The Hijab: Oppresive or Not?

Some may say that the hijab   is oppressive while other say that it is just a part of the religion.

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Some may say that the hijab is oppressive while other say that it is just a part of the religion.

Ashima G. and Maleehah H.

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The hijab, a piece of religious cloth traditionally worn by women in Islam, has been around for hundreds of years. People all around the globe wear this covering for many different reasons, albeit positive or negative.

“After I started wearing hijab,” commented Katherine Bullock, a Canadian who converted to Islam. “I noticed that people would often behave more cautiously with me, like apologizing if they swore. I appreciated that. I feel that wearing hijab has given me an insight into a decent and upright lifestyle.”

Others agree with Bullock.

“For me, I wear it because it’s kind of like a reminder of my identity as a Muslim,” said Nathira Osman. “It’s a constant reminder for me of what my character should be like as a Muslim, what I stand for as a Muslim woman.”

The hijab is an important aspect of Islam that shows compliance to Allah and the Quran, as well as modesty. By covering her body, a woman shows that no one has the right to her body except herself, her husband, and Allah.

However, some wear hijabs for other reasons that aren’t so positive. People also wear the hijab because they are forced to, or don’t know any different.

“I felt as if I had tricked myself and others into believing that I was a good person because of my hijab. I had not done any research about the hijab, which I now regret,” wrote Arlita Rachmawati Rahman. “I did not know why it was commanded by my religion back then. I just knew that wearing it is better than not wearing it.”

Rahman grew up wearing the hijab, but about two years ago, she decided to take it off, feeling that she “[does] not think that God will think less of me because of what I wear. It is what I do and what my intention is that defines me in the eyes of God.”

“The idea that a woman is not worthy of respect unless she covers and hides herself from society is not freedom, and it’s not female empowerment,” wrote feminist Claire V. “I’ll call it what it is: oppression of women.”

Just like Claire, some people around the world believe that hijabs are oppressive. These beliefs usually originate from Muslim-dominated countries, such as Saudi Arabia (for Muslims), Iran and the Indonesian province of Aceh, where the hijab is required by law. Media recognized this and deemed the hijab forceful and oppressive when in reality, not all females are obligated to wear the hijab. Though some are, others voluntarily wear it as a way to show their religious devotion to Allah and their country.

In the end, a question remains: is the hijab a symbol of devotion or oppression?

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