Travel Blogger in a Headscarf Q&A

Morocco 2015. Photo Credit:  Piotr Fedorczyk

Morocco 2015. Photo Credit: Piotr Fedorczyk

What does "hijab" and "Hijabi" mean?
Hijab - The Arabic word linguistically means barrier. It is commonly used to refer to the headscarf worn by Muslim women.  
Hijabi- an invented trendy phrase by youngsters meaning a hijab wearing female    

What's underneath the headscarf? 
Hair. Sometimes curly, sometimes straight, sometimes freshly washed, sometimes tangled etc. 

Who can see you without the headscarf?
All women and the males from the direct family (father, brother, paternal uncles, maternal uncles, nephew, father-in-law and husband).  

What exactly do you need to cover and what can you show?
The classic hijab covers the body and the hair. Three things are allowed to be shown (at least that's what the majority thinks): Face, hands and feet. 

What is the reason for Hijab?

  1. God said so.
    First and for most, I wear it because it is one of the things God told women (in his holy book) to do. Maybe God meant it as a general term to be modest and maybe he meant it in a literal sense. People have endless arguments about this and I have not really done enough research in the area to give a 100% answer, but it feels right in my heart. Plus, during prayer and pilgrimage women have to cover their hair and the holy females of Islamic history has always covered, so that's good enough for me.

  2. Standout from the crowd
    Some days, my headscarf makes me feel so empowered because why do I have to blend when I can be different? Why listen to whatever society wants me to do and look. Can I just be my unique self? The headscarf is not the only thing that makes someone stand out. Anything out of the norm, makes a person standout, but that's not always a bad thing. Humans always try to seek individuality with different hairstyles and colours, tattoos, piercing and so on.

  3. Love me for my brains not my looks
    The headscarf covers the attractive attributes of a female like her figure and her hair. People should love and approach each other to benefit from one another because we are more than pretty and attractive creatures. Our brains (well if use them) set us apart from the rest of creations. It is important to attract the right kind of person with your brain power than your physique.

Morocco 2015. Photo Credit:  Piotr Fedorczyk

Morocco 2015. Photo Credit: Piotr Fedorczyk

Can you take it off?
Yes. I just choose not to for the reasons I mentioned above. It's part of me emotionally & spiritually.

What does it mean to wear a headscarf?
Some people generalise and think that every woman that wears a headscarf is religious and every woman who does not, does not fear God. I personally think the headscarf is only one aspect which happens to be represented visually. Being religious is way more than that. For instance, you have to keep all your prayers on time, be very forgiving, be kinder to others and other really good things. I consider myself spiritual at this stage of my life.

How does it feel travelling with a headscarf on? 
It really depends on how cosmopolitan the place is. In London for example, most people do not care because it is very common, but in a smaller cities within the UK it could cause few curious looks. Sometimes when I go to new places and I am not sure about how people will react, I wear a woolly hat on top (if it's cold) or do a stylish head wrap of some sort. 

Read: Why are Muslim Travellers Different?

Travel Blogger in Hijab
Turban Style in Paris
Turban style in London

Why are there many Hijab styles out there? 
The beautiful thing about the headscarf is it can be interpreted individually because it is part of the personal relationship with the creator. Culture also has a hand in the various styles. I don't think people wear it better than others. I just think it's a very private and personal thing that happened to be visible.   

Can you be fashionable when you wear the hijab?
Yes! Have you seen the amount of hijabi fashionistas lately? It's really over whelming to see all those beautiful styles. I usually look at Dina TokioDian Pelangi, Noor Tagouri, Haifa Beseisso and Ascia akf for fashionable ideas. Although, I tend to stick to a very basic comfortable style like my outfits in Iran  and the modest travel dresses

Does Hijab hold you back from having a great travel adventure?
I don't think so. It could be restrictive in some senses, but you can always work around most things. For instance, I still enjoy my beach time with a covered up swimsuit. I don't look fly, but at least my skin is protected. Read about my time Wearing a Burqini in Agadir, Morocco. Think about it this way, would wearing a hat, long sleeves and pants stop you from having a good time? 

Lebanon 2010

Lebanon 2010

Final thoughts:
I don't know why the headscarf matters so much to everyone. Whoever wants to wear it should be respected and whoever doesn't want to wear it should be respected too. It's only a piece of cloth that could hold a spiritual meaning to the person wearing it. At the end of the day, we are who we are and being different enriches our societies and the human experience. Let's stand united with all our different looks and choices. 

Love and peace to you all! :)