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If Your Hijab is Hurting You Spiritually and/or Mentally, Here's How to Make it Better
Faith
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Jan 14, 2022
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5 MIN READ
Danah Shuli
contributing writer
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Image source: Pexels
Danah Shuli
contributing writer
Wearing the hijab is no easy task and is not something to belittle, even on the days when it feels automated and becomes second nature. When you commit to wearing the hijab, you are choosing to become a visual ambassador of Islam every single day when you step out of your home, even if you're just going about your daily business. It’s important to remember that we do not represent all Muslims; at the end of the day each individual is responsible for their actions.
Unfortunately, however, the society and political climate we live in as Muslims has made us a minority at the forefront of constant ridicule and judgment. Walking out in your hijab means you become a potential target and a representation of an entire religion to many non Muslims, whether we like it or not.
This goes beyond the physical fabric draped around your head. On one hand, yes it’s just a piece of fabric. But, the hijab can carry so much more with it – having good character and being a responsible citizen of society. For this reason, I personally find it important to take some time every now and then to revisit my intentions for wearing a hijab and renew them. (Ok, sometimes it is just a piece of cloth we wear as Muslim women, and we don’t want to think anymore about it. That’s fine too.)
I can understand that carrying this responsibility may be easier for me than others. As someone who was born Muslim and attended Islamic school her entire life, the hijab was a constant part of my life and a natural next step when I decided to wear it. For many others, this is not the case, and the decision to wear a hijab comes with it’s own sets of challenges beyond the ones mentioned above.
(Read about 22 women who share what their hijab struggles are and why it is hard sometimes.)
Image source: Pexels
Personal conflict, family/community expectations and fear of rejection are just a few of our struggles. These can make hijab a true struggle and daily battle that may result in resentment to the hijab or the decision to take it off. If you feel bad or feel down for wearing the hijab, if it becomes an unbearable burden, then it is worth taking time to think about if you are doing hijab wrong. Meaning, are you wearing hijab for the right reasons? Is your mind and heart at ease with your relationship with hijab and Allah (S)? Are you getting hung up on things that you don’t need to be worrying about?
Hijab is not meant to be a source of pain for you. And if it is, rethinking your relationship with hijab will be worth your time. (To be sure, it’s worth it to renew our intentions towards hijab and other areas of our life even when things are going smoothly.) So, how do we do that? What does this mean? And, how can you take steps towards reevaluating your relationship with a spiritual part of your life?
(Read about a convert’s story of wearing hijab without the support of her family, and how she managed.)
1. Perfection is not required.
Perfection in Islam is not a prerequiste for wearing hijab. It is important to recognize that we are human, and Allah (S) created us to make mistakes in order to go back to Him and seek His forgiveness. There is no such thing as being perfect in your Islam, nor is it required of us. What is asked is that we continue on our spiritual journey of worship, which will inevitably come with highs and lows, in order to please Allah (S).
The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: "Every son of Adam makes mistakes, and the best of those who make mistakes are those who repent." [At-Tirmidhi]
2. Reflect upon your intentions.
Image source: Pexels
The beauty of our religion is that our intentions, or niyyah, play a vital role in the way our actions are received by Allah (S). This is why renewing our intentions, in everything we do, but especially for something like wearing our hijab, can play a key role in the type of relationship we foster with hijab. Insha’Allah, it can help decrease the mental pain points that sometimes come with being visibly Muslim through hijab.
It can continue to grow in a healthy way or go in the opposite direction where it becomes a source of pain for us. The messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: “Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended.” (Bukhari & Muslim)
3. Build a support system.
Having a solid support system, whether that's physical or virtual, can go a long way in helping you along your spiritual journey with hijab. We have all felt the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and what it has done to our communities. The isolation, sheltering in place, quarantine mandates, virtual learning – all of that has had negative psychological effects on so many of us in different ways. In a similar way, going through hijab alone can be a very difficult and harmful journey.
Seeking comfort through communal worship is at the core of our religion. In prayer, breaking our fast, reading and diving into the Quran, charity and volunteer work, we are a religion of community and teamwork. We uplift each other by working together. Hijab is not meant to be a lonely journey.
Image source: Pexels
Seek out women whom you trust with whom you can talk things through. Our Haute Hijab Community page on Facebook is a great place to start. This is a safe space for you to meet our team, as well as others in the community, share your wins and struggles, and connect with so many others that are there to support and uplift each other. With all of the above in mind, sometimes all it takes to refresh your outlook on hijab is to get out of your hijab rut by exploring different styling options.
This post I wrote at the end of 2021 is a great resource for hijab style and renewed intention inspiration. Hijab, just as with all other aspects of religion and life is a work in progress. If it is hurting you, you owe it to yourself to dig deep into that relationship and figure out what needs to be done in order to stop that hurt.
How do you address any mental or spiritual struggles you may have with hijab? What advice do you have to share? Post in the comments below!
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