It’s been a long time I wanted to write about one of the most contradictory discussed topics concerning Muslim women: the head cover or veil, called « hijab ». And I feel as if now is the right moment to do so.
A few months ago I discovered a new love on how to wear my hijab, it’s a classical style called “khimar”, and I absolutely wanted to share this love with you. It’s the most practical and pure style of covering and to me it unifies my ideals of chastity and femininity. It reminds me of pure womanhood just as the elegant ladies of ancient times like the mothers of the believers, or the biblical Mary and nuns.
I know that many of my readers are non-Muslims, alhamdulillah, so this may sound strange to you and some already asked why I decided to cover my hair, why Muslim women in general wear hijab.
To explain it a bit I wanna tell you my personal story, which is kind of an ongoing transformation and a free personal choice:
When I first came to Morocco on a university field trip, still being a normal Christian western girl, I didn’t know anything about Islam except the prejudices out of the European media. But when we visited the rural areas I felt the need to cover my hair with a loose scarf, simply because my feeling of respect towards the inhabitants asked for it – and I felt better, I felt more polite but also more respected myself, subhanallah.
A lot happened and changed after that first trip to Morocco and about a year later, I reverted to Islam (that’s a whole other story…), alhamdulillah! But still, the headscarf was something I just couldn’t imagine for myself except during prayer or on those visits to rural Muslim areas.
I’ve always been a very independent kind of woman and my style was always a bit garçonne, mostly about trousers and sneakers – a veil just didn’t fit in with my own sense of self.
But I grew deeper in the religion and, subhanallah, slowly my point of view changed and soon I wished myself to dress more feminine and to act and to be more like a woman.
I didn’t believe any more in the picture of a woman who has to manage all without men’s help to become partly masculine herself to succeed in life.
I slowly embraced the Islamic view on womanhood and I began to see the good in gender separation and the divided duties between men and women. I began to acknowledge the God given different bodies, minds and strengths women and men have. I wanted myself fully fit in my role as a mother, wife and sister in Islam and I wanted to please my husband only and not attracting other men.
The more I learned about Islam and the stronger my faith became alhamdulillah, the more I felt the wish to be part of that “ummah” (the whole Muslim community).
Still living in Germany, I saw veiled women on the street and my heart yearned to be one of them. I wished they could recognize me as a sister in faith so we could give us greetings of peace; I wished I could tell them how beautiful they are in their modesty. But I was too shy and I feared rejection from family, friends and the German environment. (By the way I personally do not know any woman who is forced to wear a head scarf, but I know many sisters who would love to wear it but either aren’t allowed to or fear public rejection).
So when we finally made our Hijrah to Morocco, alhamdulillah, I felt so happy and relieved and decided to begin to wear the head scarf. First I just wore it occasionally and very loosely wrapped around the head. It felt strange and as if everybody would steer at me. Leaving the house first made me feel scared, but little by little my natural innate feeling of shame and modesty came back and soon I tried different binding techniques: shawls, Amira-style, squared scarves, etc.
I felt more confident and comfortable wearing loose clothes and covering my hair. I felt free from the burden of having to have the newest hair style or the sexiest hips. I felt free from being judged by my weight, shapes and fashion style.
And the longer I wore hijab the more I felt the need to cover myself properly. Whereas before it felt already too much to me wearing three-quarter-length sleeves, I soon wanted to wear long sleeves only…
Today I prefer wearing feminine long skirts over my pants and wide tuniqes, I prefer to cover my hair entirely and I feel already naked when my arms are seen… Modesty develops in stages and I don’t know where my personal evolution will lead me to, but I know now that hijab is not only about covering the body shapes, it is about natural shame, about respect towards one’s self and others and it is also about modest behaviour and speech… – in the end it is like becoming a beautiful pearl in a sea shell, hidden to the public but shining in its home.
So yes, you see, I simply love to wear my new sewn khimars. They are so easy to simply be pulled over the house garments, they match over all and cover entirely, without fixing, no safety pins, no slipping.
I made them in different lengths, some for working and playing outside, some shorter for hikes and longer for the city.
I used soft lightweight elastic cotton fabric (or viscose) which is perfect because it falls so smooth; it cools in summer and fits so well around the head, alhamdulillah. The basic pattern is sewn out of a simple rectangle (about 200 x 300 cm), the longer side hemmed at the edges, then folded on half, sewn together by keeping the head part open and the trimmed in form (see the sketches). If you need further information on the sewing process, please ask.
Wherever you are and whatever you believe, I wish you comfort in your body and a healthy sense of pride, self-respect and natural shame.
Blessed Friday and a most beautiful first-July-summer-weekend friends!