What is a hijab? (And why do people wear it?)


Rahma Mohamed, Contributor

What is a hijab? Sure, it’s a scarf, and it’s pretty useful when you’re cold. But, do you know the real reason you see different people wear it? Could be because they’re having a bad hair day?

The basic meaning in Arabic is “barrier” or “partition.” It isn’t mandatory and is a choice for anyone to wear. Muslim women use them for modesty, and it allows them to express their opinions without having to say anything. It “completes” who they are.

A number of students at Darnell-Cookman wear them, and some of them shared their thoughts about what the hijab means.

Zahwah Kahlon said, “It’s a form of covering your hair since in Islam we have to cover certain areas of the body based on our gender.” Amal Khokhar, another DC student said, “It shows everybody around me that I am a Muslim-American and I’m proud of who I am.” She added, “I am representing Islam and showing people what Islam is.”

Yussra Elmaadway, also a Muslim-American and a former student at Darnell-Cookman, stated, “I feel good and confident and respected and honored and beautiful. You should too – everyone should!”

Even though people should feel special, sometimes comments that people make about the hijab can be racist or cruel. “It always hurts a little when people who make racist comments about it,” Khokhar said, “and then I realize that they’re not true. People make comments a lot of the time when a lot of the time when they don’t really know what they’re talking about and just say what they hear around them. Many people just have the wrong image about Islam.”

“(Those comments are) unnecessary because we can do and wear whatever we want as long as it’s not hurting anyone,” stated Kahlon. “I think you should be confident in what you wear or how you look. It makes you unique.”