I recently had a friend who gave up wearing hijab to which I’ve never asked her why. She has been through a lot since a young age and perhaps she felt that making a dramatic change to herself would change her life as well. I know she never wanted to wear hijab, but that her parents forced her into it since she was young, and I think therein lies the problem when it comes to hijab.

Although hijab is important in Islam it is a wonder to me why some parents don’t take the time to introduce some form of hijab to their youngsters at an early stage. It makes no sense to suddenly one day decide to tell your child that the way they have been dressing all their lives is wrong and now they must wear all these clothes and cover up! My parents became a bit overwhelmed when I hit puberty as well, although they didn’t force me to wear hijab, they suddenly decided that I needed to wear a trench coat wherever I went.

I was 12. What 12 year old wears a trench coat to school??? Anyhow I figured out that I had suddenly had a growth spurt and they didn’t know how to handle me being so tall all of a sudden. Go figure :).

Recently my daughter has been asking questions about boys. She’s five! She just turned five! I kind of see what my parents were talking about now…

Anyhow she asked me, in her own way, why men weren’t attracted to me. I think she was asking why I didn’t have men swarming around me because I happened to be a lady. Aside from the fact that I felt like an ugly toad for a moment, I quickly realized she was wondering how this attraction thing worked. The fault is mine as I was watching Indiana Jones the other night and the only thing she picked up, aside from the aliens, the mummies and bad guys shooting up the whole place, was the relationship between Indie and his long lost girlfriend Marian.

Of all things..!!

Anyhow I clumsily told her in my own way that because I wore hijab it was a universal understanding that Muslim woman are normally not supposed to carry on in relationships with men they are not related to. You have a marriage and your husband is who you have a relationship with. I didn’t want to get into details as she was too young for that yet. Oh, but I will get into the details when she gets older!

So then she decided she wanted a hijab, and I was so happy. I went and ordered her a hijab, and now my youngest is wearing it.

My point is: it’s not necessary to get your child to wear a hijab at this young age. I’ve opened her mind up for now and that’s all I wanted to do. I have planted a seed in her head about the possibility of being different, of learning to live her life a different way from what society will expect of her. In time inshaAllah, I hope she’ll understand the meaning of hijab, and what it means, in this day and age, to wear one. When I was young it was to show our faith, but now it’s become a symbol. It’s become a symbol of strength against all those who choose to oppress woman to a point where they feel they can only look a certain way to be accepted. It is a symbol of strength for standing up to all those who want to dictate how we should dress, act and aspire to be.

It will be up to her to see if this is the path she wants to take or if she wants to take another. I have opened her eyes and her mind, the rest is for her to discover.