Aaisha’s Ramadaan diaries, day 8: The Ramadaan scarf

Day 8: The Ramadaan Scarf

One of my favourite things about this month is that I get to see a lot more of my friends wearing a scarf, which is just a novelty thing that I like because most of the time, I’m one of the only ones wearing one. Women usually like to cover their heads in Ramadaan in accordance with just wanting to be more modest and respectful during this sacred time.

So let’s talk about “the Ramadaan scarf”. Over the past couple of years, I’ve seen people broaching it on social media (perhaps most famously, Perry Book calling out the “Ramadaan Muslims”. There’s stuff online too, but I find that it either comes across as focusing on the aesthetics only (“this is a nice way to tie your scarf”) or slightly preachy (“scarf-wearing = better Muslim”).

I think that it’s great that some people who don’t ordinarily cover their hair choose to do so for this time, but I take no issue with people who don’t cover. And neither should you. You know why? Because it’s NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.

I have to just say, I am not a fan of the reduction of a woman’s entire worth and moral consciousness to a piece of cloth that she may or may not wear on her head. Someone wearing a scarf – just generally in life – does not automatically make them a better Muslim than someone not wearing a scarf. This is because of two things: wearing a scarf does not necessarily mean fulfilling the full conditions of hijab (which is a state of being, behaving and acting modestly, which applies to both MEN AND WOMEN), and you could have someone doing other acts of worship (maybe they pray through the night or give far more charity than you do). Covering your head in accordance with observing hijab is definitely an act of worship – at least, that’s the way I see it, a fulfilment of the Quranic verse 24:31 which roughly translates to “And tell the believing women to reduce [some] of their vision and guard their private parts and not expose their adornment except that which [necessarily] appears thereof and to wrap [a portion of] their headcovers over their chests and not expose their adornment” – but it is by no means the only act of worship that exists. And the only one who can weigh things up and decide the levels of “good Muslim” someone is, is God.

That said, all power to my sisters wearing a scarf for the first time this month, or for only this month. I wish you strength and love and may you take only good habits forward with you after Ramadaan.

But at the same time, we Muslim women need to do better, especially some of us already wearing a scarf who like to judge. Reminder my sisters: WEARING ONE EXTRA PIECE OF CLOTHING DOES NOT PUT YOU ON A MORAL HIGH HORSE. Like I said above, we need to stop shaming women if they choose to wear it for this month only, because only God can judge their true intentions. On the flip side, Muslim women who choose not to wear one – don’t be immediately dismissive and justify not wearing it by saying that it’s because you’re just going to go back to bad habits post-Ramadaan and you don’t want to be hypocritical. Again, only God can judge intentions. Try and have a better outlook and attempt to gain something out of this month, maybe do something you wouldn’t ordinarily do – don’t be so quick to basically say that you’re just waiting for it to pass.

People worship differently – and it isn’t your job to tell them how. But at the same time, don’t shame people for making an effort. Let’s support each other and respect each other’s AGENCY.

Oh, and for the love of all that is good in the world, do NOT use the word “hijabi” to describe yourself or anyone else. Here’s why.

This is a special Ramadaan series by our fave Muslim reporter. Aaisha Dadi Patel. For day 7’s musings, click here.