Written by Musart Ellaahi
Being an author, blogger, international speaker, TV host and a hijabi myself, the question of whether one can be a Hijabi and a Feminist comes to mind. While the definition of feminism varies depending on the gender and race of the individual advocating or fighting it, I will keep it simple and give you my reasons. Let´s define hijab, feminist and feminism before going any further.
Any reliable search engine or dictionary you pick, will define a feminist as someone who supports feminism.
Now, what is feminism? It is the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.
What’s a Hijabi? Hijab is an Arabic word meaning barrier or partition. However, in Islam it has a broader meaning. It is the principle of modesty and includes behavior as well as dress for both males and females. In my opinion, the definition clears the question in and of itself. Still confused?
Let me explain further. If feminism means the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes, Islam already promotes that under the cloak of a hijab and has been the first movement in the whole world to give women their rights. Look it up. Furthermore, hijab is not only about physical appearance. It also pertains to how we behave and interact with each other. The rights of feminism aren’t really outlined, but come under the notion of equality between the sexes; basically, I can do what he can do and vice-versa. This body is sacred and not anybody can peak at it as he wishes and vice-versa.
Thus, men and women following the hijab notion know to lower their gaze and be respectful in their behavior. I am painfully aware that a type of ‘feminism’ highlights the importance of how women are portrayed in the media, which is usually a portrayal of objectification, whereby they can be labelled as however the media wishes to label them. You would not see men portrayed in such a manner; men are often portrayed in a position of power and leadership.
However, under the ruling of Islam and its translations, women in hijab are seen as an object of equality and respect. The mother is believed to have heaven beneath her feet, the wife is made from a man’s rib, which indicates she is by his side and his equal. So why can one not be an hijabi and a feminist? I also believe that the men who practice the hijab are actually supporting the right feminism, themselves, by giving women that equal stance.
I wear the hijab and I also support feminism because I believe it gives me this external
armor that I am who I wish to be. What you see is what you get, not only by my dress code, but also, through my actions. More and more Muslim women are coming out being more expressive by sharing their views with their hijabs on, as if to tell the world , “I cover my beauty because I wish to, not because I am oppressed to. Our hijab is our armor of feminism.”
I end it here with those very words too: I cover my beauty because I wish to, not because I am oppressed to. Our hijab is our armor of feminism.
Bio: Musart Ellaahi is an author and a TV anchor on LB24TV. Read more about her achievements here.