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Stuck in a Hijab Rut? There is a Way Out!
Lifestyle
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Dec 9, 2021
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6 MIN READ
Danah Shuli
contributing writer
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Lamia Ashour in front of The Met in New York City
Danah Shuli
contributing writer
Editor's note: It's time for our annual #LikeYouMeanItHH end-of-the-year reflection time! What does it mean to "wear it like you mean it?" We invite you (and ourselves) to renew our intentions and reflect on what our hijab (and faith and other areas of our lives) mean to us. Throughout the month we are sharing stories of what this means to women around the U.S.
I grew up in a conservative Islamic community while also attending Islamic and Sunday school. Naturally I played an active role when it came time to thinking about putting on my hijab. It was second nature to my friends and I – we made the decision as a group to put our hijab on together in middle school. Fast forward to today, at 30 years old, I will admit putting on the hijab has become such part of my daily routine that I sometimes feel like I am on autopilot. And that’s not how I want to feel.
Falling into a “hijab rut” is real and can take a toll on the way you view yourself in your hijab from a physical and mental standpoint. You can also begin to lose touch with the religious aspect and your spiritual relationship with hijab. Over the years, as my relationship with hijab has matured and my understanding of hijab has become more centered, I have made more of a conscious effort to renew my intentions on why I choose to continue wearing the hijab.
This year, I decided to reach out to my childhood friend and wardrobe stylist, Lamia Ashour, who also started wearing her hijab from a young age (she has worn hijab for 23 years and counting), to have a conversation around the concept of renewing intentions and reviving her relationship with hijab while also keeping things interesting from a styling point of view.
When did you first start wearing hijab and what inclined you to give it a try at such a young age?
When I first started wearing hijab, to be honest I didn't understand what hijab fully meant. I knew it was important for us as Muslim women, and I wanted to do it. I decided to give it a try one day after seeing my older sister wear it to school and [then] never took it off since. The hijab has always been a beautiful step in the lives of the girls and women around me.
Lamia Ashour
It was an empowering moment for my sister when she wore her hijab. The way my mom adorned it every day, she was proud to step out into the world wearing it. Seeing them so confident in the hijab made my decision easier and made me more eager to want to try it on. I wanted in on that experience, even though I was so young and somewhat naive to the significance behind the piece of cloth on their head. I was seven years old in the third grade.
As I got older, I started looking more into the religious aspect of what hijab was and why Muslim women wear it. I learned more about what it represented, why we are commanded by Allah (S) to wear it and also the responsibility that comes with wearing hijab and representing my faith.
What are some of your renewed intentions for wearing hijab as we approach the beginning of a new year, Insha’Allah?
[It’s about] really knowing that I'm doing this act of worship for Allah (S) while also honing in on that concept. Just like our prayer, fasting, making du’a and doing dhikr, lending a hand to those in need, this is truly an active act of worship that I am performing every day of my life. Being present with that concept and wearing it with that intention [was important]. This is something that I would like to focus more on. Oftentimes hijab becomes part of our daily routine, and we forget that wearing it is actually a form of worship, not just an accessory on our head.
I would also like to revisit the way in which I wear my hijab – trying to be as modest as possible while also being true to myself from a fashion standpoint. If you know me, you know that I am always doing the most. Whether it's a statement piece, like a tulle skirt or an oversized bow, I like to have a presence. I don’t want this to come at the cost of taking away from the essence of hijab.
My oldest niece right now is at an age where putting on the hijab is a topic of conversation. One of my renewed intentions for the coming year as she thinks more seriously about the hijab, is to be a good example for her and a source of inspiration, just as my sister was for me.
What advice would you give to someone who is stuck in a hijab rut or on the fence about putting the hijab on?
I would definitely suggest switching up and using style tips to keep it interesting and refresh your perspective. (Click here for HH’s YouTube channel, which has many hijab style tutorials!) Revisiting your intentions and digging deeper into why you are doing this act of worship is also a great way to recenter your purpose.
When it comes to thinking about whether or not you want to put the hijab on, I would suggest asking yourself the following questions: What does hijab truly mean to you as a person? Why do you want to wear it? Are you convinced that it is a commandment from Allah (S), or is there another reason that is influencing your decision? What’s the purpose of you wearing it? Is it to obey Allah (S), to be recognized as a woman of faith, or is it to silence the gossip or make others happy with your decision?
For me personally, wearing the hijab is the one thing I know I am doing for Allah (S) alone, solely for His sake. That’s what keeps me going every day.
Wearing the same style and type of hijab can get boring and make you lose interest. Can you share some of your tips and tricks?
1. Try out different hijab styles and shapes. If you are usually a solid chiffon square type of girl, try a fun print in a square or even a rectangle. If you normally wear your rectangle wrapped around your head, the traditional way, try styling it into a knot on the side.
2. Play around with different fabrics than your typical go-to. Chiffon, georgette, jersey, silk, satin, there are so many out there!
3. Switch up your wardrobe. Now with cooler temperatures, this is prime hijabi weather. Layers, long sleeves, chunky sweaters, midi skirts and knee high boots are all great staple pieces. It's really good to have 2-3 different types of layering items such as coats, cardigans and vests. I also highly recommend accessorizing your hijab with berets, fedoras and beanies.
During this time of year, you can get away with wearing shorter skirts and dresses with knee length boots while still staying modest. I like my coats to be statement pieces with fun prints and color that adds personality to my look, because a coat is an accessory as well as a means to stay warm.
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I hope this conversation has inspired you to refresh your relationship with hijab, renew your intentions as well as change up your personal hijab style if you’ve been feeling stuck. A mental and physical examination of our relationship with hijab and intentions around it can be so important to get out of a rut and help us love it again.
If you would like to read more about Lamia and her line of work, this is an article I wrote previously about what it means to be visibly Muslim in the Bible belt of America.
We would love to see you rocking our various prints and fabrics, be sure to tag us at @hhspottedclub #hhspottedclub with your new look! Be sure to also use hashtag #LikeYouMeanItHH on social as you engage in conversations and share thoughts around renewing your intentions towards hijab and other aspects of your life!
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