I was born in a state which is very synonymous to Islam, called Kelantan. I was raised in a very strict family, and went to Islamic schools. I was in my comfort zone, wearing ‘big hijab’ among those who understand the obligation of wearing a hijab. Until I was exposed to non-Muslims and Muslims who choose not to wear hijabs when I started A Level after my high school. There, I began a journey different from my previous lives.

“Why are you wearing this big hijab?” my Chinese friend asked. “Cut it short lah,” she suggested playfully. I just smiled. “It looks like a tent,” a few students were joking about it behind my back. The news reached me anyway.

I know, and I realized it- how they view my dressing. Being the one and only girl wearing a ‘tent’ at school, it did appear as ‘out of place’. But I was never affected by it, Alhamdulillah. Because I chose to wear it myself and nobody can force me to take it off neither to cut it short.

This ‘tent’ has served me a lot, and I believe, has protected me from irresponsible eyes. While the boys were disturbing other girls in the classroom, they did not dare to go too far when it came to me. Though sometimes they tried to test my patience, they would eventually give up and leave me to do my own business.

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Hijab carries a deeper meaning, more than just ‘wrapping’ your head with some cloth.

Hijab is a testimony of faith for a believer. Thus, a Muslim woman who wears hijab should strive to improve her relationship with Allah. Hijab protects the dignity of a woman, testifies modesty in Islam; a woman should not want to show off her beauty to the public. That being said, a woman should refrain herself from dressing in an extravagant manner.

Hijab comes with a responsibility. Like a crown on a queen’s head, it does not only portray the luxurious life she is living in, but also the responsibility to be a lending hand for the head of the country. Thus, in my eyes, a Muslim woman who choose to wear hijab is brave and courageous for taking this responsibility.

Humans deal with choices every day. We just need to respect each others’ choices, as a saying goes “Respect for ourselves guide our morals, respect for others guide our manners.”

Having said all of the above, I am not a perfect person. I am still trying my best to be a good human being who serves her faith and her people. A woman who wears hijab is still a human, who is prone to doing mistakes in life. So, it is not a wise idea to judge her as if she is an angel, not to mention to blame the whole religion for one’s own personal mistake.