Reply #23 - February 02, 2013, 05:06 AM
I can echo those here who say they wouldn't want to wear any form of hijab, no matter how mild, because of how it blatantly associates the wearer with Islam. As I was working through my doubts before actually leaving Islam, this was one of the things I struggled with. Having been living in an Islamic country at the time, though, I couldn't have removed it without making serious waves at work and within my social circle.
I was still living there when I finally did leave Islam. At that point, I didn't dare remove it. I feared it would have meant not only losing my social circle, but risking my freedom and possibly my life if it led to the people around me discovering the truth about my apostasy. And so I continued to wear it for the longest four months of my life until I was able to leave the country.
A few weeks before I was to leave, I was contemplating how and when, if ever, I would tell my closest Muslim friends that I could no longer believe. I decided I could do a test run to see how they would react by admitting that I had thoughts of removing the hijab. Just as I suspected, they reacted with pretty much an intervention, and begged me to reconsider. One friend hastily forwarded a few links about hijab in an attempt to convince me it was obligatory. In her haste, she didn't realize one of the links she sent me actually argued against the necessity of hijab. When I pointed it out, she frantically apologized, and proceeded to fling quote after quote from Qur'an, hadith, and various scholars in an attempt to prove that hijab is required, and then bullied me into obeying with statements like, "Please remember, that any hadith is sunnah. And we must follow the sunnah also."
With just days left in the country, I assured them they had convinced me and I would keep the hijab. They seemed satisfied.
On the day I finally left, I was wearing a long skirt and a thin t-shirt under a flowing black abaya with a black hijab wrapped lightly but securely around my head. I boarded the plane and sat quietly, anxiously yet nervously awaiting my stop in Amsterdam. I felt fine in my abaya and hijab. I knew by then how to wear them comfortably, so I wasn't physically bothered. But I was acutely aware of everyone who looked at me. "I'm on the plane now, I'm home free. I don't have to wear this anymore. Can they tell? Do they see the real me under these shrouds?" Because I could feel it sharply.
As soon as I arrived in Amsterdam, I headed straight for the restroom. My palms were sweaty and my heart was racing in anticipation of what I was about to do. I was a little shaky standing in the stall as I removed each piece one at a time, folding carefully so they would take up the least amount of room in my bag. I put on the jeans and tank top I had carried with me, and then I hesitated. This was it. The end of the old me.
I was about to have full possession of my freedom.
Even more acutely aware of every glance, I stepped out of the restroom. I had gone in quiet, somber, and shrouded. I came out tall, fresh, alive. Had anyone noticed? It didn't matter. The air on my skin gave me goosebumps to the core and I gained confidence with every step. Before I knew it, the hijab was behind me. And I haven't looked back.
I hear the rains, I see the fire, I feel the flame. It doesn't change the faces I want to blame for the shame I'm feeling.
But the winds of change will blow again. And we're the lucky ones who travel on towards the sun.
Can you hear it calling you?