articulate an essay to express how i feel- and you've done better than i could have!
    i am sharing this with many people!
    shukran jazeelan & may Allah bless you.

  4. Very lovely post, hon. You know that you'll have my support as long as you are truly happy, and as long as you don't hurt yourself or anyone else. When I last saw you you were the calmest I've ever seen you, and the most comfortable with yourself. I felt so happy for you and, admittedly, more than a little jealous. I only hope that I can find something that I truly believe in as much as you believe in this.

    btw, I'm in town and we're having a birthday dinner for Jen tomorrow at Tahoe Joe's in Folsom at 7. You are welcmoe to come.

  5. I've been doing some blog-hopping and came across yours. I find your post to be right on sis! Although people from the outside looking in may not understand our reasons for veiling, they should respect our choice, whether they agree with it or not. Sometimes that’s hard to do, especially if they are your close family or friends.

    All that matters is that we understand why we are doing what we are doing. Because if we feel comfortable with our choices, then others will learn to feel comfortable too, it just may take some time :).

  6. haha! sometimes I overdo the folds and my hearing gets impaired by my hijab too! on the other hand, I teach children and so sometimes that muffling of shouting comes in handy : )