“I chose to take off my Hijab”.

I chose to take off what was woven into my look, my identity, my life, me. I took off my hijab but for everyone around me, it was as if I took off a piece of me and left it somewhere for them to find, for them to bring back to me, for them to weave it back onto me, into me.

But what they did not understand was that I did not take it off for anyone else to see, but because I chose tojust like I chose to embrace it in the first place. Just like I chose to wrap it around myself. Just like I chose to unwrap it too. It was my choice, and my choice alone. And it still is.

I took off my hijab not because I hated it, but because I was scared of starting to hate it, starting to loathe it.

I took off my hijab not because I wanted to move away from Islam, but because I wanted my religion to not be identified with clothes. My faith should be connected to my deeds and what’s in my heart.

The only sad part is, now that I think about it, there is not much of a difference in how people looked at me when I started covering my head with a piece of cloth, and how they look at me now; when I stopped.

I can see their eyes questioning me. But then again the eyes that stare at hijabis are no different. Which brings me to the point – am I always going to be identified by the clothes I wear? Or will the respect of every Muslim girl be associated with her dressing forever?

Before they questioned if I was pious enough to start something so pious itself. And now, they question if removing it means losing that piousness all at once.

Some wanted to know if my father, my brother or any ‘man’ forced me to veil myself. And they want to know now if I pulled it off because of ‘some guy’ outside my house. Do we have to get approval from men to wear a hijab? As far as I know, the matter of hijab is between Me and Allah.

They looked at me with curiosity when I wore the hijab &  could not answer an intricate question about my Deen, laughed a little too loudly between a group of friends or stayed out a bit too late.

And now that I don’t wear a hijab they still look at me with curiosity when I know the answer to that intricate question about my Deen, when I do not laugh a little too loudly between a group of friends and when I go back home early because of something as simple as a curfew.

They saw, they judged, they taunted; no matter how I was, no matter what I did. 

But I do hope, they understand that my relationship with God is based on the choices I make while knowing about the choices He has in store for me. I hope they understand that my Deen is something sacred that is not for the world to judge. I hope they understand that I am not something that they need to fix, something that they need to mend or something that they need to bring to the right path. 

Because I am me. My choices are mine. And that is enough. 

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