Thursday, May 19, 2011

Questions On Islam And Hijab

The one comfortable thing about living in Indonesia is I can wear hijab without getting the stares or harassment from people, since Islam is the majority here. But during my work and my assignment/fellowship abroad, I would come across foreign people asking me about Islam or my hijab. Below are some of the questions:

#1. "Hey, Tifa. Why is that guy named Adam? He's a Muslim. Adam is a Christian name."

I had to laugh out loud when I heard this question popped by an expat friend. I explained to him that beside believing in Prophet Muhammad, Muslims also believe in 24 other prophets, including Adam, Ibrahim (in Christian, the name is Abraham), Nuh (Noah), Musa (Moses), Daud (David), Yusuf (Joseph), and Isa (Jesus). 

When I told him that there are verses in Holy Quran on Prophet Isa, and a chapter on Maryam (Virgin Mother Mary), he was shocked.

#2. "Why did the Muslims attack the World Trade Center?"

I was really sad to hear this question and had to stay silent for a few seconds. I told them that Muslims were just like Jews and Christians, there were fundamentalist/hardliner, moderate and even non-practicing. Those terrorists came from a hardliner group (but I am not, so don't be afraid of me:)). I also told them that terrorism knew not religion, ethnicity or skin colors. Everyone can be a terrorist.

#3. "I have Muslim girlfriends who don't wear headscarves. So it is not compulsory?"

This question was asked by a Singaporean. I also have Muslim friends who have yet to wear headscarves. Actually wearing hijab is compulsory, as it is mentioned in Holy Quran. But Singapore and Indonesia are not Islamic countries that force its residents to wear, or not to wear, some kind of dress. In fact, I still hear cases of employers forbidding its employees to wear hijab at work (and we're the world's biggest Muslim community, ironic eh?). I'm so grateful that my office allows me to have my own style.

#4. "Do you wear headscarf all the time?"

They must be thinking that I also wear my hijab to sleep. Hahaha. I told them that I took it off whenever I was alone, or with my muhrim (people related to me by blood, in this case my parents), or in a girl-only gathering. Basically I wear hijab when I step out of my house, or when there is a man who is not a family member coming to my house. I also told them that when I got married one day, my husband could see me without hijab.

#5. "So you can wear colors? You don't have to wear black?"

Color preference depends on the country's culture and the person's preference. I happen to feel comfortable with colors, while some women may find comfort in black garb. 

#6. "What does your hair look like?" or "Do you have hair underneath the hijab?"

Hahaha. Oh dear, this is just too funny *wipe tears*. To this question, I usually say,"I have a long hair." :)

Dear readers, do you wear headscarves too? Have you ever gotten any funny question on your headscarves? 

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