Hijab for me, is not something to be questioned, nor is the answer to be defended. Not a limitation but I always believe as freedom, not labeling identity but always a matter of convenience of choice.

In the early days of making the decision to wear the hijab in the late 90s, the number of women wearing the hijab in Indonesia was not as large as in 2021. Although I did not find accurate research (there is one figure from a hijab-only shampoo manufacturer which says 72% of Indonesian Muslim women wore the hijab in 2018) it can be said that the number who did not wear it at that time (at least in my immediate environment) were fewer than those who did not. (a situation that has changed significantly in the last dozen years).

It was also the early days of my work, where I also began to regularly participate in international forums. Hijab The context of this decision-making period is important to convey, because in discussions with many friends, although choosing to wear the hijab is very personal, when and why is determined by internal and external factors that are interconnected. I’ve always seen the hijab as a way of navigating the world, and after wearing it, I realized that I then seemed to have received a “new bonus of glasses” with a different perspective and view.

I chose to wear the hijab before Mama, without even having a long discussion with Abi and my husband (for a description of the definition of aurat or women’s obligations which I will not discuss in this article because I have no expertise, please read Abi Quraish Shihab’s book entitled “Jilbab”) . Start thinking on the weekends, then jump right into the office on Monday mornings for the weekly meeting. At that point, all I could think about was that I wanted to cover my hair and head, there was no idea what the trouble would be. So that in the first days the head and neck feels super itchy or the first trip abroad is exposed to a series of “random inspections” constantly, everything is considered a “normal” part of the adjustment that must be carried out without getting annoyed or regret.

What often annoys you, are actually comments related to behavior, “You’re wearing a headscarf, why are you like this and that.” This is conveyed in the context of “important”, why I did not, for example, establish Islamic-based schools (Cikal and Sekolah Siswa Merdeka, two educational units that I founded characterized by inclusive general education) to those that were “less important” such as why I ride a bicycle.

The lesson is, after some time, comments like this turn into evocative feedback. I realize that there are expectations that shouldn’t be a burden but a reminder to keep improving. Choosing food wisely (not just halal), controlling emotions in arguments about “hot” topics (not just expressing objections to attacks) and a lot of personal decisions and choices in work that I do more carefully.

I know, the ease I experience is a luxury. Unisma Many friends go through difficulties at work or from family, even bullying and violence on social media and the real world because of their choice to wear or not wear the hijab.

Hijab for me is a statement about representation, a simple effort to be a clear example that Islam is a religion that is always peaceful and Muslim women are not victims of oppression. Hijab does not mean that I am more accomplished, let alone more pious. The hijab that I choose to wear because I have autonomy, should be a reminder to me that I need to collaborate more with fellow women and all human beings, with fellow Muslims and followers of various religions, especially in ensuring that no one group feels pressured or marginalized compared to other groups. other.

While reflecting here, I believe that all other things attached to myself are that I am a woman, I am an educator, I am a mother, I am a psychologist, I am a child, I am a writer, I am Indonesian, I like yoga, I work in cross-country networks and a series of other things, complete and inseparable from my Muslim and veiled. Hijab None of us can be boxed into the same typology, because of the multidimensional complexity of humans.

Hijab, like all forms of expression of piety, dress and life, turns out to be not only a matter of the mind but also of the heart, nor is it only a matter of what one believes in private but also about public perceptions that influence it. There is a concept of rights and obligations in whatever we choose or don’t choose, there is also a matter of relationships that must always be based on mutual respect. In addition to the hijab, various religions and cultures also have

procedures and guidelines regarding the simplicity of dress or other forms that are believed to be for women and men. Anyone have views or experiences when choosing to wear it or not? Has anyone had the experience of being a victim of bullying and being scolded or a empowered and meaningful experience at a crossroads and on their chosen journey?