The hijab is a piece of material with a strong Islamic significance for Islamic women.
However it has depicted a range of things for different women of different ages in the Islamic faith.
Aljazeera interviewed a number of Muslim women across the world to find out their opinion on the significance of the hijab.
Their response and opinions went from faith to security, freedom from superficiality/consumerism and a fashion statement as seen from the modern reality.
For some, the hijab though a piece of religious clothing, has been a source of unfair critical judgement for Islamic women.
Ifiat Gazia recently graduated from the University of London. She says she has never felt the need to be uncomfortable with her hijab until that moment she was attacked by a group of students in the light of the 2015 France terrorist attack.
Many Muslims across the world will identify with the scenario. In African countries like Nigeria, terrorists have attacked, killed and destroyed using female suicide bombers who often have hijabs on.
It is only natural that Islamic women in the country feel uneasy when they walk into a room full of people and all of a sudden everyone stops talking and starts gazing at them in the most negative of ways.
Azeenarh Mohammed, Nigeria, had this to say:
“People’s reactions made wearing the niqab more of a political statement than I intended for it to be.”
Aziza Paula Di Bello is a Uruguayan psychologist, who converted to Islam 5 years ago. According to her, the first inspiration about a woman in a hijab was that she “was a queen, who was able to defy it all”; she is a devout and respectable woman.
For her, it was a sign of freedom from secular influences and pressure from fashion trends.
“Wearing the hijab is not just about covering the hair … It also includes an attitude of modesty… It protects me.
“It elevates me in status by choosing to submit to my creator and not to his creation.
“My hijab is for me a rebellion against the consumerism of the flesh; it frees me from submission to others to satisfy their needs.”
Adding to the fashion concerns, many Muslim women across the world in recent times are making the hijab trendier and more fashionable than it used to be.
Taking it to the angle of modesty, Aziza says the hijab as an Islamic symbol keeps married couples from being distracted by “superficialities, and things that can affect a marriage, a family, and therefore society”.
As much as it is a symbol of the Islamic faith, some other Muslim women do not share the sentiments of those who wear the hijabs. They believe that their faith is much deeper than a piece of clothing.
In other words, some for personal reasons have become uncomfortable and have stopped wearing hijabs.
The likes of Jacinda Townsend, an African-American author decided to prioritize her black-Africanness over the religious prescription of using the hijab.
“So much of African-American culture was being drowned out of me”
“Every time I wrapped the hijab around my burgeoning curls, I felt that I was covering the gorgeous black self I had just discovered…”
In the same way, Riham Alkousaa, a Syrian-Palestinian journalist covering Syria and refugees in Europe insists that her hair is a part of her.
“I wanted to take it off because I wanted to look more natural. I didn’t like the idea that the ‘me’ who wakes up and looks in the mirror while brushing my teeth, is totally different from the ‘me’ who leaves for college…I wanted to be as close as possible to the Riham I know.”