"Do You Shower in That?" and Other Questions About the Hijab Answered

January 25, 2010
By Fayrouz SILVER, Fargo, North Dakota
Fayrouz SILVER, Fargo, North Dakota
9 articles 12 photos 364 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

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.

The author's comments:
I was inspired to write this article when my peers started asking me questions about my hijab ever since I wore it. If you still have any questions, leave them here in the form of a comment and I will respond! Thank you very much for reading this :)

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This article has 146 comments.

Kaffeine said...
on Feb. 8 2012 at 3:32 pm
Kaffeine, X, Other
0 articles 0 photos 26 comments
Well written! :)

on Feb. 8 2012 at 3:06 pm
star2brite SILVER, Amherst, New Hampshire
7 articles 0 photos 21 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A bad book is as much of a labor to write as a good one, it comes as sincerely from the author's soul."--Aldous Huxley

I love the sense of humor you employed throughout this article, it makes you seem very relatable as both a person and a writer. Great job!

james14 BRONZE said...
on Feb. 8 2012 at 2:12 pm
james14 BRONZE, Charlotte, North Carolina
1 article 0 photos 26 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Worst excuse for not turning in homework: 'I couldn't find anyone to copy it from'".

This is really well written. I have a Muslim friend and she gets stereotyped all the time by boys in our grade. This really helps a lot to understand why! Thanks!!!

Duckie430 said...
on Feb. 8 2012 at 10:53 am
Duckie430, Riverside, Rhode Island
0 articles 0 photos 229 comments

Favorite Quote:
“The secret to life is being who you are and being happy with who you are.”
"Whatever does not kill you only makes you stronger."

This is a great article. This shows how hard it is for someone like you to be discriminated against like that, & you completely got your point & emotions across in this piece. Great job.

AsIAm PLATINUM said...
on Feb. 8 2012 at 8:28 am
AsIAm PLATINUM, Somewhere, North Carolina
48 articles 3 photos 608 comments

Favorite Quote:
"According to some, heroic deaths are admirable things. (Generally those who don't have to do it. Politicians and writers spring to mind.) I've never been convinced by this argument, mainly because, no matter how cool, stylish, composed, unflappable, manly, or defiant you are, at the end of the day you're also dead. Which is a little too permanent for my liking." — Jonathan Stroud (Ptolemy's Gate)

This is really awesome. I think you showed a lot of guts and maturity to respond to the hate in such a confident and logical fashion. You're clearly a better person than I am. xD And I don't know how people look at the images and hate everyone who looks like those they see with the guns - don't they see that the people being targeted wear Hijabs too? People who discriminate like that disgust me, and I congratulate you for your awesome rebuttal. :)

on Feb. 8 2012 at 2:33 am
GingerLily BRONZE, Aulnay-sur-Mauldre, Other
3 articles 6 photos 79 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world" - Oscar Wilde

This is really inspirational . . . You're perfectly right. People should be able to stand up for their religion and inform the idiots out there about how it really is. And I almost cheered out loud when you talked about modesty and not being a recycled teenage girl. Too often I've tried showing a little too much cleavage, or been through bad break-ups. But after reading this, I've decided that I'm done. You truly are an inspiration.

Amrun BRONZE said...
on Jan. 25 2012 at 4:12 am
Amrun BRONZE, Al Sa&#39adah, Other
4 articles 0 photos 6 comments
Barak Allah feek, you are a wonderful example for young girls, muslim or not, to have confidence in themselves and to stand up for what they believe in. I thought this was awesome, and I laughed out loud at some of the things people would ask you. I am also a Muhajjiba, and even though I lived in the US for my first 14 years I never had anyone ask if I had a bomb under my hijab. Anywho I think that you're a great writer and are very good at not only educating but presenting the facts in a manner people can understand and like.

on Jan. 22 2012 at 7:13 pm
__horizon133 PLATINUM, Portage, Michigan
26 articles 0 photos 232 comments

Favorite Quote:
"laugh, and the world laughs with you. laugh hysterically, and for no apparent reason, and they will leave you alone." anonymous

This is inspiring, original, peacefully defiant and well written. Good for you, for standing up for who you are. too many people judge my their eyes alone. Keep making people listen!

Fayrouz SILVER said...
on Dec. 10 2011 at 7:52 pm
Fayrouz SILVER, Fargo, North Dakota
9 articles 12 photos 364 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

Thank you for your comment, Anyss! I'm glad you like my article. Good luck with your own writing!

Fayrouz SILVER said...
on Dec. 10 2011 at 7:52 pm
Fayrouz SILVER, Fargo, North Dakota
9 articles 12 photos 364 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

Thank you for your feedback, RedheadAtHeart! I wrote this article for several reasons some while ago because I wanted to let people know more about a group of people I felt were massively misrepresented in the media. But yes, you're right and I agree with the point you made.

Thanks for your comment and good luck with your own writing!

on Dec. 9 2011 at 10:16 pm
RedheadAtHeart ELITE, Mountain Home, Idaho
109 articles 0 photos 165 comments

Favorite Quote:
Love with open hands. - Madeleine L'Engle

I know you wrote this to make a point about not all Muslims being terrorists. I am thoroughly convinced of that, due to your superb expression of yourself and your point.

However, the line that stood out to me the most is "It is not attraction when a man is interested in a woman because of her body."

If anything else in your piece opened my eyes, that did, and it is a very true statement. I was floored by this piece overall, but that paragraph especially.

You are very talented, mature, and wise. I am humbled.

on Nov. 29 2011 at 8:58 am
Hey, just wanna say that this is a great article. Yeah, you probably get that a lot huh? Well, this article really helped me clear some stuff out and strengthen my beliefs. I like the way you lay everything out so clearly. I live in Malaysia, an Islamic country. Here everyone is pretty much friendly and cool. I don't really need to put up with all the conspiracies and stuff. I'm 15 and living a normal life. I thank Allah for everything. Super grateful. =) Thank you for writing this. ^_^

Fayrouz SILVER said...
on Nov. 13 2011 at 12:52 pm
Fayrouz SILVER, Fargo, North Dakota
9 articles 12 photos 364 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

Hello inkblot13 and thanks for your comment! Yes, there are different sects in Islam like Christianity but the hijab is in the Quran, which is the holy book of all Muslims. Some people don't follow that, but that is the person's individual action and decision.

on Nov. 12 2011 at 10:01 pm
inkblot13 PLATINUM, Auburn, New York
41 articles 1 photo 162 comments

Favorite Quote:
"If I knew where poems came from, I'd go there"

- Michael Langley, 'Staying Alive'

Huh, very interesting article and very well written. Good job! I have a question, not related to headscarves or hijab (did I spell that right?? Sorry if I didn't!), well sort of anyways... I think. I have a friend who is Muslim but she doesn't wear either but her mom wears a headscarf. Is Islam like Christianity where there's like Baptist, Catholic, etc... and have different things that you're supposed to do?

Fayrouz SILVER said...
on Sep. 29 2011 at 4:33 pm
Fayrouz SILVER, Fargo, North Dakota
9 articles 12 photos 364 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

Thanks Alana! I really appreciate your comment. You seem to have a knack for poetry--I may have to try out your suggestions!


Good luck in your own writing!

on Sep. 29 2011 at 3:53 pm
Alana Weisman BRONZE, Roslyn Harbor, New York
3 articles 0 photos 5 comments
This is really great and I think especially the beginning part would be a very strong spoken-word poem. You should try it out!

cookiegirl said...
on Aug. 16 2011 at 12:38 pm
Well written. It's such a shame some people are so shallow, I admire your confidence. All the check up on the airports for people wearing scarfs, in Australia there is an area where you have to remove the scarf to make sure you're not carrying a bomb. I had to go through that there, its so fustrating people preceive us in such a bias way. I live in the Middle East where everything is so different.

Fayrouz SILVER said...
on Aug. 11 2011 at 11:52 am
Fayrouz SILVER, Fargo, North Dakota
9 articles 12 photos 364 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

good question :) actually, it depends: sometimes my mom will cut it, i've cut my own on several occasions, and i can go to a hairdresser if it's a womens only place.


i can definitely understand what you mean by the dating comment. what i was getting at in my article is that i've seen some guys just be with a girl for personal amusement before dumping her so there was never really an intention to care about the girl's feelings, which i think is wrong. i believe the ultimate purpose of dating is marriage, which probably isn't what 12 year olds have in mind when they "date." again, those are just my personal beliefs.

when i get married, i would want to know the person i am marrying. how? by going out, having him over, spending time with him...but without the PDA, kissing, etc...that's what i mean. not only is it what i would feel comfortable with, but it's the smart thing for everyone to do so you're happy! that's my way to make sure i find the "perfect person"

i'm glad you enjoyed reading my article. i think it's important to be dedicated to your religious beliefs, even if others are not so pleasant about them. and yes, you're right: we believe in the same God :)

on Aug. 11 2011 at 9:55 am
IsobelFree DIAMOND, Hamilton, Other
71 articles 20 photos 298 comments

Favorite Quote:
"As long as there is open road, the familiar has the most formidable competitor." - Anonymous

Hey! I think I actually asked you something before, something about swimming. I just have a random question: how do you get your hair cut? Because I hardly think that all Muslim women have dreads. Do you or your mother cut it, or do you go to a hairdresser?

I would also like to say that I think it's really cool how confident you are about your religion even if some people put you down. I am Christian, and you wouldn't think so, but I've been thought badly of for my religion as well. I just try to remember what I believe in and why, and I focus on what God wants me to do. I guess you do the same thing. After all, we technically belong to different religions, but same God, right?

Also, one small critique: The way you described the dating process is not exactly how most girls feel about dating. Most of us aren't "dumped and recycled numerous times" before we find the right man; or if we are, it's not as bad as it sounds. This dating process is actually useful, because it allows you to get to know what you like in a guy before you make a huge commitment. Yes, you might get your heart broken, but it will be worth it when you find the right guy. But everyone is entitled to find the right guy in different ways, and I respect your belief about it. :)

Thanks for answering my questions! I really appreciate it. I'm really interested in different religions and what people believe in, so this is really interesting to me!

on Jul. 28 2011 at 4:06 pm
yousaypotato... SILVER, Peacedale, Rhode Island
9 articles 1 photo 44 comments

Favorite Quote:
"A good friend will bail you out of jail. But a best friend will be sitting right there with you saying 'Dang, we really screwed up this time.'"

huh. thats really interesting. thanks for telling me! :)


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