“So, why did you take off the hijab?” is the common question I encounter nowadays. Everyone wants to know what’s the reason behind it when I defended the idea of hijab so fiercely for so many years. I find myself lost in thoughts when someone who knows me for a long time asks me this question. I don’t know how to explain to them that all these years it was an act. I don’t think they would believe me and even if they do believe me what kind of person they would think I am? So I avoid this answer. I try to put together my thoughts and ideas for a good answer but I always find myself lost in many ideas when explaining the reason why I took it off. I remember the first time I told my friend and when she asked me why? I told her that I feel guilty when the people in my community assume that I am good virtuous girl just by knowing that I wear hijab. It bothers me when many hijabis are talking about this nonhijabi who they seem to agree that she’s a good girl. Only problem with her is that she doesn’t put a piece of clothe on her head and this degrades all and every good deed of that nonhijabi. I couldn’t accept the fact that they think I am one of them and that’s why they can have this kind of nonsense conversation in front of me. I didn’t want to be part of such groups. So I took off the hijab. So that next time they don’t include me in their conversation where they feel no shame to degrade many hard-working and strong women and girls. So this is the explanation I gave to my friends. When my sister asked me why? I told her I didn’t believe in god. I didn’t believe in the idea of hijab. So I took it off. Then she asked me why couldn’t you wait till our parents are dead? Then we wouldn’t be in this hell right now. I told her I took it off so that I don’t have to count every single day of my life waiting for my parents’ death. Now if they survive the shock I can wish for them to live forever. Cause my freedom is no longer caged in their will. In return she answered me this is what you call freedom? You will see within months you will lose that peace you say you have now. I don’t know if I really will lose it but I told her let’s see. Then my mother called me and asked why couldn’t you wait till you get married? I wanted to tell her this is exactly why I took it off now. So that no man can think I need them to live the life I want to live. I will have a proper life before I get married. And I also hope that I will not get any more of the proposals from those guys who thinks what I wear is a deciding factor whether he wants to marry me or not. And some of you might think well that’s never a deciding factor. But trust me I have seen Many guys who made decisions based on the fact whether a girl wear hijab or not. In any case I didn’t say all that to my mom. I just told her this is not me. I can’t wear hijab and don’t try to pursue me to do so. At work my colleague asked me why did you take it off? I just simply told her it wasn’t my thing. I had change in my faith. But then she went on to tell me how she saw on TV and movies and read on internet about Muslim parent’s torture to their girls who denies to wear hijab. Then started to think that’s not what I wanted people to think about this religion or the people who follows it. I just wanted a simple out from my misery. but now that I see, it’s not a simple out. Everyone starts to assume that I am tortured and oppressed because I took it off. May be even under threat. Yes I have to accept that I have lost few friends and my parents are unhappy for the time being. But I am in no way under any threat, a bit lonely may be. But everyone pays this price who wants to break away from the crowd.
“So, why did you take off the hijab?”