My Hijab, My Choice

Photo: Kamyar Adl

There’s also such diversity in the way Muslim women feel about, understand, and observe hijab. Some women hate it because forms of it are forced on them. Some Irani women have undertaken a social-media campaign to show themselves without the scarves and the long black chador coverings as a way of protesting being made to wear them. I get that. The headscarf is a source of strength for me, but that stems largely from the luxury of having a choice about if I want to wear it and how I want to wear it.

I’m a professional in my 30s, living on her own and working as an attorney and consultant in New York City. I am also a former hijabi, a de-jabi, and now a re-jabi. These things might seem like contradictions to some, but it’s entirely consistent in my mind as part of a long, nuanced spiritual journey that continues to change and challenge me even today. My story only seems novel because it disturbs the existing narrative about what the headscarf and dressing more modestly signifies.

— At Refinery 29, Zehra Naqvi shares her story of emotional and spiritual growth, and how coming into her own meant reclaiming the hijab.

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