"Do You Shower in That?" and Other Questions About the Hijab Answered This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

January 25, 2010
I do not shower in my hijab, nor do I sleep with it. I do not have a bomb under my headscarf either; the slight bulge is my hair wrapped in a bun. Hair loss is not the reason I cover. Trust me, I have hair. Sometimes, you just have to believe in things you cannot see. I cover because I believe in modesty and it is not just my hair; the rest of my body, with the exception of my hands and face, is included. Yes, I am a Muslim (good observation). My hijab is not an on and off kind of relationship; it is a commitment. While I wear the hijab full-time now, I have not worn this headscarf my entire life. This is only my second year covering my hair and I am 16 years old.
Yes, I do speak, write, and read English fluently. I understand all those bloated, big words you say and the insults you mutter in vague whispers under your breath that you assume I cannot understand or hear. My hijab may cover my hair, but it does not cover my brain or clog my ears. So feel free to use your hoity-toity, highfalutin talk with me (in fact, I know a few big words myself). You might be afraid of me, but what scares me is the ignorance some people have. On airplanes, people sitting in the seats around me look absolutely terrified out of their wits, as if they would rather jump out of the plane now than endure a flight with me in the same aircraft across the ocean. In elevators, they sneak little looks as they take notice my scarf and hope nothing explodes between the first and second floor. If you are going to stare, at least try not to get caught.
I am a normal 16 year old girl that enjoys a hilarious joke, lime sherbet, hanging out with friends, and a good debate about Twilight. I write and read for fun, and tackle the daily struggles of a high-school student. I play tennis, watch movies and go shopping. Even though I cover my hair, I enjoy trying new products and new styles on it. Swimming is no biggie. I just use a swim cap. I want to go to college, which I am already planning for. My mother went to college, too. In fact, college is where my dad and my mom met.
My father does not wear a turban, nor does he have a beard. No, he did not beat me or force me to wear the hijab. I am not oppressed and for the record, I am allowed out of the house. I do not have any brothers. We are a family of four women and our father loves us just the same and does not feel disappointed at all that he has no sons. My father is not a tyrannical radical and he respects my mother. He consults her opinion before he does a lot of things, such as which tie she thinks looks better on him or which watch he should buy. They cook food together, cheer while watching soccer games on TV and they like to watch comedy movies.
A common introduction Americans have with my religion is through bold, capital letters that stir panic about terrorists and conspiracies. If a picture can speak a thousand words, then the images of men in turbans with guns and wailing women in black only yell out loud at the reader. Captions with words like Islamic radical, terrorists, Jihad, and Muslim extremist further inform the reader about who is the bad guy. The article finishes off with disturbing details about who bombed whom. I will tell you who was bombed: Islam was bombed by Muslim terrorists.
I am not a terrorist, nor do I agree with what the terrorists are doing. If the terrorists claim they are Muslims, they are not because Islam forbids the killing of innocent people. Innocent people should not die. Do not be afraid of me; fear the people who want to kill others. I do not hate America; I love America. I was born in America, but I also enjoy my Egyptian and Turkish heritage. I cheer for both the Egyptian and American Olympic teams. I love both pizza and rice stuffed grape leaves. Truly, it is the best of both worlds. The same goes for my hijab.
My hijab does not put me behind in anything or bother me and keep me from wearing what I want. It gives me a way to be creative and further express myself. From sparkles and embellished paisley designs, to dots and flowers, I have scarves in every color and design imaginable. I can wrap three scarves together to create a unique look and there are many different ways to wrap the hijab. As well as receiving compliments from random strangers about my headwear, I have also received disdainful stares and not so pleasant gestures. Still, I continue to wear it with pride every day. For me, it is a fashion statement that my religion gave to me.
Some people may ask if I miss feeling beautiful and if I am sad because I am not allowed to have a boyfriend. What? Whoever said I miss feeling beautiful? I feel beautiful right now! When people talk to me while I wear the hijab, it is because they take me seriously and respect my opinion. It is not attraction when a man is interested in a woman because of her body. That is his satisfaction. Wearing the hijab has not subtracted from my beauty, but actually protected it. Finally, I refuse to be an exhausted and used teenage girl who is dumped and recycled numerous times before she finds a real man that will actually respect her, a man that will love and admire the inside just as much as the outside. I am not the least bit disappointed that I will never be like that.
I realize you have questions and I do have the answers. I know that the media makes you confused and I would not blame you either. With the images you see on TV, it seems contradictory that my religion is all about peace. If there is still any confusion, just ask because I want to clear up any misunderstandings you might have. I enjoyed answering your questions. However, no, you cannot have a peek at my hair, so stop asking.

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This article has 147 comments. Post your own now!

AisuP said...
Dec. 2, 2012 at 3:42 pm
"I enjoy debates about Twilight" hilarious! The only thing that has really confused me about the hijab is, how does one get it on? It looks so complex, especially for me, a person who can barely tie a knot properly or nicely fold the laundry.
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 21, 2012 at 11:01 am
Hello AisuP! Thanks for reading :) There are so many ways to wear the hijab, and different ladies style it in different, unique ways. Some people who wear it have made tutorials for fancy wraps on YouTube, but I tend to keep mine simple. It takes practice to wrap it, but is nothing too complicated :)
lyze byze said...
Oct. 29, 2012 at 6:02 pm
Thank you for sharing your insight and wisdom. You are an inspriational and independent young woman, and I found it refreshing to hear about a teenage girl who isn't wrapped up in what others think of her.
Lady_Teribithea said...
Oct. 29, 2012 at 2:07 pm
Wow. My class learned about Islam this last year, and had to try and understand from their point of view. I find it to be a beautiful religion, and respect people who brave our insults and take pride in their religion.
MarieAntoinette2012 said...
Oct. 17, 2012 at 11:02 am
Thank you for explaining. I have a best friend that had to go back to Saudi Arabia because he was treated so horribly here because he was Muslim. I'm Christian, but we make it work. We may not see eye to eye, but in the end, we are cut from the same cloth, wove by the same loom. So I appreciate how proud you are of your religion, even though it can be really hard. :)
WonTonFred1 said...
Oct. 7, 2012 at 11:23 pm
Loved the piece, not only because it demonstrates not only that not every person that is islamic is a radical, but it also tells the reader not everyone is prejudeced on the American side either, very truthful and I like the way you flowed your piece. The only thing I don't understand is why covering hair is a modesty thing but thats probably because of my western ignorance and Im mormon so I probably shouldn't be talking about wierd modesty things ("magic underwear") lol :D.
tamz replied...
Dec. 7, 2012 at 4:02 am
the definition of modesty is a person who does'nt draw attention to oneself, and hijab does that, it helps in preventing attention of males.
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 21, 2012 at 11:19 am
Hi WonTonFred1 :) The idea of covering the hair (wearing hijab) is that hair is a beautiful and even personal part of a woman that not everyone in the public should see. It's believed that covering the hair is part of being a modest person because it sends a message of modesty and lets people focus on the wearer as an individual for who they are, not on physical appearances. :D
StarInTheLight said...
Oct. 7, 2012 at 6:18 pm
This a great article that speaks peace and truth.
Authoress-cat said...
Oct. 7, 2012 at 8:55 am
This is really interesting....I'm not muslim, but I think it's great that your speaking out about your life and discouraging more stereotyping.
theweirdworder This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm
Don't you get hot in the summer? I imagine it gets really sweaty under there. If you play sports, isn't it a safety hazard? Other than that, great.
tamz replied...
Dec. 7, 2012 at 4:04 am
no it does'nt get hot, because firstly we become used to it, and secondly we get hijabs in cotton and other fabrics which help us to stay cool even in summer.
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 21, 2012 at 11:36 am
Good questions, theweirdworder! Before wearing hijab, I thought I would be very hot in the summer!!But I've actually noticed that, as long as I'm wearing light clothing and scarves,I am not sweating badly at all. I've even gone jogging and such in the summer, and though I do sweat, I honestly don't think it's that bad...the hijab is worn for modesty and religious beliefs and it's not supposed to cause overheating in the summer :) For sports, the hijab is usual... (more »)
SamsQ said...
Sept. 15, 2012 at 11:25 am
Wow this article is amazing! I am a Muslimah, and the way you write is just perfect. I always get questions about me being a Muslim, and I think this helps a lot of people understand what Muslim women are really like. I have been thinking about starting to wear a hijab soon, but I didn't know how I would respond to everybody's questions and everything, but your article helps a lot!
8tephanie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 24, 2012 at 6:30 pm
I really like your article! Many people stereotype about different religions and I know the Islam religion is one thats especially stereotyped. Thanks for answering some of the big questions out there and it really was very informative. I never really have understood the hijab and it was nice to hear it from someone who wears one ^_^  And it really is inspirational to hear about a teenage girl who cares more about the important things in life than what others think of her; that's real b... (more »)
. said...
Aug. 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm
I'll be telling people about this article. It was to the point, funny, and really honest and, hopfully, it'll make people think twice about stupid stereotyping. :)
GlassesGirl721 said...
Aug. 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm
Thank you for writing this! I'm a Muslima and it's great to see someone explain hijabs in this way. When my mom wore the hijab in America, they thought that she was either opressed or had cancer (neither are nice, btw) and this really answers most questions that people may ask! Great work and keep on posting!
ForeverIndeed said...
Aug. 24, 2012 at 11:17 am
Love the ending!XDD  So am I a Muslimah, You've spoken for me and all of our Muslim sisters across the world :D!
ForeverIndeed said...
Aug. 24, 2012 at 11:17 am
Love the ending!XDD  So am I a Muslimah, You've spoken for me and all of our Muslim sisters across the world :D!
thatunknownthing This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 24, 2012 at 6:39 am
a beautifully written interesting piece i wholly agree with. you go girl! i respect your hijab.
SheKnight23 said...
Aug. 24, 2012 at 1:09 am
May I first say that your essay was amazingly written! I loved it and I agree, you are a great role model for muslim girls. I try not to make people feel uncomfortable about their religion. I'm not muslim, but one of my best friends is and she often teaches me new things about her/your religion.  I always feel extremely proud of her for wearing her hijab even when it makes her stand out. It is very unique.
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