Is it offensive for non-Muslim women to wear a hijab?

NiqabOver the last few months I’ve received an overwhelming number of comments and emails about the hijab and wearing of a hijab. In particular, many of you want to know if it’s offensive for non-Muslim women to wear a hijab.

The simple answer? Nope! Not even a tiny bit. If anyone tells you otherwise, tell them to Contact Me so that I can tell them how ridiculous they’re being.

Before going on, you might be interested in reading about why Muslim women wear a hijab, or weird things I do with my hijab that you haven’t thought about. You’ll see on my post Questions About Wearing Hijab That You’re Too Embarrassed to Ask, many women are interested in wearing hijabs for lots of different reasons.

I think it’s incredibly sweet that so many women are concerned about offending others with their actions. It’s lovely to be so thoughtful and we should all be mindful of how our actions will impact on others.

There are really two concerns that have been raised and it might just be easier if I address them one at a time.

I’m not Muslim and a non-Muslim doing something that is part of the Islamic laws might be disrespectful

Some women ask about wearing a hijab for modesty purposes. Although in the modern world, covering your hair is seen as an Islamic act, women have been doing it long before Muslim women came along. It shouldn’t be a thing that only Muslim women have a right to do. It really should just be an open act and no one has the right to attribute it to one group.

Different people have different levels of modesty. That’s not to say that any one way of dressing is the ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ way. I think it’s so important that women feel comfortable, no matter how they’re dressed. If you’re more comfortable with a scarf wrapped around your head – then wrap that scarf up! Don’t let anyone try and define the rest of your identity with that.

Plus, most things we do day-to-day that are ‘Islamic’! Eating. Resting. General hygiene. All the things… almost.

By wearing a hijab, I am minimising the ‘Muslim woman’s experience’
This seems to be a big one. A lot of women who want to try on a hijab want to do so in their own personal social experiment. They want to know what it feels like to have such a huge part of your identity – your Islamness – being identified instantly. They want to know if people will stare at them or treat them differently. They want to know how wearing a hijab will influence their life.

Some people, both Muslim and non-Muslim, think that this is an incredibly shallow way of looking at the world. Their idea is that spending a day or a week or a year ‘experiencing’ what a Muslim woman deals with day to day does not actually reflect the true experience. In being able to disconnect from any negative experiences by simply removing the hijab, it is believed that this experience does nothing to help Muslim women, going so far as to say that it is de-legitimising the concerns of the Islamic community.

I think that’s a load of rubbish.

see how you look in hijab
You can watch some women trying on a hijab here.

Sure – in wearing a hijab for a day or two, you’re not going to understand what it feels like to have grown up in a world that tells you that you’re a no-good and you’ll probably never quite get how much effort it takes to convince yourself that you’re a good person. You don’t have to. That’s not on you to figure out.

While wearing a hijab and experiencing what it feels like, even for a moment – many things may cross your mind. You might realise that you make look very different, but you’ll still feel like you. You’ll realise how much your looks play into your identity. If you walk out and about, you’ll realise that Muslim women are probably really aware of all the double-takes that people may make during the day. If you spend enough time in a hijab, you’ll realise that most women forget that they’re even wearing it, and it’s probably not a huge deal.

Those experiences and feelings are excellent. They completely legitimise our experience and demonstrate to someone, who isn’t emotionally invested, what it feels like to be judged for a decision one makes about whether or not to cover their body.

Now that is incredibly powerful.

So whether you want to wear a hijab for reasons of modesty or because you want to empathise with your hijabi sisters – go for it. There is nothing offensive about it.

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171 Comments

  1. It can be an interesting experience to dress or just look different from the general population around you and it makes us realise how much we often try to blend in and how challenging it can be when we don’t.

    I went to Florida once and wore my usual outfit on the beach – boardshorts and short-sleeved rashvest over a speedo one-piece. I burn really really easily and go to the beach to swim, then I get back in the shade or put on a giant hat – no hanging around. Well, everyone else was busily lying around tanning in teeny-tiny bikinis and I swear they all looked at me as if I was some kind of alien weirdo. I almost gave in to the temptation of explaining myself, then I decided I was being pretty silly, there was nothing to explain, if they want to crisp themselves it’s a free country, if I want to get exercise without spending half an hour lathering on sunlotion, that’s my decision and nobody else’s business!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have wanted to wear hijab for a few years, not to experiment but to see if it changes how I feel about myself. I want to see if it gives me confidence in myself. I just ordered one online two days ago, so I find this article very helpful. I was so worried about being offensive, being non-muslim and non-religious. My husband still does not want me to wear hijab around his friends (I think he is embarrassed people will think he made me wear it or that we are religious people when we aren’t). I look forward to experiencing hijab. I also wonder what others will think.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Faye

      It sounds like you’ve done the absolute best thing for you, and that’s to try something new that you want to try. I’m sad to hear that your husband doesn’t want you to wear a hijab around his friends. In my opinion, it’s not any of his business whether you do or don’t wear a hijab.

      Unfortunately though, that’s all too common. I know a couple of people in similar situations whether the husband/father doesn’t want his wife/daughter to wear a hijab because they don’t want people to assume that they or their women are in any way religious.

      In the same way that I think a man has no right to force a woman to wear a hijab, I don’t think men have a right to interfere with a woman putting one on.

      I’d really love to hear about your experiences and whether wearing a hijab changes anything for you 🙂

      All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hello, Faye, I have a similar problem; is your husband a Muslim?) because mine is one ) no, he doesn’t tell me “no way”; he just tries to be absolutely neutral with all those diplomatic questions like “are you sure you need this?” Or “are you sure you won’t be disappointed?”

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  3. Hi!
    I was wondering if it would be offensive to wear a shayla/hijab to school to bring awareness to I am Malala Day on July 14 and International Women’s Education Day on July 13th? After reading this post I was very relieved that it would not cause people to take offense, but I just wanted to be absolutely sure as I do not want to cause any strife to someone’s religious beliefs.
    Thankyou!

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  4. I’m a Brazilian-Japanese and I’ve been a non-muslim hijabi for more than a year. I chose to cover up to be more modest and fight against objectification of women (saying ‘my body is not available for consumption’). It also helped me with my anxiety and depression problems, boosting my self-confidence. Before I cover up I talked to some muslim friends and they said it was ok to a non-muslim wear a hijab. It was good to see your opinion about this issue, it seems that I’m in the right path.
    I also take all care to not offend the sisters, I don’t eat pork neither drink alcohol when I’m wearing a hijab.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi there!

      Thank you very much for sharing your story with me. I have heard similar things from a number of women. It has been interesting moving through the workforce as a hijabi woman and noticing the differences in the way that people treat you. There is something to be said about being able to take control of your own image and deciding when and how you are sexualised – if you are at all. Hearing how women take control of their own image in a patriarchal society is very encouraging and impressive.

      I’m also really glad to hear that your Muslim sisters were behind you. That’s the way it should always be!

      Feel free to share your experiences – I’d love to hear more!

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      1. No, it doesn’t. When I started to wear a hijab I made plenty of researches about Islam, but just to know the background of hijab, and to know how to don’t be offensive while wearing the headscarf. I never thought about reversion, I am an agnostic myself.

        P.S.: English is not my first language. I don’t know if you got what I meant.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Hey there! I’m Christian and feeling like God has called me to start covering my head for a multitude of reasons – none of which include modesty… I’m absolutely in love with the Al-Amira hijab style, but I want to know if it’s still okay to wear this hijab style for my religious reasons instead of for the modesty? Like 90% of people, I really don’t want to be disrespectful.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello! It’s absolutely not a problem at all. Remember, most Muslims see the world’s monotheistic religions as part of the same religion. Christianity and Judaism are especially close, and the religions of Abraham are treated as one and the same in Islam. So really, you’re just another one of us and have every right to express your faith.

      Even if it wasn’t a religious conviction – you have every right to dress in whatever way makes you comfortable 🙂 Power to you!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s really interesting; I didn’t know that Islam thought of us as one and the same. I’ve always thought of Islam and Judaism to be really similar, too, just with our own “religious quirks”, so to speak. 😉

        I have a friend who cries “cultural appropriation!!” every time I bring up wearing my hijab, and I was wondering if you had any advice for ways I could soothe her soul about it? Not only that, but she also told me that it was cultural appropriation because I’m Christian, not Muslim or of any other religion that practices veiling. I’m really frustrated with it and it upsets me because I don’t want her to be mad at me for it. Is there something I can say to her to ease her mind?

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      2. Well, her concerns are misappropriated! Christian women DO practice veiling. My parents grew up in Lebanon where women in the village of all religions covered their heads. It is still the case, in many churches of the world, that women can only enter a church with their hair covered.

        I know that a lot of people (who are usually non-Muslim) get upset when non-Muslim women cover their hair – here, the argument is that you are owning the privilege of wearing a hijab without dealing with the heartache of racism and a history of bigotry shown towards women who wear one. There are potentially some valid points to this argument; but it’s not an argument that I support at all. We all have our own battles to deal with. There’s no need for you to carry the burden of the Islamic community if you cover your hair. I guess what I’m saying is that your personal freedom in covering your hair does not take anything away from the Islamic community. If you’re not covering your hair, it’s not like Muslims are suddenly not dealing with their issues. If that’s the case – you should be free to do what you want. Send your friend to my blog, it might change her mind 😉

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Amne, it was for sure an experience not soon to be forgotten. When I left the house that day to go shopping I did not even know there was a World Hijab Day. I had never really worn much for headcovering before other than the occasional sun hat and my veil on my wedding day. It’s a very surprising moment to see yourself in a hijab for the first time. My first thought was: “Is that really me?” For the first hour I was very nervous and self-conscious about wearing my new purple headscarf. I worried I shouldn’t be doing it. But by the end of the day found that I kind of liked wearing a hijab.

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      2. I’m so glad to hear it!!! I’m always entertained by my friends reactions – they take selfies from different angles and giggle. It’s like getting a new, radical haircut! Very eye-opening indeed.

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      3. To decide to wear hijab is not a decision to be taken lightly, even if it is just for a day. I’m sure everyone who tries hijab for the first time has their own premonitions, prejudices, curiosities, and expectations, I know that I did.

        When I was asked by a Muslim volunteer if I wanted to try hijab for a day to celebrate World Hijab Day a million things ran through my mind all at once. On one hand, agreeing to do so means going against the norm where I live and surely would lead to hassle, but on the other hand the morals and modesty sounded self-empowering. Somehow I found the courage to say “yes”.

        So there I was seated at a small display in a public mall, the lone participant at the time, with my enthusiastic Muslim hostess fixing, tucking, wrapping, and explaining while passers-by were giving us both suspicious looks. I was nervous, but the women working that day were very supportive and encouraging. They all smiled big smiles as I was given a hand mirror to see myself. They said I looked beautiful. All I could say was: “wow”.

        I was asked how I felt and I really couldn’t answer. I had nothing to compare to. My long hair is normally my dominant feature, but now my face and hands were all that showed on this February day. I looked very different, but to my surprise the hijab didn’t look wrong on me. The fact that it looked natural on me was unexpected.

        Off I went to face the rest of my day… A Christian woman facing living up to my own… and Islamic morals. As I walked around the mall I felt very aware that I was in headcovering. I only made it a short time before I needed to go to the restroom to… stare in the mirror, ponder, and re-charge. It felt like people were treating me differently, but maybe it was just in my head. Some people seamed to treat me extra polite, like I was special, others glared at me with suspicion like maybe I shouldn’t be there.

        After the first hour or two I became less focused on how others were feeling and more interested on how I was feeling. I thought back to the coaching I had received: I was told hijab frees women from being thought of as sexual objects or from being valued for looks rather then mind & intellect, that hijab liberates women from the need to conform to unrealistic stereotypes, that it minimizes sexual harassment, that the aura of privacy created by hijab is indicates the great value of women, that is helps us retain our modesty & morals, that it is liberating and that it pleases God. Quite a list. So was any of this happening?

        For sure I felt modest, and I was not being treated like a sex object. I felt peaceful. I felt privacy. I felt more prone to deep thoughts. I felt unique. I felt like a black sheep. Was I pleasing God? The popular thought is that only Muslim women headcover, but it is welcome in Christianity too, thru Mantilla’s, Chapel Veil’s, and Habits, just less common.

        My last activity as a hijabi for the day was prayer. At last I was free from judging eyes. I liked how I felt more penitent, pius, humble, and free of vanity.

        My day of highs and lows, and unexpecteds came to an end. I took off my new hijab and put it into a drawer. My long hair fell about me, framing my face like it normally did. I was me again.

        The next morning during breakfast, I had a very odd thought: I found myself wanting to try wearing it again. I told myself that I shouldn’t. I told myself I probably couldn’t even put it on by myself. And then I found myself in the bathroom putting on my hijab without help.

        Yesterday I had a reason for my being different. It was an awareness day and I was helping a cause. Today I didn’t have a cause, but there I was: covered to face the world again. In the span of two days I went from ignorant to enlightened. There is nothing bad or oppressive about hijab in and of itself. Wearing it does make you a target for those who don’t understand, but is hijab about them or about you?

        So here I am, an average American woman. I sit here writing, the hijab I own sits in a drawer. Now what?

        Liked by 1 person

  6. So here´s my story (it´s a little bit long):

    I´ve been wearing a shayla (hood-type headscarf), covering my hair as part of my everyday clothing style for some years. I wanted/WANT to cover more of my own body than most women and even most men of the western culture do! The basic reason was (and still is) to take a stand against the specific form of opression I´ve grown up under in the western culture. The pressure on women (and little girls) to wear some plastic-looking “beauty-veil” all over their bodies and hair, to look skinny to the point of becaoming anorectic and to have some real or plastic boobs to show off. I never wanted to look like a Barbie-doll -the western ideal of beauty looked ridiculous to me! And I grew depressed of people EXPECTING me to WANT to look plastic! This seems to be a common reason why women wear or want to wear veils in the western culture, judging from all the stories I´ve read on this topic. Many of the muslim women in the west seem to have this reason as a HUGE reason aswell! This reason really should be much more well-known I think!

    People tend to assume that it´s only for religious or cultural reasons women wear veils and covering clothes. I think that´s why many can´t see it as anything else than opression, considering all the religious and cultural authorities telling women to wear it. Many people have thought I was from some non-western country, that I was a muslim or even a nun or someone who wanted to become a nun, just cause I covered my hair. When I explained I wasen´t they got confused as to why I would WANT to cover my own hair withot authorities telling me to. Even though, considering the context of many western womens experiences, this is logical and shoulden´t be confusing.

    There are offcourse many ways to fight against the most widespread opression of women in the western culture, AKA sexual objectification of women. Many ways of saying NO and ‘I have ALL Rights to my own body!’ But there is only one way of having the freedom to choose for YOURSELF what to show of your body and to which people and when AKA having the Visual Rights to your own body! And that is to be free to cover and uncover your body whenever YOU wish! Not depending in where you are socially! First thing that changed in how I felt when I just started covering my hair was I got conscious that I showed off more than I wanted of my body in public, for anyone to see. So I transformed my whole clothing style to a more covering and loose fitting one!

    Now, there are some people who claim that there is no free will, but after that experience I can´t belive them. Cause I had ABDOLUTELY NOT the support I needed to be covering my own hair and my own body from public view. Not from anyone. On the contrary everyone around me was VERY angry with me for starting to cover my own hair and my own body more than they did cover theirs. My family wondered why the clothes that where good enough for them wasen´t good enough for me and if I didn´t want to be part of their family anymore. Also they were very ashamed of me, saying that I was a shame to the whole family. My sister got a blackout and refused to acknowledge me as her sister, spit me in the face and ripped my most expensive scarf apart. To her defense she was a teen. But my whole family and even my grandmother gave me a hard time about it, saying I was ungrateful to my parents. All this hurt me deep and though I Loved to cover my hair I didn´t withstand in the long run at that age, so sadly I quit! (The thing with my family was they where embarrassed over me for the fact that I covered my hair, no matter if it was with a headscarf or a hat or a hood.) Then I missed having it covered Really Bad (or should I say Good) and I regretted quitting, cause my family would be even more disappointed in me than they had been the first time if I started covering my hair again.

    Eventually I started covering my hair again, without the support of any friends or family or religious community, because I Loved it and Really missed it, but I did not when I was around my family, to avoid all those conflicts. Some years went by and I didn´t feel like visiting my family cause i coulden´t do what I Loved to to at their placewithout them shaming me for it! So my mum realized this was why I visited them less and less often and then she said that I could wear it at their place. But it took a long time before they stopped giving me a hard time each and every time for “being so selfish” and “only thinking about myself” in covering my own hair. But now, since a couple of years back, I´ve been wearing a shayla (hood-type headscarf), covering my hair as part of my everyday clothing style even at their place!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry to hear about your experience. I think a lot of it reflects the way that a lot of hijabi women feel in a Western society. I thought it was interesting that you said that people thought that the clothes they wore weren’t good enough for you. It’s as though your modesty is a reflection of their immodesty – which isn’t the case at all!! People should be free to and encouraged to wear whatever makes them most comfortable.

      It’s amazing to me that the only time I have ever felt oppressed wearing a hijab was when people were telling me to take my hijab off. Being forced to remove it is just as bad as being forced to put it on, and I in no way feel free when people suggest that I just take my hijab off.

      I hope that you are able to express yourself through the way you dress with the love and support of as many people in your life as possible. Just know that most people are accepting of other’s choices and that if you’re feeling unsupported, there are plenty of people out there who will welcome you with open arms!!

      Thank you so much for sharing your story. It was very, very insightful.

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  7. I´m sorry for the incorrect grammar in my last, long comment! English is not my first language and I tend to write too quickly and too much when I´m passionate about something or tired! Think I forgot to mention that I´m a non-muslim who are veiling aswell, but yeah, that is shown in the story!

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  8. I bought a scarf and on the list of things you can do with it, there is an option where you wrap it around your head similar to a hijab. I thought this would be a genius way to keep warm up here in canada. I’m afraid tho that people might be offended or look at me strange since i’m a pale ginger who knows very little about the background of the hijab excluding the fact that it is for modesty.

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  9. Hi, I’m going to be auditioning for my high school’s fall show in a few weeks in which we’re to perform a monologue from the show, “The Laramie Project”. There’s one monologue in particular that I’m considering and it’s from the perspective of a self-proclaimed “Muslim Feminist”. My question is: would it be rude / offensive / insensitive if I wore a headscarf for my audition? From what you’ve written, it sounds like it’ll be okay, but I’m just hesitant because I’m not doing it because I believe in it; I’m doing it to play “dress-up”. Thank you.

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  10. To begin with i should say I’m Catholic. I was asked at my university to try on a hijab at an open day. For me i didn’t as it seems wrong. Nuns cover to show they are celibate for life and never take a husband or have children, they dedicate their entire life to God alone. But muslim women don’t do this. So i chose not to try it on.

    Also there is a verse in the Holy Bible about covering hair but this was meant for the society of Corinth and not an overall command from God. So for Christians, God doesn’t tell women to cover our hair. I also noticed many Muslim women don’t wear a hijab, especially my Turkish and Bosnian friends, but they still believe in their religion. I think Leah Darrow has gotten it right, on how to be fashionable and modest “From top model to role model” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9M5yv7DoB8 God bless all ❤ Megan

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    1. Hi Megan

      Thank you for sharing your experience – I think it brings some balance to these comments. For some women, they will never feel comfortable wearing a hijab, even if it’s just for trying it on. For some it’s a sign of oppression, for others, it’s because it conflicts with their religious beliefs. The important thing is that we arae all respecting of each other’s choices and are aware that we are all likely to feel differently. Sometimes we’ll even change our opinion based on where we live or what we’re doing with our lives. It’s all part of the process!

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      1. Thank you very much for your kind comment. I think you are right about where you live influencing how you think too. In Ireland it is very rare to see a woman wearing a hijab. To be honest, most women don’t even think about it or it’s not even in their thoughts. But I am sure if I lived in Kuwait or somewhere similar ,it would be in my thoughts more. So it is nice to come to this blog and discuss it and hear what others think. Thank you and God bless 🙂

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  11. sir it is very sad to hear about such weird things about Islam
    Now coming to the topic of hijab or naqab people mostly refers to the hijab of women but they dont mention about the hijab of men (surah an-nur verses 30-31)

    {Tell the believing men to lower their gaze and be modest. That is purer for them. Lo! Allah is Awareof what they do. And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and be modest, and to display of their adornment only that which is apparent, and to draw their veils over their bosoms, and not to reveal their adornment save to their own husbands or fathers or husbands’ fathers, or their sons or their husbands’ sons, or their brothers or their brothers’ sons or sisters’ sons, or their women, or their slaves, or male attendants who lack vigor, or children who know naught of women’s nakedness. And let them not stamp their feet so as to reveal what they hide of their adornment. And turn unto Allah together, O believers, in order that ye may succeed.}

    In todays world many people criticise Islam for their behavior towards women but let me remind you, according to a census amongst the people changing themselves to Islam 70% are women
    compare the country following hijab with non following country you will find the ratio of rapes in non islamic country will be much higer than the Islamic country

    In America womans are raped in every six second…

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    1. I think that is unfair. We can never tell how many convert but it is a tiny percentage of the overall populations and i have read 75% of converts leave islam within 3-4 years. You cannot compare rape stats with muslim majority countries as in some of these countries most rape cases are left unreported and sometimes the victims are jailed or punished for being a victim of rape.
      In Egypt women who wear hijab are still harassed on the streets and street harassment is a big problem there. So it is not all black and white. There is more behind it than appears and it is more complicated than that. Also, in psychology of rape, it is not what the woman is wearing but it is based on her personality/ vulnerability and how isolated she is.
      It is important to remember neither East or West or perfect and both have good and bad sides to them. Better to be fair and balanced about it all.

      God bless you.

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  12. Thanks a lot for this. I have a chronic illness and am always cold. I feel self- conscious wearing a wool hat when everyone else is in t-shirts. It recently occurred to me that a hijab would be great way to keep warm and look nice at the same time. But like others, I was unsure if it would be disrespectful somehow. So, now I know. Thanks!

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  13. Thank you for posting this. I’m a 16-year-old agnostic living in America and I’ve always been attracted to the hijab and Islam (I’m not sure I’m ready to convert, not with everything going on. And I’m still living with my not so open-minded family). I always thought that Muslim women looked so powerful and gorgeous. I myself have wanted to wear the hijab, as I like the idea of modesty and having control over my body (I still respect women who like to show off their legs or whatever, as long as they’re wearing clothes lol). I still wear shorts at home, but they only reach my knees if I’m in public, but I find myself wearing jeans all the time anyways. I’m introducing maxi dresses, they’re so cute.

    (My family is very close-minded, and I once wore the hijab while eating dinner once and they laughed and told me to take it off. They’re islamophobic, but I still love them.)

    Winters coming up and I think I’ll start wearing scarves over my head, so I won’t start in hot weather and raise suspicion. Pfft. I might wear the hijab when I’m older and have moved out.

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    1. Hi Camryn

      It’s always difficult when our families have beliefs that differ from ours. I always thought that I disagreed with some of my parents beliefs because we grew up in different countries, but the older I am the more I find that parents and their kids disagree because that’s part of human progression!

      We’re always exploring new ways of thinking and that will always be scary. I often wonder about what my kids and I will disagree on.

      Most people who are Islamaphobic have never met a Muslim person. If you have Muslim friends, maybe you can introduce them. Seeing that these Muslim people are just like anyone else might help ease their concerns.

      The interesting thing with your post is that Islamicly speaking, if you feel a connection to Islam and believe in God and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, you’re essentially already a Muslim!

      Good luck with your family and your journey. I hope you find the right way for you.

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  14. I have been wanting to wear a hijab lately for a social experiment but I haven’t went through with it because I’m afraid of offending others. A lot of my neighbors are Muslim and I have no idea as to how they will feel when they see me wearing one. I went out and bought a hijab the other day and I plan on wearing it. Your article helped me make my decision on whether or not I wanted to wear the hijab. I think I’ll put one on today.

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  15. Thanks for sharing this. I really appreciate the confirmation it might be okay for any girls/women interested in dressing modestly to wear a head scarf and cover herself. I have taken to wearing the high, cowl neck hoodies available lately, especially from outdoor clothing stores. They cover my whole neck and hair and have very long sleeves. But I have found myself wanting to be more covered in situations where the technical outdoor hoodies aren’t practical. I am going to start wearing a scarf around my head and neck because it just seems like it will feel good to be covered. The clothes so many of the other college girls wear are sooooo revealing, it just makes me want to cover up even more! So, if anyone asks, I will tell them the reason is just for a personal desire for modestly.
    Does this sound like a good response?
    Will you please tell me what I might add to the response that will be respectful of the women who wear the scarf for more important reasons? Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Found this post when I googled the subject, non muslim wearing a hijab.. I am a non believer, always have been, I am interested in islam though.. What probably sparked the interest was my boyfriend’s background, muslim family, he himself is not very religious, and also frinends that are muslim.. But I think studying islam more will come a bit later for me, not yet. I am a young adult and throughout my teens years I suffered from low self esteem, wanted to be invisible when being out among people.. I think the hijabi is beautiful, but I also feel it would make me feel safe, covered., and more confident I don’t care for attention at all or people looking at me and I feel being more covered they wouldn’t look as much or atleast they wouldn’t really see me the way that I do not like.. Just wanted to write my thoughts on here. I am not deciding to wear a hijab, atleast not yet, but it is nce to read how muslims would feel about it.. Even if you say it is fine to do, I still would worry about some bad looks from muslim women.. Maybe because I’m a very considerate person and kind and would not want to disrespect or have anyone think bad of me (heh, same reason I hate to be on ‘display’ uncovered, to be judged, in any way)…
    Anyways.. Nice post… And all the best to you from northern Europe! 😉

    Like

    1. Hi Katrina! Thank you very much for sharing your thoughts and feelings. As you can see, you feel the same way that many other women do and I guess it is always lovely to know that you are not alone.

      Whatever you choose to do, I hope that you find the comfort that everyone deserves to have in their lives.

      All the best!

      Like

  17. I’ve always loved the look of headscarfs. In cold or sunny weathers I often use a scarf to cover my head/shoulder/neck. I’m interested in wearing scarfs because I like the style. I’m considering buying some beautiful scarfs and wearing them like accessories!

    Like

  18. As a lot of discussion is going on in here, I would like to share how I feel when I wear a hijab and the reason why I do so. According to the Qur’an, the main purpose of the creation of mankind was to worship the Creator-Whom the Qur’an defines as the following in Surat Al-Ikhlas:
    {Say (O Muhammad (Peace be upon him)): “He is Allah, (the) One. Allah-us-Samad (The Self-Sufficient Master, Whom all creatures need, He neither eats nor drinks). He begets not, nor was He begotten; And there is none co-equal or comparable unto Him.”
    The purpose (which I talked about a few seconds ago) too is mentioned in Surat Adh-Dhariyat, Verse. 56: “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” Worshiping Allah Almighty means doing everything in life that The Lord is pleased with. And whatever Allah is pleased with, has been revealed in the Qur’an. That is why the muslimahs who’ve read themselves the verses regarding hijab, do so to please Allah Almighty. And when we wear that, we are keeping in mind the intention of only pleasing Allah. That is what blocks all the criticism we face as we know it is not for the people, bu only for our Creator.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks you for that because my story is that I don’t want to treated like meat because God created me to do great things , not to be treated unequally and Saint Paul states that my body is the temple of the holy spirit and I intend to keep it that way.
      Thank you , God bless.

      Like

  19. I have been wanting to wear a hijab for a while but I am not sure if I am willing to fully commit to it. I am currently in high school and am catholic and while my muslim friends have told me that wearing one isn’t offensive I am afraid of offending them because it would be like experimenting with something that means so much to so many different people. I don’t want to offend anyone by wearing it inconsistently or only wearing it out once but I do want to wear one because it would be a new experience for me and I would like to see how it changes the way I look at myself and how other people view me. I was hoping that you would be able to give me some advice as to what I should do. Thank you!

    Like

    1. Hello, dear! I think it’s great that you’re considering others – it’s a wonderful thing for us to do for each other. In my mind, I don’t think that the hijab (or really, covering the hair) is a special Islamic practice. Women have been doing it throughout human history for lots of reasons. You should own it and make it yours – if it brings you happiness, that’s all that matters 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I have two thoughts. Being Catholic why not start with purchasing a Mantilla/Chapel Veil? They are very Catholic headcoverings and would not be at all out of place in your family or church. My other thought is that if you have Muslim friends who wear hijab why not ask them to show you how to wear one of theirs some day? You could just try it indoors so you wouldn’t have to do anything drastic.

      Like

  20. What a great blog post! Thanks for this. A couple things that the ladies here can check out if they’re interested in headscarves for fashion *or* faith purposes are the Headwrap Expo (this happens annually in Dearborn MI) put on by “Beautifully Wrapped.” It’s open to the public– not a religious thing at all, though there are talks given by speakers and authors from various faiths as well as fashion writers etc. Also a lady named Andrea Grinberg has a scarf & accessories online store called Wrapunzel, and a whole online community has sprung up around it. Many of those ladies are Jewish but it’s a really interesting mix of super nice folks, all coming together to look cute while staying covered. Hair covering doesn’t have to be a big scary deal– I was scared of offending anyone at first as well, but really I have yet to meet anyone who has an issue with my scarves. Ladies just wanna have the freedom and respect to express their style, whether that’s in a religious framework or not. I’m not Muslim either. I just really like scarves– and according to all my hijabi neighbors, that’s perfectly fine. I’ll take their (and your!) word for it.

    Like

    1. Wow, Marlo! That’s a great bit of information! What a beautiful sounding group of people. I’ll look into it and see if there is anything that I can learn from what these guys are doing.

      Thanks for your comment!

      Like

  21. Thank you for writting this! I live in deep south USA where people are a bit…. Bigoted. Recently I was assigned a few books about Islamic people in my college classes. It made me very curious. I’ve been interested in wearing a hijab during winter because I can’t handle the cold. I’m glad to hear that it’s okay to do so. Your post and the many commenter have really opened my eyes! I wish more people would read this.

    Like

    1. I would share with them the section of the Bible that mentions headcovering first so they know you are thinking about it. Ask your mother if she had ever covered her head while praying. Tell her you are going to try it and ask if she would want to with you? If she says no, you go ahead and try. If you like it tell her. Then you would have a gradual transition going.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I was just thinking today about wearing a hijab to show support for the Muslim community. I desperately want to show how fully I accept and welcome diversity. Particularly in the current political climate with so much islamophobia going on…I was trying to think of a symbol that I could display e.g. I saw a photo of a menorah displayed in a window in Europe just befor ww2. I was looking for a similarly powerful statement and thought of wearing a hijab. I worried about being offensive. Where I live, the biggest problem I would probably run into is being accused of cultural appropriation. I feel I can more confidently handle that response, having read this and some history of hijab and various head coverings of many cultures and eras. You are an amazing clear-thinking, open-hearted being. Thank you for sharing your perspective and giving all the women here confidence to do what feels right for them.

    Like

  23. This article was really helpful and eye-opening! Thank you! I have a question. I’ve wanted to wear hijab for a while, but I’m worried that people might be offended or critical if I don’t do it full time, or don’t commit. What are your thoughts? Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, there!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it 🙂 I think a lot of people share your concern – they want to wear it sometimes and not feel tied down. I say go for it. If it’s something you feel like you can wear always, do it. If it’s a sometimes thing, go for it. It can be a thing you do for a single day or for the rest of your life – it really just depends on what you’re comfortable with, and that’s all that matters to me. Best of luck!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think you can go ahead and wear hijab part-time. Of course start off small, see how you are feeling. I guess it stands to reason that depending on where you were more modesty could be recommended compared to other places.

      Like

    3. Waronjustice:
      “I have a question. I’ve wanted to wear hijab for a while, but I’m worried that people might be offended or critical if I don’t do it full time, or don’t commit. What are your thoughts?”

      Different faiths and cultures have different opinions how how often and where one should cover their head. Iran & Saudi Arabia are going to have one opinion, and Iowa and Pennysylvania are going to have another.

      I think if you just head-covered randomly it would feel more a fashion choice than having any deeper meaning, but whatever you do is your choice.

      Myself, I only headcover when at church or when praying, I’m consistent, but not as expanded in my use as others.

      Like

  24. Hi Amne. Thank you for the lovely post. I sincerely sympathize with all Muslim women over the bigoted thoughts and words sometimes directed at them – merely based on their chose of attire.

    My question is a little different. I will be undergoing surgery in February which will leave me bald and with a severely compromised immune system. My doctor has indicated to me that I must avoid going out in public – where possible – for at least 2 months after my surgery. But, if I do go out… I will need to wear a mask in public. I don’t fancy calling attention to myself by wearing a mask, but was wondering if wearing an Hijab would be a good solution for me. If I understand correctly…the Hijab is worn primarily on the head, but is wrapped around the neck…and can be pulled up over the mouth and nose? Perhaps an Hijab isn’t the correct head covering for my intended purposes? Could you recommend another Muslim head covering that might me more suitable for what I have in mind?

    Thanks so much,
    Karen

    Like

    1. Hi Karen

      I am so sorry to hear what you’re going through. It sounds like a very difficult situation. A hijab just generally covers the hair. You may be able to cover your mouth and nose with a hijab but I definitely do not recommend it in your situation. As a person in the health field, I can tell you that the fabric in a hijab will definitely not protect you against what a mask will protect you from. Face masks are designed to prevent bacteria and virus from entering your system. I highly recommend you wear a proper medical mask if your immunity is compromised.

      Best wishes!

      Like

  25. I am a Christian woman who wears hijabs! In my community there is a very small Muslim population and a very large Christian population. Recently I felt convicted by God to cover my hair as a symbol of my submission to His authority and added modesty. Sometimes I am confused for a Muslim or Jewish woman, because very few Christian women cover their hair. One of my biggest worries was that Muslim women would be offended by my choice, so thank you for this blog post! It really has given me the push to keep following the Lord and what he has laid on my heart!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so lovely, Sandrie! Thank you so much for sharing. I always hope that people feel comfortable with who they are and feel they should own their image. I hope you stay comfortable with what’s in your heart also ❤

      Like

  26. I started wearing the hijab for 2 years now. Yes, I got treated differently from the days I wasn’t wearing one especially by those who did not know me personally.

    Why should wearing a hijab offend anyone, Muslims or not? Would anyone wearing a hat offend you in any way? Of course not.

    Like

  27. I have another question for you, if you wouldn’t mind. 🙂

    I know a lot of non-Muslims hijabis don’t consume alcohol or pork while wearing hijab to be respectful to other Muslims. Would it be considered disrespectful if a non-Muslim hijab did partake in pork or alcohol while wearing hijab? I’ve been curious about this for a while because my family eats a lot of pork and wine is our “family time” drink (also, the majority of my family is Catholic, so we take wine with communion). Since I’ve started wearing hijab, I would always politely refuse these when my family would offer, but I feel like I’m missing out on something that’s been really special to us. Should I take my hijab off if I want to partake in these with my family?

    As always, thank you for the wonderful information and encouragement that you provide for everyone! 🙂

    Best wishes,
    Xan

    Like

    1. Lovely to hear from you again, Xan!

      I think that’s a really interesting question. I think there’s a little bit more pressure on the woman wearing a hijab if she is participating in non-Islamic activities like drinking or eating pork. I would suspect that most people would be very confused by what was happening.

      Generally speaking, I suggest that women in hijab (both Muslim and non-Muslim) behave in a manner that is ‘good’ when wearing it because they inadvertently become the face of Islam; whether they wish to do that or not.

      In saying that, no single person should feel the burden of representing an entire religion or culture. That’s not fair.

      I guess there isn’t a simple, straight answer – as is the case generally. Feel free to do what feels best, darling. Consider all of the information available and go with what works for you 🙂

      Like

      1. Hmm…well, bearing that in mind, then, perhaps while I am in public I would abstain from both, but in the home or around family I may not. Thank you for the help, lovely! 🙂

        Like

  28. Really helpful post, thank you!
    I used to occasionally wear a scarf in an African wrap type style, but stopped for a while as wasn’t sure if I was giving the wrong impression to other religious people, especially as it was only occasional. I believe in God but don’t identify as particular religion so didn’t want to upset people.

    Lately I’ve been really wanting to wear it but had the same concerns. After trying it on a few times at home I’m feeling ready to wear it again now, and after reading your post most definitely will do!

    Thanks again x

    Like

    1. That sounds really lovely! Feel free to wear whatever makes you comfortable. It’s absolutely up to you to do what makes you happy 🙂

      Good luck, Katia! I hope wearing a headscarf brings you the comfort you desire!

      Like

  29. Thank you for posting this. As an atheist, I’ve always loved head scarves and what they stand for, but I was always scared to wear them because I thought I would be appropriating someones culture.

    Like

  30. Hi there …me and a bunch of my male friends would like to all go out in fancy dress on a stag party dressed in hijabis. I take it from the above that it is fine to do so as I’m sure same goes for males as females when wearing for non religious reasons

    Like

    1. Hi Russ

      Although I personally have no problem with it, keep in mind that many people probably will.

      There is a difference here, and I will explain it in simple terms and leave it up to you to make the judgement on whether you should go ahead with your plan or not.

      I make the argument over and over again that non-Muslim women can wear a hijab because women have been wearing head coverings throughout human history for many, many different cultural and religious reasons. There is nothing that says that head coverings are exclusively for Muslim women. So, if it makes a woman comfortable to wear a headcovering, she should be able to without feeling guilt.

      I’ve been asked by transexual males if it’s okay for them to also wear hijabs. Although this territory gets slightly trickier, it’s still okay because they are doing it to form part of their identity and just because they were born in a body that they don’t feel works for them, it doesn’t mean that anyone has the right to then tell them not to wear a hijab. They’re still respecting it.

      In your situation, things are different. You’re not wearing a hijab because you’re a woman who feels it contributes to her modesty or identity. You’re not wearing it because you’re a man who feels it contributes to his modesty or identity. In fact, you’re not wearing it as part of a costume that respects women.

      Stag nights are usually there for people to go wild and have a merry ol’ piss up. Could I laugh at this, personally? Look, probably. Would anyone else? Probably not. In a climate where Muslim women are being attacked, I don’t think anyone wants to turn one of the largest symbols of Islam into a joke.

      Hopefully you make the right decision.

      Good luck!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Russ

      Whether you dress up in a hijab or as a drag, that’s entirely up to you. As long as your intentions & actions are not mocking any religion, no one cares.

      Like

  31. I really love the look of the hijab, and I’ve been wanting to wear one for a while, but is it bad to not wear it for modesty? Or say if one was to wear a hijab with shorts? I’m really curious, and I’d love to wear one, but I really just don’t want to look offensive.

    Like

    1. Hi Alex

      Thanks for your message! I suppose when you are wearing a headscarf for non-religious reasons, that’s all it really is -a headscarf 🙂 You definitely don’t have to feel obliged to wear things in a way that pleases other people, just wear whatever makes you happy and comfortable!

      Like

  32. Hi! I have been wanting wear a hijab for a bit now, mainly for feminist reasons, but I am a bit worried about what my friends will think.They might find it weird, even though one of our teachers is Muslim. I am a Non-Muslim, but I think hijabs are very pretty, and a great way to tell everyone that looks don’t matter that much. And, I haven’t told my parents yet. How should I go about it?

    Like

    1. Hi there!

      That’s a great question. If it’s any comfort, this is a question I receive all the time. There are many many non-Muslim who choose to wear a hijab. It’s hard to give advice on how to talk to your family and friends about something like this because I don’t know them. But generally speaking, I think it’s important to just let them know how you’re feeling and why you’d like to do it. Be honest and understanding, but firm on your position. You’re allowed to dress however you like 🙂 Don’t worry about anyone else’s opinions – your comfort is what matters.

      Best wishes!

      Like

    2. Artisbae, I would go about this in a gradual manner starting in social situations that are friendly and in your control. Wear it just around the house the first time or first couple times to feel comfortable, then introduce it to one trusted friend or family member, then try outside in a crowd-free area, like a nature hike. I understand what you are facing.

      Like

  33. I hope you get this quick. I am working with a political candidate (In Canada) and we were invited to a morning prayer by the Muslim community in our city. (tomorrow)
    I skimmed through this article, but want to know if wearing a hijab (or veiling) would be an ok way for me to show I respect them and their community?

    Like

  34. Hello there. I’m wondering about wearing a hijab, turban-style or scarf while undergoing chemotherapy. As a non-Muslim would this be ok? Thank you so much!! With great respect, -M

    Like

    1. Absolutely 🙂 A headcovering really only becomes a hijab when that meaning is attached to it. Women should feel free to wear whatever makes them most comfortable!

      Best wishes to you!

      Like

  35. Hi, I’m interested in wearing a Hijab-like headscarf for my religion (Kemetic (worship of Ancient Egyptians Gods/Goddesses) is this okay? At the college I go to, there is a large wonderful population of Muslims and I dont want to just start (school has started for about three weeks) and offend them. (like…they know me as the hat wearing person (I do this to cover as much hair as possible because I’ve yet to buy the things needs to wear a Hijab/headscarf) and so if I suddenly starting going wearing a Hijab/headscarf I’m worried of the repercussions (also with my family))

    Like

    1. Hi there

      Thanks for your message. I think it’s totally fine for you to cover your hair and whatever part of your body for absolutely any reason. As you know, women have covered their hair for centuries for many different reasons. If it’s something that aligns with your religious beliefs, then feel free to own it!

      I don’t think you will cause any offence. Feel free to have conversations with people about why you’re choosing to cover you hair, or feel free to say nothing at all. At the end of the day it’s your body and you’re free to do what you want with it!

      In terms of your family, I hear from many women who aren’t Muslim but want to cover their hair. The advice I give is always the same – people will always have the potential to feel uncomfortable about your choices. However; at the end of the day, you have to do what makes you feel happiest. I think a conversation before you start doing it might be a good way to ease their concerns. You don’t even have to pin it down to a religious belief. You can explain that covering your hair just makes you more comfortable. Hopefully it goes smoothly for you, but please feel free to touch base again if you have any other questions!

      Like

  36. I’m considering wearing a niqab. I have a problem with my teeth and have to have almost the entire top teeth extracted. It will take up to 3 months for them to heal and the idea of walking around toothless terrifies me. I like to try new things and always changing my look every couple months, so I don’t think anyone I know would think anything of me wearing it. But until they can cover myself when out in public. I guess this falls under modesty??

    Like

    1. Hi there!

      I guess it does! I know that I have no idea what it would feel like to be in your position, but I want to give you the courage and encouragement to do absolutely whatever it is that makes you feel more comfortable. If we were hanging out and you were worried about your teeth not being there for a couple of months, you bet that I’d be giving you the encouragement not to worry about it at all!

      Good luck with whichever path you choose to take 🙂

      Like

  37. I wear a lot of headscarves and wound a longer than usual scarf around my head the other day to work on some character designs for a story I was writing and noticed how at home and happy I felt being so covered. I was instantly worried that this would offend people so thank you for this. I would like to try wearing it out in public sometime.

    Like

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