"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!

EarlieMarvel said...
May 28, 2012 at 11:33 pm
This was beautifully put and incredibly informative. I have never come in contact with someone of the Muslim faith before, although religions of all kinds fascinate me. Thank you very much for writing this article, I wish everyone in the world would read it.
Roselove445 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 28, 2012 at 5:21 pm
I want to thank you. Although i am not muslim i have many friends that are and they read this and loved it. I have seen people askk them some of th same questions you wrote and ive seen people actualy suspended because they have said such racist things to my friends but i do have one question for you do you ever wish you were some other religion? Please dont feel ofended or anything i am just wondering
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 21, 2012 at 12:03 pm
No worries, Roselove445...you're not being racist :) When I was younger, I often wondered about how my religious beliefs stood next to other beliefs. Learning more about other religions made me more religion-educated...rather than just accepting my religion because my family (the people around me) practiced it. I don't think I've ever WISHED that I was part of a different religion, although I've definitely been curious about other religions. Thanks for reading and commenting ;)
FluteGirl445 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 22, 2012 at 12:05 am
I mean i give props to you guys. You guys cover up to show modesty for your religion. That takes some guts. I felt really bad for my muslum friend though because she didnt get a part in the school musical because her hijab didnt fit the part. You guys sacrfice alot for religion.
pandagirl312 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 28, 2012 at 10:04 am
The voice is amazing in this piece...I can hear you reading it out loud to me. :) Great job, from the title that caught my attention and caused me to read this to the clever ending, magnificent piece. 
birds_and_bees said...
May 14, 2012 at 3:28 am
corazon.de.cielo said...
May 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm
This is SO TRUE!!!!! I just moved form a culturally diverse city to a rural town that is quite the opposite and it constantly amazes me to hear the misconceptions that seem to recur much more often in my new school! The media needs to stop associating headscarves and muslims with deadly attacks because that is the only way people here get their "outside information". I loved your voice and the content of this piece! Keep Writing!
Special_k424 said...
May 6, 2012 at 7:18 pm
I actually have a few friends who wear hijabs by choice. This answered the questions I've been dying to ask them but haven't in fear of insulting or embarassing them. Plus, it was well-written and to-the-point. 
AcrossTheUniverse said...
May 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm
Your article speaks fully; no more questions need be asked! I love your strong voice and the flow of the piece. It's so sad how the media controls the image of everything from religion to women's body image (which I recently wrote an essay on in class). I admire your pride iin your culture and wish more people (including myself) tuned in onto that aspect of self. Keep writing!
Pianist88 said...
May 6, 2012 at 3:39 pm
This is absolutely amazing. I loved the tone you used and totally agree with everything you're saying. My family isn't religious, but still has the same beliefs about boyfriends, protecting your self-worth, and the importance of modesty. It's completely unfair that people can discriminate against a certain culture/people who have a certain religion just because of one organization - especially when these people are actually going against the whole point of "their" religion. There are selfish, gr... (more »)
SilverSun said...
Apr. 15, 2012 at 12:00 am
I think this was beautiful. I cannot believe how you can so straightforwardly look at this and say, "this is what others think, this it what is true. Personally, I have ALWAYS been accepting and interested in others beliefs, and this is soooooo heartening. I'm glad I read this. Thank you so much for writing! Keep it going!
Genya This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 14, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Haha, loved this piece!

I personally am very respectful of other people, as are those in my school. There was a girl in our locker room who always wore a headscarf, and she was relatively normal.

My question is... What inspired you to start wearing your head covering?

Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm
Hey Genya :) The hijab is supposed to be worn when a girl becomes a woman (aka menstration) because at this point, her body is physically mature. It took me time to transition to dressing more modestly, wrapping scarves, etc but I ultimately wore it because 1) I felt it was right for me since I am religious and I felt that obeying a religious requirement made me feel right 2) I had good role models who wore the hijab (ex. my mom, family members, etc) who all lead satisfying lives and still wore ... (more »)
sardonicsunshine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm

Okay let me start by saying this: I love the defiance in your writing and I admire your audacity to speak so openly about something that is obviously very close to your heart. You are talented.

However, regarding your views on dating ("I refuse to be an exhausted and used teenage girl......respect her..") I don't think that it is right for you, whilst following your beliefs, to put down others' cultures. I see this as outrageously hypocritical. In some cultures, sure, people date ... (more »)

Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Hey, sardonicsunshine. Glad to hear your comment. I'd like to give my feedback on your feedback :)

I wasn't trying to attack others' culture, so I definitely hope that's not how it is being read. What I mean is that respect and love do not come from being viewed as a temporary partner until something better comes along or the boy/girl gets bored with the other person, which is very likely  what it is with teenagers! I could talk FOREVER about this, hah, but I won't. It is jus... (more »)

sardonicsunshine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 15, 2012 at 4:10 pm
See, when you say that it's "usually how it is" with teenage relationships, that is a stereotype. I just find it hard to believe that after you write this beautiful piece about fighting stereotypes with your headscarf, you would make the same type of biased judgment about another group of people. If that's what you meant (what you said in your comment) then it didn't come off that way.
WhyNot replied...
Apr. 23, 2012 at 11:08 pm
Hey. First off you spelt based wrong. Second her experiences may be totally different than your's. You can't say that this is not how it really works, because in some, infant many, places this is how it works. Many girls are used just by how they look in middle school and high school. My sister met her husband in high school and they'll do anything for each other. But most relationships don't end up starting out in high school or middle school, and the relaghionships that do, ussually dont last... (more »)
WhyNot replied...
Apr. 23, 2012 at 11:11 pm
My computers acting up so I can't see the whole screen when I type, my speeding and punctuation isn't all that great.
sardonicsunshine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 24, 2012 at 10:37 pm
okay FIRST of all, the word is BIASED. maybe you should look it up; it's clearly not "based". i'd appreciate it if you took your own advice and stopped picking people apart for miniscule things-- you, sir or madam, are a hypocrite, and an incorrect one as it is. Now regarding the piece, if you read my first comment, you'll notice that i'm "with it all the way" too.. this conversation was between me and the writer, and I was NOT IN ANY WAY trying to find flaws with this piece, i just wanted to he... (more »)
sardonicsunshine This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 24, 2012 at 10:41 pm
I could pick apart your grammar flaws, but i'll be the bigger person and I won't. I love this article all the way and I just wanted to hear her thoughts. Please take your own advice "sit back, relax" and get over yourself
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