The New York Times recently published a "guide" to Muslim headscarves. The article intended to illuminate an Islamic concept that promotes modesty, but the associated images showed styles specific to a few countries and all of the silhouettes were faceless. These types of portrayals can contribute to a misperception among some that Muslim women who don the headscarf may lack agency.
In today's political climate, the headscarf has become more than just a spiritual symbol of modesty. At one point, women working in government positions were not allowed to wear it in Turkey. In France, the niqab -- a version of the headscarf that covers the face -- is banned. In the field of counterterrorism, some view the headscarf as a manifestation of extremism. And as the number of Islamophobic attacks continues to rise in the United States so, too, does the fear among Muslim women, especially those who wear hijab, that they’ll be victims of violence.
In light of this, The Huffington Post asked women from all over the Internet to show just how beautifully diverse the hijab can be using the hashtag #HijabToMe. By showing the many different ways women choose to tie their hijab and the various meanings it takes for them, we hope to offer readers a glimpse into the diversity of Muslim women who don the headscarf. Muslim women were asked to post a picture of themselves along with a brief description of what wearing the hijab means to them.
Check out the compelling images and join the conversation in the comments section below using the hashtag #HijabToMe.
I am posting to support @huffingtonpost 's #HijabtoMe on their great initiative to introduce diversity in hijab. Hijab to me reflects personal identity, and not where you stand in your religion. I am lover of bows and what they resemble so I infused it into my hijab and now my hijab style is reflecting one part of who I am. Hijab is never a sign of opression, ignorance or falling in the shadows of society. I am an engineer with a master's degree, a teacher at a university, a certified Yoga instructor, an occasional model and a Salsa dancer! Not one time, have I felt that my hijab is holding me back from something I would like to pursue. Freedom is all in the heart and mind and not in the body. We are not tied down by hijab, but by people's conception of how a hijabi should look and act like. I have travelled to most parts of the world and I have always been amazed by how beauty can be so diverse taking every shape and form. And muslim girls are no different. Every hijabi has a message to tell the world that she sends through the way she wears it. So let every girl write her message with her own unique brush! Photocredit: @juansanchezphotography #hijabtome #hijab #hijabi #turban #turbow #islam #freedom #headscarf #postagram #instaphoto #modeling #huffpostgram
A photo posted by Sara Al-Sharif @Fyomka (@sara__alsharif) on
#hijabtome is having the freedom to live and express myself in my own way while still holding on to my beliefs and values. It also allows me to combat the negative stereotypes that are all over the media in this islamophobic environment. #hijabtome is also a sign of strength and forces people to see me for who I am and not for whatever unrealistic standard of beauty is being idolized at the moment.
A photo posted by Fai 💁🏽💕 (@fifi_hijabista) on
A photo posted by Rezan Mosa (@rezzy.mosa) on
#HijabToMe is a physical manifestation of a promise I made with my Creator. Wearing hijab didn't happen overnight for me. Being a convert to Islam, it took me years to understand the depths of the hijab, a choice that reaches far past just wearing a scarf. Hijab is as much about the way that you carry yourself, the words you speak, and the way you treat others as it is about the modesty of our dress. The hijab is just a piece of cloth until we as Muslim women give it life through our intentions. After 3 years I prepare to enter my 4th Ramadan as a committed hijabi and I have never felt more confident, never held my head as high as I do now. It's not always easy being a hijabi, and a heavily tattooed one at that, but I wouldn't change it for the world. 🕋🕌 @huffingtonpost @huffpostrelig #3monthanniversary
A photo posted by Kendyl Noor Aurora (@auroraisnthome) on
Amirah Couture Inc. along with other Hijab influencers around the world are collaborating with Huffpost to feature what hijab means to us! If you are tired of the one-dimensional way Hijab-clad women are being portrayed now is the time to share your voice! Help @huffingtonpost illustrate the diversity and vibrancy of Muslim Women who wear the Hijab. #Hijabtome is the freedom to choose my lifestyle in a world that's constantly trying to get you to be someone else. Wearing the Hijab at the age of 8 was a choice based out of love and beauty because I wanted to emulate my single mom who struggled to raise three girls alone. I developed my American Identity before I even understood the religious obligation that came with wearing the Hijab. Hijab to me is beauty, sincerity, struggle,identity, strength, challenge, meaning, purpose, and most importantly my choice! 📷: @jayucanada
A photo posted by Amirah Couture Inc. OFFICIAL. (@amirahcouture) on
Living in a society where the standards of beauty are unrealistic, #hijabtome made me realized that many of the stereotypical and sexist ideologies that plague today's societies stem from the judgement of women based on their physical look. #hijabtome is the freedom to rewrite my path, the path where the people I meet do not have a choice but to get to know me for the highly intelligent, confident and funny woman that I am.
A photo posted by Aicha (@miss_balde) on
I am so tired of the monolithic representation of Muslim womyn; these exhausted tropes do nothing to enrich our communities. I often find myself apologizing for not behaving as I am expected to in the spaces I occupy and that is no longer ok. It's so exciting to see @huffingtonpost begin the #hijabtome campaign with the purpose of "illustrating the diversity and vibrancy of Muslim women who wear [the hijab]." ... #Hijabtome means that I have the choice and the freedom to express myself fully, whether I'm dancing it out to Beyonce or being a life long learner and advocate for the populations I seek to serve through medicine. I started wearing hijab as a a sophomore in college primarily because I'm a wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve kind of person. I have always wanted and still want people to visibly see what I'm all about and for me, hijab was one of the ways to accomplish that. It's definitely not easy to wear it daily; regardless of the setting I'm in, there will always be numerous judgements I need to contend with. Hijab is one way to "twirl on them haters." (Beyonce reference for you all haha) Each womyn who wears the hijab has her own style. I don't have a particular style but it is important for me to wear my hijab in a way that makes me feel comfortable and able to express myself while getting work done. PC: @ahealersheart #hijab #turban #muslim #muslimwomen #huffpost #advocacy #medicine #healthcare #beyonce #formation #beyhive
A photo posted by Sara, MPH (@saramomo6) on
I wore my hijab turban style to work for the first time this week. The kinds of questions it brought on were so eye-opening. People saw something different. My coworkers genuinely wanted to know more about the hijab and why I choose to wear it, when I could and couldn't wear it, and why people wear it differently. It was so refreshing to have respectful conversations with them especially with how Islam has been grossly distorted by the media. I can only hope my love of fashion and love of my faith and choice to wear hijab paves the way for more positive dialogue in the future. #HijabToMe @huffingtonpost - #ootd#hijabfashion#hijabdaily#hijabmuslim#lotd#springstyle#HFinspo#hijabtrends#cflw#whatiwore#chichijab#aboutalook#picoftheday#fashionblogger#chichijab#wiwt#hijabfashiondaily#instafashion#muslimahapparelthings#asseenonme#simplycovered#fashionblog#hijabershub##hfsubmit#styleblog#instafashion#instagood#modestbloggers#FiveFeetChic#austerenation#flashbackfriday @muslimahchamber @hijabchamber
A photo posted by R E H A M (@rehamkhan) on
#HijabToMe means confidence in my identity and roots, especially as a first generation Somali Canadian. For me, my hijab is always paired with headphones, hope and bright eyes. Hijab is a not an obstruction of beauty but a way of channeling it. @huffingtonpost
A photo posted by A+ أمل (@amal.matan) on
#HijabToMe by photography intern Sara Mudallal- "When starting to wear hijab you have to be content and confident about yourself before you step forward. Although it took me a while, I realized the only obstacle was myself, and when I overcame the thoughts of what other people might think, I understood that the only reason why I'm doing this is for God and nothing else matters. I am an athlete and recently, I became a Black belt in karate and started another sport called parkour. Some people tell me that the main reason they don't play sports is because they wear hijab. From my experience, people will respect you no matter what you wear and will actually appreciate that you're doing what you love as a hijabi. Find your motivation and inspire others". Let us know what hijab means to you and get a chance to be reposted by us and featured by The Huffington Post! Refer to our last post for details
A photo posted by Austere Attire (@austereattire) on
#HijabToMe is an everyday reminder of who I aspire to be. It keeps me in moral and mental check. It encourages me to put my best self out there. I love that Hijab makes it clear that I am Muslim because had I not been wearing it, it would’ve been hard to know. It’s an opportunity for me to stand in opposition to the regime of power that has misconstrued and negotiated the identity of Muslim women for so long. Above all, it helps me rise above myself (nafs) and allows for what really matters to shine through. What does #Hijab mean to you?? @huffpostrelig @HuffingtonPost #islam #women #muslimwomen #modesty #muslimah #huffingtonpost #hijabi #hijabers
A photo posted by Hassanah ElyaChab (@hassanah_pfh) on
#HijabToMe by Marwa Balkar "Hijab as a verb is the action of modesty in all aspects of my being. My style, my behavior, and the internal and external reflection of myself. It is viewed as oppressive, but there is nothing more liberating than hijab. It is a signature of self respect. It speaks to the people around me that you have no choice but to learn to appreciate WHO I am as a person, to learn my characteristics, morals, and values." @huffingtonpost The scarf featured here is a chiffon version of our Grid scarf available exclusively at our upcoming Pop-Up Shop 😉 Let us know what hijab means to you and get a chance to be reposted by us and featured by The Huffington Post! Refer to our last post for details
A photo posted by Austere Attire (@austereattire) on
#HijabToMe I started wearing the hijab when I was in 6th grade. My friends and I thought it would be cool to be different than the other 6th graders. At that time it was not a reglious choice but more of a fashion choice, after all we were 6th graders we didn't know the depth of the hijab. But as I grew older the deeper the meaning of the hijab became. It is more than a cloth, it is my very being. Not only do I carry my own identity on top of my shoulders but also my reglion's identity. My hijab is a constant reminder to think twice of my actions. For example, when I'm driving and a very kind human cuts me off without putting their blinker on, almost causing an accident , I can't simply just try to speed pass them and flip the finger. They won't see a very upset woman , instead they might think "well look at this crazy muslim giving me the finger". The hijab is a constant reminder to stay cool and collective and do things that will please God. My hijab and my smile are open an invation to Islam . An invitation to look pass what you think you know of my reglion and to see the true purpose of it -which is to be a good person and to spread peace in the world. @huffingtonpost @huffpostrelig
A photo posted by Hoda J (@hoodiejaludi) on
#HijabToMe • i have been observing hijab since I was 17 years old in 2002. a time before blogs and hashtags and tutorials, when the Internet was still a mostly pure place and a woman would have to buy scarves at the Arabic store (s/o to the one piece sock hijab from Islamic fashion center in Paterson, NJ!). I just turned 30 and in this blink of an eye, hijab has offered me an immeasurable amount of insight about myself and others. Hijab has taught me discipline and self-control in both curbing my vanity (nafs) and keeping me grounded in reality during the most formidable years of my life. I have learned to become my own individual, comfortable in my skin, rather than attach myself to the never ending cycle of fashion and beauty trends. It has asked me time and again to step up to the plate & show people I meet who I am on the inside and what I can offer. Hijab has also acted as a filter for people who can accept that I wear one and still treat me with the respect any human being deserves. Hijab has been by my side for years, and consistantly rates as one of the best choices I have ever made. I truly believe that it has helped me grow into a stronger person socially, emotionally, spiritually & intellectually than if I had not worn it when I did. Hijab has been my protest against those who try to push their values & agendas on to me and other Muslim women, and simultaneously an act of worship to my Creator. I rage against the machine every morning by wearing my hijab before leaving the house. No matter what a woman's relationship with hijab might be, there is no denying the beauty of taking the narrative about it back from men and the media. Peace to the peaceful ✌🏼️• #coveredhairdontcare #hijabswag #turbanstyle #hijab #hijabi #circassian #huffpostreligion @huffingtonpost
A photo posted by nour sagha 🌚 (@nurtorious) on
My hijab is my greatest act of rebellion and liberation. It serves as a reminder to society that they don't own me. It serves as a reminder to myself that both life and beauty are temporary. It is a symbol of the greatness and vastness of spirituality and its meaning is ever evolving. Ask me again what it means to me next year, I'm sure I'll give you a different answer #hijabtome @huffingtonpost
A photo posted by Sumayya | سمية (@thisissumayya) on
#HijabtoMe @huffingtonpost Hijab is far more meaningful than simply the physical aspect of covering myself...instead hijab serves a means of empowerment and strength for me. As an American Muslim Woman, hijab motivates me to constantly strive to better myself and work to benefit the world that surrounds me.
A photo posted by Sobi Masood (@sobi1canobi) on