5 Misconceptions People Have Had About Me Post Hijab

Stereotypical assumptions are very common, and I’ve had the luxury of knowing some of the ones people have had about me pre and post hijab. I actually quite like knowing what someone’s first impression of me was. (I wonder what impression my blog gives off?) More often than not, they’re incorrect but definitely amicable statements that always make me smile. This post, however, also includes some of the more irksome misconceptions that have come up repeatedly which I thought I would share with you all today.

  1. I’m an Arab Muslim

I don’t know if this is because I’m a hijabi living in an Arab country, but everyone assumes I’m Arab. Hijab is worn by so many South Asians and African women here as well, but that isn’t the first thing that crosses anyone’s mind. Once, while I was paying for my groceries, the cashier told me the amount I had to pay in Arabic. Another time, a woman came up to me in a panic and started speaking in Arabic – and stopped midsentence after registering my blank expression, after which she proceeded to say in a snobbish manner “Oh you no speak Arabic?” as though it was a fundamental flaw and before I could complete “No I’m sor-“, she threw her fingers up in the air in exasperation and paced away. My siblings couldn’t stop laughing.

  1. I shake hands with non-mahrams

A customary handshake is the norm for greeting. I did not realise how common it was before I stopped doing it. People assume you’re 50 degrees of conservative when you’re modestly dressed, but when it comes to a handshake, it’s something I’m expected to conform to. Why do people think that my wide smile, bright disposition and a polite verbal greeting are not enough?

  1. If I take my hijab off, I can shake hands with non-mahrams

By far the hardest thing I’ve ever had to explain to people, is that my hijab does not dictate my actions. There are hijabis who do whatever they like, and there are also women who dress modestly without a headscarf, but choose not to physically interact with men. It is my choice to don a headscarf and not give you a congratulatory fist-bump. Even if I decide to remove my headscarf one day, I’m not going to start giving you hugs because my scarf doesn’t decide my actions for me, I do. Learn to separate the two.

  1. I’m going to disregard my hijab on my nikkah, because, whoever heard of a hijabi bride?

Weddings are a special event where everyone wants to look their best. Why is it assumed that a woman who has diligently honoured her choice for a number of years is suddenly going to consciously neglect it on her wedding day, and not look as pretty? And why is it expected of her to? Funnily enough, one person actually expressed disappointment to my face (in a very non-offensive way) when they found out I wished to keep it on. “Aw, really? Come onnn, it’s your wedding.” It struck me then just how linear society’s definition of beauty can be. I hope they read my reply amidst the simultaneous sputter of laughter and eye roll – How beautiful is it that a woman chooses courage and commitment to Allah (swt) over the norms of this dunya?

  1. If I can read Arabic, I can speak and understand it too.

I know this is a bit tricky to wrap your head around, but it’s really quite simple. Look at it this way: You can spell and pronounce “stupid”, but it’s not necessary that you know its meaning, right?

(Image: Aquila Style/Fotolia)

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15 thoughts on “5 Misconceptions People Have Had About Me Post Hijab

  1. I totally get the not shaking hands with non- mahrams thing. It happens so much in office environments as well here in the UK. It gets even more awkward when their hand is still floating there in the air and you have to explain why it’s not going to happen LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, the struggle 😬🙈 I just shake my head no in a silent gesture whilst the conversation is flowing and their hands are still in mid air & usually they apologise 😅 I live in a Muslim country so most people get it. The ones who dont.. Well. 🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVED this post! I read number 2 and mentally high-fived you!!! Subhan’Allah I relate to every single one… Actually a funny (not funny) story is when I was sofa shopping with my MIL and SIL. The shopkeeper was chatting in Arabic and then he started to ask questions about me. I was looking in the opposite direction trying to avoid conversation/eye contact lol and when he offered to shake my hand he said, “Oh she’s Muslim” I wear hijab, and we’re all Muslim here and we live in a Muslim country?!?!??!?!?!!?!??! It seems like there is a difference with being Muslim and acting Muslim lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha awwh thank you so much for your feedback and sharing your story! ❤ Gosh what an idiot lmao, that's a bit of an awkward situation to be stuck in but you should've totally given him a death stare so he'd just shut up 😛 So many false presumptions despite the obvious signs (like the hijab)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Looooool. The struggle is real. The hand shaking thing completely baffles me when it is Muslim men. I’m like, wait, what??? I’ve also been called a fundamentalist/conservative because I have a fondness for black abayas…seriously, they go with everything and I’m super lazy. I just want get up, put my abaya on and pretty much any hijab I can get my hands on, and go on my merry way. I’m fashion-challenged folks, deal with it, is pretty much my attitude in life right now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now imagine the same thing, but with family. A combination of awkwardness and hilarity. :p It’s ridiculous though isn’t it; to go through the fashion police just because you have a piece of cloth on your head? Ikr. Cant be bothered :))

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Love this post! I live in Toronto, a veryyyyy multi-cultural city, and every Arab Muslim that comes up to me automatically assumes I’m Arab. And when I don’t speak Arabic back they assume it’s not because I’m not Arab, but because I am Arab but ashamed of our language, lmao it honestly makes me laugh every time. I love all of the points you made, they’re all so true! I get super happy when I find other Muslimahs in the blogging community. I hope you can check out my blog too: heynida.com =)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It kinda sounds like Toronto has a little bit of Dubai in it, haha. Checked, read, loved and followed! Thank you for your kind words and hope you figure out a more consistent posting schedule 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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