February 1 is the annual World Hijab Day. We are celebrating at Treetops, along with our Concentric leaders and members.
What is World Hijab Day?
World Hijab Day was started in 2013 by Nazma Khan to encourage freedom of religious expression and cultural understanding. As a child and young woman, Nazma was discriminated against for wearing her hijab. As the only hijabi in her school, she realized that others made fun of her out of ignorance. If they knew why wearing a hijab was important to her and her faith, maybe they would have treated her differently.
What is a hijab?
A hijab is a head covering worn by Muslim women as a sign of their faith. The most common hijab is a scarf worn to cover most, if not all, of the hair, neck and shoulders. Customs on how the hijab is worn varies based on different Muslim cultures and locations. Women wear the hijab for modesty and privacy when in the presence of unrelated men.
Hijab is a journey
Since not all Muslim women wear a hijab, and the style and custom in which hijabs are worn varies significantly, becoming hijabi is often a journey. While some women commit to wearing a hijab as a young girl, others wait until later in life, or go back and forth between wearing it and not. It is a very personal decision related to not only cultural norms, but also her individual relationship with religion.
To wear or not to wear a hijab?
Besides a woman's internal journey as hijabi, there is often external pressure to consider as well. Some countries require women to wear a hijab outside the home while other countries do not allow women to wear it, even if they do so freely. In some extreme cases, women are punished for breaking secular hijab laws.
Beyond politics and the law, many women also feel pressure to wear (or not wear) a hijab because of social media or encouragement from family and friends.
Hijab is a personal choice
Ultimately, to wear a hijab is a personal choice. Many Muslim women choose to express their religious beliefs and commitment to their faith by wearing a hijab. Others opt to live out their faith in other ways. One of our Concentric Leaders, Amina, says, "I chose to wear the Hijab because it is a part of my religion and culture. Hijab makes me feel beautiful, protected and connected with my creator."
Celebrate World Hijab Day
The purpose of World Hijab Day is to invite others to learn more about the decision to be hijabi. Understanding the personal and cultural choices of others helps us feel connected to each other. At Treetops, we celebrate our differences and what makes us unique. We are so grateful to the hijabis in our community who are doing incredible welcoming work in Grand Rapids, supporting refugees and immigrants. We hope you are able to celebrate World Hijab Day with us!