Islam is not responsible for this pressure on women.

Hello. I thought I was the only one with my problems, but it seems that I have so many sisters sharing the same issues as me. I have a long story to tell. I don’t know if anyone reads but, please share your comments with me.

I am the daughter of a conservative family and a chaplain father. It was obvious at the very beginning that I had to cover myself one day, couldn’t consider otherwise. On the other hand, I didn’t want to. I always believed that I would do my chores such as doing prayers, fasting, reading the Quran, etc., but I’d never imagined covering my hair, and it was not on my mind at all. I had beautiful middle school years; I wasn’t covering my hair, had pretty good grades, and aimed to study medicine. I was that kind of a person.

In the 8th grade, I kept telling my father that I want to study in an Anatolian high school. He didn’t seem to turn against that idea, so I believed I could. Then I faced my father’s threats saying that if I don’t go to an Islamic high school, he will take all the advantage of a good education by canceling my school. I cried over it that day. I still feel blue remembering that day. Sooner or later, I had to go to an Islamic school with my good grades, but the education was awful. Not surprisingly, I’ve started to cover after high school, which made everybody surprised. I made the biggest mistake of my life by dropping out of high school and enrolling in an Islamic cult. I was brainwashed there and became a totally different person who believed in women shouldn’t work or study; they stay at home. After dropping out of school, I decided to become a “hafiz.” I even started to wear a face veil, can you imagine? I finished my education in two years –stopped wearing the face veil- but I gradually came to my senses in this process. I regretted dropping out of high school, so I decided to study for university exams. I aspired to be like the girls who weren’t covering their hair, but I had no intention nor courage to take off the hijab myself; I was in fear of sin. 

On my 19th, I met my husband. He introduced me to learn real Islam. I was a Muslim who memorized all the prayers in the Quran but hadn’t tried to understand what it actually means. I restarted to read the Quran. We got married three years ago. I got more and more excited about throwing off the hijab; covering myself started to feel like a burden. I was the only one covering her hair in my class in the university preparation course. I got breakdowns for no reason. I finally opened myself to my husband when he asked me what was going on. His response was, “If you want to burn in hell, you can take off your hijab.” I was shocked. We had discussed it for days and days. I explained that I don’t believe in a strict rule for women to cover in Islam and why I thought so. We searched it together, but I failed to convince him; he never wanted me to take off my hijab. He told me that as long as I breathe, that would never happen. I felt his pain, maybe he was just trying to protect me, but he couldn’t do this to me. I told him that I only covered myself because my father forced me, now he was doing the same thing; decide for me. I felt broken, cried for days and I hated wearing that piece of fabric. 

One day, I told myself that no matter what happens, I’m going to liberate myself from the hijab, but I failed, and I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to do it because even if they don’t think about me, I often do think about my parents. People will come to my parents since my father is an Imam (chaplain). I’ve become introverted in years. I don’t feel like myself at all. I always kept saying that I miss the feeling of my hair in the wind. As a matter of fact, there are so many girls sharing the same longing as me. The most moving part is I couldn’t go to the school I wanted because the hijab was formerly banned in schools nine years ago. If I were a boy, I would have studied medicine by now. It hurts so much when I think over this. I feel like a loser because I couldn’t study at university. I have no problem in faith for my belief in religion; I’m Muslim. Islam is not responsible for this pressure on women. I don’t believe in an afterlife where women are being punished just because they haven’t covered themselves. 

I’m 23 years old, holding my seven months baby in my arms. I’ll do my best for my daughter so that she doesn’t suffer the same. She’s going to live her life the way she wants to. Who knows? Maybe she caresses my hair in the wind one day. 

  1.  Person that memorize the whole Quran.

(Image: Marie Muravski)

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