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Unapologetically Muslim: Rimsha Siddiqui

Hijab, to me, is so much more than a physical representation of Islam. Hijab is a promise to do good and to be good. In modern day society, there are so many notions as to what a woman in hijab is: someone who is restricted in her actions, limited in her options to be who she is,and to pursue what she likes. But these are all just cultural standpoints. Hijab does not limit us, in fact it liberates us. It allows us to be the true versions of ourselves, whoever that may be. Even if that person is someone who differs from the western standard of “normal”.

I was not always proud to wear hijab, growing up as a teenager. I was very shy and did not like receiving attention because I was self conscious. I always wanted to please people, and wearing hijab in western society did not help because at the time, most people disliked muslims due to recent terrorist attacks. So I shied away, not having pride in who I was. But as I grew older, that feeling of feeling different from others liberated me. It showed me that there was no fear in being different from others,because difference did not determine your worth in society. Being true to yourself determined self-worth. I learned that I could be me. 100% me. A girl who enjoyed the breeze that came with long boarding, a girl who enjoyed the puzzle and thrill that came with rock climbing,even if you ended up falling. A girl who realized you don’t have to wear a face full of makeup to be accepted by others. A girl who understood that self-worth was self determined. And that she would never stop doing what she loved, because she loved herself more than anyone else could.

That’s what hijab is, a liberator. It reminds you that you live life for Allah only. That the only person’s opinion that you cared about was Allah’s, and as long as that fell in line, you could be whomever you wanted to be.

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